The discipline of sociology studies social phenomena of all scales. Sociological imagination opens analytical and critical perspectives on our contemporary way of life: what we share, who and what we exclude, and what is changing right now?
Sociologists at Tampere University conduct research on topics ranging from the management of European institutions to the transformations of Finnish working life and from cultural inequalities to the economic practices of households. Their studies also cover such issues as the spread and diffusion of global trends in politics and government, and everyday practices not only in homes but also in various organisations, including offices and research laboratories.
Tampere University has an established tradition of educating specialists on social questions. The graduates in sociology can make insightful observations on societal transformations and are also adept at conceptualising the relationships between various contemporary phenomena because they see them from an analytic distance. Tampere University’s first professor of sociology was appointed in 1947. Today, the discipline employs 12 permanent members of teaching staff, of whom two work at the Pori Unit of Tampere University. In addition to the permanent teaching staff, the Faculty of Social Sciences also employs 14 other postdoctoral researchers in sociology.
At Tampere University, all teachers in sociology are also active researchers. The discipline educates students on three levels.
- With five other disciplines, sociologists teach in the Bachelor’s Programme in Social Sciences; annually between 80 to 100 students graduate.
- In the Master’s Programme, sociology is one of the major subjects and some 25 students begin the studies annually.
- Sociology at Tampere University provides a vibrant and ambitious research training community that is educating students for the Doctor of Social Sciences degree. The Unit of Sociology is currently educating approximately 30 postgraduate students.
Professor Semi Purhonen is Head of the field of study.
Sociological research aims at explaining, understanding and examining interaction, social processes, power relations and institutions from new and critical perspectives. The studies conducted are often comparative, multi-method and multidisciplinary in nature – at their best, they combine strong theory with concrete empirical analysis.
Already for decades, the discipline of sociology at Tampere University has been a renowned and acknowledged centre of sociological research. It has strong traditions, for example, in class analysis, comparative research, cultural sociology and qualitative research methodology. Today, the research done in sociology at Tampere University revolves around the most pressing social issues of our time, such as globalisation, inequalities, climate change, the production and distribution of wellbeing, new reproductive technologies, financialisation, and transformations of working life. Research is being conducted in several national and international projects, groups and networks whose activities are enabled by both the internal resources provided by the University and the external funding granted by several agencies (eg the Academy of Finland, European Union and many private foundations).
Sociological research is divided into several subfields. The particularly strong fields of research in sociology at Tampere University include:
- Global and transnational sociology (especially epistemic governance and the comparative study of the diffusion of policy models and ideas)
- Sociology of culture (especially cultural stratification and the ways in which cultural hierarchies and lifestyles are linked with social inequalities)
- Science and technology studies (especially risks and uncertainty, waste, medicine, and the technologisation of life)
- Working life studies (especially working life in flux, time use, knowledge work, gender and social classes)
- Social theory (classical and contemporary sociological theory, public sociology).
Significant publications by the sociology staff at Tampere University
- Alasuutari, Pertti & Ali Qadir. 2019. Epistemic governance: Social change in the modern world. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Heiskala, Risto. 2018. "For a holistic social science: the NACEVP model applied to the environment, gender and populism." Journal of Political Power 11:3, 322-340.
- Lehtonen, Turo-Kimmo. 2017. "Objectifying Climate Change: Weather-Related Catastrophes as Risks and Opportunities for Reinsurance." Political Theory 45:1, 32-51.
- Melin, Harri & Tiina Saari. 2019. "Työn ja työelämän tutkimuksen muuttuvat maailmat." In Mihin työelämä on menossa? : Tutkimuksen näkökulmia, ed. Tuula Heiskanen, Sirpa Syvänen & Tapio Rissanen. Tampere: Tampere University Press, 21-48.
- Meskus, Mianna. 2018. Craft in Biomedical Research: The iPS Cell Technology and the Future of Stem Cell Science. Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Oinonen, Eriikka. 2018. "Under Pressure to Become: from a Student to Entrepreneurial Self." Journal of Youth Studies 21:10, 1344-1360.
