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Institute for Advanced Social ResearchUniversity of TampereInstitute for Advanced Social Research

Speakers Series 2017-2018, Autumn

Organized jointly by the IASR and the New Social Research Programme (NSR)

Lecturers' power point presentations (pdf) will be added

IASR lectures from Spring 2016 and earlier lectures available in Radio Moreeni as podcasts here.

Time: On Tuesdays, at 16.15-17.45, starting from 19 September 2017
Place: University of Tampere, mainly Lecture Hall Pinni B, B1097

Exceptions: 7 November 2017 and 14 November 2017, Linna, lecture hall K103

Programme (subject to change)

Updated on 17 November  2017

19.09. Measurement and Field Dynamics: The Example of the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) (pdf)

Research Professor Niilo Kauppi, JYU, CNRS

The first Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) or Shanghai ranking came out in 2003. It was an innovation, intended to measure the performance of the best universities in the world. In this talk, I will explore the criteria that the Shanghai ranking set and the forms global competition have taken in higher education since its inception. Its impact has been twofold. First, the Shanghai ranking gave the starting shot for a global competition between universities. Today, this competition is taken for granted. Second, it defined the rules that this competition would follow: quantification of excellence, focus on universities, on the hard sciences, and on English-language production. Ruled out were qualitative evaluation, research institutions, the soft sciences, and non-English language scientific production. These criteria have had a powerful impact on innovation governance, the strategies of universities to cope in an increasingly interconnected and competitive world, the global ranking industry of academic performance, national strategic goal setting and funding decisions, the criteria of self-evaluation of academics, etc.

26.09. The Moral Authority of Science in the Modern World Polity: Evidence from Parliamentary Discourse (pdf)

Associate Professor Ali Qadir, NSR

Science has acquired a new level of authority in governance of the modern world. Complex realities and problems are often approached through “science-based decision-making.” This presentation offers a bottom-up account of the authority of science in national policymaking. Relying on a bottom-up neoinstitutionalist framework of epistemic governance, we examine parliamentary debates from seven countries over 20 years to describe the role of “science” in lawmaking. Our qualitative discourse analysis of debates confirms that usage of “science” is widespread around the world and across all policy sectors. We find ample references not just to particular sciences, but also to science in the abstract, and find hardly any contests around the use of science beyond technical contests around the credibility of a particular result. We also find that science is often disconnected from scientific organizations, but is readily related to budgetary proposals and to general assumptions of modernization. In all, our analysis confirms world polity theory findings about the institutionalized spread of science worldwide, but extends it qualitatively to identify what work the term does in parliamentary talk. Drawing on and elaborating Durkheim’s framework, we argue that this work can be characterized as a sweeping “moral authority” of science.

03.10. Writing Disaster, Testifying Violence and Abusing Trauma: The Double Tragedy of an Armenian Woman (pdf)

Professor Meyda Yeğenoğlu, IASR

This lecture will address the difficult distinction between testimony and literary representation of genocide by reading Ravished Armenia and Arşaluys Mardigyan's story, an Armenian woman who witnessed the murder of her family members.

10.10. From Trash to Treasure: Valuation of Waste in Dumpster Diving (pdf)

Associate Professor Olli Pyyhtinen, NSR

The lecture explores the connections between value, ethics, and waste matter by attending to the voluntary dumpster diving for food. The practice implies recovering discarded items from trash bins, often placed in supermarket backyards or in the vicinity of other commercial establishments. Despite its seemingly marginal nature, the lecture suggests that dumpster diving is a highly relevant and fruitful topic for the understanding of valuation, as it involves the transformation of trash into treasure in hands-on practices of valuation. The lecture examines not only what is valued in dumpster diving, but, importantly, also how the valuation takes place in practice. First, for dumpster divers, the judgment of whether something can or cannot be eaten is not a separate activity, but it is intertwined with other activities. In dumpster diving, the practices of moving in townscape, diving into waste containers, as well as sorting, picking up, transporting, washing, peeling, freezing, and cooking, for example, are integral to what it is to valuate. Second, that valuation of waste in dumpster diving is inextricably entangled with practices that are not explicitly about value also means that valuation is not only about knowing what can be eaten, but also about making them good to eat. Dumpster diving thus entails an important lesson about the creativity of valuation. Third, the case of dumpster diving also illustrates how valuation is bound to remain more or less uncertain. It lacks fixed variables and waste remains in excess of classifications.

