The research team is collaboration hub between several interconnected projects. Here we list most people involved from researchers and project PIs to research assistants, and affiliated researchers, whom we like to call the #HEPPsters of @HEPPsinki! Most of the around twenty researchers are from the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki.
Emilia Palonen

Emilia Palonen is a Senior University Lecturer in Political Science and works as a Research Director in Datafication at the HSSH. Palonen is an expert on populism, hegemony and democracy. She has worked on local participative democracy and politics of memory in symbolic urban landscapes. Palonen studied Contemporary East European Studies for BAhons (London), and MA and PhD in the Ideology and Discourse Analysis (Essex). She has held several fellowships in Europe and a short postdoc at the Northwestern University in Illinois, US with Ernesto Laclau, her professor at Essex. She teaches discourse theory as a method, introducing Laclaudian takes on deconstruction, Lacanian psychoanalysis and rhetoric at the Faculty of Social Sciences from 2006, now at the GPC Masters’ programme. 

Palonen’s approach to study populism as a logic of articulation has been to develop a form(ula) of populism, witnessed in her Ten Thesis on Populism and in Nordic Populism. It is a radically anti-essentialist immanent reading of Laclau, contextualised in an article in Thesis Eleven on democracy vs. demography. As expert in Hungarian politics, she theorized political polarisation and competing populism to hegemony and the emergence of illiberalism and entangled Janus-faced nationalism and populism in the currently most cited article in the Journal of Contemporary European Politics. She has explored the radical right’s counterhegemonic alt-science praxis, and written on the Budapest School intellectuals Lukács and Heller. Palonen’s recent publications include a research topic “Performing Control of the Covid-19 Pandemic” in Frontiers in Political Science where her co-authored article included interpretive topic modelling on the Finnish pandemic. Palonen is an engaged scholar, IPSA Executive Committee member and a sought-after speaker, who has been invited to keynote around the world. 

Recent publications:  

Juha Herkman

Juha Herkman directed the Academy of Finland -funded research consortium Mainstreaming Populism in 2017-2021, and he is a PI of the Communication Rights in the Age of Digital Disruption project (2019-2022).   

Herkman is a University Lecturer of Media and Communication Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki. He extensively studied media culture and the political economy of the media at the University of Tampere before he orientated to political communication and populism studies. He has worked as a visiting scholar at the Universities of Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Oslo, and, besides the Nordic countries, his large research networks contain especially the European academic field. Herkman worked as a young scholar in the European Science Foundation’s research programme Changing Media, Changing Europe in 2002-2004 and as a visiting fellow at Freie Universität Berlin in 2021-2022.  

In 2005-2010 Herkman led the Communication Research Centre (CRC) at the University of Helsinki and he has directed several research projects funded by national foundations and Ministries. He has been a supervisor of 17 doctoral students and 100 masters' theses, and he is an active player in Finnish political communication education and public discussions. 

Recent publications: 

Alexander Alekseev

Alexander Alekseev is a doctoral researcher in political science, funded by the Kone Foundation (2022 – 2024). He holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University in Russia) and a Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action from the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po Paris in France). Before joining the University of Helsinki, he completed the doctoral programme in political science at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow (Russia).

His doctoral dissertation which he started in Russia and has continued in Finland deals with political discourses of populist radical right parties in the European Union. By focusing on the cases of Poland and France, Alexander examines how populist radical right parties in government and in opposition engage in a symbolic struggle over the meanings of such key political concepts as democracy and rights and freedoms. His interests encompass far-right politics, ideologies, and discourses, political theory and history of political concepts, as well as semiotics and the methodology of discourse analysis.

Before engaging in academic work in Finland, Alexander gained extensive experience in the field of human rights in Russia, taught at different positions at the Higher School of Economics, and worked on various projects in the Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Recent publications:

