9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN09 Economic Sociology

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 Faces of Capitalism Building AA, AA.229

Science on a journey from one change to another: epistemic cultures amidst the global science capitalism

Presently a unique process of change in the Finnish university field is taking place: the time span and theme of university restructuring and change are both highly significant historically speaking, and require contemporary analysis particularly with regard to cooperation in scientific, organization and working life as well as the sociology of science. Presently the merger of several universities is being completed in Finland. The changes introduced in the research landscape concern universities? governance, funding and future possibilities in the global knowledge economy. While the changes in Finnish universities are ongoing ? ranging from the changes in external, structural conditions such as the introduction of new legal structure to the organizational changes within the universities such as mergers of institutions, departments and faculties ? all irreversibly, directly and indirectly affect the lives, plans and possibilities of researchers. Universities are under pressure to reorganise and adopt strategic economic orientations and specialization as to more closely resemble the private corporations that dominate this market. The commodification of knowledge is not simplistic phenomenon (e.g. Mirowski & Sent 2008; Mirowski 2004; Fuller 2002). This is the theme we will focus on in our paper with the help of interview materials analysed through qualitative methods.
More generally, our paper targets the changes in the Finnish universities at four interconnected levels. Our paper is part of the research project where we will analyze universities as i) workplaces and as work cultures, as ii) places for epistemic communities and birthplaces of new knowledge, and as iii) part of research landscape and iv) targets for and co-producers of science policies.
Theoretically our project is built on four research-related foundations: a) for post-structural social epistemology as well as for the areas of scientific research (Flax 1992, Harding 1991, Longino 1990, Traweek 1992, Fuller 1996, 2007), b) for more general science of sociology research (SSR) (Barnes, Bloor & Henry 1996; Collins & Pinch 1993; Gieryn 2000; Knorr-Cetina 1991), c) for actor network theory (ANT) (Callon 1991; Latour 1987; Law 2004), as well as d) for research on economy and work (e.g. Watson et al. 2003).