Working groups in english

1. Activist Research in Practice: Challenges and Strategies in Politically Engaged Research

Coordinators: Leonardo Custódio, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR), University of Tampere. Project Co-coordinator, Anti-Racism Media Activist Alliance (ARMA), Kone Foundation (2018-2020).

The objective of this working group is to discuss challenges that arise during politically engaged research and strategies to overcome them. According to Hale (2001), activist research (a) helps us better understand causes of sociopolitical problems, (b) includes cooperation between the ‘researcher’ and the ‘researched’ throughout the research process, and (c) formulates strategies to achieve collective power for change. Different scholars have written about the ethical, methodological and theoretical characteristics and challenges of politically engaged research (Becker, 1967; Hale, 2008; Collins, 2013; Suoranta & Ryynänen, 2014). In this working group, participants from different disciplines, nationalities, ethnicities and career stages are encouraged to reflect on their own practical experiences dealing with the challenges that arise from the research processes. Another objective of this working group is to promote interdisciplinary dialogue and promote networks for cooperation around activist research in Finland. The presentations will reflect on different aspects of activist research, such as researcher-researched power relations, methodological dilemmas balancing science and activism as well as the importance of positionality and scientific rigor in activist research. The working group welcomes proposals by MA students, PhD candidates and established scholars. All presentations and discussions will be in English.

2. Ignorance in Circulation

Coordinators: Jaana Parviainen, Tampereen yliopisto, Yhteiskuntatieteiden tiedekunta, sähköposti: jaana.parviainen (at) & Lauri Lahikainen, Tampereen yliopisto, Yhteiskuntatieteiden tiedekunta, sähköposti: Lauri Lahikainen (at)

The last few years have seen significant growth in the social scientific study of ignorance. Brexit and the Trump presidency have been the most obvious talking points. The concepts of “post-truth era” and “post-fact world” have been widely used to discuss and identify the dynamics of the contemporary information society. Many researchers consider these concepts hopelessly vague or misleading, but the phenomenon itself requires social scientific investigation and philosophical analysis. We believe that better conceptual tools and empirical research frameworks are needed in order to identify and explain different cycles, circulations and structures of ignorance in our societies.

We invite theoretical, empirical and methodological presentations dealing with the social significance of ignorance, non-knowledge and disinformation. Presentations can be, for example, in the fields of ignorance studies, agnotology, social epistemology, sociology of knowledge, organizational studies, science studies or media studies. We welcome papers that deal with manufactured ignorance and disinformation, the connections between ignorance and relations of power, epistemic injustice and epistemic violence, the circulation of “fake news”, organizational ignorance and forgetfulness, strategic ignorance, negative expertise, group delusion, uncertainty, or studies of mistakes and errors. What kinds of tensions or pressures do ignorance and non-knowledge exert on expert institutions? What kinds of risks and interests are at play when ignorance and disinformation are produced and passed on to socially disadvantaged groups? How does ignorance circulate in the social space? How does ignorance shape subjects and spaces when it circulates from one group to another and how does ignorance itself change in this process? What kinds of positive opportunities do non-knowledge and uncertainty provide? Can ignorance sometimes be good?

Presentations can be in English or in Finnish.

3. Inequalities in professions and potential professions: Gender, ethnicity and age

Koordinaattorit: Marta Choroszewicz, University of Eastern Finland,, Jaana Vuori, University of Eastern Finland,

With the increasing entry of women and young professionals into professions and occupations as well as mobility of people, the workforce is becoming more and more diverse. Yet, these professionals enter professions that are still structured around traditional gender norms of masculinity and femininity. These professionals face also new challenges with regard to professional skills and attributes, work-life balance and career opportunities. Digital technologies puts additional pressures on how contemporary professionals work, acquire competence and enhance their professional status in increasingly precarious labour market. Prerequisites for successful retention in the professions rest upon professionals’ capabilities to live up to particular ideals of what it means to be professionally suitable. These rest on the assumptions around gender, age and ethnicity, which impede social integration within professions and potential professions. Yet, gender, age and ethnicity can also function as sources of capital that differentiate workers’ and professionals’ career prospects, lives, agencies and coping strategies.

