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Dr Jana Bacevic

Assistant Professor

PhD (Cantab); B.Sc., MPhil, MA, PhD (University of Belgrade)

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Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology  



I am a social theorist with an interest in aspects of knowledge, ranging from formal epistemology to social practices, politics and policies. My work combines philosophy, sociology, and political economy to study how ideas, institutions, and practices of knowledge production interact with the social world. 

I have a PhD in sociology and one in anthropology. I joined the Department of Sociology at Durham in 2020, having previously worked at the University of Cambridge, University of Aarhus, Central European University in Budapest, Singidunum University and the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Belgrade. I have also held visiting fellowships at the University of Bristol, University of Auckland, Open Society Archives in Budapest, and the University of Oxford.

My recent publications address questions such as the role of scientific evidence and expertise in managing pandemics; relationship between knowledge, prediction, and social interventions; and the politics and policies of valuing, measuring, and distributing knowledge. I am particularly interested in the relationships between knowledge, power, and forms of community, identity and justice. 

At Durham, I convene Public Sociology: Theory and Practice (PGT), Social Theory and the Politics of Knowledge (UG), and co-convene Modern and Contemporary Sociological Theory (UG). 

Research interests

  • social theory
  • sociology of knowledge
  • philosophy of (social) science
  • political philosophy
  • political sociology
  • political economy
  • inequalities and social justice
  • anthropology of Empire

Research groups

  • Higher Education and Social Inequalities

Esteem Indicators

  • 2021: Invited lectures and talks: Epistemic positioning and epistemic injustice, University of Cambridge, Department of Sociology seminar series, October 2021 (invited lecture)

    Doing (with) theory: beyond theory and practice, Hannover University, Leibniz Center for Science and Society, September 2021(keynote lecture)

    What can’t critique do? Engaged and Applied Philosophy: The Social Role of Contemporary Theory conference, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, Belgrade and Institute for Advanced Studies, Rijeka, September 2021 (conference presentation)

    Epistemic positioning and epistemic injustice in academic knowledge production, American Sociological Association biannual conference (online), Sociology of Knowledge Session, August 2021 (conference presentation)

    In science we trust? Fatalistic liberalism, public risk, and ‘following the science’, Harvard University, July 2021 (invited lecture)

    Authority and the politics of expertise (with Federico Brandmayr), The Philosopher seminaer series, May 2021 (invited talk)

    Identifying the unprecedented: knowledge production "in these unprecedented times", Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence, May 2021 (invited talk)

    Covid-19 and systemic risk, Cambridge Disasters Research Network series, March 2021 (invited lecture)

    On not knowing the future, Stanford University, Yugosplaining and Beyond, February 2021(invited talk)

  • 2020: Invited lectures and talks: On ‘following the science’, Imperial College, Network of Science Communication Professionals, August 2020 (invited talk)

    Performing social science? Disciplines, expertise, and the Corona crisis, Politics of Economics seminar series, CRASSH, University of Cambridge, July 2020 (invited lecture)

    What was neoliberalism and what comes next? A political economy of predicting the end, European Sociological Association’s Critical Political Economy mid-term conference, June 2020 (invited presentation)

  • 2019: Invited lectures and talks: Who knows? Positioning and epistemic judgment in knowledge production, Sociology Department/Centre for Discourse Analysis Seminar Series, University of Essex, December 2019

    Critical political economy of higher education, lecture series (part of Erasmus teaching exchange), Department of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark, September 2019

    Neoliberalism and the limits of critique, Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE) seminar series, Institute of Education, University of London, May 2019

    More than a feeling? Neoliberalism and the emotional logic of critique, Critical Theory seminar series, University of Nottingham, April 2019

  • 2018: Invited lectures and talks: Keynote: Critique in the neoliberal university: conditions of (im)possibility, Reclaiming collective spaces for academic resistance, British Sociological Association Early Career Event, University of Newcastle, May 2018

