The study explores the changing nature of academic work and cultures in social sciences in the current context of the entrepreneurial university and academic capitalism. The starting point is that the social contract between academia and society is undergoing profound changes. University research and teaching are viewed and evaluated increasingly from the economic angle, emphasizing the need to speed up the transfer of new knowledge and skilled workforce from academia to society in order to promote the economic growth and competitiveness in the global markets. Our claim is that due to increasing market inclination, academic practices, cultures and identities have to be renegotiated and reshaped, creating often conflicting ways to define what constitutes culturally proper forms of knowing in one’s epistemic community. Our interests lie in transformations through which temporal orders and academic practices are reconstructed, and how these processes then change the moral commitments and loyalties in academic work.
Empirically the study focuses on social sciences, which offer a particularly interesting case due to their special relationship with society. Relying on documentary and interview material, the study fosters a deeper and critical understanding of the current changes, tensions and emerging patterns of agency within social sciences at the level of epistemic communities and individuals’ lived experiences.
Docent Oili-Helena Ylijoki, Ph.D, is specialized in higher education studies, science studies and time studies. Her research interests focus on temporal perspectives in academic work and identity building, disciplinary cultures and the changing modes of knowledge production. She holds a position as a senior researcher in the Research Centre for Knowledge, Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (TaSTI) at the University of Tampere. Currently she is working as Academy Research Fellow in the project “Timescapes of knowledge production – A temporal approach to academic cultures and identities”.
Docent Lea Henriksson, PhD, is specialized in studies on welfare state change and workforce and career developments within the globalizing contexts of conflicting policy aims. Her special interests cover the reshaping of professional, educational and epistemic orders in human service work and academia. She has worked at the University of Tampere and currently she holds a position as a Senior Researcher at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki.
Virve Kallioniemi-Chambers, Ph.D., focuses in her research on the higher education and time studies from the educational point of view. Her doctorate in education encompasses the patterns and tensions of temporalities of national and international educational projects in higher education. She is interested in to describe and conceptualize the phenomenon of a restfull culture in research, teaching and administrative work, and meaning of it for the individual and collegial growth in higher education.
Johanna Hokka, M.Soc.Sci., is a doctoral student in sociology at Research Centre for Knowledge, Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (TaSTI) at the University of Tampere. Her research interests concern the knowledge production and social relevance of social sciences. More specifically, she is interested in contrasting the current position and significance of the social sciences in two countries, in Finland and Sweden.
Ylijoki, O-H, Henriksson, L, Kallioniemi-Chambers, V & Hokka, J. 2013. Balancing working time and academic work in Finland. In Gornall, L, Cook, C, Daunton, L, Salisbury, J & Thomas, B (eds) Academic Working Lives: Experience, Practice and Change. London: Bloomsbury, 207-214.
Ylijoki O. 2010. Future orientations in episodic labour: Short-term academics as a case in point. Time & Society 19 (3), 365-386.
Seddon, T. & Henriksson, L. & Niemeyer, B. (eds) 2009. Learning and work and the politics of working life: global transformations and collective identities in teaching, nursing and social work. London: Routledge.
Välimaa, J. & Ylijoki, O.-H. (eds) 2008. Cultural perspectives on higher education. New York: Springer.
Research group from left: Lea Henriksson, Oili-Helena Ylijoki, Johanna Hokka and Virve Kallioniemi-Chambers