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university of tampere: faculty of social sciences: contact information: personnel:
Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of TampereFaculty of Social Sciences

Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen

Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen

Professor of Sociology

Phone: 050 318 7312
Room: LINNA 5085

Office hours: By appointment


Academic Profile

Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen is professor of sociology at the Tampere University since 2012, and currently the Head of Discipline. His previous appointments include the posts as fellow (2005-2009; 2012-2014) and as the Deputy Director (2013-2014) at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, and as professor of sociology at the University of Helsinki (2009-2012).

Lehtonen’s orientation to social sciences is that of conceptually informed empiricism. This implies posing basic questions of social philosophy in research sites provided by empirical case studies; another name for this approach is doing ‘fieldwork in philosophy’. His main interest areas have been the sociology of insurance, risk and uncertainty; science and technology studies; economic sociology; the sociology of consumption and social theory.  

Lehtonen’s present work centres on three topic areas. First, he works on the management of uncertainty and on the uses of financial technologies. Especially, he has examined how life, health and death are commodified in the contemporary practices of insurance, and how the dynamic relationship between social security and markets shapes the conditions of existence for people.

Second, Lehtonen is involved in a project that examines how waste and waste management condition the present day western societies’ way of life. Lehtonen’s case study, developed jointly with Professor Olli Pyyhtinen (Tampere University), analyses freeganism and dumpster diving, that is, practices of acquiring food stuffs from trash bins. As an alternative way of life, freeganism brings very clearly to the fore contemporary ideals and practices related to consumption, food, cleanliness, gift giving, proprietary rights and waste management. 

Finally, Lehtonen’s theoretical work addresses, from many angles, the basic question concerning the nature of collectives. He has published a monograph in Finnish on the theme of materiality and social sciences (Aineellinen yhteisö, in English The material community, Tutkijaliitto 2008). In addition, he has published studies on authors such as Georg Simmel, Bruno Latour, Michel Serres, Gilles Deleuze and Ian Hacking, among others.



Related to the theme area of risk, uncertainty, insurance and welfare, Lehtonen currently leads a research teams that is funded as part of the Creative adaptation to wicked socio-ecological disruptions (WISE) consortium (Academy of Finland, STN, 2018-2022). This consortium is led by Professor Janne Hukkinen at the University of Helsinki, and Lehtonen is its Deputy Consortium Leader.

Previous externally funded research projects directed by Lehtonen include Insurance and the problem of insecurity (Academy of Finland, 2015–2018), Managing insecurities: risk and technologies of welfare (Academy of Finland, 2009–2011), and Family, security, and the ethos of welfare (The University of Helsinki Three Year Research Funding, 2006–2009).



Lehtonen’s current teaching responsibilities include Introduction to Sociology (YKT4.3), a lecture course on the Management of Uncertainty (YKTM6.3) and the directing of both Graduate and Postgraduate seminars in Sociology (the latter with Eeva Luhtakallio). In addition, Lehtonen directs (jointly with Risto Heiskala and Arto Laitinen) a reading group where the autumn term was spent on studying Carl Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political and Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition, and the spring term investigating Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan (FILT10).


Selected Publications

 On insurance, risk and uncertainty

  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Domesticating insurance, financialising family lives. The case of private health insurance for children in Finland. Cultural Studies. 31 (5) 2017: 685–711.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Objectifying climate change. Weather-related catastrophes as risks and opportunities. Political Theory. 45 (1) 2017: 32–51.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K. & J. Liukko: Producing solidarity, inequality and exclusion through insurance. Res Publica. 21 (2) 2015: 155–169.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K. & I. Van Hoyweghen: Insurance and the economization of uncertainty. Journal of Cultural Economy. Vol. 7 (4) 2014: 532–540.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K.: Picturing how life insurance matters. Journal of Cultural Economy. Vol. 7 (3) 2014: 308-333.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Epävarmuuden talous. Hyvinvoinnin välityksistä ja infrastruktuureista. (Economy of Uncertainty. On the mediations and infrastructures of welfare) Sosiologia 50 (1) 2013: 51-60.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K. & J. Liukko: The forms and limits of insurance solidarity. Journal of Business Ethics. Vol. 103 (3) 2011: 33–44.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K. & J. Liukko: Justifications for commodified security. The promotion of private life insurance in Finland between 1945–1990. Acta Sociologica, Vol. 53 (4) 2010: 371–386.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: The insured home as the foundation of society. Private insurance and everyday economics in Finland during the 1950’s. In Johansson & Saarikangas (eds) Homes in Transformation. Dwelling, Moving, Belonging. SKS, Helsinki 2009, 74–99.


On waste, waste management and the history of hygiene

  • Lehtonen, T.-K. & O. Pyyhtinen: From trash to treasure: Valuing waste in dumpster diving. Valuation Studies 2018, (accepted for publication).
  • Lehtonen, T.-K. & O. Pyyhtinen: Roskisdyykkauksen objektit ja elämänmuodon rajat. (The objects of dumpster diving and the limits of the form of life.) Niin & näin, 85(2), 2015, 33–37.
  • Jauho, M. & Lehtonen, T.-K: Paha bakteeri, hyvä äiti ja normaali perhe vuosisadanvaihteen terveysvalistuksessa. (Bad bacteria, good mothers and normal families.) Tiede & edistys 23:1, 1998; 11–25.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Bakteerit ja henkisten ruttotautien siemenet (Bacteria and the seeds of a mental plague). In Jout­sivuo & Mikkeli (eds.): Terveyden lähteillä. The Finnish Historical Society, Helsinki 1995.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Puhtaan elämän jäljillä. Huoli hygieniasta suomalaisissa terveydenhoitolehdissä 1889–1900. (In search of a clean life: The concern for hygiene in Finnish health journals in 1889–1900.) National Consumer Research Centre, Helsinki 1995.