    Panel: The Politics of Knowledge and Representation: Unpacking Higher Education (with Priyamvada Gopal and Adam Branch), Graduate Student Conference, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, May 2018

    #NoCapitulation: using social media, UCU in transformation: London Region Activists’ Day School, UCL, 28 April 2018

    Who acts and what matters in the neoliberal university?, Department of Education Research Seminar Series, University of Lancaster, January 2018

  • 2017: Invited lectures and talks: Power, potential, and resistance in the academia, Contemporary Philosophy of Technology seminar series, University of Birmingham, November 2017

    Feminist epistemology, Philosophy of social science graduate course, Manchester Metropolitan University, November 2017 (visiting lecture)

    What does a university do? From purposes to uses of the university and back, Sociology and social anthropology conference, Central European University, Budapest, September 2017 (keynote lecture)

  • Membership: Editorial board, The Philosopher, journal of the Philosophical Society of England

    Editorial board, Global Epistemics series, Rowman & Littlefield publishers

    Cambridge Social Ontology Group

    Centre for Global Knowledge Studies (gloknos), University of Cambridge

    Member of editorial collective, Post-Pandemic University


Authored book

  • Bacevic, J. (2014). From class to identity: The politics of education reforms in former Yugoslavia. Central European University.

Chapter in book

  • Bacevic, J. (2022). Why do we fail to predict social crises? In Un/certainty. Jasanoff, S. MIT Press.
  • Bacevic, J (2018). University under Attack?: Politics, Contestation and Agency beyond the ‘Neoliberal University’. In The Idea of the University: Contemporary Perspectives. Barnett, R & Peters, MA Peter Lang. 21-39.
  • Bacevic, J (2017). Beyond the Third Mission: Toward an Actor-Based Account of Universities’ Relationship with Society. In Universities in the Neoliberal Era: Academic Cultures and Critical Perspectives. Egul, Hakan & Cosar, Simten Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Bacevic, J. (2016). Education, conflict and class reproduction in socialist Yugoslavia. In Taylor and Francis. 77-94.
  • Bacevic, J. (2015). What kind of university for what kind of society? Nation-states, post-national constellations, and higher education in the post-Yugoslav space. In Peter Lang AG. 4: 287-308.
  • Bacevic, J (2015). They had sex, drugs and rock’n’roll; we’ll have mini-jobs and loans to pay: Transition, social change and student movements in the post-Yugoslav region. In Welcome to the Desert of Post-Socialism! Radical Politics After Yugoslavia. Horvat, S & Štiks, I Verso Books. 223-242.

Journal Article

  • Bacevic, Jana (2021). No such thing as sociological excuses? Performativity, rationality and social scientific expertise in late liberalism. European Journal of Social Theory 24(3): 394-410.
  • Bacevic, Jana (2021). Epistemic positioning and epistemic injustice: towards an intersectional political economy. Current Sociology
  • Bacevic, Jana (2021). Unthinking knowledge production: from post-Covid to post-carbon futures. Globalizations 18(7): 1206-1218.
  • Bacevic, J. (2019). With or without U? Assemblage theory and (de)territorialising the university. Globalisation, Societies and Education 17(1): 78-91.
  • Bacevic, Jana (2019). Knowing Neoliberalism. Social Epistemology 33(4): 380-392.
  • Bacevic, J. & Muellerleile, C. (2018). The moral economy of open access. European Journal of Social Theory 21(2): 169-188.
  • Bacevic, J. (2014). (Education for) work sets you free: ‘employability’ and higher education in former Yugoslavia and its successor states. European Journal of Higher Education 4(3): 281-296.
  • Nokkala, T. & Bacevic, J. (2014). University autonomy, agenda setting and the construction of agency: The case of the European university association in the European higher education area. European Educational Research Journal 13(6): 699-714.
  • Bacevic, Jana (2010). Masters or servants? Power and discourse in Serbian higher education reform. Social Anthropology 18(1): 43-56.

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Bacevic, Jana (2021). Epistemic autonomy and the 'Free Nose Guy' problem. The Philosopher