People

Inga Jasinskaja-Lahti
Professor of Social Psychology

My main research interests include intergroup relations, racism and discrimination, and the acculturation and adaptation of immigrants. I am an Associate Editor of the Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology and the International Journal of Intercultural Relations. My previous research projects include INPRES, InterProf, and MIRIPS-FI. Currently, I am leading the cross-cultural comparative study on inter-group relations including inter-minority relations in Finland, Estonia and Norway (SINI) and a multimethod, multidisciplinary project on reciprocal, glocal neighbourhood relations (SOPU).

Recent publications and presentations.


Tuuli Anna Renvik
University Lecturer (Open University)

My research interests include ethnic relations, prejudice, discrimination and immigrant adaptation. In the most recent research project (LADA) I have focused on the most pertinent pre- and post-migration factors involved in the long-term adaptation of immigrants from Russia to Finland. I also collaborated with the MIRIPS-FI and SINI projects led by Professor Inga Jasinskaja-Lahti. See my blog here.

Recent publications and presentations.


Katarina Pettersson
University Lecturer (Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki)

My research focuses on political rhetoric, which I mainly approach from critical discourse analytical perspectives. Thematically, my core areas of interest lie in nationalist and radical right-wing political rhetoric, political hate-speech, and political communication and persuasion in the online sphere. Through my research, I examine, for example, how politicians draw upon various social identities (e.g. ethnicity, nationality, gender) in their discourse, and what societal implications this discourse may have. I am also interested in combining discursive and visual analytical approaches in order to methodologically advance social psychological research into the multi-layered (political) communication in the online sphere.

Recent publications and presentations.


Sirkku Varjonen
Postdoctoral researcher

In my doctoral thesis I have analysed immigrant life stories examining how immigrants construct their identities and negotiate their position in the Finnish society. I also collaborated with the INPRES and SINI projects led by Professor Inga Jasinskaja-Lahti. My current research topics focus on the representations of integration in political documents and lay people’s talk and the changing discourses of integration in online discussion forums. Outside academia I have created an Identity Search photography project with photographer Johannes Romppanen. Also this project explores the issue of migration and identities. www.identitysearch.net.


Teemu Pauha
Postdoctoral researcher in Religious Studies and Social Psychology

I am a psychologist and a doctoral candidate in the Study of Religion. In my doctoral thesis, I am conducting a social psychological investigation into the identity construction of young Finnish Muslims. In the focus of my research is the interplay between religious and other social identities, especially national ones. However, I have also studied and published on the issues of apostasy from Islam and moral psychology of Islamic altruism. Besides psychology of religion and Islam, my main academic interests include nationalism, globalisation, cultural studies, as well as methodology and especially quantitative methods in the study of religion.

Recent publications and presentations.


Satu Venäläinen
Postdoctoral researcher

My research focuses on social meaning-making and the construction of gendered and intersectional identities. I have specifically examined discursive and affective dynamics in meaning-making around violence, gender and ethnicity by analyzing individual accounts, media portrayals, online discussions and focus group discussions. I currently work in the research project “Social Inequalities and Discourses of Violence: Current Controversies in Finnish Online Forums and among Welfare State Professionals”, where I have analyzed ways in which ethnicized, racialized and gendered distinctions and identities are constructed in online discussions about gendered violence, and how social and crisis workers make sense of violence, gender and other social distinctions. Theoretically and methodologically I draw upon approaches such as social constructionism, discourse analysis, feminist discursive psychologies, poststructural theory, intersectional theory, and affect theory, with the aim of developing new ways of applying these in qualitative social-psychological research.

Recent publications and presentations.


Florencia Sortheix
Postdoctoral researcher

Florencia is a research fellow at the Swedish School of Social Sciences, Finland and at RECSM, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain. She was awarded the Emil Aaltonen Foundation (Finland) grant to work on the project “The social divide: Examining the gaps in values and well-being among young people” (2019-2020). The study investigates the changes and polarization in subjective well-being (SWB) and personal values of young adults using comprehensive cross-cultural data sets from Europe (European Social Survey), Northern Africa and worldwide. Florencia is also an Adjunct Professor at EADA Business School in Barcelona. I have been working in the FinEdu project on the development of work values and their associations with career outcomes (work engagement, entrepreneurship) funded by the Academy of Finland. I’m also part of the reviewer board for the Journal of Vocational Behavior and Frontiers in Psychology and I have published several articles on the relationships between personal values and well-being from cross-cultural perspective. My research interests include personal and cultural values, well-being, cross-cultural psychology, and career development. I have also thought a course on values and sustainability and I’m developing some collaborations in this topic.

