Institut for Kultur og Læring

PhD Defense by Mette Ryssel Bystrup

PhD Defense by Mette Ryssel Bystrup

Mette Ryssel Bystrup defends her PhD thesis "Social Network Relations in Neurorehabilitation Trajectories - An Entrance to Studying Inequality in the Danish Welfare State"


10.09.2021 kl. 14.00 - 17.00



Social Network Relations in Neurorehabilitation Trajectories - An Entrance to Studying Inequality in the Danish Welfare State



Inequalities in illness, service provision, and outcomes are well documented in the Nordic universal welfare state. The ways in which inequalities are produced during illness recovery trajectories remain largely unknown. Brain injury rehabilitation of young adults (age 15-30) acquiring a severe brain injury provides a window into veiled aspects of inequality and the underlying mechanisms. These trajectories involve multifaceted and long-term rehabilitation accommodated by various specialized rehabilitation services provided by different welfare state institutions across sectors and legislative regulations. The age-illness combination constitute a particular vulnerability, as their transitional stage of life raises issues related to education, employment, family, and social life.

A longitudinal case study was designed following ten young injured adults and their families from before discharge at a highly specialised rehabilitation hospital to 11⁄2 years after discharge. A multiple case study was designed containing professional records, observations, interviews, focus-group interviews and surveys and included three different perspectives, namely those of the professionals, the closest relatives and the young adult. An overall Bourdieuan theoretical framework provided analytical possibilities to help explain practices, logics, and power relations when analysing the data material and constructing rehabilitation trajectories. This was supplied with a theoretical framework concerning friendship, and social network analysis (SNA) methodology to capture, visualise and analyse the young adults’ significant social relations.

The overall research question of the study which will be answered at the PhD defense is: How is inequality (re)produced in the rehabilitation trajectories of families with a young adult who has acquired a severe brain injury?



  • Associate Professor Niels Ulrik Sørensen, Aalborg University (chair)
  • Associate Professor Kirsten Beedholm, Aarhus University
  • Reader in Medical Sociology Sasha Scambler


  • Anette Lykke Hindhede, Department og Culture and learning, Aalborg Univesity Professor Kristian Larsen, The University Hospital Centre for Health Research,
  • Rigshospitalet
  • Associate Prof. Lena Aadal, Hammel Neurorehabilitation Centre and University Research Clinic
  • Associate Prof. Hanne Pallesen, Hammel Neurorehabilitation Centre and University Research Clinic



Seating at Regionshospitalet Hammel Neurocenter is limited, therefore registration for the event is mandatory here :

Deadline 7th September




Aalborg University, Department of Culture and Learning


Regionshospitalet Hammel Neurocenter, Voldbyvej 15, 8450 Hammel, mødelokale 3. You can participate in person or online