• Mathias Hansen Erlingsson
4. term, Sociology, Master (Master Programme)
The purpose of this thesis is an investigation of the dilemma facing unemployed academics . On the one hand, how do unemployed academics face the challenge of finding a relevant job and on the other hand, how do academic graduates deal with the problem of scarcity of academic positions.
Six interviews serve as the basis for the investigation of the central problem as formulated in the thesis. Four of the interviews took place with unemployed academic graduates at the Job Center Office in Aalborg. Two of the interviews were conducted with unemployed academic graduates found in my personal network. The preparation of the interview material and the interviews themselves was based on theory and methodology relevant to the central problem formulated in the thesis . Besides the six interviews forming the basic research of the study are two pilot interviews that were used as tests to improve the quality of the the final interviews.
The theoretical framework of the the thesis is based on theories by Richard Florida, Anthony Giddens and Axel Honneth as well as on theories concerning the mobility of the work force. Richard Florida provides insightful information regarding the nature of creativity in relation to academics and how this affects their value judgement when choosing employment.
These values provide the basis for an understanding of the conditions facing unemployed academic graduates when searching for employment.
Additional theories are also referred to in the thesis in order to investigate precisely why these values can be of importance for unemployed academics. The concept of mobility is also employed so as to investigate how academic graduates relate to geographic mobility when searching for employment as well as to their flexibility in seeking employment in areas outside their own academic field of study. The concepts of choice and lifestyle as understood by Anthony Giddens are employed in the thesis to explain the notion of flexibility in regards to academic graduates. The theory of life style and choice presents the possibility of viewing employment as a choice that the individual must come to terms with in regards to one´s own personal convictions and self understanding.

Axel Honneth´s theory of acknowledgement is referred to in terms of understanding the nature of work and its meaning for each individual. To further develop the notion of acknowledgement as a factor in employment according to Honneth, the theoretical perspective of sociologist Stefan Voswinkel is also considered in the thesis.
The thesis attempts in its analysis to provide an insight into the current circumstances facing unemployed academic graduates today. It also attempts to explain the means in which unemployed academics must orient themselves and to attempt to create an understanding of this situation. Through its analysis the thesis also attempts to show what are the consequences of a year´s unemployment on academic graduates and what effect this has on their attitudes in seeking work,
The analysis attempts to describe and explain how unemployed academic graduates are increasingly adapting themselves to the current job situation. This analysis is based on interviews and interpretations of the case stories of unemployed academics. It also shows how unemployed academics demonstrate a willingness to be flexible in terms of seeking employment on the one hand but also a sense of particularity when seeking jobs in certain fields of employment.
The analysis describes the role of personal integrity and its importance in determining the way unemployed academics are able to adapt to the current job situation. A job is not merely a job. Employment functions both as an extension of personal conviction and also as a strategy for future job planning. Increased competition for academic jobs results in the situation that unemployed academics now must reflect strategically when considering how best to secure a job in the future.

Publication date10 Feb 2014
Number of pages101
ID: 185019012