Professor Johanna Kantola joining the teaching in ENS Masters Program

Johanna Kantola started working as a Professor of European Societies and their Politics in the Centre for European Studies (CES) in the University of Helsinki in November 2022.
Research and Teaching Interest

“My research interests are in gender and politics; European integration; European Union’s actors, institutions and governance; gender equality policies and intersectionality; and in democracy, equality and anti-gender politics.

I have had teaching jobs both in political science and in gender studies in different universities in Finland in the past and my research has always had a strong focus on the European Union. I defended my PhD in Politics in the University of Bristol, England, nearly 20 years ago, in 2004.

For the past four years, I have been directing a big European Research Council funded research project called EUGenDem. We have been studying the European Parliament and its political groups from the point of view of gendered practices and policies.

The research has been really timely and exciting. On one hand, the Parliament is a strong defender of equality, democracy and human rights. On the other hand, opposition to gender equality has increased and the far-right and radical right populists have many seats in the parliament.

We gathered a large qualitative data set of 150 interviews with MEPs and staff in the parliament in 2018-2022 as well as a parliamentary ethnography and large numbers of policy papers and documents. I personally learnt a lot in terms of data-gathering and analysis!

We have been able to study both very basic political science and EU studies questions about the political groups, such as how the political groups are formed and what are the internal decision- and policy making practices. Our data has allowed us to look at not just formal but especially informal practices and institutions of the political groups. We have analysed many contemporary issues such as the impact of Brexit and the way in which policy was done in the parliament during Covid-19 crisis. And of course we have looked at how feminist politics is both done and opposed in the parliament.

I really look forward to teaching on these issues in the ENS MA programme from autumn 2023 onwards. One of the courses that I plan to teach will be an advanced course on European Parliament and the political dynamics created by its political groups. I’m enthusiastic about the course because of the timeliness created by the European Parliamentary elections to be held in May 2024. Together with the students we will be able to explore the different political group positions as well as different member state dynamics around the upcoming elections.”