webpage pictureMatilda Hellman Dr.Soc.Sci, Title of docent
Head of group
Department of Social Research
matilda.hellman [at]
Tel. +358 40 7600713
PhD, Title of Docent, adjunct professor

Matilda Hellman is an internationally recognized sociologist of lifestyles and addictions. Hellman has published extensively and successfully managed and coordinated several international studies. Hellman holds many academic positions of trust and has developed qualitative and quantitative tools for cross-country comparisons.


Pekka Sulkunen
Professor Emeritus
Department for Social Research
pekka.sulkunen [at]
Tel. +358 2941 21738

Professor emeritus Pekka Sulkunen founded the CEACG group in 2011. He has authored several books on social theory, cultural studies, addictions and preventive social policy, including The Saturated Society: Regulating Risk and Lifestyle in Consumer Culture (1st edition Sage 2009; 2nd edition Unigrafia 2016). President of the European Sociological Association 2011-2013.


Anna Alanko, M.Soc.Sci
Department of Social Research
anna.alanko [at]

Alanko is the coordinator of the research group. She defended her doctoral thesis ‘Improving Mental Health Care. Finnish mental health policy rationale in the era of dehospitalisation’ in September 2017. Before she began her PhD research she coordinated Nordic and international research projects related to health policy and the welfare state. Research interests: mental health, health policy, governmentality studies and welfare states.


Michael Egerer, Dr.Soc.Sci
Department of Social Research
michael.egerer [at]
Tel. +358 2941 23919

In his PhD thesis Egerer studied the concept of addiction by considering problem (alcohol) drinking, gambling and eating as case examples. His postdoctoral work has mostly concerned gambling. Having studied the institutional context of framing addiction problems, he has now turned his attention increasingly to the institutional and regulatory framework of gambling.


Anu Katainen, Dr.Soc.Sci
Department of Social Research
anu.h.katainen [at]
Tel. +358 2941 23891

Katainen’s work covers public health and consumption in the intersection of social inequalities, substance use and health promotion efforts. Her doctoral dissertation (2011) concerned the social stratification of smoking behavior, and she has since studied distinctions related to culture and class in adolescents’ meaning-making of alcohol.


Emmi Kauppila, B.Soc.Sci
research assistant
Department of Social Research

Kauppila is involved in the OMA-project, within which she has collected and coded the Finnish data. She has also developed the methodology for the project. Kauppila is finalizing her masters thesis work within this project and continueing her work as a doctoral student in 2018. In the summer of 2017 Kauppila worked as a research assistant in two other project: one concerned success narratives on gambling and the other concerned the media images of the brain disease model of addiction (BDMA). Kauppila has also written about how baby boomers conceptualize alcohol in a life trajectory perspective.


Veera Kankainen, M.Soc.Sci
Department of Social Research
veera.kankainen [at]

Kankainen is a doctoral student and her thesis inquires into the role of civil society organizations as the beneficiaries of the Finnish gambling policy system. Besides civil society and gambling policies, Kankainen’s research interests also include health and welfare policies, governance and power relations, the voluntary sector, and the financing and provision of social services.


Riikka Kotanen, Dr.Soc.Sci
Department of Social Research
riikka.kotanen [at]
Tel. +447377399259 2941 24705

Kotanen’s research interests concern sociology of law, especially legal regulation and control of violence in the private sphere, and the position of the crime victim in Finnish criminal justice policy. Her PhD study analysed the legal revision process of intimate partner violence in Finland, which took place between 1968-2010. Her post-doctoral project (Academy of Finland) examines the prohibition of parental corporal violence in Finland in the early 1980s, the revisions of the legislation as well as the practical consequences of implementing these laws in child protection services. She is currently visiting fellow at the University of Oxford (Centre for Criminology).


Tuulia Lerkkanen, B.Soc.Sci
research assistant
Department of Social Research

Lerkkanen is a master’s student of sociology at the University of Tampere. Her thesis concerns media representations of gambling during the period 1990–2016. In 2018 she is continuing this thematic trait in her doctoral work. Lerkkanen is also part of the PUBFUNC-project. In addition to the public image of gambling and gambling policy, she has studied media representations of asylum seekers, migrants and refugees and published both academic and popular texts on this subject.

