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  • Public defence: 2020-05-29 10:00 via Zoom (broadcasted in MA331), Huddinge
    Alcoverro, Adrià
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).
    The University and the Demand for Knowledge-based Growth: The hegemonic struggle for the future of Higher Education Institutions in Finland and Estonia2020Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In recent decades, Higher Education Institutions have been reformed worldwide so that they may exert a greater influence in the production of knowledge within Knowledge-based Economies (KBEs). This transformation is often explained in terms of how advanced capitalist economies need to secure a prosperous future within post-Fordist capitalism. These developments have occurred in Finnish and Estonian universities, which are conceived as spaces in which knowledge, technology and entrepreneurship are creatively combined in order to contribute to the realisation of a sustained economic growth. This process is understood as a totalising movement that intersects with existing relations of power and social hierarchies. In the study, a Gramscian framework is employed, in order to critically investigate, in two multidisciplinary university departments in Helsinki and Tallinn, the emergence, consolidation and reproduction of an order that is constituted by the contradictory relation between legitimating narratives, on the one hand, and the vertical implementation of policies, on the other. Methodologically, the study adopts a narrative analysis of a corpus of programmatic documents alongside work stories. Both parts of the study’s empirical material are explained and recontextualised within the wider global politico-economic system. The analyses presented in this study bring to light the existence of a fragile consent based on a vague horizon of hope and freedom consolidated at all levels, from the programmatic documents to the academic workforce.

    This vague horizon steers and legitimises market expansion through the circulation of an optimistic techno-centric narrative, expressed in the concept of solutionism, which serves to de-antagonise those tensions present in the territorialisation of market forces, by promising a future in which science, technology and entrepreneurship co-operate for the good of society. The study also reveals how the deployment of reforms is legitimised through recourse to the exceptional status that the meritocratic order has in academia. To understand how the market logic merges with academic exceptionalism, this increasingly “marketised” – or debauched meritocratic – order is analysed by re-defining some of Bourdieu's concepts. Solutionism and “debauched meritocracy” provide a set of middle-ranging concepts that connect to the larger Gramscian framework, with the purpose of completing the critical investigation into the university order and its apparently central place within the Knowledge-based economies and post-Fordist capitalism.

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    The University and the Demand for Knowledge-based Growth: The hegemonic struggle for the future of Higher Education Institutions in Finland and Estonia
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  • Public defence: 2020-06-05 15:00 MB503/via link, Huddinge
    Forsler, Ingrid
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).
    Enabling Media: Infrastructures, imaginaries and cultural techniques in Swedish and Estonian visual arts education2020Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This dissertation explores the media environments of visual arts education in Sweden and Estonia and how educators understand, negotiate and enable this infrastructure. Based on the notion that the ongoing digitalization of the educational system in these countries makes established practices appear, it further discusses how visual arts education as a school subject is shaped in relation to different technologies for image making and school administration. The comparative perspective makes visible how these practices have emerged in specific cultural settings, including the historical development of compulsory education and the organization of teacher training in each country. The two-way relation in which media technologies used in education to some extent condition pedagogical practice at the same time as being dependent on the work of educators, is conceptualized in the title as enabling media.

    Theoretically, the dissertation draws on infrastructuralism, suggested by Peters (2015), as a unifying concept for media studies interested in the logistical qualities of media. By using this perspective to study schools as media environments, the dissertation builds on an established interest within medium theory on the relation between compulsory education and media technologies. This tradition is developed here through theoretical perspectives and concepts from media philosophy, German media theory, infrastructure studies and science and technology studies.

    Infrastructure studies also informed the methodological approach of this dissertation, a combination of short time ethnographic field work, site visits, interviews, and visual methods.

    The results of the dissertation indicate that it is not only established media literacy competences such as the ability to interpret and create media content that visual arts education can contribute in our contemporary media society, but also the ability to recognize, visualize and reimagine the infrastructures and technologies involved in the distribution of media. This ability is conceptualized here as infrastructure literacy (Parks, 2010) and concretized in a tentative curriculum, including lesson plans and assignments designed to facilitate historicizing, explorative and material approaches to media in school art education.

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  • Public defence: 2020-09-04 13:00 MB503, Huddinge
    Sehlberg, Johan
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Philosophy.
    Of Affliction: The Experience of Thought in Gilles Deleuze by way of Marcel Proust2020Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of the present thesis is to explicate the experience of thought corresponding to the critical undertaking characteristic of Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy between Nietzsche and Philosophy (1962) and Difference and Repetition (1968), from within the conjunction of Deleuze’s Proust and Signs (1964) and Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (1913-1927). The importance of Proust for the development of Deleuze’s two major themes at the time, the overturning of Platonism and transcendental empiricism, has generally not been sufficiently recognised and investigated in Deleuze scholarship. This thesis is written in response to this disregard. To this end it seeks to develop the positive side of Deleuze’s critical destruction of the “image of thought” insofar as this aspect is most elaborately and concretely expressed in relation to Proust. In order to circumscribe the real conditions of the experience of a “thought without Image”, by way of Proust, but also by way of an intricate dialogue with Plato, this study seeks to overturn the classical interrogation into the what? of thought. Proceeding from the questions which?, who?, how?, and to what effect?, a conception of the essence of thought as determined by accidents rather than substances is established to the effect that (1) thought is no longer a voluntary exercise of a given faculty, but the result of an irruption from without finding its necessity in the contingency of the event; (2) the thinker is no more the ancient Friend of Wisdom desiring to know by virtue of nature alone, but the Jealous Lover searching for truth only under the pressure of the beloved’s lies; (3) the truth is never a universal knowledge immediately recollected from a timeless past, but is extracted from randomly encountered signs distributed through time; (4) the finality of thought cannot be the recognition or representation of the Essence as an abstract and identical universal, but the experimental creation of the Essence as a singular and concrete manifestation of pure difference.

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