Nordic universities at the crossroads: Societal responsibility, language perceptions, and policies

Maria Kuteeva, Kathrin Kaufhold, Niina Hynninen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter focuses on questions surrounding universities’ societal responsibility in connection to language use, going beyond the national language(s) versus English dichotomy. As a result of university internationalisation and increased migration, both student and faculty populations at Nordic universities have diversified. Nordic universities are currently facing multiple challenges: to maintain academic autonomy and freedom of thought, to protect democratic ideals, to prove the validity of scientific findings, and to conduct most of their activities with the support of digital media. Drawing on findings from recent research conducted in Sweden and Finland and the latest Nordic language policy document (Gregersen et al. 2018), our chapter critically discusses how researchers and students with transnational trajectories perceive their language use. In particular, we consider the role of English vis-à-vis the national language(s) and other languages for purposes of research outreach and widening participation. We argue that there is a mismatch between university policies assuming that societal responsibility concerning language use is largely limited to local national and (to a lesser extent) minority languages, and the translocal experience of university stakeholders who often deal with a range of linguistic resources on a daily basis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage Matters in Higher Education Contexts : Policy and Practice
EditorsBritt-Marie Apelgren, Ann-Marie Eriksson, Susanne Strömberg Jämsvi
Number of pages17
Place of PublicationLeiden
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-50790-6, 978-90-04-50791-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-50792-0
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameCritical issues in the Future of Learning and Teaching
ISSN (Print)2542-8721
ISSN (Electronic)2542-873X

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • social responsibility
  • translocality
  • scientific outreach
  • widening participation
  • 6121 Languages
  • English
  • multilingualism

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