Staff Contact Information

The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights
Faculty of Law
P.O. BOX 4 (visiting address: Yliopistonkatu 3)
Tel: +358 (0)29 4123140


Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr. Phil. (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Reetta Toivanen
P.O. Box 4, Yliopistonkatu 3 (6th floor)
Tel. + 358 (0)2941 23737

Dr. Reetta Toivanen (b. 1969) is an Adjunct Professor for social and cultural anthropology and a Finnish Academy Research Fellow at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights at the University of Helsinki. She is also a non-resident senior research fellow at the European Centre for Minority Issues (Flensburg). She is involved as a Sociology Expert in the EU 7th Framework research Project ELDIA (European Language Diversity for All) and functions as the national coordinator of the EU’s Life-long learning project Qualirom (revitalizing Roma language). She is the National Expert on Finland in the Socio-economic Experts Network of the European Commission. After successfully completing her studies in Helsinki in 1994 (MA) and 1995 (Licentiate), she was awarded a doctoral degree at the Humboldt University Berlin in 2000. She was a post-doc fellow at the Center of European Studies at Harvard University 2000-01 after which she worked 2000-03 as a senior researcher at the Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi. In 2003-07 she led a research project at the Humboldt University Berlin on human rights education and minorities. 2007-09 she was involved in Power in Finland research project as a senior researcher at the Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism and worked on Sámi and Roma in Finland. 2009-2010 she conducted research on terrorism expertise for the Centre of Excellence in Global Governance Research in Helsinki. She is member of the Editorial board for FAO Land Tenure Journal.
Toivanen’s major fields of research and expertise are ethnography, anthropology of law, human rights, ethnicity, ethnic and national minorities, anti-discrimination in Europe, anti-terrorism, human rights teaching, critical feminist theory.

On "Glocal" governance: On the meanings and consequences of the "vernacularization" of Human Rights Concepts
Duration: 13.07.2011 - 31.08.2015
Funding: Academy of Finland
Researcher: Dr. Reetta Toivanen, Academy Researcher

Summary: This research project aims at understanding of how minority rights are vernacularized in municipalities where inhabitants belong to different majority and minority populations. The special interest is to consider the power of transnational networks influencing the local interpretations of international rights discourses. The anthropological field research will be conducted in Inari, Laksev and Lovozero, which are all multiethnic and multilingual municipalities in the Barents Sea area.

Her recent publications include:

Tarinoita yhdenvertaisuudesta – valta ja vähemmistöt antropologisen tutkimuksen kohteena (stories about equality: power and minorities under anthropological enquiry), OIKEUS 2/2012, 271-277.
Aneignung von juristischen Begriffen: Kulturelle Űbersetzung von Menschenrechten in: Keinz, Annika, Schönberger, Klaus & Wolf, Vera (eds.), Kulturelle Übersetzungen, Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 2012, 123-137.
Rethinking the concept of effective participation: Are minorities similar to women? Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, Vol 9, Issue 2, 2010, 1-31.
Counterterrorism and Expert Regimes: Some Human Rights Concerns. Critical Studies on Terrorism No. 2/2010, 277-294.
The politics of terminology: human rights education vs. civic education, International Journal for Education Law and Policy, 2009/5, 37-44
From Ignorance to effective exclusion? The role of ethnic and national minorities within the Finnish consensus culture, in: P. Kivisto & P. A. Kraus (eds.) Challenging Power: Equality, Culture and Minorities, New York London: Palgrave, in print.
Verplantzung von juristischen Begriffen: Kulturelle Űbersetzung von Menschenrechten in: Keinz, A., Schönberger, K. & Wolf, V. (eds.), Kulturelle Übersetzungen, Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 2011.
Avoiding an obvious conflict? ‘Religion–neutrality’ in Human Rights Education in Europe in: K. Engebretson, M. deSousa, G. Durka & L. Gearon (eds.) International Handbook on Inter-religious education for human rights, Amsterdam: Springer, 2010 (together with Claudia Mahler), 949-969.
The United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education and the Inclusion of National Minorities, Frankfurt aM: Peter Lang Verlag, 2009. (Ed. together with C. Mahler & A. Mihr)
Equally Diverse: Comparing language and culture minorities in the Russian Federation and the European Union, Springer Language Education and Linguistics, (edited together with J. Saarikivi, H. Marten & M. Riessler), in process.

Profile in the University of Helsinki Research Database TUHAT