About me

I have a deep fascination with how humans, as individuals and societies, acquire, organize, classify, and process knowledge – both about their surroundings and about themselves. I believe these questions are essential to understanding who ‘we’ (whatever that means) are, as well as what we (can) do.

Since these outcomes can be both good and bad – given knowledge is inherently neither – most of my work deals with how specific practices of knowledge production and configurations of power lead to specific outcomes for different individuals and groups, and how we can ensure this happens in the least oppressive way possible. This means I harbour a particular dislike for inequality and injustice, especially in ways enabled/made possible in and through systems and institutions of knowledge production, including universities.

I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology at Durham. Prior to this, I was postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge, Marie Curie fellow at the University of Aarhus, and Lecturer at the Central European University in Budapest and Singidunum University (Belgrade). I am also a member of the Cambridge Social Ontology Group and the Centre for Global Knowledge Studies (gloknos).

I have also held visiting positions at the University of Bristol (UK), University of Auckland (New Zealand), and the Open Society Archives (Budapest).

My main interests and areas of expertise are:

[1] Social theoryepistemology, and philosophy of science – I am interested in social theory as a meta-language for making sense of social reality; this also means I am interested in how claims in this language are formulated and regulated. This includes frameworks or ‘schools of thought’ that seek to develop an understanding of social processes with implications for politics and practice (commonly known as ‘critical’), including, but not limited to, Marxism, Critical Theory, feminism, critical realism, and Bourdieu’s theory of practice.

My theoretical work primarily consists in the exploration and clarification of the meaning, use, and ontological status of concepts (sometimes referred to as social ontology), in particular those that exist on the boundaries between theory and practice (such as ‘neoliberalism‘ or ‘critique‘). I focus  on the social life of concepts – how they are produced, performed, and contested by different actors. This leads me to…

[2] Sociology of knowledge, as the study of the relationship between social processes and knowledge production; as well as related fields of sociology of education, as the study of systems, ideologies and practices of knowledge production and distribution, and sociology of intellectuals, as the particular study of those who produce knowledge.

My doctoral research dealt with the relationship between neoliberalism – understood both as ideology and a set of particular policy measures – and ways in which academics as knowledge producers understand, interpret, and criticise these processes. Prior to that, I wrote about the links between (post)socialism and processes of knowledge production, including the transformation of class and other forms of political subjectivity in and through education policies [1, 2, 3]. In both cases, I look at how particular structures – relatively stable relations between objects, political discourses and forms of governance – interact with human agency, that is, come to mobilise particular forms of reflexivity and political subjectivity in contexts of social change.

[3] This relates to politics – more precisely, political sociology and political philosophy. My book From Class to Identity: Politics of Education Reforms in Former Yugoslavia (Central European University Press, 2014) is an historical and sociological analysis of how political processes, including education reforms, interact with broader social transformation including regime change, war, and in the process frame and re-shape the subject(s) of politics. In my current research, I deal with the intersection between sociology of knowledge and political economy – what could be classified as political economy of knowledge production – that focuses on the social and political processes that influence how knowledge is created, valued and exchanged. This includes the relationship between policies and mechanisms of funding and measuring the production of knowledge (such as impact, REF and TEF) and the social and political role of universities, as well as broader issues of public access to, and use of, information – open access, intellectual property, and ‘Big Data’.

My work in this domain includes an analysis of the moral economy and political ontology of Open Access; the application of assemblage theory to universities through the study of territorialisation, deterritorialisation, and boundary practices; and forms of political agency in the neoliberal university. I have also written on student movements, the implications of supranational governance and shifting boundaries of nation-states for universities in Europe.

[4] Last, but not least, I have a lasting interest in human relationships and the social framing of relationality (my first PhD, in social anthropology, dealt with the concept of ‘romantic relationships’ in a post-socialist environment). This includes relational sociology and relational ontology, as well as the ways in which relations (professional, affective, conceptual) intersect with social dynamics, including mechanisms for the reproduction of class, gender, and racial inequality.