Linna-building, 5. floor., Kalevantie 5,
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.
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.
Research groups and communities
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 Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen is Head of the field of study.
Sociology Research Seminar sessions from recent years
Sociology Research Seminar sessions in 2019–2020.
The sessions are open to all.
- 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”.
- Anna Salonen: ”Dominion, stewardship and reconciliation in the accounts of ordinary people eating animals”
- Juho Saari: ”The quality of life in Finnish prisons”
- Harri Melin: “The Squeezing Middle Class?”
- 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”
- Lois Presser: “Impactful Absences: How Unsaid Things Shape Narrative Meanings, With Consequences for Mass Harm”
- Olli Pyyhtinen: "Sociological Thirds: Reconsidering Relations and Intersubjectivity through Tertiality"
- 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”
Sociology Research Seminar sessions in 2018–2019.
The sessions are open to all.
- Piia Jallinoja: “Veganism and plant-based eating: analysis of interplay between discursive strategies and lifestyle political consumerism”
- Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen: “Climate Change and Insurance”
- Ali Qadir: “Co-creation of social movements: Radical alternatives or part of the system?”
- 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”
- Mianna Meskus: ”Making gametes in the laboratory? Ethical scaling of a new reproductive strategy”.