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Geographies of home-based service interactions at the margins of welfare in Finland and Sweden

The study concentrates on the home visit encounters targeted at adults with complex needs, suffering from poor mental health, substance abuse problems and, occasionally, homelessness. Our special interest is to focus on the encounters from a spatial and interactional points of view; how homes and nearby communities as places of service interactions matter.  

The study combines concepts from two research approaches; ethnomethodology and human geography (especially post-asylum geographies and geographies of care in home-spaces).The data contains detailed field notes based on mobile (shadowing) ethnography and recordings on interactions between workers and clients during the course of home visits.


During recent decades the Western world has witnessed a turn of professional care and control from institutions to communities, and more recently to home-spaces what we term as home turn.  

In Finland and in Sweden, where this study is located in, there is a strong trend towards this newest form of community service provision.  

See publications:

The study belongs to Margi research group:


We set 4 intertwined objectives for the research project:  

  1. to examine how constructions of place matter in home-based services targeted at people with complex needs at the margins of welfare,  
  2. to scrutinise how workers and clients orient to place verbally and non-verbally in service interactions,  
  3. to analyse how tensions between public vs private, support vs surveillance and inclusion vs exclusion are present in service interactions in home-spaces, and  
  4. to compare similarities and differences of home-based service interactions in different service settings, and both in Finland and Sweden.  

The study produces knowledge that has a clear societal relevance: what kinds of impacts the policy shift leading to physical changes of service places (from institutions and offices to homes) has on micro level service interactions and eventually on the everyday lives of service users.

Funding source

Academy of Finland

Contact persons

Kirsi Juhila


kirsi.juhila [at]

+358 50 338 3925


Johanna Ranta 

Project researcher

johanna.ranta [at] 

+358 50 509 9193