Recent publications and presentations.


Emma Nortio
Doctoral student in Social Psychology

The focus of my research is on perspectives on multiculturalism among majority and immigrant groups. I am interested in the ways multiculturalism is constructed and evaluated among these different groups. Together with PhD Sirkku Varjonen I have collected focus group data among members of the Finnish majority and four immigrant groups in which the participants discuss multiculturalism, cultural diversity and intergroup relations. I will analyse this data from the perspective discursive and rhetorical psychology. Further information on this study can be found here in Finnish.

Recent publications and presentations.


Göksu Celikkol
Doctoral student in Social Psychology

My research focus is on people’s understandings of cultural diversity in everyday life and their strategies in dealing with it. Specifically, I am interested in studying the subjective understandings of cultural diversity in relation to the actual numerical diversity, and their role in determining intergroup relations in neighborhoods and contexts that are culturally diverse to a certain degree. With a special focus given to Finland, I will examine the intergroup relations in contexts with considerable amounts of Russian immigrants in their society (Estonia and Norway), as well as with samples from different age groups (adolescents and adults).

Recent publications and presentations


Stefano Massari
Doctoral student in Social Psychology

My doctoral research focus on European identity and attitudes towards internal and external “Others”. Specifically, I aim to assess the magnitude of the North-South European divide and its role in the forming of a common European identity. I consider the North-South divide as inner boundary affecting the integration of Europe thus, a new dimension of regional identification. I am currently involved in an international research project cooperating with the University of Lisbon and the University of Rome . A series of quantitative and qualitative studies will be conducted in Finland and Italy. The data and findings will be combined with those obtained in five other European countries (i.e., United Kingdom, France, Portugal, Greece and Germany).


Elina Turjanmaa
Doctoral student in Social Psychology

In my doctoral thesis, I study intergenerational relations and integration of 1.5-generation immigrant adolescents. My research interests concern immigrant adolescents, immigrant families, family dynamics, intergenerational relations and integration.

Recent publications and presentations


Viivi Mäkinen
Doctoral student in Social Psychology

In my doctoral research I am aiming to reduce prejudice among adolescents by developing and assessing school interventions that are based on first-person stories of intergroup friendship told by youth who act as a peer models for attitude change. The theoretical background of the research lies in indirect intergroup contact, more precisely in the model of vicarious contact. The purpose of my doctoral research is twofold: On the theoretical level I will contribute to the academic discussion on indirect intergroup contact by defining the preconditions under which vicarious contact works and for whom, as well as by specifying, for example, different socio-cognitive and affective mechanisms of vicarious contact. On the practical level, my research aims to provide a tool for antidiscriminatory education that can be used independently in schools.

Recent publications and presentations


Viivi Eskelinen
Doctoral student in Social Psychology

My doctoral dissertation is devoted to the cross-cultural comparison of the role of religiosity in intergroup relations among national majorities in Finland, Germany, Norway and Australia. These contexts are all characterised as immigration-receiving countries with relatively homogeneous and secularised Protestant Christian populations looking for means to improve an interreligious dialogue with increasing Muslim minority groups. I have also dedicated one study to investigate the religiosity patterns and religious out-group attitudes of recent asylum seekers to Finland.

Recent publications and presentations


Zea Szebeni
Doctoral student in Social Psychology


Karmela Liebkind
Professor Emerita of Social Psychology

My research interests encompass intergroup relations and contact, ethnic identity, racism/xenophobia and acculturation processes. I have studied various immigrant, refugee and other minority members and the attitudes (prejudice) and behaviour (discrimination) of majority members towards these. My research interests also includes finding ways to implement social psychological knowledge of intergroup relations in practice, e.g., in my most recent research project by developing a theory-driven prejudice-reduction intervention for schools (MONNI – Monikulttuurisempi koulu, 2009-2013) and in my present research project by developing this intervention method further (Wise choices, 2015-2018).

Recent publications and presentations.