Maintaining and changing life conditions in learning contexts of adulthood

New dissertation from University of Oulu.

Structured fabrics of everyday life: subject-scientific perspective on maintaining and changing life conditions in learning contexts of adulthood Länk till annan webbplats, öppnas i nytt fönster.

Author: Peltola, Maria


This research explores spaces and structures formed for agency in two learning contexts of adulthood: multidisciplinary collaboration of school professionals and technology-mediated remote studies. Research material contains research participants’ descriptions of their everyday life. Leaning on cultural-historical and subject-scientific psychology, agency is seen as personal ways of relating to surrounding possibilities and restrictions. The focus is on how subjects maintain and change their life conditions. Through the research continues a discussion on how to understand a psychological phenomenon when human beings are seen intertwined with the environment and living in their human–world relations.

The first sub-study focuses on the concerns of school professionals and boundaries and interfaces of multidisciplinary collaboration in pupil welfare. The second sub-study explores university student’s agency in their remote learning contexts in the rural north of Finland. Third sub-study focuses on the dynamics of development in the remote students’ everyday life. Sub-studies show how personal experience can be grasped though exploring everyday life and grounds for action.

The main findings of the thesis present that spaces for agency are formed through three levels. At first level, places, conditions, and participations shape where and in relation to what agency takes place. Second level opens the formation of spaces, structures, and boundaries for agency within everyday practices and interactions. The third level describes the subject’s experience of the space that takes shape in a particular situation and within certain practices. In this research, the fabric of everyday life sometimes appears as a more porous and permeable structure and sometimes denser. In the middle of the alternation of density, negotiations continue about what to maintain and what to change. This research helps to identify and articulate the dimensions of agency and experience in a complex everyday life and encourages to pay attention to how participations, transitions and material conditions guide human actions.

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