- Peteri, Virve. 2019. "No Negative Vibes. Organizational Fun as a Practice of Social Control." In Therapeutic Assemblages : Cultures, Politics and Materiality, ed. Salmenniemi, Suvi, Johanna Nurmi, Inna Perheentupa & Harley Bergroth. London: Routledge.
- Purhonen, Semi, Riie Heikkilä, Irmak Karademir Hazir, Tina Lauronen, Carlos J. Fernández Rodríguez & Jukka Gronow. 2019. Enter Culture, Exit Arts? The Transformation of Cultural Hierarchies in European Newspaper Culture Sections, 1960–2010. London and New York: Routledge.
- Pyyhtinen, Olli. 2014. The Gift and its Paradoxes. Routledge: London & New York.
- Pyöriä, Pasi (ed.). 2017. Työelämän myytit ja todellisuus. Helsinki: Gaudeamus.
- Suoranta, Juha. 2017. C. Wright Millsin sosiologinen elämä. Tampere: Vastapaino.
Major ongoing research projects
- DYNAMICS The Dynamics of Cultural Stratification: How Cultural Classifications, Hierarchies and Tastes Change
- European State Nobility and Fatal Problems: Imaginaries of the Finnish Political and Administrative Elite in the European Union
- INVENT European Inventory of Societal Values of Culture as a Basis for Inclusive Cultural Policies in the Globalizing World
- USUTE – Sitoutuako robottiin? Uuden sukupolven teknologiat ja niiden hyväksyntä työpaikoilla
- VALDA: Valuating Lives through Infertility and Dementia: Science, Law and Patient Activism
- WISE Creative adaptation to wicked socio-environmental disruptions
Sociology is taught as part of the Degree Programme in Social Sciences. The degree programme consists of a Bachelor’s programme and a Master’s programme. Earning a Bachelor’s degree usually takes three years while the studies on the Master’s level take two years.
At Tampere University, the teaching of sociology is strongly research-based.
The study of sociology gives tools for the comprehensive and critical analysis of social, societal and cultural phenomena, and the development of sociological imagination.
Sociological knowledge and skills are needed in the analysis of various social issues and the relationships between social phenomena or when writing reports, drafting action plans and organising social action. These competencies are beneficial and in demand, for example, in careers in the public, private and third sectors, but they also comprise the core skills of active citizenship.
We are also one of the fields of research in the Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences.
Professor Semi Purhonen is Head of the field of study.
Apply to study with us!
Nissilä, Paula: Körttinuoret ja herättäjäjuhlat festivaalina
Otonkorpi-Lehtoranta,Katri: Sotilaat, työ ja perhe
Valkeasuo, Laura: The Identity Work of Glocalization: The Case of European Science Policy
- Kuisma, Milla: Epävarmat polut kohti työelämää: Nuorten aikuisten epävarmuuskokemukset koulutus- ja työmarkkinasiirtymissä
Heimo-Mulinga, Mira-Carita: Interkulttuurinen työyhteisösovittelu – Restoratiivinen dialogi kulttuurien välisten siltojen rakentajana
Sociology Research Seminar sessions from recent years
SOCIOLOGY RESEARCH SEMINAR 2021–2022
Meeting time Tuesday at 4 p.m.
The seminar is organized via Microsoft Teams until the Covid-19 situation is resolved. We wish to be able to return to onsite mode either at the beginning of the second period of the Fall term or at the beginning of the Spring term. When meeting online, links to the events will be distributed about one week before each session. Affiliations of the speakers are Tampere University if not mentioned otherwise. Updates and additions to the programme still possible.
Tuesday 21 September (NB. Exceptional starting time 6 p.m. due to time zone difference!)