Mikaela Lindeman, MSoc.Sci

Lindeman is a political scientist whi has previously worked at the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and at the Nordic Welfare Centre. She has been involved in several international projects on alcohol policy, is currently a researcher in the Online Marketing of Alcohol-project (OMA). The project looks at online marketing and advertising of alcohol in Sweden and in Finland in the light of recent policy changes, asking whether regulation of online advertising is possible and relevant from a public health perspective. Lindeman is funded by the Finnish foundation for alcohol studies.


Virven kuva

Virve Marionneau, Dr.Soc.Sci
Department of Social Research
virve.marionneau [at]

  Virve Marionneau received her PhD in sociology in 2015 with a comparative study on gambling in Finland and France. Her current research focuses on gambling policies and the redistribution of gambling revenues, as well as qualitative and comparative methodologies.


Janne Nikkinen, Dr. theol., Title of Docent
Department of Social Research
janne.nikkinen [at]

Janne Nikkinen obtained his doctorate in theology in 2007, the thesis being “Ideological notions in health care rationing: Case examples from Oregon, New Zealand, and Finland”. His academic interest related to gambling spans a range of issues, from regulatory affairs to prevention of problem gambling. He is also the Principal Investigator of the project “Responsible Investment and the Food Sector – Socio-ethical Reflections” (2016-2018).



Yaira Obstbaum, M.Soc.Sci
Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy
yaira.obstbaum [at]

Obstbaum defended her doctoral thesis in February 2017. The thesis deals with developments in prisoners’ substance abuse problems, new individualized approaches to rehabilitation in Finnish prisons, and overall changes in the institutional division of labor in handling of substance abuse related harm. Research interests: social aspects of substance abuse, substance abuse policies, criminal policies and risk-management implementation.



Jussi Perälä, Dr.Soc.Sci
Department of Social Research
jussi.perala [at]
Tel. +358 2941 24759

Jussi Perälä completed his PhD in sociology in 2011 at the University of Helsinki. Starting 2015 he has worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Social Research in a research project funded by the Kone Foundation. Perälä’s research involves ethnography. At the moment he examines collisions between legislation and an outlaw motorcycle subculture, and particularily dimensions of such clashes that are difficult to perceive clearly from the viewpoint of legislation.


Arto Ruuska, M.Soc.Sci
Department of Social Research
arto.ruuska [at]

Ruuska’s research interests lie in the fields of intellectual history, history of medicine, and social theory. He has published and lectured on topics ranging from Scottish Enlightenment social theory to history of ideas on addiction, and the sociological aspects of criminal economy.


Sanna Rönkä, M.Soc.Sci
Department of Social Research
sanna.ronka [at]
Tel. +358 2941 21795

Rönkä’s doctoral study examines polydrug-related deaths in the context of pharmaceuticalisation. Her approach is multidisciplinary and and it involves both qualitative and quantitative methods. Rönkä has a broad experience in coordinating several expert networks.Her research interests concern also use and harm of other substances and addictive behaviours, and specifically their societal implications.


Riikka Perälä, Dr.Soc.Sci
Coordinator of Development and Advocacy Work
Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention
Ombudsman Activity
riikka.perala [at]

Riikka Perälä’ research interests cover the transformations in the government-civil society relationship in Finland in the beginning of 21st century and the position of the most marginalized citizen groups in these transformations. Her latest publications concerned opioid substitution treatment and ‘housing first’ initiatives in the field of mental health and substance abuse treatment. In her current position, she follows actively the development of national policies and legislation related to substance abuse treatment.

Johan Svensson, Dr.Soc.Sci.
The Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CAN), and Karolinska Institutet (KI).

Johan Svensson has a background in Public Health Science. His research has come to focus especially on two areas; trends in youth alcohol consumption and gambling among youth. He is currently employed as a researcher at The Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CAN) and at Karolinska institutet. Svensson is the principal investigator for the Swedish part of the Online Marketing of Alcohol (OMA) project. The project looks at online marketing and advertising of alcohol in Sweden and in Finland in the light of recent policy changes, asking whether regulation of online advertising is possible and relevant from a public health perspective.