Research Unit for the Sociology of Education, RUSE

RUSE is the country’s leading research institute in the field of sociology of education and well-known on the international level as well.

Its mission is

  • to produce internationally high quality research in social sciences, especially on higher education, education policy and on the relations between education and labour market;
  • to train doctoral students;
  • to develop methodological solutions for social sciences and modes of analysis for evaluating research and teaching;
  • to study and develop digital learning environments.

A special national assignment granted to RUSE by the Ministry of Education and Culture indicates RUSE’s capability to produce quantitative research results functioning also as evidence base in education policy.

In the 2016 Nordic Business Awards, Osmo Kivinen and RUSE got the nomination of “Recognised Leader in Education Sociology 2016 & Social Science Educational Research Organisation of the Year 2016”.


History and some key facts

The Research Unit for the Sociology of Education, RUSE, began to take shape in the 1980s around a few research projects.

The establishment of RUSE as a research centre was celebrated in 1990. Initially, RUSE was an independent research unit within the University of Turku, from 1995 to 2007 it was recognized as one of the departments of the Faculty of Social Sciences. In 1995, a chair in the Sociology of Education was established and it has been held by professor Osmo Kivinen ever since. Since the start of 2008 until the end of 2018 RUSE was again an independent unit at the University of Turku managed by the Board and Director, Osmo Kivinen. From the beginning of 2019 RUSE was joined to the Faculty of Social Sciences functioning as a research unit administered by the Department of Social Research at the Publicum building, (Assistentinkatu 7). Head of RUSE is Senior Research Fellow Sakari Ahola.

The majority of the research staff is working under fixed-term contracts in various projects. The permanent staff includes one professor, three senior research fellows, a postdoctoral researcher and a project researcher.

RUSE is a kind of project organization having 4-5 projects annually. Providers of external funding include: The Academy of Finland, various ministries, the European Union, The European Social Fund, NordForsk, as well as local agencies and industry.

Research conducted at RUSE is linked to three of the six thematic research collaborations mentioned in the Strategy of the University of Turku:

  • Digital futures
  • Children, young people and learning
  • Cultural memory and social change

Between 2007-2018 RUSE had its own RoSA-lab (Research Laboratory of Strategic Action) which promoted research in social sciences utilizing modern information technology and new experimental and empirical applications (e.g. simulations, data mining). RoSA was developed as a digitalized learning environment. It ceased to exist gradually between 2017-2018 when University of Turku centralized all its IT-staff.

Quality assurance belongs to RUSE's normal routines and it is guided by University of Turku's quality assurance work.

Pierre Bourdieu and RUSE

"Thus the ruse of academic reason, by which the institution leads the teacher to serve it by disposing him to make use of it, ultimately serves a function of social conservation which academic reason cannot recognize. If the freedom the educational system allows the teacher is the best guarantee that he will serve the system, the freedom allowed to the educational system is the best guarantee that it will serve the perpetuation of the relations prevailing between the classes, because the possibility of this redirection of ends is inscribed in the very logic of a system which never better fulfils its social function than when it seems to be exclusively pursuing its own ends."

Pierre Bourdieu & Jean-Claude Passeron: Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. 1977, p. 125.