Development studies

Kehitysmaatutkimus

Development studies examines development, poverty, inequality as well as social, political, environmental and cultural changes and continuities in the Global South from a multidisciplinary perspective. At the University of Helsinki, development studies focuses on topics such as the theory and history of development, development policy, global justice, and the relationship between development and culture, gender, space and the environment as well as the global political economy. Development studies has expanded from being strictly centred on the developing countries towards a more holistic understanding and exploration of new creative opportunities and alternatives for the future.

What is development studies?

The discipline of development studies examines development, poverty, inequality as well as social, political, environmental and cultural changes and continuities in the Global South from a multidisciplinary perspective. Development studies has expanded from being strictly centred on the developing countries to include diverse South-North relations in our globalising world. In Finland, development studies exists as a separate discipline only at the University of Helsinki, where it is a well-established social science.  

Read more in our statement about the discipline on our blog site.

Multidisciplinary research

The term ‘developing countries’ is used of Asian, African and Latin American countries that were connected to the world economy through colonialism and to the global system as possessions of European colonial powers. Previous research emphasised the differences between developing countries and “developed”, modern countries. Today, this distinction is challenged by research approaches representing postmodernism, postcolonialism and development criticism. The mutual diversity and differences of developing countries have also drawn more attention. Contemporary research explores, for example, the effects of globalisation, environmental change and development policy on the opportunities of people in developing countries to make choices about their lives.

At the University of Helsinki, development studies is a fairly new and international discipline which has a multidisciplinary background. Its current focus areas include the following:

  • Globalisation and development  
  • The environment, development and political ecology 
  • Natural resources policy, resource-based economy and environmental management 
  • Cities in developing countries 
  • Migration and mobility 
  • State formation, politics and power
  • Social movements, civil society and alternative notions and practices of development 
  • Conflicts and development 
  • Sustainable development and justice 

For more information about research and grant-funded researchers, see the university research portal

Professors
BG
Barry
Gills
Professor
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies
AN
Anja
Nygren
Professor
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies

Assistant Professors and Associate Professors
Markus
Kröger
Associate Professor
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies, Political science

Associate Professor of Development Studies and Academy Research Fellow

FO
Franklin
Obeng-Odoom
Associate Professor
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies

University Lecturers
MH
Minna
Hakkarainen
University Lecturer
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies
PM
Paola
Minoia
University Lecturer
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies, Social and economic geography, Geography, Environmental sciences, Environmental sciences, Political science
AP
Aili
Pyhälä
University Lecturer
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies, Environmental sciences, Other social sciences
Eija
Ranta
University Lecturer
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies

Toimin kehitysmaatutkimuksen yliopistonlehtorina (ma.) ja tieteenalavastaavana. Lisäksi toimin yhteiskunnallisen muutoksen koulutusohjelman johtoryhmässä ja Helsingin yliopiston tasa-arvo- ja yhdenvertaisuustoimikunnan varajäsenenä.

Tutkin kehityspolitiikkaa, kehityksen vaihtoehtoja, valtion muodostusta ja kansalaisyhteiskunnan asemaa globaalissa etelässä. Lisäksi kiinnostuksiini kuuluvat Latinalaisen Amerikan politiikka ja alkuperäiskansojen oikeudet sekä maista etenkin Bolivia, Kuuba ja Kenia.

Academy Research Fellows
Marjaana
Jauhola
Academy Research Fellow
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies, Others, Political science

Feminist Global Politics – Visual Ethnography – eyes on global politics of post-conflict/disaster reconstruction

Academy of Finland Fellow (2015-2020), Senior Lecturer, Adjunct Professor
Profile: https://blogs.helsinki.fi/marjaanajauhola/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mjauhola

University Researchers
AL
Anu
Lounela
University Researcher
Development Studies
Field of science Social anthropology
FQ
Florencia
Quesada Avendano
University Researcher
Development Studies
Field of science History and Archaeology, Development Studies

Postdoctoral Researchers
Johanna
Eklund
Postdoctoral researcher
Development Studies
Field of science Geosciences, Ecology, evolutionary biology, Forestry
JH
Johanna
Hohenthal
Postdoctoral researcher
Development Studies
Field of science Geography, Environmental sciences, Development Studies
OO
Ossi
Ollinaho
Postdoctoral researcher
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies
TV
Tuija Marita
Veintie
Postdoctoral researcher
Development Studies
Field of science Educational sciences, Development Studies

Doctoral Students
CC
Christopher
Chagnon
Doctoral Student
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies
JG
Johanna
Götz
Doctoral Student
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies
MK
SK
Sanna
Komi
Doctoral Student
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies
Mira
Käkönen
Doctoral Student
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies

Olen tohtorikoulutettava kehitysmaatutkimuksen oppiaineessa. Tutkin ympäristö- ja kehityskysymyksiä valtasuhteiden näkökulmasta. Väitöskirjassani tarkastelen veden ja ilmastonmuutoksen hallinnan yhteenkietoutumista Mekongin jokialueella Kaakkois-Aasiassa. Kiinnostuksen kohteinani ovat poliittinen ekologia, ympäristökysymykset globaalin oikeudenmukaisuuden näkökulmasta, luonnonvarojen ja valtakeskittymien muodostumisen prosessit sekä veden, ilmastonmuutoksen ja haavoittuvuuden politiikka. Olen työskennellyt useissa ympäristö- ja kehityskysymyksiin liittyvissä tutkimushankkeissa Kambodzhassa, Laosissa ja Vietnamissa.

AP
Attila
Paksi
Doctoral Student
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies
SS
Saila-Maria
Saaristo
Doctoral Student
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies, Social anthropology

Saila-Maria Saaristo is a PhD Researcher in the Doctoral Programme "Political, Societal and Regional Change" at the University of Helsinki and the Doctoral Programme "Democracy in the 21st Century" of the University of Coimbra. Her current research focuses on evictions and resistance against evictions in Lisbon. In the project, she examines occupations of social housing units as well as social movements who support the residents, asking up to what extent these practices of resistance are transformative to existing conditions of social life. She is interested in urban practices of resistance in the current context of financialized capitalism, in different manifestations of urban inequality, depending on gender, ethnicity and social class, and in promises and opportunities of a genuine exchange of experiences, practices and theories between the South and the North.

AS
Anna
Salmivaara
Doctoral Student
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies
AT
Antti
Tarvainen
Doctoral Student
Development Studies
Field of science Development Studies
MV
Marketta
Vuola
Doctoral Student
Development Studies