Lund University, Faculty of Social Sciences,

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top universities. The University has around 47 000 students and more than 8 800 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

The Project

Digital government aims to promote efficiency, reduce bureaucracy, and improve communication between citizens and governments. However, this is not always true for citizens placed in vulnerable situations (e.g., low-income, sudden death of loved ones, low digital literacy, illness) who are not always able to engage independently with digital technology. This project starts with the premise that administrative vulnerability is a new form of inequality, of particular relevance as public administration turns to increasing automation and AI-supported assessments and that it is an urgent problem that needs to be addressed. There is a knowledge gap concerning 1) the legal position of the citizens who feel excluded because of the shift to digital government and how this impacts the administrative decision-making process (adjudication) 2) who is vulnerable and when and what triggers the need for assistance in relation to digitalization and automation 3) how the exercise of fundamental rights before public authorities is exactly affected; who, when, and why is left behind, how to help them, and how to redesign digital government and administrative adjudication in the digital administrative state to advance equal access to public services. The key research question of this project is:

How should a welfare-oriented state account for administrative vulnerability in the context of digital government and the automation of decision-making?


The PhD programme consists of 240 credits (equivalent to four years of full-time study). The PhD will be concluded with the public defence of the doctoral thesis. PhD candidates are expected to work on their thesis projects and actively participate in the department’s research environment. In addition to devoting themselves to their research, those appointed to doctoral candidate positions may be required to undertake other tasks such as teaching, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the higher education ordinance. These tasks will not exceed 20% of their working hours. Regulations concerning the appointment of full-time postgraduate students can be found in the Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 5, 1-7 §§.

The main language of the PhD program is English. However, non-Swedish speaking students are encouraged to acquire basic skills in Swedish during the period of employment. There are opportunities to participate in language courses taught at the University.

The general syllabus and other information about the PhD program in sociology of law is available at: syllabus for third-cycle studies in sociology of law 2020.pdf 


To be admitted, you must meet both the general and the specific entry requirements. The general entry requirement is a completed master’s degree or equivalent knowledge acquired in some other way.

Students with basic eligibility for third-cycle studies are those who- have completed a second-cycle degree- have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, or- have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

Those who have completed course requirements of at least 30 credits in the subject area (or equivalent) or areas of relevance to the subject area, of which at least 15 credits consist of independent projects at second-cycle level, or equivalent knowledge acquired in Sweden or abroad, meet the specific admission requirements for the third-cycle programme in sociology of law.

Assessment criteria

The employment of doctoral students is regulated in the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance. Only those who are admitted to PhD studies may be appointed to doctoral studentships. The primary criteria for making an appointment to a doctoral studentship is the ability of the student to benefit from PhD studies and successfully complete the program. In addition to devoting themselves to their studies, those appointed to doctoral studentships may be required to work with educational tasks, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the ordinance.

The applicants’ research proposal, previous dissertations and published papers in sociology of law or related disciplines within social sciences or law, play an important role in assessing their suitability. Moreover, applicants must have a very good ability to express themselves in speech and writing. The project involves studying both Nordic legal sources and legal practices in the Nordic setting why training or strong interest in Swedish or Nordic law will be of importance.

As third cycle studies in sociology of law are very demanding, the applicant must be highly motivated and able to work independently under time constraints. Proficiency in English is required. Proficiency in Swedish or other Scandinavian languages is preferred, considering the nature of the project.

The assessment of the applications will furthermore be based on the following desired skills:

Training, or a strong interest, in Swedish or Nordic law to match the focus of the research project;

A clear interest in ongoing debates on inequality, the automation and datafication of public services, and the digital transformation in the public sector;

Training in qualitative empirical and comparative socio-legal research or are willing to acquire these skills;

Strong English language skills, especially in writing;

Scandinavian language skills will be regarded as a resource;

Enjoying working independently, but also working in interconnected teams;

Good social, communication and interpersonal skills; talent for visual and social media outreach is a plus.

The application must contain:

  • A cover letter in English of 1-2 pages, which contains a brief presentation of yourself and your qualifications, as well as a brief explanation of why you are interested in third cycle studies at the Department of Sociology of Law at Lund University;
  • Degree project corresponding to at least 15 credits on advanced level in sociology of law or other disciplines deemed equivalent, and other relevant publications. If the degree project or publication is written in a language other than Swedish, Danish, Norwegian or English, a summary of maximum 1000 words is attached, including method, theory, analysis and results;
  • A CV in English that demonstrates your qualifications for the third cycle program in sociology of law;
  • Degree and grade certificates in Swedish or English;
  • A research plan of a maximum of 13 000 characters in English geared towards the research project within which the PhD will take place (Vulnerability in the Automated State). Summary of research plan for the overall project can be received by e-mailing Jannice Käll at

All plans must follow the instructions available here:

  • Name and contact details of two reference persons.
  • Other documentation of relevance for the position.

Assessment of applicants is done on the above points and the top-ranking candidates will be shortlisted for an interview.


Master’s degree is required to be completed no later than the last date for applications. Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§. The doctoral studentship will commence on 1 September 2023 or as agreed.

This project is supervised by Prof. dr. Sofia Ranchordas (PI) and Associate Professor Jannice Käll and it consists of one-two PhD projects. The PhD candidate/s will work closely together with the supervisors as well as docent Stefan Larsson and professor Titti Mattson throughout the project.

More about us:

Type of employment Temporary position
First day of employment 2023-09-01
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2023/1285
  • Anna Melin, questions reg. recruitmentprocess,
  • Jannice Käll, projectleader,
  • Ida Nafstad, director of studies for PhD program,
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-2229362
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet,
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-2229366
Published 19.Apr.2023
Last application date 14.May.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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