Welcome

I am a social and political theorist. I study, write, and think – not always in that order – about how we, as humans, acquire, organize, classify, and process knowledge, both about our surroundings and about ourselves. These questions I believe to be essential to understanding what we mean by ‘we’, as well as what we – as individuals, groups, and societies – can do.

Since what we do 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, and how to ensure this happens in the least oppressive way possible. This means I harbour a particular dislike for inequality and injustice, especially when enabled/made possible in and through systems and institutions of knowledge production. This includes universities.

Desite my somewhat ambivalent relationship with institutions of knowledge production, I have been employed since 2020 at Durham University, as Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology. Previously, I was a research fellow at the University of Cambridge, Marie Curie fellow at the University of Aarhus, Lecturer at the Central European University (Budapest) and Singidunum University (Belgrade), and have held visiting positions at the University of Bristol (UK), University of Auckland (New Zealand), the Open Society Archives (Budapest), and the University of Oxford. I am also a member of the Cambridge Social Ontology Group and the Centre for Global Knowledge Studies (gloknos).

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 on the boundary between theory and practice (such as ‘neoliberalism‘ or ‘critique‘). My work com elements of philosophy (primarily analytical philosophy) with anthropology and sociology to inquire into 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; history of thought, as the historical inquiry into the development of certain modes of knowing, 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 most recent PhD 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. 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 dubbed 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 access to, and use of, knowledge – from open access and intellectual property, to issues of expertise, epistemic in/justice, and in/equality.

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.