In recent years the relationship between cultural studies and society has been changing fast. Society used to be interested primarily in specialised competences related to languages or specific periods or topics, for instance. But these days the labour market for graduates of the humanities and theology is much broader, with graduates increasingly being expected to join and contribute to cross-disciplinary contexts as well.
The competences required for cultural analysis are in great demand – also in many social and economic contexts – and the focus of cultural studies on mankind as a product of culture and history, as a creator of languages and symbols, and as a communicator of knowledge plays a significant role in an increasing number of increasingly complex contexts. Graduates from the School of Culture and Society already make a major contribution to these contexts, but we must continue to develop our subjects and academic skills so we can help to solve complex social problems in the current political, social and economic context. The school will use this strategy for 2020 to take up this challenge.
Social developments make new demands on cultural studies, but they also offer new opportunities. In terms of research this means that we are now involved in broader research collaboration with other disciplines; with the distinction between basic research and applied research growing smaller, and the links between research and knowledge exchange growing stronger. In terms of education, it means that we need to give the students general analytical and reflective competences anchored in strong expertise, experience of cross-disciplinary cooperation, and a perspective on their qualifications and competences that is focused on useful applications.
The school’s strategy is described below in two general categories entitled “Research” and “Education”. This is because these two categories constitute the focal point of all the school’s activities, representing the central core services to which all our other activities and efforts relate. The categories “Talent” and “Knowledge exchange” are separate sections in the strategies at university and faculty level; but in this school strategy they are embedded in the sections about research and education respectively, with a view to linking specific activities to the concrete academic and managerial contexts in which they are most relevant. In the same way, the school’s strategies for Educational IT and Internationalisation are integrated into the general categories because they are regarded as areas of activity which are designed to support and develop research and education activities respectively. The strategy focuses on the areas of activity to which the department will give special priority in the next seven years. The strategic objectives should be regarded as general indicators of the work of the school; while concrete goals, means and timetables for the development and implementation of individual activities will be identified in the regular plans of action associated with the strategy. In extension of the sections on research and education, which deal primarily with the development and prioritisation of the school’s existing activities, there is a section entitled “Academic development areas”. This section underlines a range of academic areas which the department believes have great potential for the (further) development and intensification of its activities, areas in which strategic priorities over the next seven years can sharpen the school’s profile.
The school is already characterised by a range of effective and respected research and education activities. So the strategic areas of activity originate in (and build on) the school’s existing activities, and should not be regarded in isolation. Behind the strategic objectives as well as the school’s general work, there is a strong wish to ensure: