Matilda Hellman (b. 1974), PhD, Research Director, title of Docent (Adjunct Professor since 2012), Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki.


I am a social scientist and sociologist with a background in literature studies, political science and media & communication. My research concerns mainly lifestyles and addictions, focusing on how idea world setups are embedded in habits, politics and governance. Typically, my projects have concerned norms and ideologies in popular, societal and professional constructs, and patterns of such constructs embedded in welfare state systems and cultures.

I work as Research Director in lead of a large research center, which I was part of establishing in 2011 and which I have developed and strengthened since I was appointed leader in the year 2016. The group is called University of Helsinki Centre for Research on Addiction, Control and Governance (CEACG)

I’ve held the lead in several Nordic, European and international cooperation projects ever since 2005, I led sub studies in two 7th Framework projects between 2007 and 2015 and served as the PI from Finland in two tender-based EU Commission studies between 2014 and 2018. Currently I am the PI of an ERA-NET / ELSA- project about brain-based theories on addiction and how they can be ethically implemented in policies and practice. I serve as a consultant for the World Health Organization and as Editor-in-Chief for the journal Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (NAD)

Leisure, lifestyles, addictions

The focus of my research is the symbolic value-based ecology within which the contemporary humans exaggerate some consumption and behaviors and at the same time adjusts, counteracts and treats them. Some of the biggest ideological tensions in the core of societies of today stem from contradictions in our views on agency. In ongoing work I am showing how agency (capacity, action capability) can be seen as the main principle of governance. This work has partly been conducted as a visiting scholar at Harvard University in 2018-2019.

Please, see also the The University Research Portal for more detailed information on e.g. publications.

Contact Details:
Centre for Research on Addiction, Control and Governance (CEACG)
Faculty of Social Sciences
PL 9 (Siltavuorenpenger 1A)
University of Helsinki
Telephone +358 40 7600713
Mobile: +358 40 7600713

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