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Sociology Research


Jana Bacevic is Research Associate in Critical Sociology of Higher Education at the Faculty of Education, affiliated researcher at the Department of Sociology, and associate researcher at the Centre for Global Knowledge Studies (gloknos) at CRASSH.

She has a PhD in sociology from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in social anthropology from the University of Belgrade. Previously, she was a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Aarhus, Denmark (working on EU FP7-funded project 'UNIKE - Universities in the knowledge economy'), and lecturer at the Central European University in Budapest. She has held visiting fellowships at the University of Bristol, University of Auckland, Central European University, the Open Society Archives, and the University of Oxford.

Research Interests

Jana works at the intersection between social theory, sociology of knowledge, political sociology, and philosophy of social science. Her work focuses on the 'social life of concepts' - the ways in which concepts are formulated, used, evaluated, and applied in contexts ranging from political debates and activism to the academia.

Her PhD thesis engaged with the construction and negotiation of 'lay' and 'expert' (epistemic) positions in the critique of neoliberalism in the UK. Her work in political and moral sociology engages with recognition and justification of specific identities, groups, and forms of agency through practices of knowledge production - from education policies to publishing, and from public engagement to expertise. She is particularly interested in how knowledge claims - including those about ownership (i.e. who knows, or counts as an epistemic subject), access (e.g. who should be able to access higher education), and distribution (e.g. how states should fund research) - are used to define, justify, and negotiate boundaries between different forms of political subjects.


Soc6 (Advanced social theory)

Soc2 (Social theory)

Soc1 (Modern societies)

Econ8 (Philosophy of economics)

Soc14 (Sociology of education)

Key Publications - Books

Bacevic, J. 2014. From Class to Identity: Politics of Education Reforms in Former Yugoslavia. Budapest: Central European University Press. 

Key Publications - Book Chapters

Bacevic, J. 2018. University under attack? Politics, contestation and agency beyond the neoliberal university. In: R. Barnett and M. Peters (eds). The Idea of the University: Contemporary Perspectives. New York: Peter Lang, pp. 21-36

Bacevic, J. 2017. Beyond the Third Mission: Toward an Actor-Based Account of Universities’ Relationship with Society.  In: Universities in the Neoliberal Era (H. Ergül and S. Coşar, eds). Palgrave Macmillan UK, pp 21-39.

Bacevic, J. 2016. Education, conflict and class reproduction in socialist Yugoslavia. In: Social Inequalities and Discontent in Yugoslav Socialism (R. Archer, I. Duda and P. Stubbs, eds.) Abingdon: Ashgate, pp.77-94. 

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. (S. Horvat and I. Stiks, eds). London: Verso, pp. 223-241. 

Bacevic, J. 2015. Divided Universities, Divided Societies? Higher Education, Elite Mobilisation, and Politics of Identity in the Former Yugoslavia. In: Universities and Elite Formation in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe (F. Bieber and H. Heppner, eds). Berlin: LIT Verlag, pp. 267 – 284.

Bacevic, J. 2014. “What kind of university for what kind of society? Nation-states, postnational constellations, and higher education in the post-Yugoslav space”, in Zgaga, P., Teichler, U. and J. Brennan (eds) The globalization challenge for European higher education, New York: Peter Lang, 287-308.

Key Publications - Journal Articles

Bacevic, J. 2019. Knowing Neoliberalism. Social Epistemology 33 (4), 380-392.

Bacevic, J. 2018. With or Without U? Assemblage theory and (de)territorializing the university. Globalisation, Societies and Education17 (1), 78-91,

Bacevic, J., Muellerleile, C. (2017). The moral economy of open access. European Journal of Social Theory. DOI:

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, Vol. 1/2014, pp. 281-296. 

Nokkala, T. and J. Bacevic. 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, Vol. 13 no. 6, pp. 699-714. 

Bacevic, J. 2011. Borders of the Europe of Knowledge? Higher Education, Mobility and Knowledge Transfer in the Western Balkans, Der Donauraum 51(3-4), 211-224.

Bacevic, J. 2010. Masters or Servants? Power and Discourse in Serbian Higher Education Reform. Social Anthropology, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 43-56.

Key Publications - Other

Bacevic, J. and Nokkala, T. (2018). Agenda Setting and Policy Development in Higher Education. In: P.N. Teixeira and J. Shin (eds). Encyclopaedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions. Dordrecht: Springer.

Bacevic, J. (2011). Universities in Post Conflict Societies, In: Bergan, S et al. (ed): Leadership and Governance in Higher Education: The Handbook. Berlin: RAABE Academic publishers.

Bacevic, J. (2019). Out with the sorting hat: reversing the logic of competition in research. In: S. Gamsu, R. Hall and F. Shaheen (eds). A New Vision for Further and Higher Education. London: Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS), 26-31.

Bacevic, J., Bancroft, I., Fridman, O., and Tosic, J. (2011). The Conflict and its Aftermath in South Serbia – Social and Ethnic Relations, Agency and Belonging in Presevo and Bujanovac. Report prepared for UNDP Serbia. Belgrade: Center for Comparative Conflict Studies.

Bacevic, J., ed. (2010). Development of Higher Education in Minority Languages in Presevo and Bujanovac. Belgrade: Center for Education Policy and Center for Non-Violent Resistance.

Bacevic, J. (2018). The construction of what? Review of Nick Couldry’s and Andreas Hepp’s “Mediated construction of reality”, Communication Studies Journal 43 (2), 286-288.

Bacevic, J. (2017). Solving the Democratic Problem: A Review of Cruickshank’s and Sassower’s Democratic Problem Solving, Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 6 (5), 50-52.

Media Articles

Research Groups & Affiliations


2019: Cambridge Political Economy Trust grant

2015-9: PhD scholarship, Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust, University of Cambridge

2017: Fieldwork funding, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge

2013: Junior scholar travel grant, Association for Slavonic, Eastern European and Eurasian studies, Boston

2012: Research grant, Open Society Archives, Visegrad fund, Budapest

2010-1: Postdoctoral research fellowship, Central European University, Budapest

2007-8: OSI/FCO Chevening visiting scholarship, University of Oxford

Job Title:
Affiliated Researcher
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