Doctoral dissertation defence in sociology of law: Mikael Lundholm
This is a hybrid dissertation defence. It takes place on the Faculty of Social Science campus at Lund University and is broadcast online for those who cannot attend in person.
Follow this link to stream the dissertation defence on YouTube. (opens a new tab)
The Social Contingency of Law – Studies of Social Control during Foreclosure in Sweden
Mikael Lundholm's thesis empirically investigates how law and other social control responses during foreclosure in Sweden are contingent upon differences in social status. The thesis draws upon American sociologist Donald Black’s theoretical framework on social control to explain this social contingency. According to Black, variations in social control responses are explained and predicted by variations in the social structure pertaining to, for example, differences in wealth and relational distance between the stakeholders.
The thesis consists of an introductory framework and four papers. Paper 1 employs register micro data about foreclosure sales from the Swedish Enforcement Authority (SEA) and about the foreclosure debtors from Statistics Sweden to explore how the socio-economic status of the debtors has changed from 2000 – 2014. Paper 2 and 3 employ the same type of data to explore different aspects of the behaviour of law: the relationship between lender-borrower relational distance and the quantity of law, and between borrower socio-economic status and the compensatory style of law, respectively. Paper 4 employs expert interviews with debt collection officers and managers to explore the relationship between how Swedish mortgage lenders organize and conduct debt collection measures aimed at delinquent borrowers and the quantity of negotiation. The results in Paper 2-4 indicate that social control responses during foreclosure in Sweden are contingent upon differences in social status between the lender and the borrower.
The thesis’s main contribution is that it provides empirical evidence of the socially contingent nature of law and other social control responses. This addresses one of the foundational debates within the sociology of law regarding the relationship between the institutions of law and social control, on the one hand, and the organization of social relations and behaviour, on the other. Specifically, the thesis contributes with empirical applications of Donald Black’s theoretical framework using register and interview data, and an independent theory of negotiation during foreclosure in the Blackian paradigm. Furthermore, by demonstrating the relevance of Black for empirical studies of social control and for understanding the social contingency of law, the thesis aims to contribute to ongoing discussions within the sociology of law regarding the possibility of knowledge about law-related phenomena that is positivistic with a critical ontology. In conclusion, the implications of the social contingency of law for the SEA are discussed.
Mikael Lundholm’s doctoral studies have been financed by the Swedish Enforcement Authority (Kronofogdemyndigheten).
Professor Bengt Larsson
Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg
Professor Åsa Gunnarsson
The Faculty of Social Science, Umeå University
Professor Stefan Sjöström
Department of Sociology, Uppsala University
Professor Anna Lundberg
Sociology of Law Department, Lund University
Professor Måns Svensson
School of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, Halmstad University