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Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of TampereFaculty of Social Sciences
Tampere Peace Research Institute (TAPRI)

The Body as a Vocabulary of the Political: Political Expression through Acts and Events

Project Leader: Dr. Eeva Puumala

Research Theme:

The project takes its cue from the idea that any view that considers language as a privileged means for political expression constitutes some identities as pre-eminently and prominently political, while erasing certain bodies from the realm of politics. It adopts the kind of ontological understanding of the body suggested by Jean-Luc Nancy. Through this philosophical framework, the project explores asylum seekers’ ways of enacting themselves as political beings. By developing a methodology of exposure, the study aims at conceptualizing the body as a site where both the modern political agent and the modern society take form and exploring further how (political) life is being performed through the body. The empirical data through which these questions are approached consists ethnographic fieldwork in reception centres, a project of participatory photography with asylum seekers and video recordings from official asylum interviews and the related asylum decisions. The data is used to explore the body as a site of both political connection and contestation.


Academy of Finland (SA266009) 1.9.2013-31.8.2016

Project End Year:

The body as a vocabulary of the political: Acts and events as political expression (Academy of Finland, 2013–2018)

Publications (Selected):

  • Puumala, Eeva & Anitta Kynsilehto (forthcoming 2017) “Turvapaikanhakijoiden ja paperittomien haastattelu”. In M. Hyvärinen, J. Ruusuvuori & P. Nikander (eds.) Haastattelu 2.0. Tampere: Vastapaino.
  • Puumala, Eeva (2016) Asylum seekers, sovereignty, and the senses of the international: A politico-corporeal struggle. London & New York: Routledge. Publication in December.
  • Väyrynen, Tarja; Anitta Kynsilehto, Eeva Puumala, Samu Pehkonen & Tiina Vaittinen (2016) Choreographies of resistance: Mobile bodies and relational politics. Rowman & Littlefield. Publication in December.
  • Puumala, Eeva (2016) “Improvised Research”. In Christopher Hewitt, Mari Krappala & Anni Välimäki (eds.) Floating platforms. Encounters between Performance Art and Science. Turku New Performance Festival. E-publication, pp. 93–101. Available at:
  • Kynsilehto, Anitta & Eeva Puumala (2016) “Intimate Economies of State Practice: Materialities of detention in Finland”, in Deirdre Conlon & Nancy Hiemstra (eds.) Intimate economies: Critical perspectives on immigration detention, pp. 203-218. London & New York: Routledge.
  • Väyrynen, Tarja & Eeva Puumala (2015) “Bodies of War, the Past Continuous and (Ar)rhytmic Experiences”, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, DOI: 10.1177/0304375415612274.
  • Puumala, Eeva & Anitta Kynsilehto (2015) “Does the Body Matter? Determining the Right to Asylum and the Corporeality of Political Communication”, European Journal of Cultural Studies DOI: 10.1177/1367549415592898.


Eeva Puumala
Tel. +358(0)50 318 6758
Tampere Peace Research Institute,
Kalevantie 5, Tampere
FI-33014 University of Tampere (Finland)
Visiting address: Linna building, 6th floor, room 6076
Visiting address: Linna building, 6th floor
Postal address: TAPRI, School of Social Sciences and Humanities
FI-33014 University of Tampere, Finland
tel. +358 (0)3 355 111
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Last update: 22.9.2016 10.03 Muokkaa

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