We welcome theoretical and empirical papers in both Finnish and English that may address but are not restricted to the following issues:

challenges and barriers that professionals encounter when unfolding their careers and combing professional and personal lives

hybradised practices and strategies that professionals develop and deploy throughout their lives and career stages

changes ongoing in professions with regard to nature, context and organisation of the professional work

professionalization processes in potential professions

emergence of new hierarchies, norms and standards

new ways of governance and management in professions

the impact of technological advances on professional work and professionals

shifting gender and ethnic identities among and between different generations of professionals

4. Juhlien kierto, tuotanto ja kulutus / Circulation, consumption and production of celebration

Coordinators: Ismo Kantola <ikantola@utu. fi>, sosiologian dosentti, Turun yliopisto, Satu Soukka <>, sosiologian tohtorikulutettava, Turun yliopisto

One can approach celebration not only as consumption but from the point of view of its production as well; in its own right or as a means to sociality, spiritual or physical recreation, or even as a means for making economic profit. The working group of Sociology of Celebration was established in 2003 Helsinki Sosiologipäivät. As always thus far, the group welcomes theoretical as well as empirical presentations about or related to any kind of celebration: solemn feasts, clubbing, partying, having fun, etc. How to study a feast or celebration? Celebration as a problem or a source of empowerment? Does the changing symbolism of celebration pose a challenge to the social functionality of celebration? You are warmly welcome to present and discuss issues like these and much more.

The working languages are: Finnish, Swedish and English.

5. Sociology of Migration

Coordinators: Lena Näre, Helsingin yliopisto ( & Miika Tervonen, Siirtolaisuusinstituutti(

Increased migration and mobility between different countries and continents is one of the most visible features of globalization. Migration connects to global inequalities, affects societal structures and induces social change both in the sending and receiving regions. Growing attempts to selectively control migration produce new forms of govermentality, nationalism, racialisation and societal divisions. Meanwhile, the growing diversity migrants with ‘in-between’ statuses challenges ideals of universal welfare provision and the state’s ‘embrace’ of populations.

While migration is still often perceived as something ‘new’, it has already profoundly changed Finnish society, and a growing number of Nordics are already living in postmigration realities. Increased mobility creates transnational ties, multilocalities, as well as new forms of conviviality and social struggles. in societies that continue to perceive themselves through a prism of homogeneity and normative whiteness, second- and third-generation migrants face questions related to identity, voice and mobilization.

Migration research is by nature multidisciplinary, but mobility and migration can also be studied from a sociological perspective. Sociological research designs and theories contribute significantly to migration research by taking into account issues of power and dynamics between structure and agency. Issues which sociological research can tackle include participation of migrants into labour markets, civil society and politics; integration into the new society; mechanisms of inequality; discrimination and politics of migration management and multicultural policies. Migration as a phenomenon also highlights the challenge of methodological nationalism for sociological concepts, theories and methods that traditionally stem from the context of the nation state, and which have often been developed to match the needs of a particular nation state.

This workshop asks what sociological migration research is like, and explores current research on the subject in Finland. We welcome presentations that present on-going empirical research, analyse methodological issues in migration research and/or approach the subject from a theoretical angle. Presentations can be given either in Finnish or English.

6. Science, technology and society

Coordinator: Heta Tarkkala (University of Eastern Finland/University of Helsinki (

Science and Technology Studies (STS) is an interdisciplinary field of study that examines the interaction between society, science, and technology. STS pays attention to how different fields, such as law, politics, and everyday life, become intertwined with science and technology. This is relevant when thinking about heatedly debated topics as diverse as climate change, the role of experts, medicine, genetics, gender, robotics or organic food. The field calls for a deeper understanding of the development, processes, practices and outcomes of such social phenomena. STS explores the mechanisms behind knowledge claims and ontological assumptions that guide our everyday. Or, how a prominent STS scholar, Steve Woolgar, has said: look at how the world defined by science and technology “could be otherwise”.

STS-Helsinki calls for theoretical, methodological and empirical papers on current research in social studies of science. Papers both in Finnish and English are welcome. The aim of this working group is to offer a forum to discuss the practices that contribute to the shaping of technoscientific objects and subjects. How is scientific knowledge established and negotiated, and how historical processes contribute to the development of certain technologies? We also welcome papers discussing the specific topic of circulations. This working group is defined as a meeting point for both Finnish and international scholars to share and discuss their work with others studying science, technology and society.

7. Sociology and the Wild

Coordinators: Kaisa Kuurne (University of Eastern Finland, and Elina Paju (University of Helsinki,

Sociological scrutiny often includes wild aspects, such as volatile life events, biological or instinctual drives, affects and subconscious processes, collective myths and archetypes. In many cases, this relates to the wildness as an aspect of life itself. Wildness is not solely a human or animate attribute: technologies may also produce wild effects. Wild is something that is almost impossible to grasp via analytical categories. It is fluid and constantly changing, instable and intense to the extent of volatility that is hard to predict.

Conventional sociological categories are too stable to deal with the aspects of wildness and the associated life processes. Instead, they sociology typically chooses to focus on conscious action and social structures. This is reflected both in theoretical discussions and methodological applications, even if we also see promising new developments seeking to explore various relations and movements in life, materials, technologies, nonhumans etc.