  • Alekseev, A. (forthcoming). Sovereignty in Political Discourses of the European Populist Radical Right: The Right of the People and the Right of the Peoples.
  • Alekseev, A. (2022). “It Is in the Nation-State that Democracy Resides”. How the Populist Radical Right Discursively Manipulates the Concept of Democracy in the EU Parliamentary Elections. Journal of Language and Politics, 21(3), 459–483.
  • Alekseev, A. (2021). “Defend Your Right!” How the Populist Radical Right Uses References to Rights and Freedoms to Discursively Construct Identities. New Perspectives, 29(4), 376–416.
  • Алексеев, А. В., Фомин, И. В. (2020). «Мы, защитники наций и свобод». Как европейские правые популисты конструируют идентичности (случай «Национального объединения»). Политическая наука, 4, 128–156. [Alekseev, A.V., Fomin, I.V. (2020). “We, the Defenders of Nations and Liberties”. How the EU Populist Radical Right Discursively Constructs Identities: The Case of the Rassemblement National. Political Science (RU), 4, 128–156]. (in Russian)
  • Alekseev A. (2020). Review of Nilsson (2018) French Populism and Discourses on Secularism. Journal of Language and Politics, 19(1), 188-191.
  • Алексеев, А.В. (2019). Ускользающий «топос»: к вопросу о содержании понятия и пределах его применимости. МЕТОД: Московский ежегодник трудов из обществоведческих дисциплин, 9, 98-113. [Alekseev, A.V. (2019). Elusive “Topos”: The Limits of Conceptualisation and Application. METHOD: Moscow Yearbook of Works from Social Science Disciplines, 9, 98-113]. (in Russian)
Cristiano Gianolla

Cristiano Gianolla is a researcher at the Centre for Social Studies (CES) of the University of Coimbra (UC), where he integrates research thematic line on Democracy, Justice and Human Rights.

He obtained a PhD in Sociology and Political Science (cum Laude, Coimbra and Rome-Sapienza) by way of a dissertation on Gandhi's democratic theory and a comparative study of emerging political parties in India and Italy.

Cristiano is the Principal Investigator of the UNPOP project (FCT, 2021-2024) and was a team member of the ECHOES (H2020, 2018-2021), ALICE (ERC, 2011-2016) and FRANET (2021-2022) European projects. He is a co-founding and co-coordinating member of the "Inter-Thematic group on Migrations" and co-coordinates the research programme "Epistemologies of the South" at CES.

He is the coordinating editor of Alice News, editor of e-cadernos scientific journal and Rights! blog and a reviewer for other scientific journals.

Cristiano co-coordinates the PhD course "Democratic Theories and Institutions" and the MA course "Critical Intercultural Dialogue" at the Faculty of Economics of the UC, where he also teaches on the PhD course "State, Democracy and Legal Pluralism".

He is the author of books, chapters and articles that analyse democratic theory, populism, post-colonialism, intercultural dialogue, heritage processes, movement-parties, citizenship, human rights, migrations and cosmopolitanism.

His current research interests focus on emotions and narratives in democratic processes.

Dayei Oh

Dayei Oh is a postdoctoral researcher at the Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Helsinki. She holds a BA in Psychology from Ewha Womans University (South Korea), an MA in Media and Communications from the University of Nottingham (UK), and a PhD in Social Sciences from Loughborough University (UK). At Loughborough, her doctoral thesis explored online safety and content regulation ethics against the background of populism and political polarisation. 

For the datafication of society initiatives (2022-2025), Dayei is investigating online epistemic populism: how epistemic communities construct and share alternative knowledge structures in a digital age. Her broader research interests include the intersection of digital technologies, public spheres, and democratic discourse. Dayei is interested in mixed-methods research designs including computational social science methods. 

Before joining Helsinki, Dayei has worked as a research assistant/associate at Loughborough University, and also worked as a news assistant at the Associated Press South Korean bureau. 

Recent publication: 

  • Oh, D., Elayan, S., Sykora, M. & Downey, J. (2021). Unpacking uncivil society: Incivility and intolerance in the 2018 Irish abortion referendum discussions on Twitter. Nordicom Review, 42(s1) 103-118. 
Emilia Lounela

Emilia Lounela is a doctoral researcher in political history, funded by the Emil Aaltonen foundation (2021-2022) and Kone foundation (2022-2024). Her BSSc and MSSc from the University of Helsinki include studies in social and economic history, social and cultural anthropology, and communications. Her doctoral dissertation, supervised by Emilia Palonen, examines ideals, community, and experiences in antifeminist incel (”involuntary celibacy”) online communities. In her dissertation, she studies the ideals and identities constructed and negotiated in incel online discussions. In addition to this, using interview data, she studies experiences leading to involvement in, and disengagement from, these communities. Important themes in her research include masculinity, victimhood, and alienation. 

