Researcher of the Month: Virve Marionneau

CEACG Researcher of the Month -series introduces CEACG researchers and their research. The series will kick off with the interview of University researcher and Deputy Head of the group Virve Marionneau.

Who are you?

A long-time, happy CEACG member. I became the head of our research centre recently when Matilda Hellman moved on to a new position in Sweden. Matilda has been amazing, and I am trying somehow to fill her shoes.

How did you end up at CEACG?

I came to the university in 2010 when then professor of sociology Pekka Sulkunen was looking for a research assistant for a comparative study of gambling in Finland and France for his Images and Theories of Addiction project (Academy of Finland project). Back then, CEACG was not yet called CEACG. We were more of a group of Pekka’s PhD students and research assistants.

I thought it would just be a short-term job, but we have been quite lucky with funding, and I never left. I love working at CEACG and in gambling research, so I think I have been very fortunate.

What is your current research about?

I get interested in too many things, so I work on many projects at the same time. Overall, my research focuses on the commercial determinants of harm in gambling and the political economy of gambling. I look at the structures (policies, industries, ecosystems) that are related to gambling-related harms in Finland and globally. I am particularly interested in the digitalisation of the gambling industry: how that impacts the commercial strategies of gambling operators and stakeholders involved, and how this new ecosystem can be regulated to prevent harms.

Why do you think it is important to examine this topic?

I think gambling is a serious public health problem that can be damaging to individuals, their families, and societies. I think we need to take this seriously, and aim to prevent these harms. There are many brilliant and impressive colleagues who are working on these issues around the world – but if I can help by producing additional research evidence on the kind of structures that promote harmful gambling, I think I am doing something useful.

If you could switch places with your CEACG colleague for one day, who would you choose and why?

Perhaps Mikaela Lindeman, because she knows a lot about alcohol studies and I would like to learn more about that!