Knowledge and Curriculum in the Changing Landscapes of Higher Education: Lecture at Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala University, Sweden,

Johanna Annala (Photographer)

Research output: Artistic and non-textual formDigital or Visual ProductsScientific


In this lecture, the nature of knowledge in curriculum in higher education today is discussed. Originally Gibbons et al. (1994) defined the mode 1 and mode 2 knowledge, referring with mode 1 to more traditional forms of knowledge building and research in universities, which is hierarchical and specialized, whereas mode 2 knowledge is associated with industry, innovation and government, emphasizing knowledge development in interdisciplinary collaboration and the applicability and usefulness of knowledge (Yates et al., 2017; Young 2013). During the last decade, a balance from mode 1 knowledge has increasingly moved towards mode 2 knowledge (Lindén et al. 2017). This is realized, for example, through introducing to all disciplinary fields the competence-based curriculum in a way that emphasizes the links between university's core activities - teaching and learning - and the needs of labour market and society (Caspersen et al. 2017), and through supporting interdisciplinary curriculum, which is regarded in policy papers as more forward-looking and innovative than traditional discipline- or subject-based curriculum, to approach society's big problems (Maassen et al., 2018; Millar, 2016). Yet all the students in higher education should have access to powerful forms of knowledge (mode 1), because access to abstract theoretical knowledge is a precondition to join the important discussion in the society and to democracy (Bernstein, 2000; Shay, 2013; Wheelahan, 2010). Based on the concepts arising from curriculum theory, contradictory conceptualizations of curriculum are presented, each comprising distinct features in their orientation to knowledge, ownership and objectives of higher education. Developing these lines of thought further, the seminar will include discussion about the prospective research on, what are the special features when universities with different traditions are approaching each other in curriculum and teaching, and what is the meaning of these changes to academics, students and university.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUppsala
PublisherSwedish Collegium for Advanced Study
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2020
Publication typeI1 Audiovisual publications


  • curriculum
  • knowledge
  • higher education


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