Prior to her academic career, Lounela has been working in the field of human rights. Through her research interests, she affiliates with the D.Rad H2020 project at the HEPPsinki research group. 

Recent publications:  

Erfan Fatehi

Erfan Fatehi is a PhD researcher in sociology at the University of Helsinki. Resting on a cultural understanding of globalization processes, his research revolves around the dialectics of globalization and humor. He has a background in semiotics where he did research on semiocide (destruction of socio-culturally meaningful signs) in political processes. He is currently a member of the research project "Political Humor in Power Struggles of Democracy (POHU)" funded by Kone Foundation (2022-2024). In line with the work packages of the project, his contribution involves doing research on the political humor scandals in the Estonian public sphere in the past three decades. His recent publications touch upon topics such as semiocide, space-time relationship and semiotics of visual arts. Along with his academic career, Erfan sporadically writes as a journalist and leads projects regarding educational material development.

Recent publications: 

Feeza Vasudeva

Feeza Vasudeva is a postdoctoral researcher in the Datafication Research Program at Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities (HSSH). She comes from an interdisciplinary background with her Bachelor's in Economics, Master's in International Relations, and PhD in Cultural Studies within the framework of Inter-Asia Studies. Her broad research interests include contemporary political theories, media studies, the study of violence, discourse theory, and the intersection of populism(s) and nationalism. Her doctoral research analyzed the violence of lynching and the crisis of democracy in India. Her research at HSSH will explore the contested epistemic communities and authorities vis-à-vis the datafication of the society. 

Recent Publications: 

  • Vasudeva, F., & Barkdull, N. (2022). "Narratives of Misinformation: Comparative Histories of U.S. and Indian Lynchings," Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, Vol XXII, No. 1, 60-72. 
  • Vasudeva, F., & Barkdull, N. (2020). "WhatsApp in India? A Case Study of Social Media-Related Lynchings," Social Identities, Vol.26, No. 5, 574-589. 
Gwenaëlle Bauvois

Gwenaëlle Bauvois, an affiliated researcher to HEPP, is a researcher based at the Centre for Research of Ethnic Relations and Nationalism (CEREN), University of Helsinki (Swedish School of Social Sciences) since 2015. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Eastern Finland (2007). Trained as a sociologist, her work is interdisciplinary and encompasses such fields as media studies, political science, and social psychology. Her main research interests focus on right-wing populism, far-right, anti-immigration movements, conspiracies, hybrid media, and post-truth politics. She has been teaching at the university since 2016 on topics related to ethnic relations and nationalism, and more specifically on populism, such as the course Dystopic Diversity? Narrating Migration in Populist Mobilization. 

Gwenaëlle Bauvois has been involved in several research projects, in Finland, and on the European level: Post-Truth Politics, Nationalism and the (De)Legitimation of European Integration (2019-2022), Border Crises in Two Languages - Mediatized Politics and Solidarity Activism in the Wake of the 2015 Asylum Migration (2010-2022), The Power of Narratives: Media and Democracy in Political Turmoil (2019-2019) and Mobilizing 'the Disenfranchised' in Finland, France, and the United States. Post-truth public stories in the transnational hybrid media space (2016-2019). She has also received funding for personal research projects such as The Yellowsphere: Glocalisation of the Yellow Vests in Finland (2019-2022) and her upcoming project will explore the antivaxx movement in Swedish speaking Finland. 

Recent publications: 

  • Bauvois, G, Pyrhönen, N & Pyysiäinen, J (2022). Underdogs Shepherding the Flock—Discursive Outgrouping of the Internal Enemy in Action. In Pettersson, K. & Nortio. E., The Far-Right Discourse of Multiculturalism in Intergroup Interactions: A Critical Discursive Perspective. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Kazlauskaitė, R, Pyrhönen, N & Bauvois, G (2022), Mediating shame and pride: countermedia coverage of Independence Day in Poland and the US, Emotions and Society.
  • Pyrhönen, N, Bauvois, G & Rosenström, S (2021). Soldiers of Odin as Peril or Protection? Hybrid Mediatization of Oppositional Framings on Anti-Immigration Responses to the ‘Refugee Crisis’. Nordiques.
  • Pyrhönen, N & Bauvois, G (2019) Conspiracies beyond Fake News (2019). Produsing Reinformation on Presidential Elections in the Transnational Hybrid Media System, Sociological Inquiry. 
  • Ylä-Anttila, T, Bauvois, G & Pyrhönen, N (2019)  Politicization of Migration in the Countermedia Style: A Computational and Qualitative Analysis of Populist Discourse, Discourse, Context & Media, Volume 32. 
Ilana Hartikainen