17.10. Knowledge Integration Processes in Translational Research: The Case of the Premature Birth Center

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Elina Mäkinen, IASR

Translational research in the field of medicine is applauded for its potential to move knowledge gained from the basic sciences to its application in clinical settings. Academic institutions, governments, and funders are interested in investing in such research initiatives. While it is widely agreed that translational research has the potential to create both social and commercial value, it has been shown to be extremely difficult. A key challenge is that the implementation of scientific discoveries requires cooperation and collaboration among different experts: researchers in the life and physical sciences, healthcare practitioners, university’s technology transfer and commercialization office, and social workers immersed in local communities. This lecture sheds light on collaboration challenges among heterogeneous teams by describing the formation of a new translational research center seeking to uncover the causes of premature birth. The lecture highlights the importance of revealing challenges for collaboration at different developmental stages in the translational research process.

24.10. Can Information Technology Positively Influence Social Encounters? (pdf)

Associate Professor Thomas Olsson, NSR

Modern information technology allows various forms of mediated interaction and broader social networks than ever before. At the sametime, the very same technologies often disrupt face-to-faceinteraction, and many people yearn for more meaningful social encounters. Consequently, there is a growing number of researchinitiatives for building and testing technological systems that aim to enhance, increase or otherwise positively influence interpersonal interaction in face-to-face situations. In this lecture, I outline the landscape of this emergent but still nebulous research topic based on a systematic literature review about relevant studies and systems. Our review of 125 publications resulted in an in-depth analysis of the focus areas, social design objectives, and design and evaluation approaches identified in the reported systems. We identify four roles of technology relevant for enhancement: enabling, facilitating, inviting and encouraging. The review helps understand and analyze relevant prior research as well as direct the digitalization of social interaction towards a more socially sustainable future.

31.10. Rehabilitating the Mind: The Use of Probation Sentences in Cases of Attempted Suicide in Britain, 1900–1960 (pdf)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Louise Settle, IASR

Suicide was illegal in England and Wales until the 1961 Suicide Act.  The maximum sentence for attempting suicide was two years’ imprisonment, but it was more common that the person was admonished or placed on probation.  A probation sentence meant that the offender was placed under the supervision of a probation officer for a maximum of two years and could be required to follow certain conditions, such as abstaining from alcohol, receiving  medical treatment or residing in a particular location (including  in a ’mental asylum’). This lecture examines the ways in which probation sentences were used in cases of attempted suicide to provide psychological treatment to people who had not legally been certified as insane. However, not all of the people placed on probation for attempting suicide necessarily received medical treatment, and some were instead provided with advice, guidance and assistance from probation officers who had varying levels of professional training. The lecture therefore examines probation officers’  role as both the gatekeepers to psychiatric treatment, a task that relied on probation officers judging the probationer’s mental state, and as the providers of rehabilitation services which were based on a mixture of methods inspired by their professional training in psychology and social work, as well as by their background in religious philanthropic work. Overall the lecture seeks to highlight the important role that the probation service played in shaping both the practical implementation of psychological theories and working-class families experiences of psychiatry.

07.11. Integrating Evidence for Social Mechanisms: Lessons from Growth Diagnostics (pdf), NB: Linna, K103

Associate Professor Jaakko Kuorikoski, NSR

Recent methodological debates on the concept of social mechanism, often associated with the methodological movement of analytical sociology, have concentrated on the appropriate form of sociological explanation and theorizing. I discuss the value of mechanism-based thinking in the evaluation of the relevance, reliability, and strength of evidence. My specific focus is in conceptualizing the integration of multiple and diverse kinds of evidence. As an inspiration and illustration, I briefly present a recent and popular methodological school in development economics: growth diagnostics. Growth diagnostics is an analytic framework for identifying the most important constraints on economic growth for specific countries, aiming at directing “the diagnostician” to look for the tell-tale signals that the economy would give, if the main obstacle for growth were A, rather than B. The overall aim is to arrive at the most binding constraint on growth, and consequently the most effective development policy, given limited time and data resources. I discuss what lessons could be derived from this methodology for broader social scientific inquiry.


