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Insurance and the Problem of Insecurity

Insurance and the Problem of Insecurity

Site of research: School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Tampere

Researcher in charge: Professor Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen

Title: Insurance and the Problem of Insecurity (abbr. INSPRINS)

Funding: Academy of Finland

Duration: 2015–2018

The project studies insurance as a key means for encountering the problem of insecurity in the contemporary societies. Because of its wide usability and efficiency, during the past one hundred years powerful institutions and businesses have been built around insurance technology. On the one hand, insurance has been at the core of welfare state construction, providing a tool with which to operationalise the ideas of shared responsibility and social justice in face of insecurity. On the other hand, during the same time, insurance has become an influential sector within capitalist economies, as it has channelled private savings into huge funds that affect the whole global economy.

Although in recent years there has emerged a new sociology of insurance, which richly thematises these questions, some key issues have still drawn too little attention. To begin with, in social scientific analyses, the private and public side of insurance are still too often examined separately, thus leading to an ignorance of their fundamental intertwinement. Second, the sociology of insurance has not often been able to analyse at one go the different scales on which insurance rationality can operate. Third, the co-dependence of different infrastructures and insurance remains too little studied.

In addressing these themes, the INSPRINS project aims at providing a more holistic view on how insurance is used in the contemporary society to manage the problem of insecurity. The main questions of the project are the following: How is the problem of insecurity encountered and managed with the use of various insurance tools? And what kind of societal effects does the reliance on insurance rationality have? These questions are studied in five subprojects which operationalise and concretise the main questions into empirical research cases and respective subquestions:


- How do economic, political and moral considerations affect each other in health insurance?

- How do insurance experts manage uncertainty regarding disability insurance and rehabilitation benefits?

- What is the role of insurance in the management of energy infrastructure systems and their security?

- How is the insecurity created by climate change actively incorporated in reinsurance companies’ business practices?


Project members:

Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen, Professor of Sociology
School of Sciences and Humanities
33014 University of Tampere, Finland
+358 50 318 7312

Lotta Hautamäki

Jyri Liukko, Senior researcher, D.Soc.Sc.
Finnish Centre for Pensions
Research Department
00065 Eläketurvakeskus
+358 50 598 8665
Twitter: @JyriLiukko

Antti Silvast, Research Fellow
Science, Technology and Innovation Studies
School of Social and Political Science
The University of Edinburgh
1.01A Old Surgeons' Hall
High School Yards
EH1 1LZ, Edinburgh, UK

Liina Sointu, Researcher, M. Soc.
School of Social Sciences and Humanities
33014 University of Tampere
+358 50 318 7169

Mikko J. Virtanen

Salla Jarske, Research Intern 05/2015-07/2015
School of Social Sciences and Humanities
33014 University of Tampere

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Last update: 9.7.2015 17.16 Muokkaa

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