Instead of appearing before a panel at his ‘viva voce' (Latin for ‘by live voice') or oral examination, Malte had to defend his thesis on a video call, which made an already nerve-wracking process that little bit more daunting.
However, with no major technological issues impeding the process, Malte, a member of the Department of European and International Studies, saw his PhD thesis pass.
He said: “I was a bit sceptical and nervous in the beginning about the video call because, in terms of the general process of the viva, I wouldn’t have known what to do if I had technical issues. Thankfully, though, that didn’t happen.
“We had a good discussion with some constructive examination but it still felt a bit bizarre sitting on a small folding chair in my living room!”
Malte’s work, Neoliberalisation, Authoritarianism and the Police in Britain, looked at the emergence of neoliberalism (a modified form of liberalism tending to favour free-market capitalism), and how that interplayed with the trend towards more authoritarian policies and the role of police.
To celebrate passing his thesis, Malte dusted off a bottle of sparkling wine he had been saving since his thesis was submitted and shared it with his partner. Living under lockdown in London meant there was no going out to meet friends and family, though, so he had to enjoy Zoom calls with his relations instead.
Malte, who hopes to take up a lectureship in the near future, said: “Discussing authoritarianism under lockdown was fitting!”
He added: “In the end, only one person receives the PhD but so many people have been involved in reaching this point. I would like to thank them all.”
Malte’s PhD supervisors were Dr Jim Wolfreys and Dr Stathis Kouvelakis.