PhD., Professor (chair)
Since 1.8.2010 I work as the professor in European Ethnology at the University of Turku.
Living on the border. An ethnological study of transnational everyday life and identity construction in the twin city of Tornio–Haaparanta (1.8.2009 - 31.7.2014)
Borders, boundaries and border areas have often inspired ethnologists. The research and literature on cross-border regions is rich, but it is dominated mostly by questions of governance and institutional structures and there is still a lack of focus on the ways in which regions are lived and created through everyday life cultural practices. My aim is to study the cultural dimensions of everyday uses of a transnational region, which in this case is the twin city of Tornio-Haaparanta. Because of its location it opens up an interesting possibility for studying "Europeanization", transnationalism and mobility as well as the role and meaning of place, border and identity. It can be argued that people have lived "transnational lives" since the border was drawn 1809.
My focus is on the cultural dimensions which are found in the practices of everyday life and symbolic manifestations of transnational processes. I study the multi-ethnic border-zone of Tornio–Haaparanta as evidence of a vital area for the hybridization of cultures as well as the power relations that constitute them. I focus on the cultural practices. What is the meaning of border, place and locality in the contemporary situation? How relationships and connections are created? I also study how competences and "regional knowledge" is acquired and how do they vary between different groups and generations. And, is there any special borderland identity?
In European ethnology the impact of European integration can be seen as an orientation towards a Europe of regions, where focus is on regions instead of national states. I argue that Tornio-Haaparanta is an excellent example on the new Europeanization process, where new regions are rebuilt, some places are included and others are excluded. By re-determing and re-creating the socioeconomic, linguistic, ethnic and cultural borders nation states and the EU are broken down and fragmented. At the same time European is becoming local and local is becoming European.
This study seeks to develop new theoretical and methodological perspectives for studying transnational phenomena and mobility in a border-zone. Research material is based on ethnographical fieldwork. Methods of ethnological town research will be applied in this study. My theoretical framework will consist of mobility, transnationality, cultural complexity and space & place discussions in European ethnology. For further information, please contact me by e-mail.
Picture: Tamara Molotova 2002.
My earlier research project (financed by Academy of Finland, 2004–2007) was called Gendered spaces and places. A study in multi-ethnic societies. I focused how spaces and places are gendered. Environment was not seen merely as a geographic location or background to human activities and daily life, but as a complex structure consisting of time-stratified meaningful experiences. It treats space both as physical (ecological) and social (e.g. ethnic) space. I have published articles and a monograph on Gendered spaces and places in a Mari village is forthcoming.
My questions have been, among others, following: What space and place do women occupy in this village and at home? Are women’s spaces and places mostly in the domestic sphere as it is usually interpreted? Do women have the power to define their own space and place? What changes have occurred and how they are reflected in the everyday life of women? I will focus both on public and private space as well as on ethnic space. How do global processes impact on the micro level? The current process is delayed by economic instability, which is reflected throughout many local communities and quite clearly in the village of Shorunzha, which is my case in Mari El, Russia.
This study was based on fieldwork I did fieldwork in Mari El (in Russia) several periods in 2002-2005. The Mari are a Finno-Ugric people, who, because of their living places in the area of the Volga River, belong to the Volga branch of the Finno-Ugric peoples. Their language is distantly related to, among others, Finnish, Saami, Estonian and Hungarian. Other cases are from northern parts of Europe, from reindeer herding communities in Finnish Lapland and Kola Peninsula, Russia.
Since spring 2005 I am a leader of a project called Gendered rural spaces, which is a network project. Other members are ethnologists from universities of Turku, Helsinki, Åbo Academy and Oulu. An anthology is forthcoming 2009: Pia Olsson & Helena Ruotsala (eds.): Gendered Rural Spaces. (Finnish Literature Society)
In addition to space and place my focus is on northern cultures, everyday life, fieldwork, ethno ecology and nature and culture -questions.
- 1989 M.A. University of Turku, ethnology (minor studies in folkloristics, archeology, museology and environmental studies)
- 2002 Dr. Phil. University of Turku
- 2003 Docent University of Turku
- 1.8.2009- academy research fellow (Academy of Finland)
- 1.8.2008 - 31.7.2009 post-doc researcher (financed by Kone Foundation)
- 1.8.2007 - 31.7.2008 (fixed-term) professor of Cultural Heritage, University of Turku
- 1.8.2004– 31.7.2007 senior researcher (tutkijatohtori), Academy of Finland & University of Turku, Ethnology
- 1.1.2004–31.7.2004 post doc research fellow, University of Turku, Ethnology (financed by Kone Foundation)
- 1.1.1999–31.12.2003 assistant, University of Turku, Ethnology
- 1.1.1995–31.12.1998 researcher (PhD student) of the multi-disciplinary graduate school on "Cultural interaction and integration", University of Turku
- 1.8.–30.9.1994 Scientific Secretary of the XXVII Nordic Congress on Ethnology and Folklore, University of Turku, Centre for Extension Studies and Ethnology
- 15.8.1993–31.7.1994 (acting) assistant, University of Turku, Ethnology
- 1.1.–28.2.1993 researcher, University of Oulu, Cultural Anthropology
- 1.8.–31.12.1992 researcher, University of Turku, Ethnology
- 1.2.–31.7.1992 research assistant, Academy of Finland
- 1.9.1990.–31.1.1992 researcher, University of Turku, Ethnology (This study was financed by Ministry of the Environment, Imatran Voima Oy and the National Board of Water and Environment)
- 1.3.–31.8.1990 (acting) assistant, University of Turku, Ethnology
- (1.7.1989–31.12.1989 (acting) secretary of cultural affairs, Pargas
- 1.8.1987–30.6.1989 secretary of cultural affairs, Kittilä)
Luottamustoimia / Positions of Trust:
- Member of the publication board of Ethnologia Fennica 1.9.2001–
- Correspondent member of the Hungarian Ethnological Society 2000–
- Chairman of the planning committee of the 8th Finnish-Hungarian Symposium in Ethnology 24.11.1997–31.12.2000
- Member of Board of Kevo Subarctic Research Institute of the University of Turku 1.1.1996–31.12.2001
- Vice member of the Department Council, School of Cultural Studies, University of Turku, 1998–2002
- Member of Board of directors, Ethnos (Association of Finnish ethnologists) and Secretary for congresses 1.4.1996–15.3.2002
- Vice member of Board of directors, Ethnos 1.4.1993–31.3.1996
- Auditor of Ethnos, 1.4.1992–31.3.1993
- Member of the planning group of the Field seminarium of NEFA-Norden 1085–1986, 1991–1992.
List of publications
See pages in finnish.