Category Archives: Yleinen

Call for papers, NSA 2024: Behind the scenes of digital public services

Call for papers for Nordic Sociological Association 2024 conference “Sociology in a digital world” in Norrköping, 14-16 of August (see:

Please consider sending your abstract to our session:

Behind the scenes of digital public services

Session chair(s):
Frida Alizadeh-Westerling, University of Helsinki, Finland

Karoliina Snell, University of Helsinki, Finland

Heta Tarkkala, University of Helsinki, Finland

Digitalisation is often presented as an easy solution to combatting growing costs of public services. Digitalised public services are associated with smooth service provision regardless of time and place, possibilities to automate decision-making and new types of predictive services. However, sociological research has pointed out how careless implementation of digital services might cause novel forms of powerlessness, discrimination, or inequality. While it is important to understand customer experiences and consequences of digitalisation for citizens, in this session we approach digitalised public services from another angle. We are interested in how and why are these services designed, constructed, and implemented? What kind of visions of services, citizens and society drive digitalisation? How are work tasks and organisational responsibilities changing in public services and what new types of digital and data work emerge? What kind of ideology or digital design is embedded in digital systems?

We invite contributions that discuss what precede or takes place behind digitalised services and systems. For example: what kind of visions or digital design principles they are based on, what kind of work is required to keep them functioning, or what kinds of new practices or roles they give rise to? This could mean examining hidden labour, design patterns or identifying clever workarounds and fixes in everyday work. It could also be an analysis of organizational implementation of certain visions related to outcomes of new, digitalised technologies and datafication. We welcome wide variety of conceptual and theoretical choices, discussing empirical cases based on digital public sector.



Technicalities concerning submission:

“A submission of an abstract must be in the form of a document (Word or PDF) that you upload in the submission system, and the document must contain the title of your presentation, the abstract text (max 500 words, including would-be references), your name, your email, and your affiliation. One abstract may be submitted per person: NSA2024 allows for maximum one presentation per person, but a presentation/paper may of course have co-authors.”

STS Helsinki seminar 4.5. with Venla Oikkonen

Our spring seminar series continues with Venla Oikkonen on Thursday 4.5.! Join us for the seminar at Unioninkatu 35, room 113, at 14:15–15:45, or via Zoom:

Anticipating adverse effects: Living with pharmaceuticals in chronic illness

In this presentation, I explore the concept of adverse effect in the context of hormonal pharmaceuticals used in the treatment of endometriosis. Endometriosis is a chronic illness in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows elsewhere in the body, causing inflammation and pain. As an estrogen-dependent illness, endometriosis is treated today primarily with hormonal products such as oral contraceptives and hormonal IUDs. Drawing on interviews with people diagnosed with endometriosis, I examine how concerns about potential adverse effects structure expectations of and personal decisions about treatment. The case sheds light on how uncertainties concerning pharmaceuticals’ effects are conceptualized and assessed among their actual users. Approaching anticipation of adverse effects as affective work, I analyze how unknown future outcomes of medications are negotiated in relation to the temporality of chronic illness as well as embodied memories of past adverse effects. I also examine the affectively charged temporality of adverse effects, especially the perceived distinction between a temporary, reversible effect and a permanent, irreversible outcome.

Venla Oikkonen is an Academy Research Fellow and Associate Professor at Tampere University. She is the author of two books, Population Genetics and Belonging (Palgrave Macmillan 2018) and Gender, Sexuality and Reproduction in Evolutionary Narratives (Routledge 2013) as well as a number of articles on genetic ancestry testing, affect, epidemics and immunity, and gender and sexuality in popular science. She leads an Academy of Finland and Kone Foundation funded project Gendered Chronic Disease, Embodied Differences and Biomedical Knowledge (GenDis).