Ilana Hartikainen is a doctoral researcher in political science, funded by the Kone Foundation as a part of the “Now-Time, Us-Space” project team (2020-2022) and the Ehrnrooth Foundation (2022-2023). She holds a BA from Northwestern University and an Erasmus Mundus double masters from the University of Glasgow and Corvinus University of Budapest. Her doctoral research focuses on populist contestations of the past on social media through the case study of the Czech Republic. Specifically, it looks at the role of collective memory in constituting ‘the people’ in ideologically varied populist movements and the spatio-temporal entanglements that play a role therein. She is also interested in technocratic populism, visual analytic methods, and tribalism as a phenomenon distinct from populism.  

Before starting her PhD, she worked as a journalist for several years, and she is also a member of the Department of Education at the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes in Prague. Her work there has focused on developing innovative teaching materials for international history education, and she consistently attempts to import her experience there into her pedagogical practice in Helsinki. She teaches a yearly course on populism in Central Eastern Europe, she has co-organized courses on populism, ideology & discourse analysis, and popular scientific communication, and she has guest lectured on a wide variety of topics, ranging from conspiracy theories to political crisis communication.  

Recent publications: 

  • Hartikainen, I. (2021). Authentic Expertise: Andrej Babiš and the Technocratic Populist Performance During the COVID-19 Crisis. Frontiers in Political Science, 3, 136. 
Ionut Chiruta

Ionut Chiruta is a doctoral researcher in HEPP’s “Now-Time, Us-Space” project, funded by the Kone foundation (2021-2022). Previously, he was a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early-Stage Researcher in the European Union’s Horizon 2020 project “Delayed Transformational Fatigue in Central and Eastern Europe: Responding to the Rise of Illiberalism/Populism (FATIGUE)” (2018-2021). Ionut holds a BA in Communication and Public Relations from the University of Cuza, Romania, and an MA in Media Studies from the University of Oslo, Norway. Ionut has previously been a visiting researcher at the Corvinus University, Hungary, and the University of Oslo, Norway. 

Ionut’s PhD project investigates how populism shapes Romanian politics and reconstructs the memory and political identity of the Hungarian community. For the “Now-Time, Us-Space” project, Ionut investigates the emerging far-right protest politics and mobilization strategies from Romania and the instrumentalization of spaces, time, and populist discourses. Ionut’s academic interests include comparative politics, minority studies, and memory politics in Eastern Europe. Ionut has published in international journals.  

Recent publications: 

  • Chiruta, I. (2022 – Forthcoming). Multifaced Hungarian kin-state activism in Szeklerland: Rebuilding the last ‘nation’ through restorative nostalgia and lieux de mémoire. Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issue in Europe.   
  • Chiruta, I. (2021). Challenging the Rule of Law in Romania: The Metamorphosis of Political Discourse Towards Populism. Problems of Post-Communism, 0(0), 1-18.  
  • Chiruta, I. (2021) The Representation of Roma in the Romanian Media During COVID-19: Performing Control Through Discursive- Performative Repertoires. Front. Polit. Sci. 3:663874.    
  • Chiruta, I. (2020). Using the Past in Populist Communicational Strategies, Populism, 3(2), 223-256. doi:  


Joonas Koivukoski

Joonas Koivukoski is a doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, Media and Communication Studies. Koivukoski's dissertation, currently in review, deals with political humor in the hybrid media environment. In his research, Koivukoski examines hybrids of satire and journalism and amusing online advocacy. 

Koivukoski has been involved with Whirl of Knowledge, and he currently works in a research project Political Humor in Power Struggles of Democracy. Koivukoski will be working in Humor Scandals, a project that investigates humor controversies in six European countries, inspired by a previous UnaEuropa collaboration on Humor in the European Public Sphere. Koivukoski has previously been a visiting Fulbright scholar at the Klein College of Media and Communication, Temple University. 

