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Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of TampereFaculty of Social Sciences

Marjaana RautalinMarjaana Rautalin

Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere

Phone: 040 190 1548

Room: PINNI B3006

Office hours: Tuesdays 10 - 11, or by appointment 

Marjaana Rautalin’s research centers on global and transnational sociology, as well as sociology of education. In her PhD dissertation, titled Domestication of International Comparisons: The Role of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in Finnish Education Policy, she examined the ways in which PISA was invoked by different Finnish stakeholder groups when debating about the national education system. After her PhD, her research has focused on parliamentary rhetoric, especially on how the global community is invoked in justifying new legislation in different nation-states and in various policy sectors. She has addressed this theme both in contemporary debates as well as historically.

Her current project (starting September 1, 2017), funded by the Academy of Finland, continues the same line of research. The work examines the mechanisms by which policy models and recommendations promoted by international organizations rise, spread, and become part of domestic political argumentation. The role of OECD and national parliamentary debates will be studied as examples of this process.

Dr. Marjaana Rautalin is a permanent member of TCuPS (Tampere Research Group for Cultural and Political Sociology). She has several joint research projects within TCuPS, for instance studying the global spread of the national independent children’s rights institutions (ICRIs), domestication of European Commission’s policy initiatives (especially the SES intiative) and other processes related to power and governance in contemporary societies.

Dr. Rautalin is a board member of the European Sociological Association’s Research Network on Global and Transnational Sociology. In addition, she has duties in various associations for sociology and sociology of education. During 2014-2015 she served as a junior member in the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. She is also a member of the curriculum development group of the Master’s Degree Programme in Global and Transnational Sociology at the University of Tampere, where she also teaches and supervises theses. During Fall 2017, Dr. Rautalin served as a Visiting Scholar at  Stanford Graduate School of Education.



Rautalin, M. (2018). PISA and the criticism of Finnish education: justifications used in the national media debate. Studies in Higher Education.

Alasuutari, P., Rautajoki, H., Auvinen, P., Rautalin, M. (2018) Shattering the Single European Sky: Argument from authorties in dealing with the SES initiative. European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology. doi: 10.1080/23254823.2018.1449661

Rautalin, M., Alasuutari, P., & Vento, E. (2018). Globalisation of education policies: does PISA have an effect? Journal of Education Policy. doi: 10.1080/02680939.2018.1462890

Alasuutari, P., Rautalin, M., & Syväterä, J. (2016). Organisations as Epistemic Capital: the Case of Independent Children’s Rights Institutions. Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 29(1), 57‐71.

Rautalin, M., & Alasuutari, P. (2015). Kyouiku taikoku de nariyuku fukyouwaon [Discordant voices in the land of education]. In N. Furuichi & T. Toivonen (Eds.), Kokka ga yomigaeru toki: motazaru kuni de aru Finrando ga nandomo saisei dekita riyuu [When nations revive: Why Finland has been able to reinvent itself time after time], in Japanese (pp. 88‐102). Tokyo, Japan: Magazine House [In Japanese] 

Rautalin, M. (2014). The role of PISA publicity in forming national education policy: The case of the Finnish curriculum reform. In P. Alasuutari & A. Qadir (Eds.), National Policymaking: Domestication of Global Trends (pp. 95‐110). London: Routledge.

Rautalin, M. (2013). Domestication of international comparisons: The role of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in Finnish education policy. Academic dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences. Academic Dissertation, School of Social Sciences and Humanities. University of Tampere, Tampere.

Alasuutari, P., Mikola, E., Rautalin, M., Syväterä, J., & Valkeasuo, L. (2013). Globaalien kehityslinjojen luominen ja kotoistaminen [The Creation and Domestication of Global Developmental Trends]. In M. Lehtonen (Ed.), Liikkuva maailma: Liike, raja, tieto [The Fluid World: Movement, Boundary, Knowledge] (pp. 33‐53). Tampere: Vastapaino. [in Finnish]

Rautalin, M., & Alasuutari, P. (2009). The Uses of the National PISA Results by Finnish Officials in Central Government. Journal of Education Policy, 24(5), 2009‐2556.

Rautalin, M., & Alasuutari, P. (2007). The curse of success: The impact of the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment on the discourses of the teaching profession in Finland. [Research Article]. European Educational Research Journal, 6(4), 348‐363.

Alasuutari, P., & Lampinen, M. (2006). OECD ja suomalaisen projektiyhteiskunnan synty [the OECD and the birth of Finnish project society]. In K. Rantala & P. Sulkunen (Eds.), Projektiyhteiskunnan kääntöpuolia (pp. 56‐68). Helsinki: Gaudeamus. [in Finnish]

For more publications and expert tasks see SoleCRIS Research Information Database


Ongoing research projects

From Fall 2017 to 2020, Dr. Rautalin holds an Academy of Finland postdoctoral research grant for her project The Rise of International Policy Models and Recommendations: The Case of the OECD. A brief description of the project is below.

Description of the Academy project 

Social scientific research increasingly focuses on what is called the 'transnationalisation' of public policies, enhanced by international organisations (IOs). To take an example, it is argued that on account of the OECD PISA Study education has become a global policy field within which various reference countries and their policies are taken as justification for initiating reforms in countries ranking low in the assessment. Yet the findings in our earlier research show that recently there have been no significant changes in the frequency with which policy reforms are justified by referring to other countries’ policies, and education policy is no exception. Yet it is true that references to policy models and recommendations promoted by IOs have increased in recent years in all policy sectors. These are interesting findings and raise the question as to why it is that policy models and recommendations issued by IOs have become ever more popular as policy justifications in domestic contexts.

To address this question the proposed study draws on earlier research conducted on the world society and epistemic governance scholarships. The following questions are posed: Given the growing use of policy models and recommendations in domestic policymaking, was the increased consumption preceded by a change on the supply side, or can it be explained by an overall change in the strategies by which national policy reforms are justified? That is, have IOs first increased their production of policy models and recommendations, which has then served to increase their use? Or did the increased demand in national contexts for such policy models and recommendations come first? Consequently, have IOs become increasingly active in devising international policy models and recommendations?

To answer these questions, the study proposed will examine the national debates on draft laws and the ways in which references to IOs’ policy advice develops therein. Additionally, the study will examine the role played by IOs in the trend with a special focus on the OECD. The study asks when the OECD became active in devising concrete policy models and recommendations and whether and how national policymakers have played a role in this activity. Whether it appears to be a change in the supply or demand that triggered the change in the OECD’s case, it can be assumed that a similar change of emphasis would be perceptible in the knowledge production of other IOs with similar profiles.

Previous projects

During 2014-2016 Dr. Rautalin served a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR), University of Tampere. Her research project at the IASR, titled Synchronization of National Policies: Justification of New Legislation in Nation-states, examined the various ways in which global policy community is evoked in justifying new legislation in six different nation-states. The countries examined were Australia, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, the UK, and the USA. The data consisted of debates on draft laws collected from ten different policy sectors. The data spanned 20 years, 1994-2013.   


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