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Davor Vuleta accepted into the ranks of doctors in sociology of law

Davor Vuleta receiving the message that the committee passed his thesis.

On Friday, September 23, Davor Vuleta ended his nine-year doctoral education with a successful defence of his thesis "Law and Social Exclusion: The functions and dysfunctions of the Swedish legal system in light of overindebtedness among immigrants".

Davor Vuleta is one of four Swedish Enforcement Authority (SEA) employees accepted as PhD students at the Sociology of Law Department in 2013. Combining research with work at the agency, Vuleta spent the past nine years studying why immigrants in Sweden become over-indebted and the role of socio-legal functions in predicting their risk of over-indebtedness.

With surveys, interviews and the SEA's database, Vuleta created a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of over-indebtedness in Sweden. He found that socioeconomic status and knowledge of the law and its functions affect the risk of becoming over-indebted. These factors are often lower among immigrants, putting them at greater risk of defaulting on loan payments and increasing their financial and social exclusion.

Professor Tobias Eule
Professor Tobias Eule presenting his views on Davor Vuletas doctoral thesis.

"The extent to which immigrants are over-represented is astounding, and you show that very well," the external reviewer Tobias Eule, professor of sociology of law at the University of Bern, said during his review of Vuleta's thesis.

Vuleta notes that policies meant to counter economic problems among immigrants are mostly ineffective, writing that "the current law enforcement strategies are dysfunctional and contribute to debtorisation, which is a process of exclusion that adversely impacts individual economic security."

Davor Vuleta
Davor Vuleta during his thesis defence.

"At the Swedish Enforcement Authority, we collect twelve billion [Swedish Krona] each year. We do not prevent over-indebtedness, and we do not give people enough knowledge about how to prevent over-indebtedness. That leads to segregation," Vuleta said in response to comments by Associate Professor emerita of economics, Anna-Marie Pålsson, one of the examining committee members.

After 40 minutes of deliberation, the examining committee emerged to announce that they unanimously agreed that Vuleta had proved with his thesis that he is a competent researcher in sociology of law.