Call for papers: Collaboration as Social Practice

Collaborative Research Environments and Engagements Across Disciplinary and Institutional Divides

Science Studies Symposium 2022, Helsinki, June 9-10, organized by the Finnish Society for Science and Technology Studies (FSSTS)

See the symposium website:

The necessity of interdisciplinary research collaboration and partnering across professional and institutional divides is mainstream discourse in today’s academic culture. Funders are keen to support collaboration for innovative results and effective scientific and technological solutions that match the complexity of societal problems. Below this general desire for interdisciplinarity, the aspects, benefits, and problems of actuating collaboration across disciplinary and institutional divides are a matter of situated practices, conventions, and tacit understandings of how collaboration can be made to work – if it can be made to work.

Are these engagements and collaborations delivering what they promise? What are the promises? How do we collaborate? What triumphs, difficulties and challenges are typical to these arrangements in practice?


· Petri Ylikoski, University of Helsinki

· Nicholette Priaulx and Martin Weinel, Cardiff University

· Salla Sariola, University of Helsinki

· Antti Silvast, Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

The 2022 FSSTS symposium invites both track proposals for panel sessions and individual presentation proposals:

1. Track proposals

· Should broadly relate to the CFP themes. The deadline for track proposals (300-450 words) is February 15, 2022. Send your proposal to

2. Individual presentations

· We invite individual presentations (10-15 minutes) relating to the CFP themes – presentations can be A) topically independent, or B) they can be directed to the suggested tracks. Please submit an abstract of max 250 words to The deadline for these submissions is April 1, 2022.

Suggested tracks include thematic considerations, methodological reflections on collaboration, the promise of transdisciplinary approaches, the role of affects and affective labor in research collaboration, gender features in collaborative context, collaboration and societal impact, research ethics in collaboration, and collaboration stories

CFP: Annual Conference of The Westermarck Society 2022

STS Helsinki will host the working group ‘Science, technology and society’ at The Annual Conference of The Westermarck Society 2022 in Jyväskylä 24–25 March 2021. The theme of the 2022 conference will be “Democracy!”. Keynote speakers include Chris Bail, Mischa Gabowitsch, and Minna Ruckenstein.

The conference will be organised in-person at the University of Jyväskylä. The conference will be moved online if the pandemic situation so demands.

Science, technology and society working group

Science and Technology Studies (STS) is an interdisciplinary field of study that examines the interaction between society, science, and technology. STS pays attention to how different fields, such as law, politics, and everyday life, become intertwined with science and technology. This is relevant when thinking about heatedly debated topics as diverse as climate change, the role of experts, medicine, genetics, gender, robotics or organic food. The field calls for a deeper understanding of the development, processes, practices and outcomes of such social phenomena. STS explores the mechanisms behind knowledge claims and ontological assumptions that guide our everyday. Or, as is often said: STS looks at how the world defined by science and technology could be otherwise.

STS Helsinki calls for theoretical, methodological and empirical papers on current research in social studies of science. Papers both in Finnish and English are welcome. The aim of this working group is to offer a forum to discuss the practices that contribute to the shaping of technoscientific objects and subjects. How is scientific knowledge established and negotiated, and how do historical processes contribute to the development of certain technologies? We especially welcome papers that reflect on the role and state of democracy in the field of STS. This working group is defined as a meeting point for both Finnish and international scholars to share and discuss their work with others studying science, technology and society.

Please apply to the working group by sending your abstract to the working group co-ordinators. The deadline is Friday 28th of January 2022. The maximum length of abstracts is 300 words and they should be in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format.

Santeri Räisänen, University of Helsinki,
Heta Tarkkala, University of Helsinki,
Susanna Vase, University of Helsinki,

For more information about the conference, please go to:





During the past few years, more and more areas of life have been permeated by the idea that digitalization, data and artificial intelligence will provide efficacy, services and new possibilities for both societies and their citizens. This can be seen for example in banking, transportation and health care. At the same time, around the globe, dozens of policies and strategies regarding the development of artificial intelligence have been published. Science and Technology Studies (STS) scholars have paid attention to the processes and developments related to AI and related technologies and practices becoming increasingly ubiquitous in society. For STS this provides a unique opportunity to study and understand social and technological change as well as changes in the ways knowledge is produced.


