Two new IMAGES dissertation

Michael Egerer defended his dissertation Institutional footprints in the addiction image: A focus-group study with Finnish and French general practitioners and social workers from University of Helsinki  12th of September 2014. Opponent was Geoffrey Hunt.

Tanja Hirschovits-Gerz at Tampere University is defending her dissertation”Suomalaisten riippuvuuksia koskevat mielikuvat” [Finnish people’s images of addiction]  on September the 6th. Opponent was Pekka Hakkarainen, THL.

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Pekka Sulkunen received Academy grant funding

Professor Pekka Sulkunen has been granted 600 000 euro from the Academy of Finland for a comparative research project that focuses on the use of public funds collected from gambling activities. The project will compare different systems, justification discourses and the negative social implications of gambling.
Research will be carried out in five European countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, France and Italy.

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Invitation for Contributions: Addiction – What Is The Added Value Of The Concept Today?

This is an invitation for contributions for a thematic issue on Addiction: What Is The Added Value Of The Concept Today? based on the thematic meeting of the Kettil Bruun Society organized at Majvik, Finland, in October 2012 by the University of Helsinki Colloquium of Advanced Studies and the Centre for Research on Addiction, Control and Governance (CEACG). The issue will be published in the International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research, a journal published on behalf of the Kettil Bruun Society.

We welcome contributions from both the participants of the meeting and others, discussing the ways in which addiction can be understood in view of the knowledge available. What does the concept of addiction contribute with? Why is it useful or insufficient? We are looking for critical and careful analysis of evidence, reflection on the moral and practical implications of the concept in different contexts, and the way forward needed to be given to a proper and free space of interchange between different points of view. For more information about the background of the conference, please view

All manuscripts will be peer-reviewed; their publication relies on their quality and relevance. Articles should be no longer than 3000 words, exclusive of references, tables and figures. Manuscripts exceeding this word limit should make a convincing case for an article to be longer, and be approved by the editorial team. Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words.

The timetable is as follows:

Abstract submission by15th of March 2013 to

Manuscript submission: by15th of August 2013.

Guest editors:

Anita Borch, National Institute for Consumer Research (SIFO), Norway

Varpu Rantala, Centre for Research on Addiction, Control and Governance (CEACG), Finland

Grants for CEACG researchers

CEACG-researchers Arto Ruuska and Michael Egerer have received scholarships from  the Finnish Foundation for Alcohol Studies.

M.Soc.Sci. Arto Ruuska received a grant for his post-doc work
“From dietetic prudence to clinical and social studies of alcohol misuse: Alcohol-related phenomena in European medical thought, c. 1790–1851”

M. Soc. Sc. Michael Egerer received funding from the Gambling Studies fund for the project
“Problem gambling: Explaining, assigning responsibility and harm. General practitioners’ and social workers’ perspective”

Call for abstracts: Club Health San Francisco 2013

Call for abstracts: closing date 11 January 2013

The 8th International Conference on Nightlife, Substance Use and Related Health Issues

May 28-30, 2013, San Francisco

Do you have research, policy initiatives or practical experience that can show others from around the world how to make promote and protect health in nightlife environments? If so, please submit an abstract. To submit an abstract, register to attend and find out more, please visit:<>

Club Health San Francisco 2013 is organized by the Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University, UK in partnership with DanceSafe, Drug Policy Alliance, San Francisco Department of Public Health, Better World Advertising, California Music and Culture Association and the San Francisco Entertainment Commission.

Anna Petran — CEACG:s guest researcher autumn 2012

Anna Petran, a junior research fellow at the Gender Initiativkolleg (GIK) Gender, Violence and Agency in the Era of Globalization (University of  Vienna, Austria), visited the CEACG for a 3 month period during this autumn.

In her doctoral dissertation Petran examines the phenomenon of binge drinking as a body based adolescent self-practice at the turn of the twentieth century. The background of her research is the medial and political discussion about the drinking behavior of German teenagers:

“In 2007 a 16-years-old student died after consuming 45 shots of Tequila and accusations of who was to blame for the excessive drinking of German teenagers started to appear in media and political speech”, explains Petran.

Petran wants to make sociological inquiries into the ways in which contemporary health discourses in the public discussion can be seen in this context: “What really interests me is how we can discern a changed societal perception of bodily practices”, she explains. According to Petran a paradox is that the new social relevance of the body and its management seems to stimulate the teenager’s drinking practices, too.

“The first results of my fieldwork with excessively drinking teenagers point out that boys and girls practice binge drinking as a bodily performance of power and autonomy as well as a form of an emotional self-management. With a special focus on gender my particular interest applies this, apparently paradox and societal undesirable, relation between an overall body discourse and one concrete practice. For sociology, the study of binge drinking promises enlightening views on present practices of collectivization and individualization of young people.”

How, then, did you find working at the UofH, and CEACG?

Joining the CEACG was a very special experience for me. By working with international specialists in a very welcoming and friendly environment I got a deep insight in my research field and learned a lot beside my original academic context. I appreciate very much the inspiring working atmosphere, the high academic standard and the infrastructure at the University of Helsinki.”

Petran adds that she enjoyed Helsinki as a modern and clean city with pleasant people.

“Thanks to the great housing opportunities the University provides for international researchers I could enjoy life in the heart of the city. On long walks at the weekends I explored Helsinki’s natural environment and get the pleasure of a Finnish autumn which, in my point of view, is most beautiful.”

We wish Anna good luck with her very interesting work and hope she will stay in touch with the CEACG.

Majvik meeting: Will there ever be a unified concept of addiction?

The CEACGarranged the conference “Addiction: What’s the added value of the concept today?” in Majvik, Finland, October 15th-17th 2012. The meeting gathered researchers from different disciplines and traditions in order to discuss the ways in which the phenomenon can be understood in view of the knowledge available. What does the concept of addiction contribute with? Why is it useful or insufficient?

Throughout the conference the discussion was lively and many different aspects were pondered.  Historical, popular, philosophical, sociological, political, neurobiological and cultural aspects of the phenomenon were mixed in the program sessions so that the different perspectives would be represented throughout the discussions. The meeting programme can be viewed here.

Gene Heyman (picture below) held one of the introductory keynote speeches, in which he pointed out what is known about choice in addictive behaviour and about making decisions to quit. How does the disease model’s use of the concept fit with this knowledge? View Heyman’s power point presentation here.










Philosophical discussions on the concept touched upon similar aspects. Finnish philosopher Susanne Uusitalo (pictured below) pointed out the importance of a moral accountability model in the context of recovery.










What is the limitation of neuroscientific knowledge of addiction processes, and which type of contributions does brain research offer the field of addiction research and practice? This question was critically discussed both by neuroscientist Esa Korpi and professor Harold Kalant. See the latter presentation here.

For people interested in the papers and presentations from the meeting, they are available in a password protected area of this web page. Please, contact Matilda Hellman ( in case you are interested in viewing them.

The meeting was a thematic meeting of the Kettil Bruun Society. These meetings are small parallel tracks to the yearly conference event, typically initiated by society members. The meeting was sponsored by the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, The Federation of Finnish Learned Societies, the Finnish Foundation for Alcohol Studies and Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues (Alcohol and drug research unit)

The participants of the conference are planning a thematic publication (thematic journal issue) on the basis of the presentations and papers of the meeting.