Kristiina Brunila 

Project leader,  Professor in Education and Social Sciences

I work as a professor (tenured) of social justice and equality in education.

With the CRISP-research group and with the CoSupport-research project we are providing new openings, theorisations and critical analysis of cross-sectoral policies and educational practices related to young people and young adults in the ethos of vulnerability. We combine sociology and politics of education as well as cultural and feminist studies with themes such as neoliberalism, marketisation, the rise of psy-knowledges and therapeutic technologies, (network) governance, social exclusion, societal differences,  and inequalities.

We study societal power relations and agency perspectives in relation to various youth support systems such as educational and training programmes, preparatory and rehabilitation initiatives, outreach youth work, prison education,  and other development activities. One of the most important aims is to break the vicious cycle of individualisation of societal problems revealed in both cross-sectoral policies and practices.

We develop new ways to conduct research together with young people and people who work with them. We combine nomadic, ethnographic and discourse-deconstructive approaches with genealogical, narrative and action research orientations.

I’m personally keen on doing something that is politically relevant, something that makes sense of this world where we live in. I tend to go back to scifi-literature and I like to Foucault myself. I am an old hippie who was born 20 years too late. (See also:


Pinja Fernström, Masters student

I am a masters student in general and adult education. I am writing my masters thesis on wellbeing as a new form of governance.

I am interested in issues of power, marketization and politics. Outside of work I am very active in student organisations. I am also an enthusiast of music and dance.



Juho Honkasilta, PhD

I am an adult pedagogue currently working as a postdoctoral researcher and (special education) teacher trainer in the University of Helsinki, Finland. I have years of working experience with children, adolescents and young adults diagnosed with ADHD and their caretakers as a member of multiprofessional work groups. I locate my research in the intersection of disability studies in education, special education and inclusive education. The thread of my research is to study the burgeoning demand for psychiatric diagnoses, labels and related explanations from socio-cultural viewpoint. My current research focuses on the dynamic ways of mobilizing ADHD diagnosis and label to negotiate for means of recognition, and on discursive construction of social, educational and pedagogical shortcomings as individual traits in education policies and practices.  As a pedagogue for in-service and future educators, I have taken up the challenge to harness the not so commonly paired skills of deconstruction and compassionate interaction in order to move beyond the labels and categories of difference and deviance, and to promote social inclusion.


Elina Ikävalko, PhD

I have researched gender equality politics and equality work for over ten years but my current postdoctoral research is concerning new practices of mental health work from the point of view of precarity and ableism. My research interest also include poststructural methodologies and nomadic research as well as theories about power and subjectification.  I’m into anything art related  – especially literature and visual arts  – and some day I’m hopefully able to combine those with academic research.


Venla Järvensivu, student, research assistant.

I’m an undergraduate studying general and adult education. I’m interested in power relations and issues of racialisation and marginalisation. I’m interested in learning more about postcolonialism and feminist studies. I also teach dance and in my spare time I like to wonder around art museums, galleries and bookshops.



Tuuli Kurki, PhD


I work as a postdoctoral researcher in CoSupport-project. My current research interests include whiteness, racism and (neo-)colonialism in global and local mental health policies and practices with a special interest on mental health services provided for racialized young people. Previously I have examined how integration policies and practices in education gender, racialize and marginalize people involved in them.



Maija Lanas, PhD

I work as a postdoctoral researcher and a lecturer, physically based in the University of Oulu. I am a visiting researcher in CRISP in Helsinki. I am Maijainterested in the implicit exclusionary mechanisms in education. My previous project (FA 2013-2016) focused on the subjectification processes of Finnish student teachers during initial teacher education, and before that I conducted an ethnography in a reindeer herding village, looking into implicit exclusionary discourses in Finnish education (PhD, 2011). I am currently beginning a project in which I analyse the discourse of disturbing behavior in school.

I become excited when I get to discuss with practitioners or with students about research and practice, and I often get to do this when lecturing in various seminars around Finland.



Anniina LeiviskäPhD

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the AGORA for the study of social justice and equality in education -research centre. My research background is in the philosophy of education. My doctoral thesis, which I completed in 2016, addressed the relevance of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics to the philosophy of education. I am currently working on my three-year postdoctoral research project that examines political exclusion and political extremism as challenges for democracy and citizenship education. I am particularly interested in analyzing and comparing the normative conditions of democratic participation inherent in the contemporary theories of democracy and examining the significance of these conditions for the theory and practice of citizenship education.



Ameera Masoud, PhD student

As a PhD researcher I am interested in researching how discourses Ameerain policies as well as educational practices have the power to influence and shape identities especially concerning vulnerable groups, e.g. migrants and refugees.

I like to be critical, as I believe using a critical approach allows us to find out the direction that politics and power is transforming the society. Change needs critique, and critique brings out awareness.

Currently, through my PhD research I am analyzing how identities of young migrants are being shaped by the Finnish integration policy and practices. Also, how young migrants are governed by the neoliberal logic. I hope that my research will help achieve social justice through integration programs, and contribute to reduced inequalities.



Katariina Mertanen, PhD student


I am a PhD researcher. My research is about young adults considered to be ‘at risk’ of social exclusion. Especially I focus on policies and practices that are targeted to enhance young people’s integration ‘back’ to society. When I am not working I spend my time with my giant schnauzer, playing Ingress and MTG, and ranting online about feminism and social justice.



Kalle Mäkelä, PhD student

I am a PhD researcher. The preliminary topic of my research is Kalle“Governing young people through neoliberal management – A Genealogy of vulnerability of young people in Finland”. I’m interested in sociology and especially its critical branches of thinking. I have a sociological background from my previous studies in Social Sciences. Also philosophy and critical social anthropology are close to my heart. I like to read Foucault, Deleuze, Marx and Nietzsche as well as postcolonial and feminist literature. I do acupuncture and joint/muscle fixing and berry picking and wondering in the forest with my family.


Katariina Tiainen PhD student

I’m a PhD researcher working with my doctoral study which is a part of AGORA research center for the study of social justice and equality in education. My main research interests are in the critical philosophies of education, recent Critical Social Theory, and political sociology of education.

 My study explores democratic education from the standpoint of the philosophy of Critical Pedagogy. A special focus is on ethical and political commitments underlying Critical Pedagogy, dialectics as theory of subject’s consciousness, and world of structure, and power, the notions of radical democracy, and political injustice. I also scrutiny contemporary feminist-political epistemologies, theories of justice, and democracy and how these may contribute to Critical Pedagogy as democratic education. The youth´s political engagement, and differing forms of democratic participation are issues of my interest.  I’m concerned about public discourses articulated as a “crisis of democracy” or “crisis of the political” and how the neoliberal de-politized culture produces consequences on subjectivities and for the construing of democratic citizenship.