This workshop invites presentations which examine AI and/or digitalized society, and their consequences in everyday life. Possible presentation topics may include, but is not limited to:


  • AI/digitalization and governance
  • Algorithmic culture
  • AI/Digitalization and privacy/surveillance
  • AI/Digitalization in different professions such as healthcare, law, and transportation
  • The design of AI systems and building of algorithms and machine learning models
  • AI at home
  • Restructuring of activities for the application of AI, for example in a workplace
  • The role of AI/digitalization in organizational change
  • Implications of AI/digitalization in knowledge production
  • Methodological approaches to study AI, data and digitalization

We invite contributions from researchers at all stages of the academic career, but we particularly encourage early career researchers to submit abstracts. Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words.


Keynote speakers:


Florian Jaton – STS Lab, University of Lausanne

Nanna Bonde Thylstrup – Department of Management, Society and Communication, Copenhagen Business School


Abstract submission deadline is January 21, 2022.  Abstracts should be submitted to

For further information please contact Aaro Tupasela ( or Heta Tarkkala (

STS Helsinki seminar series 9.12.: Antti Silvast & Mikko J. Virtanen On Theory–Methods Packages in Science and Technology Studies

The STS Helsinki seminar series returns on Thursday 9.12. at 14:15 with a talk by Antti Silvast & Mikko J. Virtanen. The event will be held on Zoom:

Meeting ID: 651 8184 0469

Passcode: 709680.


On Theory–Methods Packages in Science and Technology Studies

Antti Silvast (Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Mikko J. Virtanen (University of Helsinki)

Our presentation draws on a series of published scholarship (Silvast & Virtanen, 2019; 2021; Virtanen & Silvast, 2020) that has contributed to the long-standing and vibrant discussion in Science and Technology Studies (STS) on methods, methodologies, and theory–method relationships. We aim to improve the reflexivity of research by unpacking the often implicit assumptions that imbue research conduct and by offering practical tools through which STS researchers can recognize their research designs and think through them in a new way. To achieve these aims, we analyze different compositions of theories, methods, and empirics in three different STS approaches—actor–network theory, the biography of artifacts and practices, and ethnomethodology—by employing the concept of a theory–methods package (TMP). A selection of theoretical cornerstone texts and case studies in infrastructure research from each tradition serves as our material. Our findings point, first, to differences between the TMPs of the reviewed approaches and to the internal diversity of theory–method relationships in each approach. Second, we found some intriguing similarities between the approaches and discuss potential complementarities of their theory–method fits. The presentation concludes by presenting our own research design and its TMP: specifically, a multi-sited ethnography of the energy infrastructure, including the enactment of its risk management and markets in regulatory policy, specialized control rooms, and everyday life in households.


Silvast, A., & Virtanen, M. J. (2019). An assemblage of framings and tamings: multi-sited analysis of infrastructures as a methodology. Journal of Cultural Economy, 12(6), 461-477.

Silvast, A., & Virtanen, M. J. (2021). On Theory–Methods Packages in Science and Technology Studies. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 01622439211040241.

Virtanen, M. J., & Silvast, A. (2020). Monipaikkainen kehystymistutkimus. Sosiologia, 57(2), 183–202.


Antti Silvast is starting in December 2021 as an Associate Professor at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), DTU Management, Department of Technology, Management and Economics. He is a Sociologist examining energy infrastructure, most recently smart systems, methodology, and energy modelling. He is an editor of Science & Technology Studies, the official journal of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) and an author of 24 peer-reviewed articles, 10 book chapters, and 2 scientific monographs (including with Routledge). Prior to his appointment at DTU, he held postdoctoral positions at Princeton University (Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies), University of Edinburgh (Science, Technology and Innovation Studies), Durham University (Department of Anthropology), and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture). He received his PhD from the University of Helsinki (Sociology, 2013).

Mikko J. Virtanen is a versatile sociologist with theoretical orientation. He holds a title of docent of sociology and works currently as a university lecturer in the discipline at the University of Helsinki. He is also the principal investigator of the CLIMAKEDO research project. Mikko is interested in both general issues of social theory, social science methodology and qualitative research methods and topical phenomena related to health and ethics, environment and climate, and science and technology. In his recent work on infrastructures of HPV vaccination, energy transportation and climate knowledge, Mikko combines his theoretical scholarship and accurate multi-sited research to generate original outputs of both case studies and research design building. The results of his work have been published in 14 peer-reviewed articles during the last three years.