Recent publications: 

  • Laaksonen, S-M., Koivukoski, J. & Porttikivi, M. (2021). Rhetorical strategies and communicative outcomes of a political parody performance by Loldiers of Odin. new media & society. 
  • Koivukoski, J., & Ödmark, S. (2020). Producing Journalistic News Satire: How Nordic Satirists Negotiate a Hybrid Genre. Journalism studies. 
  • Koivukoski, J. (2019). Journalistinen uutissatiiri hybridinä genrenä: Noin viikon uutisten ja Uutisraportin tekijöiden itseymmärrys ja käsitteellinen rajatyö. Media & viestintä. 
  • Koivukoski, J. A., & Zareff, J. (2018). Scatological Anecdotes, Heavy Drinking, and Backpacker Culture: Gonzo humor and Edgework in Contemporary Finnish Journalism. In R. Alexander, & C. Isager (Eds.), Fear and Loathing Worldwide: Gonzo Journalism Beyond Hunter S. Thompson [12] T & T Clark.
Kanerva Kuokkanen

Kanerva Kuokkanen is a political scientist and University Lecturer in Social Science Methodology at the Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki. Kuokkanen is specialised in qualitative research methodology and interpretive policy analysis. Her research interests include citizen participation, public policies, collaborative and participatory forms of governance and the encounters between citizens and public administration. Her Ph.D. Thesis concerned the “projectification” of participatory policies in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. 

Kuokkanen has participated in several research projects on topics such as the projectification of the public sector, regional and urban governance and regulation. She is currently involved in two projects: the Academy of Finland funded Democratic Government as Procedural Legitimacy (, and the Horizon2020 project DeRadicalisation in Europe and Beyond: Detect, Resolve, Reintegrate (, funded by the European Commission. In September 2022, she will start a new research project on administrative speech and citizens, funded by Kone Foundation (…). 

Recent publications: 

  • Meriluoto, T. & Kuokkanen, K. (2021). How to make sense of citizen expertise in participatory projects?', Current Sociology (e-pub ahead of print). 
  • Rantala, K., Helenius, A., & Kuokkanen, K. (2021). Reilun vankilan elementit. In S. Kainulainen, & J. Saari (eds.) Suomalainen vanki: Arjen rakenteet ja elämänlaatu vankilassa. Vastapaino, 219–239.
  • Vento, I., & Kuokkanen, K. (2020). Mapping the post-bureaucratic landscape: project managers’ perception of bureaucracy in European Union Cohesion policy projects. International Review of Administrative Sciences (e-pub ahead of print). 
  • Kuokkanen, K. & Palonen, E. (2018). Post-Political Development and Emancipation: Urban Participatory Projects in Helsinki. In S. Knierbein. & T. Viderman (eds.) Public Space Unbound. Urban Emancipation and the Post-Political Condition. Routledge, 99–112.  
  • Kuokkanen, K. (2016) Developing Participation through Projects? A Case Study from the Helsinki Metropolitan Area (doctoral thesis). Publications of the Faculty of Social Sciences 6/2016. University of Helsinki. 
Katinka Linnamäki

Katinka Linnamäki works as a doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, in the faculty of Social Sciences. She has a background in Gender Studies (University of Vienna) and Philology (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest). Her research interests are right-wing populism and gender politics in Hungary and Austria, feminist activities, and possible ways of emancipation and resistance. Her doctoral thesis is organized around the concept of hegemony and the question of what role gender plays in hegemony building and how nationalism, populism, and gender are related.   

Currently, she is working in cooperation with the Academy of Finland-funded research project Whirl of Knowledge. Cultural Populism in European Polarised Politics and Societies on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hegemonic articulations, and in the project Now-Time, Us Space: Hegemonic Mobilizations in Central and Eastern Europe, focusing on anti-LGBTQ+ movements in Hungary, researching spatial and temporal dimensions of populist articulations. 

Recent publications: 

  • Linnamäki, K. & Sibinescu, L.E.  The limits of anti-LGBTQ+ mobilizations is Central and Eastern Europe - A comparative analysis of the Romanian and Hungarian referendums [forthcoming].  
  • Linnamäki, K. Not in Front of the Child: Hungarian Illiberalism and the “Child Protective Law”. Politics and Governance [forthcoming].   
  • Linnamäki, K. (2021). Gendered Articulations of Control and Care on Social Media During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Hungary. Front. Polit. Sci.  
  • Linnamäki, K. (2021). Signifying illiberalism: Gender and Sport in Viktor Orbán´s Facebook Photos.  In: Hakola, O. et al. (eds.): Culture and Politics of Populist Masculinities, Lexington Books, 29-49. 


