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Dr Jana Bacevic

Assistant Professor

PhD (Cantab); PhD (Belgrade)

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Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology  



I am a social theorist with an interest in all aspects of knowledge: from epistemology and politics (including political economy), to social practices ranging from research and innovation to higher education and policy-making.

I have a background in sociology and anthropology, with elements of philosophy of science and gender studies. I joined the Department of Sociology at Durham in July 2020, having previously worked at the University of Cambridge, University of Aarhus, Central European University in Budapest, and Singidunum University in 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 work merges sociology, anthropology, and philosophy to study how how ideas, institutions, and practices of knowledge production shape the social world. This ranges from questions of access and social justice in higher education, to policies for measuring, valuing, and distributing knowledge. I am particularly interested in the relationships between knowledge, power, forms of political community, identity and justice. 

At Durham, I co-convene the undergraduate module Modern and Contemporary Sociological Theory and convene the postgraduate module in Qualitative Research Methods. I also teach on the Sociology of Education module. 

Research interests

  • social theory
  • sociology of knowledge
  • philosophy of (social) science
  • sociology of education
  • political philosophy
  • political sociology
  • inequalities and social justice

Research groups

  • Higher Education and Social Inequalities

Esteem Indicators

  • 2020: Membership: Member, Cambridge Social Ontology Group

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

    Member of editorial board, Global Epistemics series, Rowman & Littlefield

    Member of editorial board, The Philosopher

    Member of editorial collective, Post-Pandemic University

  • 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)


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. (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.
  • Bacevic, J. (2016). Education, conflict and class reproduction in socialist Yugoslavia. In Taylor and Francis. 77-94.

Journal Article

  • Bacevic, J. (2019). With or without U? Assemblage theory and (de)territorialising the university. Globalisation, Societies and Education 17(1): 78-91.
  • 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, J. & Muellerleile, C. (2018). The moral economy of open access. European Journal of Social Theory 21(2): 169-188.
  • Bacevic, J. (2018). Couldry, N. and Hepp, A.: The mediated construction of reality. Communications
  • Bacevic, Jana (2010). Masters or servants? Power and discourse in Serbian higher education reform. Social Anthropology 18(1): 43-56.