STS Helsinki seminar series 4.11. : Lotte Groth Jensen

Our seminar series continues with a talk by Lotte Groth Jensen with the title “The implementation of personalised medicine in Denmark – A sociotechnical imaginary framing the welfare state

Lotte Groth Jensen is Postdoctoral researcher at University of Copenhagen and a Senior Researcher at DEFACTUM.

Her talk will discuss the implementation of personalized medicine in Denmark from a political and administrative perspective. The presentation builds on work with strategy papers and interviews with different political actors. The analysis shows how political actors find a room for action in a situation where no action is possible at a first glance. They do so by constructing a sociotechnical imaginary which mobilizes the concepts of public and private and places personalized medicine in the public domain. The concepts of public and private are connected to a more fundamental discussion of the organization of society and through strategy papers on personalized medicine, political actors envision and communicate the wished for development of personalized medicine and more fundamentally the welfare state. In this way, the sociotechnical imaginary of personalized medicine becomes a sociotechnical imaginary supporting the continuation of the welfare state and reinforces a particular understanding of the relation between state and the public.

The seminar will be held and Unioninkatu 35, room 114, 4.11. from 2–4 PM.

STS Helsinki Seminar – Heta Tarkkala, 27.05, 14:15

We are happy to continue our seminar series in 2021 with a talk by Heta Tarkkala:

27 May, 14:15–15:45 (EEST)

Heta Tarkkala, PhD
Postdoctoral researcher – University of Helsinki


Visual arts in the presentation of research results in qualitative social science – reflections on collaboration with an illustrator

In a collaborative project “Faces of Masking” we have the aim to  explore alternative formats of presenting scientific results by using visual arts. As an empirical case, we pay attention to one of the most striking visual features of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – the facemasks. As visual symbols for the pandemic, masks have also come to play a part in many public discussions. We have decided to explore these ‘mask stories’ published in newspapers and social media.

Our approach to the re-structuring of our social world during the pandemic is a combination of social scientific research and professional illustration. This means we have explored alternative forms of gaining and presenting scientific results by using visual arts. And we have collaborated with the artist already during the analytical process. As a result of this, sketches and illustrations, questions and clarifications have been generated as the analysis has moved forward.

In this presentation I will discuss first, the collaboration with visual artist as well as the input of this collaboration for the analytical process. Second, I will address different illustrations, figures and visualisations in the reporting of scientific research results more generally. This is done in order to think about the visualised scientific results and representations, and their tradition, role, and potential more generally, and to contextualise our own empirical case.

Short bio

Heta Tarkkala is a post doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, where she also defended her thesis in 2019. She is currently working in a project called Datalit, which is an interdisciplinary collaboration between social science, law, and computer science that develops understandable and trustworthy practices for utilizing Finnish health, social, and welfare data.

Heta’s background is in sociology and science and technology studies, and in her work she has concentrated on the issues related to knowledge production in biomedicine, biobanks, utilization of health data as well as the becoming of data driven society. She is also collaborating with researchers Annerose Böhrer, Marie-Kristin Döbler and visual artist Susi Vetter from Germany in a mini-project “Faces of masking” that aims to explore alternative forms of presenting social scientific research results in collaboration with visual artist. It is this project today’s presentation is based on.

