PhD Defense Maxim Kovalenko
On Friday September 29th 2017, Maxim Kovalenko defended his PhD thesis at the University of Antwerp. Maxim has written a very interesting thesis in which he aims to build bridges between Sociology and careers research, thereby examining both micro and macro factors of career development. Among other things, Maxim discovered several patterns of career development over a long period of time, thereby showing that the transitional career pattern, which is characterized by flexibility and job transitions - already existed well before careers researchers started writing about this in the 1990s. Maxim was also critical of the neo-liberal perspective of individual agency and responsibility, noting that there might a possible "Matthew effect" in which the highly skilled profit from agency and become successful, whereas disadvantaged people may become even more disadvantaged because the added pressure of having to manage their own careers might be too much of a burden.
The questions asked by the jury members were mostly reflective and theoretical, for example asking how we should measure career success, what Maxim's contribution to theories of career development exactly is, where the balance lies between agency and context, what the role of a career calling might be, and whether the concept of "career" may not just have shifted, but perhaps fundamentally changed into a new concept. After an hour of intense discussion, the jury deliberated and we unanimously decided that Maxim would be granted the "Dr." title. Congratulations to Dr. Kovalenko on his great work and contribution to the literature!
It was a pleasure to be in Antwerp and serve as a jury member for Maxim's PhD defense. As always, the city is really nice and I also got to chat with some highly valued colleagues, such as Wolfgang Mayrhofer, Marijke Verbruggen, Jesse Segers, and Anneleen Forrier. And most importantly of course: another new PhD has joined our community!