‘I am done with that now.’ sense of alienations in Finnish academia

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Commercialization and commodification of higher education has been subjected to wide critique in academic literature. The relative privilege of academic professions seems to be on the decline, as universities are subjected to increasing competitive pressures–pressures which these institutions pass on to academics. Academics experience a loss of control over their own working conditions, with high intrinsic motivation and goals being imprinted by extrinsic ones. Looking at these recent developments through the lens of alienation theory, it is possible to argue that academics feel a deep sense of disempowerment, which is counterproductive not only for academic work, but also traditional academic identities. This theoretical approach is discussed in the context of a Finnish university merger–the Tampere University of Technology (TUT) and the University of Tampere (UTA) merging into Tampere University (2019)–which shows experiences of being extraneously controlled, leading to experiences of disengagement and alienation. The causes of alienation are typically placed on the level of higher education policy and higher education institutions, but are not uniform, which is why the plural form–alienations–is considered more apt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-643
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Issue number4
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Alienation
  • Finland
  • higher education policy
  • university merger

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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