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University Researcher, PhD (Sociology), Title of Docent

Centre for Consumer Society Research
Department of Social Sciences
Unioninkatu 40, (P.O. Box 24)
00014 University of Helsinki
+358 50 574 4869

My interest areas are sociology of health and illness, food sociology, sociology of consumption, Foucault and governmentality-studies, science and technology studies.

My research focuses on the ways knowledge is deployed in the government of life – nature, individuals, groups of people, and societies, mainly in the fields of health and illness and food and eating, and utilizing both contemporary and historical approaches and materials. On the one hand, I have focused on the political struggles around health and well-being, with topics such as the role of the medical profession, chronic disease prevention, alternative dietary regimes, and nutrition guidelines. On the other hand, I have looked at lay notions and practices of health and well-being, with themes such as lay epidemiology of coronary heart disease, everyday cholesterol control and weight management practices. The underlying rationale is that as health and well-being are increasingly connected to personal lifestyles, they have become objects of consumption in our advanced liberal societies.

My current research takes place in the context of following projects:

Governing Health through Risk: Personal health care in the age of biological citizenship looks at the emergence of lifestyle risk as the key concept in contemporary health practices, both on individual and policy level. The empirical context is the prevention of cardiovascular problems in post-WW2 Finland. (Academy of Finland-funding has ended, but the project is still ongoing.)

In the Academy of Finland-funded project Politics and Practices of Sustainable Eating (POPRASUS) I explore emerging alternative ways of organizing the production, distribution and consumption of food. My topics are related to alternative food networks and the integration of sustainability in Finnish nutrition guidelines.

From Experience to Evidence: Contested and emerging knowledges of health and illness (FREE) asks why some health issues are actively promoted (e.g. the health effects of nature stays) and others rather suppressed (e.g. functional disorders) by looking at the practices of evidence production in the respective cases. (Application stage.)

Topics of my previous research include tuberculosis and the emergence of modern public health, insurance technology especially in relation to the notion of risk, and alternative dietary regimes (e.g. LCHF diet).

Past projects:

Academy of Finland-funded project Fatty Foods and Fat Bodies: Diversification of ideals and practices in healthy eating looked at the intersection of discourses and practices related to dietary fat and obesity.

The project Smarter Social Media Analytics, funded by Business Finland, developed novel ways of analysing social media data and combining it with other types of data, with an empirical focus on food and eating.

For my publications, see Selected publications or Helsinki University TUHAT-portal