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University of Helsinki Department of Geography
Department of Geography

Kaisa Kepsu, MSc

PhD student, Project researcher
Secretary of Nordenskiöld-samfundet i Finland r.f.

Suomeksi | På svenska

Department of Geography
PO Box 64 (Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2)
00014 University of Helsinki

Tel: +358 (0)9 191 50785
Fax. +358 (0)9 191 50760


Research interests

  • Migration
  • Population geography
  • Political geography (identity, boundaries, language)
  • Minorities
  • The Finland Swedes
  • Finland , Sweden and Spain
  • Development geography
  • Urban regional differentiation (especially Helsinki)


Research project

At present I am doing research on contemporary Finland-Swedish migration. The working title of my thesis is Finland-Swedish migration – changing identities and settlement patterns of a minority. My doctoral thesis, which hopefully will be finalized in 2007, will consist of four articles, each one relating to the migration and settlement pattern of the Finland-Swedish minority in Finland. In the light of these themes the current minority position and its changes will be analyzed on different levels. The thesis will explore the consequences a changing settlement will have on the identity and the minority’s future. The articles will move between different geographical levels – from international to local. On a national level, the changes in the geographical language border between Swedish and Finnish speakers will be examined. The last article will look more closely on how visible the Finland-Swedes are in the Helsinki metropolitan area, the majority-minority relations and the language borders of everyday life.

My research is carried out in a joint project between the departments of geography at the universities of Helsinki and Uppsala. Our project,”Swedish-speaking Finns in Finland and Sweden: A geographical study of the changed identity and mobility of a minority”, in turn is a part of a bilateral humanist and social-science programme Interaction Across the Gulf of Bothnia. The Academy of Finland is the main financier of the project.

Part of my research is conducted in a special project by the Academy of Finland, "Urban spatial differentiation and the neighbourhood effect”. It focuses new forms of urban differentiation within the Helsinki region. My research is part of a sub-study that studies spatial socioeconomic mobility as well as residential concentration of different social groups and ethnic minorities, and the possible neighbourhood effects they may have.

I have also received funding for my research from Ella och Georg Ehrnrooths stiftelse, Svenska Kulturfonden, Helsingin kaupunki, Suomalainen Konkordia-liitto, Nordenskiöld-samfundet and Nordisk Forskerutdanningsakademi (NorFA).


Publications and presentations

Hedberg, Charlotta & Kaisa Kepsu (accepted for publication). Identity in Motion: The Process of Finland-Swedish Migration to Sweden. In Raento, Pauliina. (ed.): Nation, State, and Identity in Finland. National Identities.

Kepsu, Kaisa (in press). Finlandssvenska flyttningsmönster och språkgränser. In Junila, Marianne & Charles Westin (eds.): Mellan majoriteter och minoriteter: Om migration, makt och mening. Forskningsprogrammet svenskt i Finland, finskt i Sverige, Volym 2. Svenska litteratursällskapet, Helsingfors.

Kepsu, Kaisa & John Westerholm (2005). Finland-Swedish Identity under Pressure: Challenges for an ‘Old Minority’. In Raento, Pauliina. (ed.): Finnishness in Finland and North America: Constituents, Changes, and Challenges, 72-97. Aspasia Books, Toronto & Journal of Finnish Studies 9: 2.

Losing ground? Finland-Swedish migration and changing minority positions. Presentation at the Inaugural Nordic Geographers Meeting: Power over Time-Space. Lund, Sweden 13.5.2005.

Migration and Its Impact on the Finland-Swedish Identity in Finland (2004). Presentation at Finn Forum VII, An Interdisciplinary Conference in Finnish and Finnish-North American Studies, Cultural Encounters: Migration, Ethnicity, and Identities. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 29.10.2004.

Identity in Motion: Finland-Swedish Migration to Sweden (2004). Presentation at Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), Philadelphia 17.3.2004.

Hedberg, Charlotta & Kaisa Kepsu (2003). Migration as a cultural expression? The case of the Finland-Swedish minority’s migration to Sweden. Geografiska Annaler, Series B, 85:2, 67-84.

Contemporary migration of the Finland-Swedish minority to Sweden 1976-1999 (2002). Presentation at 12th Nordic Migration Conference in Helsinki 10. -12.10.2002.

Kepsu, Kaisa (2000). ”Katalonien är nationen - Spanien är staten”: en studie i spansk regionalism. 74 p. Masters thesis, University of Helsinki.