14.11. Examining Participatory Journalism Through Practice Theory (pdf), NB: Linna, K103

Senior Research Fellow Laura Ahva, IASR

In the recent years, journalistic work has become more open in many ways. Journalism is not produced by professionals in big news organizations only, but various non-journalists can take part in the journalistic process, often with the help of digital technologies in the context of networked newsrooms.  This is referred to as ”participatory journalism”.  In the lecture, I will discuss three European publications that have incorporated participation into their news practices in different ways: Cafébabel (multilingual online magazine based in Paris), Södra Sidan (free weekly print newspaper based in Stockholm) and Voima (alternative monthly magazine based in Helsinki). I will examine these cases through the frame of practice theory, and propose how the concept of  ”practice” can help in examining journalistic work that is more open and complex than before. As a result, I will present four ”anchoring practices” that make participatory journalism possible in all of the studied cases: emotional labour, mobility, resource management and quality control.


21.11. Patterns of Engagement: Identities and Social Movement Organizations in Finland and Malawi (pdf)

Associate Professor Eeva Luhtakallio (& Iddo Tavory), NSR

It has become commonplace in the sociology of mobilization and social movements to note that “identity” is an important aspect of the construction of movements. Although this was a crucial move, and collective identity has become one of the key concepts in analyzing social movements, the use of “identity” has been problematized on different fronts. Methodologically, utilizing notions of collective and personal identity, researchers either explicitly or implicitly operationalize identity with the formation of “I” and “We-narratives,” thus effectively merging actors’ categories of practice, and sociologists’ categories of analysis. Building on the theoretical work of Laurent Thévenot and the notion of plurality of the person in a complex world, this paper focuses on patterns of collective engagement. The pragmatist approach directs us to look at different dimensions of creating commonality on a scale from the most intimate affinities to individual interests and to public expressions of collectivity. By paying attention to the patterning of actors and actions in narratives we go beyond the emphasis on “personal” and “collective” narration forms, and argue that emphasizing the plurality of forms people engage in gives us a more detailed account of the interplay of the person and the collective in the complex social world that carries the label “social movement”. The theoretical argument we present is grounded on a study comparing narratives of climate activists in Finland and Malawi. Opting for such a “comparison of edges” allows us to show how participation in movement organizations can be mediated by very different forms commonality.

28.11. Hurdles Marginalized People Must Cross to Raise Their Voices (pdf)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow Leonardo da Costa Custódio, IASR

Different scholars and civil society actors seem to agree on how a plurality of voices is crucial for the development of healthier democratic environments. In some cases, the widespread popularity and increasing access to digital media (e.g. Internet, mobile technology, the app industry) have appeared as aspects of today’s world which can allow a greater number of people to speak up and therefore engage in different forms of politics. In contribution to these debates, this presentation analyzes how marginalized citizens raise their voices as efforts to act socially and politically in contexts of steep inequalities. Engaging with Nick Couldry’s argument for “sociologies of voice” (2010), I aim at analyzing how low-income and criminalized residents of favelas in Rio de Janeiro develop tactics (De Certeau, 1984) to cross hurdles of discursive and material nature (Carpentie, 2017) that constrain voice-raising efforts. First, I demonstrate what discursive and material marginality mean in unequal Rio de Janeiro by articulating urban studies with theories of public and counterpublics. Then, I identify and analyze tactical actions to overcome criminalizing mainstream discourses, generalized distrust and violence. To organize the discussion about the tactical media activist initiatives, I will divide the argument into three parts: (a) how to communicate and mobilize peer favela residents; (b) how to deal with the discriminating, but also legitimizing role of mainstream media; and (c) how to communicate with non-favela residents.

12.12. Policy Design in the European Union (pdf)

Professor Risto Heiskala, IASR

A publication event: Risto Heiskala & Jari Aro (eds) Policy Design in the European Union. An Empire of Shopkeepers in the Making? (Palgrave 2018) with the editors and some of the contributors will be present.

