I am a political scientist (DSocSci), working at the intersections of political theory and empirical analysis of contemporary issues, events, and concerns in global politics. I am a first-generation college graduate, originally from Tampere, Finland. I currently live in Helsinki with my partner and kid. For the fall semester 2022, I am staying in Ithaca, New York while visiting Cornell University. Previously, I have lived in New York City, Verona, and Aberystwyth.
The basic premise of my scholarly approach is that in order to make sense of current political realities in a meaningful way, one needs to move reflectively between conceptual, theoretical, and empirical levels of analysis. Combining research on concrete incidents with critical reflection on the basic concepts of our political vocabulary, their historical roots and theoretical underpinnings, is imperative. Equally, political (or IR) theory worth its salt must be capable of engaging with the key experiences of its time.
I tend to think, then, that the empirical/theoretical divide does not usually sustain itself very well. My own publications have covered, among others, the following topics and issues:
- The political thought of Hannah Arendt, alongside other 20th century and contemporary theories (e.g. democratic theory, biopolitics, feminist thought) and theorists (e.g. Jacques Rancière, Richard Rorty)
- The role of facts, truth, and experience in democratic politics and political analysis
- Resilience as a security political notion
- European reactions to the Arab Spring and the global implications of the Egyptian 2011 uprising
- Higher education policies and the societal role of the university
- The impact of the ecologial crisis (or the Anthropocene) on political practices, concepts, and theories
In recent years, I have worked on a project focusing on the devaluing of truth and factuality in democratic politics, on the one hand, and the impact of climate change and the Anthropocene for politics and political thought, on the other. I have sought to develop an understanding of facts as an “immaterial infrastructure” that play a limited but indispensable role in democratic politics. Relatedly, I have defined “post-truth” as an erosion of such infrastructure, combined with what I call “careless speech” as a rhetorical style. The project also overlaps with my previous work on resilience, especially in reference to the politics of climate change (denialism) and an idea of “expanded critical infrastructure” developed in both.
I currently work at the University of Helsinki in the Academy of Finland Center of Excellence in Law, Idenityty, and the European Narratives. I am also a research fellow at the Hannah Arendt Center for Political Studies at the University of Verona (where was a visiting scholar for May-July 2019). As of 2021, I am an Associate Editor of Arendt Studies.
Before my current position, I worked as a Senior Lecturer in Political Science and a Kone Foundation funded post-doctoral researcher at the University of Jyväskylä, as well as in the Academy of Finland research consortium Instrumental Narratives: The Limits of Storytelling and New Story-Critical Narrative Theory. Relatedly, I’m affiliated with Narrare: Centre for Interdisciplinary Narrative Studies at Tampere University. In 2018, I worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Tampere in a research project funded by the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities.
I have previously held positions as a visiting fellow at The Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College (New York) and as a visiting researcher at the Tampere Peace Research Institute. I defended my dissertation on the concept of experience in Arendt’s thought and its value for contemporary political/feminist theory at the University of Jyväskylä in 2017. I received my MSocSc in International Relations from the University of Tampere in 2012.
In addition to academic publications, I seek to make my work available to a broader audience of citizens and decision-makers. I have written several short essays (see here) aimed for the general public, a policy brief, and discussed my research with policy-makers both in Finland and at the European Commission (through EC/JRC project “Reframing the EU”).
I teach both at undergraduate and MA levels on a range of topics. As a senior lecturer of political science at the University of Jyväskylä, I taught to BA seminars and Classics of Political Thought. Between 2017–2019, I taught Peace and Conflict Research for the Bachelor’s Programme in Politics and Communication at the University of Helsinki (5 ECTS, approximately 80 students per year). Previously, I have taught courses/seminars on contentious action (Arab Spring, Occupy, Indignados) and on political philosophy (Arendt, Aristotle). I also have completed the introductory course to university pedagogy (Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 10 ECTS / 2019).
I am supervising three doctoral dissertations (second supervisor).