The working group examines ways in which sociological inquiry could relate to the wild as an unstoppable cyclical process in which things are born, grown, transforming, disintegrating and eventually also, dying. The working group invites empirical, theoretical and methodological papers examining social scientific ways to analyze and interpret various aspects of life and the wild that are are not easily domesticated or fit into sociological categories.

We welcome proposals, for example, on lived experiences, affects, bodily, biological, material, technological and nonhuman aspects and processes, the subconscious and the transcendental, be it relations with the departed or spiritual beings. Also, methodological contributions on how to study the wild without taming it into fixed categorizations are warmly welcome. We value both efforts to understand wild phenomena developing sociological perspectives, as well as, interdisciplinary viewpoints that lend hand in understanding life as a force that has cycles and a logic of its own.

The working group first invites short abstracts (in English), and later longer abstracts (2-3 pages) to be circulated among the group members to support a deeper conversation on the topic.

8. Sosiaalinen eriarvoisuus / Social inequality

Coordinators: Elina Kilpi-Jakonen (, Mikko Niemelä (, Jani Erola (, Turun yliopisto

The working group focuses on quantitative research examining social inequality. By social inequality we mean any form of social stratification that creates systematic inequality between different social groups. The research may relate to education (including educational choices, highest educational attainment, adult education), labour markets (including social class, earnings, unemployment, quality of work) or another form of inequality (for example home ownership, teenage parenthood, homogamy). The social groups researched may be based on social origin, education, gender, migrant status, ethnicity or marital status, for example. The working group invites presentations that examine the intergenerational transmission of inequality or how inequality accumulates over the life course, as well as presentations that aim to explain differences between groups. Cross-nationally comparative and longitudinal studies that examine the influence of social structures and institutions (such as the tax-benefit system and public services) on inequality are also welcome.

9. The virtuous and vicious circles of social and institutional trust

Coordinators: professor (ma.) Elina Kestilä-Kekkonen, Filosofian, poliittisen historian ja valtio-opin laitos, Turun yliopisto email:, Antti Kouvo, Itä-Suomen yliopisto, email:

Trust is one of the most debated topics in the current public discussion. In these discussions, different expressions of political populism and extremism in western democracies, financial crises, new and old forms of social inequalities as well as increased international mobility, for example, are feared to present a challenge for the trust in other people and public institutions. It thus seems that there is a growing demand for the rigorous social scientific research on the topic.

Social (generalized) trust can be understood as trust in previously unknown fellow citizens. Institutional trust, on the other hand, focuses on actors and institutions such as politicians, officials and organizations. The debate around the question why some people participate in politics and others do not, has increased over the decades. At the same time there has been a concern about the erosion of social trust in western democracies and its’ possible consequences to the political system. On the other hand, it is argued that interpersonal trust requires societal and political institutions providing a fair and efficient environment where trusting or civicness will be rewarded and not exploited.

The traditional workshop warmly welcomes theoretical studies on the concept of social, political and institutional trust, as well as empirical papers applying different methodological techniques. Presentations may approach trust either as a source or an outcome of explanation. Approaches concentrating on the various expressions and trends of (declining or balanced) trust either at the micro- or the macro-level are also encouraged.

The language of the workshop is English.

10. Transnational families in circulation

Coordinators: Laura Assmuth, UEF ( and Saara Pellander, University of Helsinki (

Transnational families are shaped by various dynamics of relatedness and belonging. Yet, transnational family lives are not only shaped by possibilities for mobility, support and networks, but also by factors that limit these possibilities. We find unequal access to different means of support, and state policies only recognize certain intimate relations and value some ways of transnational intimacies over others.

We draw attention to the element of separation that is linked to the circulation of care and affection. Children in particular are dependent on the relational support that is available to them when they might be facing longer periods of separation. Connected to this are transnational parenting practices and the ways in which parental care is shaped by and adapting to separation. Care, affect, and a sense of belonging circulate among different family members, also in families without children, and across generations.

The ways in which separation, care and affection are shaped in transnational family settings are tied to inequalities among family members, as well as welfare, migration and integration policies that have different effects on different intimate relations. The entire notion of “family life” is a politicized one and can exclude certain care relations that are not defined as family life by the state authorities in question.

We invite papers that deal with transnational families and the ways in which the circulation of care, intimacy, affect and family life is regulated, discussed or becomes a lived reality. We invite conceptual, empirical and theoretical analyses on the institutional/legal framework that hinders or promotes mobility and care across borders; on the lived realities of different family and care constellations in transnational settings; and on the strategies and/or coping mechanisms that family members employ.

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