- Jan Nederveen Pieterse (University of California Santa Barbara): “Covid-19 and Governance”
- Comments by Pertti Alasuutari and Risto Heiskala
Tuesday 5 October
- Olli Herranen (University of Helsinki): “Socially Manufactured Climate-change Denialism as a Resistance to Social Change”
- Jukka Syväterä (University of Helsinki): “The Authority of Science in the Politics of Parliamentary Policymaking: Evolving Practices of Enacting and Contesting Science”
Tuesday 2 November
- Mira Käkönen: “Volatile Rivers and the Politics of Infrastructure in Times of Climate Urgency”
Tuesday 7 December
- Marta Choroszewicz (University of Eastern Finland): “Structural Power Differentials in Building and Deploying of Decision-Making Tools in Public Sector”
- Selina Gallo-Cruz (2021–2022 Fulbright Tampere University Scholar from the College of the Holy Cross): “Sustainability and Disenchantment: Ceremony and Circumstance in Climate Policy and Practice”
Tuesday 8 February
- Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen, Kelsey La Mere & Anna Salomaa: “What’s the Size of Climate Change? Finnish Public Authorities Preparing for Environmental Crises”
Tuesday 8 March
- Elina Helosvuori: “The Deficiency of Human Reproductive Biology in Fertility Treatment Practices”
Tuesday 5 April
- Ali Qadir: “Foucault's Tears: Emotions in Epistemic Governance”
- Juha Suoranta & Marko Teräs: “Digitalization in Higher Education: Friend or Foe?”
Sociology Research Seminar sessions in 2020–2021
The seminar is organized via Microsoft Teams until the Covid-19 situation is resolved. Links to the events will be distributed about one week before each session. The sessions are open to all.
3 November 2020:
- Olli Pyyhtinen: “Sociological Thirds: Reconsidering Relations and Intersubjectivity through Tertiality”
- Melisa Stevanovic: “Joint decision making in a dyad: A locus of sharing and claiming power”
8 December 2020:
- Anna Rastas: “Museums as a site for research on racialized relations”
- Olga Ulybina: “Childcare De-institutionalization: Understanding Global Policy Diversity”
2 February 2021:
- Jari Aro: “European state nobility and fatal problems: Imaginaries of the Finnish political and administrative elite in the European Union”
- Risto Heiskala: “Holistic social science and pacification of existence”
16 February 2021 – A special session in honor of Erik Allardt (1925–2020); in Finnish and only to be organized as a live event:
- Matti Alestalo: “Erik Allardt ja politiikan sosiologia”
- Hannu Uusitalo: ”Erik Allardt ja hyvinvointisosiologia”
- Juho Saari: kommenttipuheenvuoro
9 March 2021:
- Eriikka Oinonen & Antti Saloniemi: “Everyday life in the time of Covid-19 pandemic”
13 April 2021:
- Hanna Kuusela: (title tba)
11 May 2021:
- Semi Purhonen, Riie Heikkilä, Ossi Sirkka & Sara Sivonen: ”The multiplicity of the understandings of culture and why it matters for cultural policy and politics”
Sociology Research Seminar sessions in 2019–2020
The sessions are open to all.
3 October 2019:
- Rakhmat Hidayat (State University of Jakarta): “From Local Food Wisdom to Local Food Movement in Kampong Cireundeu, Cimahi City, West Java”
- Pertti Alasuutari (Tampere University): ”Toward a theory of global social change”.
4 December 2019:
- Anna Salonen: ”Dominion, stewardship and reconciliation in the accounts of ordinary people eating animals”
- Juho Saari: ”The quality of life in Finnish prisons”
2 February 2020:
- Harri Melin: “The Squeezing Middle Class?”
5 March 2020:
- Riikka Homanen: ”Everyday Ethics of Reproductive Outsourcing: Making Good life in the Era of Biocapitalism”
- Salla Tuomivaara: “Different Others of Westermarck and Durkheim – Different Ideas of Humans”
(Sessions on 2 April and 7 May cancelled due to the Covid-19)
Sociology Research Seminar sessions in 2018–2019
The sessions are open to all.
29 November 2018:
- Piia Jallinoja: “Veganism and plant-based eating: analysis of interplay between discursive strategies and lifestyle political consumerism”
- Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen: “Climate Change and Insurance”
24 January 2019:
- Ali Qadir: “Co-creation of social movements: Radical alternatives or part of the system?”
14 February 2019:
- Riie Heikkilä & Taru Lindblom: “The anatomy of cultural participation and non-participation in Finland, 2007/2018”
- Taina Meriluoto: “Walking critically – Homeless' walking tours as political argumentation”
11 April 2019:
- Mianna Meskus: ”Making gametes in the laboratory? Ethical scaling of a new reproductive strategy”.