G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
"The best drunk decision of my life" : a nexus analysis of doctoral education (2020)

Aarnikoivu, M. (2020). "The best drunk decision of my life" : a nexus analysis of doctoral education [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU dissertations, 256. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8236-2

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Aarnikoivu, Melina

eISBN: 978-951-39-8236-2

Journal or series: JYU dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2020

Number in series: 256

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (142 sivua, 61 sivua useina numerointijaksoina)

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8236-2

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


This dissertation explores doctoral education as a form of social action. The qualitative mode of inquiry guiding both the theoretical and methodological choices of this work is nexus analysis. In the context of this work, doctoral education is a nexus where different social actors (such as doctoral researchers, supervisors, and funding agencies), places (such as seminar rooms, universities, conference venues), and discourses (such as the one of internationalisation) come together. For this reason, they should also be examined together, rather than as individual facets. To conduct the analysis, I generated data by doing insider ethnography in two distinct settings over the course of eighteen months: CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research, Switzerland/France) and CALS (the Centre for Applied Language Studies, University of Jyväskylä, Finland). The data consists of recorded and transcribed interviews, fieldwork notes and photographs, survey data, documents, and reports. In both settings, I followed three practical stages of nexus analysis: engaging, navigating, and finally changing the nexus of practice. Based on the comprehensive analysis process, I argue that nexus analysis offers a promising holistic, inductive mode of inquiry to study doctoral education from a perspective that is currently underrepresented in research on doctoral education. It enables the researcher to become an activist with powerful analytical tools, which can be used to facilitate change in the studied nexus of practice. Nexus analysis also allows individual doctoral researchers to approach doctoral education in a bottom-up manner, rather than a top-down one, challenging the existing power relationships, gatekeeping, and decision-making practices. Therefore, I suggest that the social actors involved in doctoral education ought to critically assess whether the decisions regarding doctoral education and specific doctoral practices are made by those who have experience and/or research-based knowledge on doctoral education, instead of those who have neither. In this way, challenges of contemporary doctoral education could be addressed more effectively.

Keywords: doctoral education; researchers; research work; social interaction; nexus analysis

Free keywords: doctoral education; nexus analysis; social action

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

Last updated on 2022-24-11 at 20:49