On social theory

  • Adkins, L & T.-K. Lehtonen: Price: An introduction. Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory. 19 (2) 2018: 109–116.
  • Hämäläinen, N. & T.-K. Lehtonen: Latour’s Empirical Metaphysics. Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory.17 (1) 2016: 20–37.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Serres, objektit ja maailmaobjektit. (Serres, objects and world-objects.) Niin & näin <> 2015.
  • Pyyhtinen, O. & Lehtonen, T.-K: Michel Serres ja kollektiivi. (Michel Serres and the Collective) In Pyykkönen & Kauppinen (eds): 1900-luvun ranskalainen yhteiskuntateoria, Gaudeamus, Helsinki 2015, 239–258.
  • Valkonen, J., T.-K. Lehtonen, & O. Pyyhtinen: Sosiologista materiaalioppia. Pääkirjoitus. (Sociological lessons on materiality. Editorial.) Sosiologia 50 (3) 2013: 217–221.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: How does materiality matter for the social sciences? In Colas & Kharkhordin (eds) The Materiality of Res Publica. How to Do Things with Publics, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Cambridge 2009, 271–288.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Aineellinen yhteisö. (The Material Community.) Tutkijaliitto, Helsinki 2008.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K. & O. Pyyhtinen: On Simmel’s conception of philosophy. Continental Philosophy Review, Vol. 41(3) 2008: 301–322.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Hautaaminen perustana. (Burial as foundation) Tiede & edistys 32:4, 2006, 306–326.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Kaupungin aineksia. (What’s the stuff that cities are made of?) Yhdyskuntasuunnittelu 44:2, 2006, 6–23.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Sosiologia ja ja ja ja… Tuhat Deleuzea. (Sociology and and and and... Thousand Deleuzes) Megafoni <>, 2006.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Muistaminen, muistuttaminen ja vastamuisti. (Making people remember: memory and counter-memory) Tiede & edistys 30:1, 2005, 46–59.
  • Bruno Latour: Iconoclash: Two Years After. An interview with Bruno Latour. Y. Haila & T.-K. Lehtonen. Framework: the Finnish Art Review, 2/2004
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Historiallisesta ontologiasta (On historical ontology). Tiede & edistys 28:1, 2003, 1–11
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Musiikkimaku ja intohimon välitykset. Antoine Hennionin esittely. (Taste for music and passionate mediations: an introduction to Antoine Hennion) Tiede & edistys 26:3, 2001, 198–203.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Kuinka monta meitä on? Kollektiivin koettelua kolmessa Bruno Latourin tutkimuksessa. (How many are we? The collective on trial in three studies by Bruno Latour) Tiede & edistys 25:4, 2000, 276–295.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Virtuaalisuudesta (On virtuality). Tiede & edistys 25:1, 2000, 1–16
  • Koivusalo, M., Lehtonen, T.-K. & Ojakangas, M: Gilles Deleuze. Kat­saus tuo­tantoon. (Gilles Deleuze: a review of his works) Tiede & edistys 21:2, 1996, 11–25.


On consumer practices

  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Tavarat ja vapaus. (Things, commodities and freedom.) Tiede & edistys 40 (2) 2015, 103–122.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Thrift. In Southerton (ed): The Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture, SAGE, London 2011, 3: 1454–1456.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Tavaroiden kanssa. Kulutustutkimus ja materiaalisuus. (Living with things. Consumer research and materiality) Sosiologia 43(4), 2006, 306–318.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: The domestication of new technologies as a set of trials. Journal of Consumer Culture Vol 3(3) 2003, 363–385.
  • Lehtonen T.-K. & M. Pantzar: The ethos of thrift. The promotion of bank saving in Finland during the 1950’s. Journal of Material Culture Vol. 7(2) 2002, 211–231.
  • Koskinen, I. Kurvinen, E. & Lehtonen, T.-K: Mobile image. (Translated by Kaski, Keinänen & Absetz.) IT Press, Helsinki 2002.
  • Rantala, K. & T.-K. Lehtonen: Dancing on the tightrope. Everyday aesthetics in the practices of shopping, gym exercise and art making. European Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 4(1) 2001, 69–83.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Desire, self-discipline and pleasure. The tension between freedom and restriction in shopping. Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol 9, 2000, 197–225.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Any Room for Aesthetics? Shopping practices of heavily indebted consumers. Journal of Material Culture Vol. 4(3) 1999, 243–262.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K: Rahan vallassa. Ostoksilla käyminen ja markkinatalouden arki. (The subjects of money: shopping and the everyday life in market economy) Tutkijaliitto, Helsinki 1999.
  • Lehtonen, T.-K. & Mäenpää, P: Shopping in the East Centre Mall. In Falk & Campbell (eds­) Shopping Experience. SAGE, London 1997, 136–165.

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