Programme Steering Committee

Professor of Social Policy, Dir­ector of the Pro­gramme

Professor Anne Kouvonen is the Director of Master's Programme in Contemporary Societies (COS). Anne is a Professor of Social Policy specialising in research on social inequalities. She is also Honorary Lecturer in Social Epidemiology in the Centre of Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland), and Research Associate Professor in the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Wroclaw, Poland. Anne is additionally a senior researcher in the Centre of Excellence in Research on Ageing and Care (CoEAgeCare).

Anne’s research focuses on the relationship between social environment and health. In particular, she has been looking at the links between work environment and health. Her other interests regard the investigation of ageing and care; mental health, determinants of occupational injury; national trends in morbidity; and migrant health. Her research involves the application of social epidemiological methods and administrative record linkage and she has published 125+ peer reviewed papers in high ranking international journals.


Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology

Sarah Green is a professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, and she spent 17 years teaching and researching at the University of Manchester. She specializes in the anthropology of location (the significance and value of being somewhere in particular), which in her research involves border relations, the EU, the Balkans, and the Aegean region. She is the author of many publications, including Notes From the Balkans. She also co-authored the book entitled Borderwork. She is currently working on two research projects concerning location in the Mediterranean region: an ERC Advanced Grant called Crosslocations; and an Academy of Finland grant called Transit, Trade and Travel.


Professor of Sociology
David Inglis is Professor of Sociology at the University of Helsinki. Before that, he was Professor of Sociology at the University of Exeter and the University of Aberdeen. He holds degrees in sociology from the Universities of Cambridge and York. He writes in the areas of cultural sociology, the sociology of globalization, historical sociology, the sociology of food and drink, and social theory, both modern and classical. He has written and edited various books in these areas, most recently The Sage Handbook of Cultural Sociology and The Routledge International Handbook of Veils and Veiling Practices (with Anna-Mari Almila). He is founding editor of the Sage/BSA journal Cultural Sociology. His current research concerns the sociological analysis of the global wine industry.

Associate Professor of Development Studies

Most of my research has been based on extensive field research on socio-environmental and political economic dynamics in Latin America since 2003, but I have expanded my regional focus and expertise also to India and the Arctic since 2010. Publications include several articles and a book on the issues of capitalism and power relations, natural resource
politics, land grabbing, rural social movements, the politics of forestry and mining development and agrarian changes in various regions of the world.

My most recent book is Contentious agency and natural resource politics, and I am currently finishing a second book on the resistance to extractivism, with a focus on iron ore mining in Brazil and India. Recent publications have also included articles on the sustainability of forest policies in Brazil, Finland and Uruguay, as well as the global 'bioeconomy' of trees, including an analysis of their political and economic dynamics. I have also published on the rise of BRICs, and particularly the role of Brazil in this.

Currently I am focused on studying global commodity/natural resource frontiers, and how they change (and are changed through) physical, social and symbolic spaces in the Amazon and the Arctic.


Associate Professor of Sociology

Lena Näre is Associate Professor of Sociology.  Her research focuses on migration, asylum seekers, families, transnationalism, gender, work, ageing and care. She is currently leading a four-year Kone Foundation funded research project on asylum seekers’ political activism and struggles for home and belonging. Her work has been published in Identities, Men and Masculinities, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. She is the co-editor with Katie Walsh of Transnational Migration and Home in Older Age (Routledge: London). She is the Editor-in-Chief of Nordic Journal of Migration Research.


Senior Lecturer of Social Psychology

Vesala's research interests include theories of agency in social psychology, qualitative methodologies, and the constructions of entrepreneurship in small business, farming and public policy.


Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology

Sirpa Tenhunen is a professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology. She leads a Finnish Academy funded research project "Sustainable Livelihoods and Politics at the Margins: Environmental Displacement in South Asia". Her latest book “A Village Goes Mobile: Telephony, Mediation and Social Change in Rural India” was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. In addition to mobile telephony and climate change, her research has focused on women’s political participation, symbolic construction or power and politics as well as reconstructions of gift giving and the market in rural India. In addition to eight books, she has published articles in such journals as Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Ethnos, Modern Asian Studies and Contemporary South Asia. Her books "Introduction to Changing India: Culture, Politics and Development" (Anthem Press 2012) and "Muuttuva Intia" (in Finnish, Edita 2007) which she wrote with Minna Säävälä, give a general idea of contemporary India as well as her research.

Associate Professor of Sustainability Science

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is with Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, where he is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science. As Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science Professor, he leads the Global South theme. Previously, he taught at various universities in Australia, including the University of Technology Sydney where he was Director of Higher Degree Research Programmes.

Franklin's research interests are centred on the political economy of development, cities, and natural resources. His doctoral work in political economy was supervised by Frank Stilwell: a well-known public intellectual and, notably, the doyen of political economy in Australia. He studied Georgist philosophy and political economy at the Henry George School of Social Science in Chicago, USA, and worked on the institutional economics of Richard Theodore Ely and Gunnar Myrdal at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development in Geneva, Switzerland.

Obeng-Odoom has made various contributions to political economy. He is the author of five books, including Oiling the Urban Economy; The Myth of Privatizing Nature; Property, Institutions, and Social Stratification; and Reconstructing Urban Economics, which is listed in the top five entries for the Egon-Matzner-Award for Socio-Economics in 2017. He guest-edited the special issue of the Journal of Australian Political Economy on 'Global Economic Inequalities and Development', a controversial analysis of which forced the International Monetary Fund to issue an official statement in defence of its policies. Obeng-Odoom is Associate Editor of the Forum for Social Economics, Editor of African Review of Economics and Finance, and Series Editor of Edinburgh Studies in Urban Political Economy.