Matti Eräsaari, P.I., PhD.

Matti Eräsaari sitting in shorts barefooted on stony beach in Finland.Matti Eräsaari is a socio-cultural anthropologist who got his PhD from the University of Helsinki in 2013. In his PhD thesis, “We Are the Originals”: A Study of Value in Fiji, he has examined shifts in the values of alterity and indigeneity in contemporary Fijian economic and ceremonial practice. Since then, he has studied the value question in its various manifestations – money, time, food, and beyond – and expanded the scope of his research from Fiji to his native Finland as well. Eräsaari has conducted extensive fieldwork in Fiji since 2003, and carried out specific investigations into Finnish timebanking and time-allocation tools in Finnish universities since 2017.

Eräsaari’s research publications include Comparing the Worth of the While in Fiji and Finland (2023), the Finnish-language edited volume Ruoan kulttuuri: antropologisia näkökulmia ruoan tutkimukseen (with Katja Uusihakala, 2016), and a number of articles and book chapters. He has worked at the Universities of Helsinki and Manchester.

Eräsaari is a keen proponent of Open Access publishing and an active participant in the Anthropology of Tax network. In his spare time, he plays bubblegum pop, practices fencing, and watches football.

ORCID: 0000-0002-7851-2685
University of Helsinki research profile

Olivia Barnett-Naghshineh, Ph.D.

Photo of Olivia Barnett-NaghshinehOlivia Barnett-Naghshineh is a social anthropologist specializing in economic anthropology, anthropology of emotions and the anthropology of food. Her research focuses on caring economies, emotional and affective transactions and gender relations in Papua New Guinea. She has also conducted research based on colonial histories and food systems in Jamaica and intersectionality, race and power in UK higher education. Her PhD research involved long-term research in the Goroka market with market women and local agriculturalists and entrepreneurs. She defended her PhD thesis “Gender in a Commodifying World: Recognition, Emotions and Market Women’s Agency in the Goroka Marketplace, Papua New Guinea” in 2018 at the University of Auckland Tamaki Makaurau, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Olivia has published on shame, care, fashion, climate change and gift exchange in Papua New Guinea and taught post-graduate and undergraduate courses in post-colonial theory, decolonization, anthropology of race and racism at Goldsmiths, University of London and environmental anthropology at the University of Waikato, Aotearoa New Zealand. She is currently working on a project regarding love, care and heart openings with Sufi Muslims in Norwich (UK) using visual anthropology methods and the innovative interview method of micro-phenomenology.

She will be returning to her PhD topics of value, personhood and affect in her study of properties and units of value at the University of Helsinki and returning to Goroka to conduct further research into food exchanges and the affective and material qualities of certain local and international foods.

In her spare time Olivia enjoys training for triathlons, gardening and cooking.

ORCID: 0000-0001-6851-791X

Rodolfo Maggio, Ph.D.

Photo of Rodolfo taking food from an earth oven in the Solomon Islands.Rodolfo Maggio is a social anthropologist of moral and economic values in the Asia-Pacific region. He conducted ethnographic research in the Solomon Islands with a focus on how people use their cultural creativity to solve moral and economic dilemmas in their daily lives.

After receiving his PhD from the University of Manchester in 2014, Rodolfo worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Oxford for three years. His focus on morality deepened with ethnographic research on daily negotiations about the value of kinship, parenting, and the meaning of a good life.

Eager to broaden his scope beyond Western anthropological traditions, in 2019 Rodolfo spent one year in Japan researching ethnographies of the Pacific written by Japanese anthropologists, thanks to a generous grant from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. This experience led him to research the influence of Eastern Asian cultures on moral and economic negotiations in the Pacific, especially in daily interactions.

In his free time, Rodolfo likes long swims in the sea, long runs in nature, and riding his road bike.

ORCID: 0000-0002-9795-2184

Rachel Smith, PhD.

Rachel Smith is a Lecturer in Anthropology and Museum Studies at University of Aberdeen. Her doctoral project focused on the ‘domestic moral economy’ in a rural Vanuatu community undergoing economic transformation due to a high degree of engagement in New Zealand’s Pacific labour mobility programme. Her most recent research project extends her interest in moral economy, development, and value by focusing on the ethics and economy of kava, a crop traditionally grown and consumed as a relaxant beverage across the Pacific islands. She is planning to extend this work on kava and markets for ‘Units and Measures’ looking both at local values and measures, and processes of standardisation.

Rachel has also published on land and labour in Pacific drawing on historical and archival research and is looking to develop her interest in material culture through developing research on museum and special collections. She has also collaborated with an interdisciplinary team (including Psychologists and Neuroscientists) to examine the relationship between understandings of mind and self, and religious experience. She is interested in how social and economic transformations are mediated by semiotic, material, and ritual processes. Outside of work, she likes to occupy herself with films, exhibitions, and the arts.

ORCID: 0000-0002-6838-1319
The University of Aberdeen research profile

Sonja Trifuljesko, PhD.

Photo of Sonja Trifuljesko sitting on the staircase of the university of Helsinki.

Photograph: Liisa Takala. University of Helsinki.

Sonja Trifuljesko is a socio-cultural anthropologist, whose research work focuses on the intersection of politics, knowledge practices and sociality. She received her PhD in 2021 from the University of Helsinki. Her doctoral thesis, Weeds of Sociality: Reforms and Dynamics of Social Relations at the University of Helsinki, ethnographically investigated the effects of the ‘global knowledge economy’ policies on daily university life in Finland. In her postdoctoral work, Trifuljesko kept her ethnographic focus on Finland but shifted her analytical gaze to the ‘data economy’, studying social and cultural implications of digitalisation, datafication and algorithmisation. In the past, Trifuljesko was also engaged in discussions within disability studies as well as migration studies, and has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Serbia and Austria.

ORCID: 0000-0001-8127-2507
University of Helsinki research profile

Tuomas Tammisto, PhD.

Picture of Tuomas Tammisto on cliff and in the background a lake and forest in Finland.Tuomas Tammisto is a socio-cultural anthropologist specializing in environmental anthropology and political ecology. His research focuses on human-environmental relations, land use and the politics of natural resources. He is particularly interested in tropical horticulture, agrarian change, space and place, territorialization, state formation and the articulation of different value systems. He has conducted long-term fieldwork in the Pomio District of East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea. He defended his PhD thesis New Actors, Historic Landscapes: The Making of Frontier Place in Papua New Guinea in 2018 at the University of Helsinki.

Tammisto has co-edited two fully open access volumes Ympäristö ja kulttuuri (with Timo Kallinen & Anja Nygren, 2012) and Valtion antropologiaa (with Heikki Wilenius, 2021), a special issue on frontier making (with Anu Lounela, 2021) and published several research articles.

Tammisto is with Heikki Wilenius the editor-in-chief of Suomen antropologi: The Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society and heavily invested in advancing non-profit Open Access publishing. Tammisto likes to ride his bicycle and is keenly interested in all sorts of nerdy things.

ORCID: 0000-0001-9767-7832
Personal homepage
University of Helsinki research profile

Kaisu Taskila, project coordinator