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Yoojin Kim, PhD, University of Turku.

Academics in performative regime in contrasting countries: A Comparative Study of Research Universities in Finland and South Korea

I am Yoojin Kim (from South Korea), who is currently working at the faculty of Education in university of Turku in Finland as a doctoral candidate. My research field is sociology of education, higher education, and comparative education study. 

This study will investigate how academics in Finnish and Korean research university have experienced and perceived performance based management (PBM) in the name of effectiveness, efficiency and competitiveness. In particular, this study will focus on academic career and salary system which are core techniques (incentives) of PBM on academics in both countries. In order to comprehend this global phenomenon, actively respond to the changes and rethink about issues of policy borrowing or education export, this comparative education study considering socio-cultural aspects can play a pivotal role. In exploring how performative regime in research university applies to micro levels and aspects of different social systems, social democratic —vs. economic capitalist (such as Finland vs. South Korea)— education in globalisation can be thoroughly understood, and implications can be discovered for recent issues such as loss of academic autonomy, increase of precarity and underlining performativity causing fabrication.

  This study will also determine relations, conflicts and consensus among academic staff, students and policy in terms of a university’s purpose, through their perceptions and experiences of university marketisation.

The investigation will mainly consist of three domains and phases, which also aims to publish three articles. The first step of the study is reviewing literature. It concerns how previous studies have described the impacts of PBM. Second, to exploring the experience of academics in performative regime, semi-structured interviews will be conducted. The participants (in mid-stage of academic career) will be 8-10 in four research universities, considering position, age, gender, teacher-hood. Thematic analysis to explore academics’ experiences, and discourse analysis for seeking the identity and the idea of university from academics’ perspectives will be employed. It is an attempt to understand the academics’ responses to the performative ethos in the research universities, and to scrutinize possible influential factors to the academics’ perspectives based on socio-cultural aspects.


Hanna Mannila, PhD, University of Helsinki.

Indian Dance Gurus in Transformation: Changes and Continuities in Their Role, Status and Function from Text to Digital Media.

Hanna Mannila is currently a PhD student at the University of Helsinki, Department of Cultures. Her PhD project in the field of South Asian Studies investigates the changes and continuities in the guru tradition and the perceptions of the guru’s authority among the dancers of Indian classical kathak dance. Based upon ethnographic data gathered through participant observation and interviews in India, the research focuses on contemporary kathak gurus, with reference to textual sources on gurus from the classical period onwards.

My PhD research project explores the transformations in the figure of guru and his authority in Indian society from classical Sanskrit texts to the contemporary mediatized contexts, focusing on the gurus of Indian classical kathak dance. Gurus traditionally have a highly revered position in Indian society – they can be seen as an embodiment of authority. Gurus and guru-like figures can be found everywhere in Indian society, from religion and arts to politics and business. This research focuses on kathak dance as the base of exploration, examining the changes and continuities in the authority ascribed to the guru in the transmission of dance heritage from one generation to the next. The approach is multi-disciplinary, combining methodological and theoretical elements from South Asian Studies, Religious Studies, Ethnology, and Communication and Media Studies. The key theoretical concepts of the research are authority and mediatization. The methodological approach is Indo-Ethnological, i.e. the research focuses on the historical transformation process, with the research material consisting of classical and medieval Sanskrit and Hindi texts as well as ethnographical fieldwork material. In addition, new media material such as text and videos will also be used.

Traditionally, the transmission of heritage – whether religious or artistic such as music and dance – has taken place through the so-called guru-śiṣya-paramparā (teacher-disciple-tradition), a personal and intimate relationship between the teacher and his (nowadays also her) disciple. The earliest mentions to the guru are in the classical Sanskrit literature from the early 1st millennium BCE. This guru tradition remained relatively unchanged until recently, but the time period from the early 20th century onwards has seen radical changes in the transmission of Indian classical dance, including kathak, first with the establishment of Western style dance schools and more recently with the introduction and expanding use of the new media, through which dance videos are spreading rapidly and globally. The research aims to find out how and why the perception of the guru has changed from the classical literature to the contemporary practice of kathak dance; what are the continuities and the changes in the authority of the guru in the 20th–21st century kathak practice, in reference to the early textual sources as well as later text; what role do the (new) media play in these continuities and changes in the authority of the guru; and how do they reflect those in the wider Indian society, in the context of secularization, globalization, institutionalization and mediatization?