Political science

YK:n turvallisuusneuvoston hätäistunto Syyrian tilanteesta 7.4.2017 Photo: Manuel Elias, UN

The discipline of political science explores the exercise and legitimisation of political power. Those who pursue and exercise power include candidates in elections, members of political leadership bodies, heads of state, appointed leaders in the public sector, government employees, political parties, interest groups, large companies, states and international organisations. At the University of Helsinki, teaching in political science is divided into two study tracks: political and organisational studies and world politics.

Research in political science examines global and international as well as national and local issues. Research topics include phenomena within the public and governmental sphere, such as elections and referenda, and political institutions from the UN and EU to nation states and municipalities. The discipline also investigates political opinions, parties, non-governmental and labour market organisations, civic movements, and the political activities of Finnish and international companies. In addition, research in political science analyses anything from gender equality to populism.

Research in political science has a vivid connection to social philosophy as well as ideological and conceptual history when discussing the field, nature, ethics and other features of politics. At the University of Helsinki, political science is based on a pluralist philosophy and encompasses empirical statistical research as well as social criticism and interpretative research that applies more recent approaches.

What is political science?

The Finnish (and Swedish) name of the discipline of political science at the University of Helsinki, yleinen valtio-oppi (allmän statslära), is based on the German Allgemeine Staatslehre. The discipline also studies the political aspects of governance and organisations as well as international relations, which are often distinguished from political science and treated as separate disciplines in other countries.

A broad and changing field of research

As an academic discipline, political science is rooted both in social philosophy and in the needs of the late 19th century to educate civil servants for the service of the modern state. However, the areas of research within political science has since expanded considerably. With changes in Finland and the world, research in political science has taken on new issues and phenomena. Current research explores such topics as supranational integration, terrorism, the rise of populism and the effects of social media on democracy. The state, political institutions, public power and international relations have remained subjects of research throughout the discipline’s history. 

Political and organisational studies encompasses politics and governance in the broad sense. The research also examines democracy, political ideologies, comparative politics, political philosophy, and the theories and concepts of politics. Another research topic is the European Union.

Research in world politics examines diplomacy and the formation of the foreign policy of various countries and other actors, the causes of peace, political violence and war, as well as the development of a global political economy and its co-management. Research in world politics covers a wider area than just “international relations”. The focus is not only on international or global politics, but also on political circumstances which permeate or transgress the boundaries of traditional political communities.

Permanent teaching and research staff in political science focus on research topics including the following:

  • Political participation and voter behaviour
  • Institutions of politics and governance
  • Democracy and equality
  • Public policies and their instruments, effects and assessment
  • National and global civic movements and organisations
  • Gender and politics
  • Political communication
  • Global political economy
  • Theory of world politics

For more information about research and grant-funded researchers, see the University of Helsinki research portal.

Head of Discipline:  Johanna Jääsaari, DSSc

Professors
Pertti
Ahonen
Professor
Political Science
Field of science Political science, Business and Management, Languages, History and Archaeology, Computer and information sciences
SA
S. M.
Amadae
Professor
Political Science
Field of science Political science
AH
Anne
Holli
Professor
Political Science
Field of science Political science
Mikko
Mattila
Professor
Faculty Common Matters
Field of science Political science
Heikki
Patomäki
Professor
Political Science
Field of science Political science
TT
Teivo
Teivainen
Professor
Political Science
Field of science Political science
v
Åsa
von Schoultz
Professor
Political Science
Field of science Political science
Hanna
Wass
Professor
Political Science
Field of science Political science

Hanna Wass is an Acting Professor at the Faculty of Social Science, the University of Helsinki. She runs a work package in the project “Tackling the Biases and Bubbles in Participation (BIBU)”, funded by the Strategic Research Council of the Academy of Finland. In addition, she is a principal co-investigator in the project “Facilitating Electoral Participation from Abroad (FACE)”, funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, and one of three principal investigators of the Finnish National Election Study 2019. She is a co-convenor of the ECPR standing group Public Opinion and Voting Behavior and the chair of the section "Political Behavior" at the American Political Science Association annual conference 2020. Her work on unequal political engagement and representation has been published in leading journals in social sciences, including Public Opinion Quarterly, Social Forces, Political Research Quarterly, European Journal of Political Research and Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. She is a co-author of the book Health and Political Engagement, published by Routledge in 2017.

Assistant Professors and Associate Professors
TE
Tero
Erkkilä
Associate Professor
Political Science
Field of science Political science
TY
Tuomas
Ylä-Anttila
Associate Professor
Political Science
Field of science Political science, Media and communications, Sociology

University Lecturers
Maria
Bäck
University Lecturer
Political Science
Field of science Political science
JJ
Johanna
Jääsaari
University Lecturer
Political Science
Field of science Political science, Media and communications
RK
Riikka
Kuusisto
University Lecturer
Faculty Common Matters
Field of science Political science
LM
Leena
Malkki
University Lecturer
Faculty Common Matters
Field of science Political science, History and Archaeology
Juri
Mykkänen
University Lecturer
Faculty Common Matters
Field of science Political science

Toimin valtiotieteellisen tiedekunnan varadekaanina vastuualueenani tiedekunnan tieteenalat. Iso osa tehtävistäni liittyy henkilöstö- ja taloushallintoon sekä tiedekunnan tilojen käyttöön. Varadekaanikauden ajan olen työstävapaa yleisen valtio-opin yliopistonlehtorin tehtävästä.

