May we present our new researchers at the AGORA

This spring the AGORA Research Centre’s community has grown with two new brilliant researchers as Saara Vainio and Ivan Zamotkin have started their PhD research in the Doctoral Programme of School, Education, Society and Culture (SEDUCE).

Ivan Zamotkin’s PhD research topic is Theory of Anarchism in the Future Trajectories of Education. 

“The aim of my doctoral research is to examine the relevance of the theory of anarchism to the field of education, and thus create conceptual tools for interrupting problematic trajectories in prevailing educational practices. In the context of this research, anarchism refers to a radical theory of social justice and equality in which the fundamental political and economic preconditions of the state and their interconnectivities are challenged, this extending to the sphere of education. One of the recent and most problematic trajectories in education has been recently defined as precision education governance (PEG) — a specific form of organizing education, aimed at making it personalized and individually tailored rather than social, political and public.

The theory of anarchism provides a consistent critique of the forms of governance embedded in state-run education, and thus offers particularly fruitful new theoretical and conceptual tools for analyzing and interrupting PEG and creating forms of counterpolitics to it. By reclaiming the public role of education and examining the tensioned relation between the state and education, the anarchist perspective helps to create forms of political agency that are necessary for promoting equality and justice in education.

Saara Vainio’s PhD research topic is Rethinking Life Skills-based Education as a Form of Precision Education Governance.

“The aim of my PhD research is to examine life skills-based education (LSBE) in youth transitions in Finland. Traditionally life skills have been defined through psychological understanding as skills related to competence, sense of coherence, and self-efficiency, as well as coping and mastery. However, in this study I’m examining LSBE in youth transitions as a form of precision education governance. By youth transitions I mean various types of short-term education and training interventions, programmes, youth support systems and projects focusing on young people with various backgrounds. By PEG I mean tailored and personalised forming of youth education and the whole new set of theories and interests to shape the future of education of young people.
The rapid rise of LSBE, as reflected by the analysis of its incidence in youth policies and programmes, corresponds to the embrace of the concept in social, health and educational policy in many countries. In the developmental logic underpinning much educational and youth policy, intervening early to promote life skills is seen as vital. Framed by the genealogical approach, my aim is to make the present strange, with an overall strategy of problemisation and defamiliarisation of the rise of LSBE in youth transitions.

Ivan and Saara will be conducting their research as part of AGORA’s ongoing research project Interrupting Future Trajectories of Precision Education Governance (FuturEd). You can read more about the broader scope and aims of the research project at FuturEd’s own website.