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Struggling with Ignorance

Tampere University

The project develops a new understanding how the digital economy, peer support groups in social media and voluntary work alter the status, competence and employability of highly educated professionals. Based on the epistemology of ignorance and theories of professional education, the project outlines the significance of non-knowing and ignorance for professional work, stressing the potential of non-knowing in creativity, unlearning and the toleration of uncertainty.


Utilising a mixed methods design in empirical cases on social work, the ICT sector and health care, the project combines different qualitative and quantitative methods and research materials, including expert interviews, surveys and participant observation. The theory building is conducted through dialogue, with an analysis of empirical data. Research data will be collected by the end of 2019. Preliminary research findings will be presented in 2020.


The global economic crisis of 2008, combined with the rise of social media and digitalisation, has contributed to the development of post-truth politics and resistance to institutional authority. The project examines expertise work on struggling with ignorance through three empirical case studies The purpose of the project is to establish ignorance studies as a new research field in Finland. The results will benefit professionals struggling with recurring unemployment and re-education and provide insights for policymakers and those working in the field of Finnish higher education.

Funding source

Academy of Finland

Contact persons

Jaana Parviainen

University Researcher

jaana.parviainen [at]

+358 50 410 6764


Anne Koski

University Researcher

anne.koski [at]


Pia Vuolanto

Postdoc Researcher

pia.vuolanto [at]