Emilia
Palonen
University Lecturer
Political Science
Field of science Political science, Political History, Social and economic geography
TV
Turo
Virtanen
University Lecturer
Political Science
Field of science Political science

University Researchers
GC
Giuseppe
Caruso
University Researcher
Political Science
Field of science Other social sciences, Physical sciences
SH
Staffan
Himmelroos
University Researcher
Political Science
Field of science Political science
TP
Takis
Pappas
University Researcher
Political Science

Postdoctoral Researchers
TC
Ted
Chen
Postdoctoral researcher
Political Science
MH
Ruta
Kazlauskaite
Postdoctoral researcher
Political Science
Field of science Political science, Political History, Philosophy, Sociology

Trained as a political scientist at the University of Helsinki, Finland, I am an interdisciplinary scholar, interested in the political dimensions of embodiment, philosophy of history, history education, and innovative forms of storytelling in the new digital media (VR/AR).

Currently, I am working as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki in an Academy of Finland funded project "Whirl of Knowledge: Cultural Populism in European Polarised Politics and Societies (WhiKnow). I am examining affective polarization in public debates during the run-up to the 2019 Polish parliamentary elections as well as the 2019 European Parliament elections.

Recently, I have worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher in a Helsingin Sanomat funded project "Mobilizing the Disenfranchised: Post-Truth Public Stories in Finland, France, and the United States,” where I was examining the use of affects in right-wing online media outlets in the US and Poland.

I have also recently completed my PhD project (2012-2018) at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Title: Towards an Embodied History: Metaphorical Models in Textbook Knowledge of the Controversial Polish-Lithuanian Past. The doctoral project examined the underlying metaphorical models of cognition which shape the representation of contested shared past in Poland and Lithuania. It adopted a novel theoretical approach – enactive embodiment – to studying international historical disagreements in school-history education. The findings of this study can be applied in diverse post-conflict contexts and are relevant to the disciplinary fields of political science, philosophy of knowledge, historical theory, and history education.

VK
Vesa
Koskimaa
Postdoctoral researcher
Political Science
MP
Maria
Pietilä
Postdoctoral researcher
Political Science
Field of science Political science
VS
Virpi
Salojärvi
Postdoctoral researcher
Political Science
Field of science Media and communications
LS
Laura-Elena
Sibinescu
Postdoctoral researcher
Political Science
Field of science Political science

I am a post-doctoral researcher based in Helsinki University’s Department of Political and Economic Studies. Currently I am working on data collection and analysis for Whirl of Knowledge: Cultural Populism in European Polarised Politics and Societies a project funded by the Academy of Finland.

PW
Paul
Wagner
Postdoctoral researcher
Political Science
Field of science Political science

Doctoral Students
CB
JH
TJ
Theodora
Järvi
Doctoral Student
Political Science
Field of science Political science

My research focuses on the impact of information on vote choices in multiparty settings.
I am a part of the IntraComp project.

AK
Aasa
Karimo
Doctoral Student
Political Science
Field of science Political science, Sociology
KK
Konsta
Kotilainen
Doctoral Student
Political Science
Field of science Political science
ML
Minna
Lyytikäinen
Doctoral Student
Political Science
Field of science Political science, Development Studies
MM
Mari
Marttila
Doctoral Student
Political Science
Field of science Political science
LN
Laura
Nordström
Doctoral Student
Political Science
Field of science Political science
AR
Antti Juhani
Ronkainen
Doctoral Student
Political Science
Field of science Political science
AS
Annette
Saaristo
Doctoral Student
Political Science
ST
Saara
Turkka
Doctoral Student
Political Science
Field of science Political science
MV
Mika
Vehka
Doctoral Student
Political Science
Field of science Political science
JV
Joonatan
Virtanen
Doctoral Student
Political Science
Field of science Political science
CW
Cai
Weaver
Doctoral Student
Political Science
Field of science Political science, Other humanities

 

  • Digital Humanities of Public Policy-Making, Kone Foundation, research project, leader Pertti Ahonen, 2015–2017
  • Policy instrumentit ja globaali hallinta, Academy of Finland, academy project, leader Tero Erkkilä, 2013–2018
  • Health and Political Engagement, Academy of Finland, academy project, leader Mikko Mattila, 2013–2017
  • Intraparty competition: The neglected dimension of electoral politics (IntraComp), Academy of Finland, forskningsprojekt, ledare Åsa von Schoultz, 2018
  • Diaspora: Politiskt beteende i den finlandssvenska diasporan, Svenska Litteratursällskapet i Finland, forskningsprojekt, ledare Staffan Himmelroos, 2019–2022
  • Contention or Consensus? Policy Networks of Climate Change in Finland in a Comparative Perspective, Kone Foundation, project, leader Tuomas Ylä-Anttila, 2014–2018

Research projects in political science

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Political scientists publish actively in the Politiikasta.fi online journal of the Finnish Political Science Association.

Finnish and international blogs in political science and its sub-fields:

Personal blogs by political scientists:

Political scientists are actively involved in the academic and wider communities

  • Our researchers participate in the applied research and development projects of various funders (e.g., Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Ministry of Justice, Prime Minister’s Office and Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA) as well as international development projects.
  • Our researchers are actively involved in Finnish and international scholarly organisations and their governing bodies as well as the editorial bodies and referee activities of international scholarly journals.
  • Our researchers participate in a broad range of expert assignments at the University of Helsinki, in scientific administration and in Finnish and international politics.
  • Many of our experts also participate in political parties, trade unions and professional organisations as well as in various non-governmental activities.
  • Our experts have a high profile as analysts and commentators in the media. Many are also active in social media.
  • For information about our events, press releases and media coverage, see the Faculty of Social Sciences website.

Postal and street ad­dress for political science

PB 54 (Unionsgatan 37)
00014 Helsingfors universitet
Tel. 0294 1911 (universitetets växel)

Infor­mation for me­dia

Contact details of communications staff