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Peter Bergwall is now a Doctor of Sociology of Law

Peter Bergwall discussing with Alan Norrie on the video conference platform Zoom.
Peter Bergwall discussing his thesis with Professor Alan Norrie of the School of Law, The University of Warwick, whose research guided the descriptive part of Bergwall’s study.

On Friday, May 7, Ph.D. student Peter Bergwall at the Sociology of Law Department successfully defended his doctoral thesis “Exploring paths of justice in the digital healthcare”.

Since 2016, Peter Bergwall has studied healthcare services provided via smartphone apps. During the span of his Ph.D., online doctors in Sweden have gone from a marginal phenomenon to an accessible mainstream service that challenges the traditional ways of providing healthcare. Even though accessibility to medical attention is high for the app users – primarily young, quite healthy urbanites – Bergwall finds that healthcare availability has not increased for the general population.

Swedish law states that the healthcare system should strive for equal care for the whole population and prioritize those in most need of care. Despite this, Bergwall notes, political and legal reforms in the last 20 years have changed the healthcare system into a quasi-market with free choice as a guiding principle.

A central part of Bergwall’s investigation focused on whether patients of Swedish online doctor Kry perceived the service as fair, and how these perceptions influenced their will to contact the digital healthcare provider. From the answers of more than 2000 survey respondents, Bergwall concluded “that the willingness to use Kry was predicted by perceptions of distributive justice, i.e., whether the service was perceived as accessible and inclusive (equality), and whether it was perceived as providing value for time and money spent (equity).”

The external reviewer, Professor Bettina Lemann Kristiansen of the Department of Law at Aarhus University, praised Bergwall for picking a very good topic and for having a very clear idea. She also pointed out that the thesis was a bit short and structured unusually.

The members of the examining committee were unanimous in their decision to pass Peter Bergwall's doctoral dissertation.

Dissertation defense details

External Reviewer

Professor Bettina Lemann Kristiansen
Department of Law, Aarhus University

Examining Committee

Professor Alan Norrie
School of Law, The University of Warwick

Associate professor Stefan Larsson
Department of Technology and Society, Lund University

Associate professor Ida Nafstad
Sociology of Law Department, Lund University

Chair and Main Supervisor

Professor Måns Svensson
School of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, Halmstad University


Senior Lecturer Karl Dahlstrand
Sociology of Law Department, Lund University

Senior Professor Karsten Åström
Sociology of Law Department, Lund University