The AGORA research centre has provided seminars, workshops, lecture series in which over 3000 scholars, teachers, students, professionals and policy makers have participated.

AGORA holds workshops and regular research seminars, closely connected with social justice and equality perspectives. These research seminars are inclusive so that they create a unique, supportive environment for MA’s, PhD’s and post-doctoral researchers as well as university lecturers and professors.

The seminars are useful especially to doctoral and post-doctoral researchers in terms of building their independent research careers. Along with research support, these seminars provide a site for future funding plans, development of teaching and collaborative writing. The Centre provides courses in Finnish and English. It contributes to the development of teaching from equality and social justice perspectives.


Research seminar Critical sociology and philosophy in education (CRISP)

Seminar has meetings once a month. For further information please contact seminar coordinator Katariina Mertanen:

We combine sociological, philosophical, cultural, feminist, historical, social, political and economic perspectives in order to study social change in education and beyond. Our research offers theoretical, conceptual and methodological understanding for the future of education especially in relation to the diversification of populations, needs for stronger social justice/participation, and equality. We tackle with several acute questions in education, such as privatisation, marketisation, new governance, democracy and inequalities.

Research seminar on comparative and international education

For further information and seminar meetings please contact Helena Hinke Dobrochinski Candido (

Research seminar on philosophy of education

For further information and seminar meetings please contact Anniina Leiviskä (


EDUK316, Kasvatus, koulutus, työelämä ja tasa-arvo, 5OP

(Education, working life and equality, 5CR)

EQF level 6, Bachelor's studies. Teaching language Finnish.

The course provides a critical overview to education and working life from the perspectives of inequality, equality and diversity. The course encourages students reflect on their own activities as well as education and working life more broadly in terms of inequality, equality and diversity.

EDUMCE03, Social justice and diversities in education, 5CR

EQF level 7, Master’s studies. Teaching language English.

The course explores different ways to conceptualize and theorize differences and social justice. The course also explores the relationship between social practices and different ways of conceptualizing. The questions to be examined include: What are the concepts, conditions and practices on which social justice and differences are based? What kind of education and training is required for the realization of democracy? How does power work in different fields of education and training and what are the consequences for different groups. How do different forms of knowledge translate into truths in different contexts of education and training, what they serve and how can they be resisted?

EDUM322 Valta, diskurssit ja erot - tarkastelussa eriarvoisuus kasvatuksessa ja koulutuksessa, 5OP

(Power, Discources and Differences – focus on inequality in education, 5CR)

EQF level 7, Master’s studies. Teaching language Finnish.

The course examines critically cross-sectoral policies and practices in education from the perspective of inequality. We explore together, how inequality affects children, adolescents and adults. Combining sociological, cultural, political and feminist perspectives we examine how power, discourses and differences work and how different actors such as political decision-makers, experts, researchers, etc. contribute to maintaining inequality. Addressing issues of inequality sheds more light on the lives of different individuals and groups that face inequality, exclusion and discrimination. The main objective is to enable more diverse ways to reflect and act in the context of education and training.

EDUK302, Kasvatus, yhteiskunta ja kulttuuri, 5OP

(Education, society and culture, 5CR)

EQF level 6, Bachelor's studies. Teaching language Finnish.

The course focuses on the relationships between education, society, and culture. Students will also learn about the interdisciplinary nature of the sociology of education, cultural and feminist studies, and the different research trends. In addition, students will reflect on the implications of different theoretical approaches for the formation of objectives, structures, problem formulation, and attempts to solve them, as well as the formulation of research questions.

SED-913 Comparative and International Education Research, 5CR

EQF level 8, Doctoral studies. Teaching language English.

This course focuses on Comparative and International Education from different perspectives, encompassing different educational levels, country-cases, and phenomena in education. It covers a variety of theories and research designs, concentrating on the comparative and international components of educational research. In addition to the existing literature, we discuss students’ own research during the course as well as current and topical information on Comparative and International Education (e.g., media articles, blog texts, videos, etc.), which will be selected and shared by students as part of their learning process. The course invites guest lectures and organizes workshops with participants, emphasizing different expertise, promoting circulation of knowledge and opportunities for networking.

EDUMCE07 Curriculum Theory: Understanding Curriculum and Education Policy, 5 CR

EQF level 7, Master’s studies. Teaching language English.

After completing the course the students

  • Understand the significance of epistemological pluralism for cognitive (and social) justice in education.
  • Have in-depth knowledge of two main lines of western curriculum (educational) traditions, Bildung-Didaktik and Curriculum (their differing presumptions and implications for education policy and practice), and curriculum ideologies.
  • Understand education as a complex system consisting of networked actors, institutions and social structures operating in socio-historical contexts.

After completing the course the students can:

  • Analyse educational policies and practices and their effects on education, the educated subject, social relations and society
  • Make informed choices, negotiate with others and justify their decisions in complex educational environments where a multiple variables and perspectives need to be considered.

EDUM3210, Challenging education and inequalities, 5CR

EQF level 7, Master’s studies. Teaching language English. New course, will be available starting academic year 2023-2024.

In this course, students will examine the relationship and key issues and concerns between education and inequalities. Students will develop their theoretical and analytical skills to be able to read educational policies and practices critically as well as reflect critically on their own thinking. The course will explore some of the key theories, relations and debates about education and inequalities and education’s role in producing and challenging inequalities. The following questions are central to the course: What concepts and conditions constitute inequalities in and beyond education? What is the relationship between education and inequalities? How does power operate through education to construct and challenge inequalities? What forms of knowledge are presented as truthful and how are they challenged?

EDUMCE35 Introduction to comparative and international education: policies and practices, 5CR

EQF level 7, Master’s studies. Teaching language English. New course, will be available starting academic year 2023-2024.

This course introduces theoretical and methodological approaches in Comparative and International Education focusing especially on contemporary issues in global education policies and practices. It comprises the use of comparative lenses, cross-cultural analysis, and international/global perspective when examining a given research object. The course aims to answer questions such as: Why do educational ideas and processes vary? How does education relate to wider social factors and forces? How does local education intertwine with global trends? Which role(s) can education play to mitigate the worldwide challenges that we currently face? Its main goals are to engage students with current debates in the field of Comparative and International Education, to encourage them to participate in scientific/academic discussions and argue about their research choices, and to critically evaluate their own research in the light of Comparative and International Education methodological and theoretical approaches. We promote interaction and collaboration with peers, good practices of giving and receiving feedback, and reflection. In addition to the existing literature, we discuss students’ own texts/questions during the sessions. 

Reading groups

Feminist theory reading group

This reading group, arranged in collaboration with the Feminist Association Unioni, focuses on feminist theory classics and books that have made an impact on feminist discourses. The reading group is open for everyone: No need for previous knowledge of feminist theory, academic background, or perfect English skills – the objective is to share thoughts and learn together in a casual environment. You don’t necessarily have to finish the book in order to participate but can join the discussion within your own resources.

The group decides together on the meeting times and books to read. For more information, contact Inka (inka.tahka(a) or Saara (saara.vainio(a)

Previous reading groups

Previously we had an online international reading group "New theories for career guidance", with the aim to bring early stage and senior researchers together to discuss societally and sociologically oriented theory (sociological, philosophical, political, feminist, post-colonial, anti-racist etc.) which connects career guidance theory and practice to broader societal issues, and develops our thinking to tackle with issues of context, intersectionality, agency, power and social justice.


If you have a suggestion for a new AGORA reading group, please contact Inka Tähkä (inka.tahka(a)