The Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki explores social and societal phenomena and problems in our changing world from global, European, national and local perspectives. In terms of both methods and themes, the Faculty is Finland’s most diverse and internationally successful research unit in the social sciences.

Focus areas of research at the Faculty:

  • Inequality, justice and security 
  • Democracy – opportunities and threats   
  • Mind, understanding and participation
  • Social knowledge and expertise

INEQUALITY, JUSTICE AND SECURITY 

Justice and the experience of justice are key for wellbeing. Global inequality also poses an increasing threat to security. In addition to these themes, the Faculty examines, for example, ethnic discrimination as well as inequality in health and living conditions.

Sarah Green, professor of social and cultural anthropology, heads a research project funded by the European Research Council which studies, for example, political networks in the Mediterranean region as well as national and military borders. The aim is to determine how border control is changing and how this will affect immigration and the refugee situation.

DEMOCRACY AND THE WELFARE STATE – OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS  

The Faculty explores democracy in theory and practice as well as threats to it on many levels, from the local to the global. The Nordic welfare state model and its history and future are a particular focus area. The model is attracting increasing international interest. 

Funded by the Academy of Finland, the Health and political engagement project investigates the impact of health on political engagement, particularly in terms of voter turnout, civic engagement, and political interest and knowledge. 

MIND, UNDERSTANDING AND PARTICIPATION

Getting along with others is crucial to the very survival of humankind. This key issue is examined by studying interaction and the images and identities that emerge through it. The Faculty also examines participation and its obstacles from the perspective of several disciplines.

The Faculty of Social Sciences is involved in the Centre of Excellence concerning research on Intersubjectivity in Interaction, hosted by the Faculty of Arts. The project explores how shared understanding and experience can be achieved and retained in human interaction.

SOCIAL KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE 

Research is increasingly multi- and cross-disciplinary. The relationship between research-based information and decision-making is an important topic of discussion. The Faculty coordinates the Centre of Excellence in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences, headed by Academy Professor Uskali Mäki, which analyses the dynamics of interdisciplinary relations and the changing practices of producing social scientific information. The objective is to understand and enhance the practices of producing social scientific information, and to build bridges between disciplines.

RESEARCH AND RESEARCHERS

For more information on social scientific research and researchers, please see the TUHAT database.