Join the seminar via Zoom:

Jose Canada is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: STS Helsinki Seminar – Heta Tarkkala
Time: May 27, 2021 02:00 PM Helsinki

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Meeting ID: 690 3955 1167
Passcode: 633506

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STS Helsinki Seminar – Mikko Ojanen

We are happy to continue our seminar series in 2021 with a talk by Mikko Ojanen:

29 April, 14:15–15:45 (EEST)

Mikko Ojanen, PhD
Part-time teacher – University of Helsinki Music Research Laboratory, UHMRL
Information specialist – Data Support, Helsinki University Library
Audio engineer, musician, record producer – KrunaUG


Engaging with electronic music technology in Finland in the 1960s and 1970s

The 1960s was a time of intensive interplay between music technological utopia and the contemporary reality. The decade marked a significant turning point in electronic musical instrument design. Both the transistor-based integrated circuits and their digital logic applications in sound synthesis, processing and sequencing methods strongly challenged the prior designs. The development occurred widely in the international contexts – as well as at grass-roots level in local scenes. In Finland, the music technological rupture inspired Mr. Erkki Kurenniemi, one of the pioneers of electronic musical instrument design, to seek new means to implement the novel technology in his strive for utopia. For Kurenniemi, the electronic musical instrument of the future was a tool for realizing automated and algorithmic musical processes.

In this case study on Kurenniemi’s designs, I focus on the users of his electronic musical instruments. Amidst Kurenniemi’s ten unique instruments, my research material consists of approximately 100 musical works realized with Kurenniemi’s instruments by twelve Finnish and Swedish composers and artists, who also collaborated with Kurenniemi. My analysis strengthens the notion that instrument design processes are deeply socially constructed and the implementation of new technology is significantly dependent on the users’ willingness to engage with equipment at hand. The willingness to engage with the technological solutions, on the other hand, is affected by the users’ background.

Here, I identified three points of departures for the artistic work of the users of Kurenniemi’s instruments. Their points of departure were based on 1) fully technologically oriented processes, where technological solution even played the most significant role, on 2) listening-based creative processes employed in real-time interaction with the technology, or on 3) their initial ideas for a work, which then were realized with  the current technological solution. Composers and artists either accepted Kurenniemi’s designs as is, or rejected them altogether. They rarely modified his designs, and the user experiences did not feed back to his design process leaving the instruments in the prototype phase.

Short bio

Mikko Ojanen, PhD, studies music technology – especially the history of electroacoustic music in Finland in the 1960s and 1970s at the University of Helsinki. He works as a part-time lecturer at the university’s Electronic Music Studio and as an information specialist in the Helsinki University Library Data Support. Ojanen also performs frequently as a musician, sound technician and music producer in several electronic, experimental and popular music projects and groups.

Join the seminar via Zoom:

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Meeting ID: 676 0516 4053
Passcode: 060863

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STS Helsinki Seminar – Sampsa Hyysalo, 18.03, 14:15

We are happy to continue our seminar series in in 2021 with a talk by Sampsa Hyysalo:

18 March, 14:15–15:45 (EET)

Sampsa Hyysalo, Professor of Co-Design, Aalto University, School of Art, Design and Architecture


Method matters in the social study of technology
Investigating the biographies of artifacts and practices.

Science and Technology Studies understandings of technological change are at odds with its own dominant research designs and methodological guidelines. A key insight from social shaping of technology research, for instance, has been that new technologies are formed in multiple, particular (albeit interlinked) settings, by many different groups of actors over long periods of time. Nonetheless, common research designs have not kept pace with these conceptual advances, continuing instead to resort to either intensive localised ethnographic engagements or broad stroke historical studies, unable to address both the intricacy and extent of the process in tandem. There has consequently been increasing interest in extending current methodological and analytical approaches through longitudinal and multi-site research templates. We discuss this fundamentally methodological critique and its implications through one of these approaches: the ‘biographies of artifacts and practices’ (BOAP) framework, which by now offers a twenty years body of studies to reflect upon methodological choices in different sociomaterial settings. This paper outlines the basic principles of BOAP and its significant variations, and discusses its contribution to STS understandings of innovation, especially user roles in innovation. We finish by arguing that if STS is to continue to provide insight around innovation this will require a reconceptualisation of research design, to move from simple ‘snap shot’ studies to the linking together of a string of studies.

Join the seminar via Zoom:

Topic: STS Helsinki seminar series

Time: Mar 18, 2021 02:15 PM Helsinki


Meeting ID: 667 2846 9489

Passcode: 313016


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Meeting ID: 667 2846 9489

Passcode: 313016