Education, training and work

The cultural, institutional and political frameworks of education, training and work, as well as the scope for action by individuals and groups is a field of research with great social significance. Gender, class, ethnicity and regional differences shape the choices, agency and education opportunities of individuals as well as the emergence of differences and hierarchies. Globalisation, migration, individualisation and changes in social control also have their effects on both unifying and disruptive factors.

Research in education focuses on the moral priorities of upbringing, the relationships between homes and educational institutions, and on educational forms of youth activity. The premise is to acknowledge young people as partners in the process of upbringing and as active, spontaneous actors in society. Focus areas include the living conditions of children, young people and families; parenthood; the social standing of young people; child welfare; pupil welfare in schools; civic and adolescent education and forms of civic activity spontaneously developed by young people.

Research in training is focused on the changes in the requirements placed on learning, competence and cognitive, skill-related and moral qualifications. The study of these areas emphasises education policy, different educational institutions, organisations, and the new relationships between education and work. Analysis is focused on the cultural and social hierarchies that arise in education and activate the differences and possibilities for community between social groups, genders and ethnic groups. Education is examined as a historically changing phenomenon that regulates the everyday lives and life choices of individuals, while simultaneously enabling emancipatory states in them.

Research in work is increasingly focused on the provision of services and care as well as on the creation of innovations in addition to traditional manufacturing. Focus areas include new forms of work; the changing relationships between work and education; the fragmentation of careers; social inequality; well-being and emotions at work and inclusion in the workplace. The new international division of labour, new forms of work (particularly the increasing share of what is termed immaterial labour) alter the work and livelihoods of people. The ideal of free mobility, the feminisation of the labour market and content of work, changes in family structures and new forms of care both reinforce and undermine gender roles. The change in the population's age structure and new arrangements in the system of public services transform the organisation of care and the nature of the care received, desired and provided by people. Care is studied as a part of global production and the global economy as well as its local and everyday arrangements, from the perspectives of both the providers and recipients of care.

The Department of Social Sciences has a tradition of successful research projects, follow-up studies and publications in upbringing, education and work research. The department has consolidated close cooperation relationships with the Philosophical Faculty and Karelian Institute of the University of Eastern Finland and with national organisations and international scientific networks beyond the university.