The book is an edited collection which addresses a paradox at the heart of the European Union: if it is a constantly enlarging empire of governance, how can almost thirty member states design policies as an administrative whole, whilst narrowly approaching all political issues from one economic point of view? The contributors to this collection approach this by studying knowledge production, policy formation and policy implementation in the union. The topics covered include the history of the union, its nature as an empire in the making compared to historical successors as well as current USA and China, formation of union level statistical data and policy documents, paradoxes of fiscal governance, social innovation policy, youth and education policy, energy policy and foreign policy with particular regard to Russia. The concluding chapter outlines five alternative future scenarios for the union extending from collapse and marginalization to the emergence of a federal empire. The book is essential reading for anybody interested in the EU, including students and scholars across a range of disciplines, including sociology, political science, international relations, economics, management studies, public and social policy, science and technology studies, and environmental policy. 


What is the IASR? – The Institute for Advanced Social Research, IASR) is the research collegium of the University of Tampere. It grants annually one- or two-year research positions for Professorial Fellows, Senior Research Fellows and Postdoctoral Research Fellows studying society to promote high-level multidisciplinary research and international interaction in the university.

What is the Speakers Series of the University of Tampere? – The Speakers Series is a series of Studia Generalia Lectures in the Study of Society organized weekly by the University of Tampere Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) in cooperation with the New Social Research Programme (NSR). The lectures are given by the Research Fellows as well as the distinguished guests of the IASR and the NSR. For the programme, please check the IASR website Most doctoral students can also get 2 ECTS for attending a minimum of six IASR Lectures, altogether 6 ECTS at the maximum. These 2 ECTS for attending 6 lectures can be earned during two successive terms.


Speakers Series 2017-2018, Spring

Lecturers' power point presentations (pdf) will be added

IASR lectures from Spring 2016 and earlier lectures available in Radio Moreeni as podcasts here

Time: On Tuesdays, at 16.15-17.45, starting from 9 January 2017
Place: University of Tampere, place to be announced

Programme (subject to change)

Updated on 8 November 2017

16.01. TBA, NSR  (pdf)

(abstract forthcoming)

23.01. TBA, IASR (pdf)

(abstract forthcoming)

30.01. TBA, NSR (pdf)

(abstract forthcoming)

13.02.  TBA, NSR (pdf)

(abstract forthcoming)

20.02. TBA, IASR  (pdf)

(abstract forthcoming)

27.02.  TBA, NSR (pdf)

(abstract forthcoming)

06.03.  TBA, IASR  (pdf)

(asbtract forthcoming)

13.03. TBA, NSR  (pdf)

(abstract forthcoming)

20.03. TBA, IASR (pdf)

(abstract forthcoming)

27.03. TBA, NSR (pdf)

(abstract forthcoming)

03.04. TBA, IASR (pdf)

(abstract forthcoming)

10.04. TBA, NSR (pdf)

(abstract forthcoming)

17.04. TBA, IASR (pdf)

(abstract forthcoming)

24.04. Resilience and the new Governmentalities of the Anthropocene: Mapping, Sensing and Hacking, IASR (pdf)

Professor David Chandler, University of Westminster

(abstract forthcoming)

08.05. TBA, NSR (pdf)

(abstract forthcoming)

15.05. TBA, IASR (pdf)

(abstract forthcoming)


What is the IASR? – The Institute for Advanced Social Research, IASR) is the research collegium of the University of Tampere. It grants annually one- or two-year research positions for Professorial Fellows, Senior Research Fellows and Postdoctoral Research Fellows studying society to promote high-level multidisciplinary research and international interaction in the university.

What are the IASR Lectures? – The IASR Lectures is a series of Studia Generalia Lectures in the Study of Society, which the University of Tampere Institute for Advanced Social Research organizes bimonthly. IASR Lectures are given by research fellows as well as distinguished guests of the institute. Please check the IASR website and bulletin boards regularly. Most doctoral students can also get 2 ECTS for attending a minimum of six IASR Lectures, altogether 6 ECTS at the maximum. These 2 ECTS for attending 6 lectures can be earned during two successive terms.


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