Kinga Polynczuk-Alenius

Kinga Polynczuk-Alenius is an interdisciplinary researcher with a primary background in media and communication. She is interested in the role of communication in addressing, or not, ethical challenges that face an increasingly globalised world. She defended her doctoral dissertation, titled ‘Ethical trade communication as moral education’, at the University of Helsinki in 2018. Currently, she works on a project entitled ‘Racism without others: Everyday mediations in Poland’ (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies 2019-2022, Kone Foundation 2022-2024) in which she examines mundane communication avenues as sites where globally circulated racist discourses are articulated through the local socio-cultural and/or politico-historical repositories. She is also gearing up for another project which will use Poland as a case to examine, through the prism of ‘democratic imagination’, the role that media and journalism can play in democracy. 

Recent publications: 

  • Polynczuk-Alenius K (2022) Palimpsestic memoryscape: Heterotopias, ‘multiculturalism’ and racism in the Polish cityscape. History & Memory 34(2). Accepted for publication. 
  • Polynczuk-Alenius K (2022) ‘This attack is intended to destroy Poland’. Popular Communication. Online ahead of print: 
  • Polynczuk-Alenius K (2022) The menace of Jewish anti-Polonism during the 2015 ‘refugee crisis’. Patterns of Prejudice 55(3): 237-264. 
  • Polynczuk-Alenius K (2021) At the intersection of racism and nationalism: Theorising and contextualising the ‘anti‐immigration’ discourse in Poland. Nations & Nationalism 27(3): 766-781. 
Laura Sibinescu

Laura-Elena Sibinescu is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, where she earned an MSc and Ph.D. in Political Science in 2013 and 2018 respectively. Her background is in democratization research, with a particular focus on Central and Eastern Europe. She is also interested in the role of social media in elections and protest, process tracing and qualitative comparative analysis. Since 2014 she has been expanding her interest in the use of computational methods in political science, and in collecting and analyzing data through an intersectional lens. A few questions Sibinescu is interested in exploring empirically through this methodological approach are: What is the mobilizing potential of social media for political participation? How well do online/offline repertoires of political action complement each other and translate between media? How do politicians and the public co-produce political communication through social media?  

Sibinescu has been involved in HEPP projects since the start, beginning with WhiKnow and MAPO in 2019-2020 and Now-Time Us-Space in 2021-2022. As part of WhiKnow and MAPO she has done extensive data collection and analysis on social media discourses around the 2019 European Parliament elections. In NTUS she studies online/offline mobilization around anti-LGBTQ actions in Romania.  

Sibinescu has been teaching courses and guest lectures on democracy, protest, social media and politics, and research methods since 2016. 

Recent publications: 

  • Salojärvi, V. & Sibinescu, L.E. (2022) The #DeniedMyVote movement in the 2019 European Parliament Elections: Actor-Emotion Analysis in Social and Legacy Media [forthcoming] 
  • Pierzynska, J. & Sibinescu, L.E. [MAPO book] ‘The Heart of Europe’: Consolidating Polish Populism in the 2019 EP elections  
  • Linnamäki, K. & Sibinescu, L.E.  The limits of anti-LGBTQ+ mobilizations is Central and Eastern Europe - A comparative analysis of the Romanian and Hungarian referendums [forthcoming] 
  • Sibinescu, L. E. (2016). Protest, Citizen Engagement and the Coproduction of Political Communication: The Case of Romania’s 2014 Presidential Elections. Media Studies, 7(14), 142-155
Marina Vulović

Marina Vulović is a postdoctoral researcher in Political Science at the University of Helsinki, funded by the Kone Foundation (2021–2022) and the Finnish Cultural Foundation (2022–2023). She holds a BA from the University of Belgrade, an MA from Heidelberg University and a PhD from the University of Helsinki. Since 2020, she has been part of the Helsinki Hub on Emotions, Populism and Polarisation (HEPP) and has previously been a visiting researcher at the University of Oxford (UK), the University of Graz (Austria), the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (Germany) and the University of Belgrade (Serbia). Marina works and publishes on political theory, as well as politics in the Balkans, while her doctoral thesis dealt with discursive, affective, and material aspects of Serbia’s claim to Kosovo as a re-articulation of the Kosovo myth.  

Recent publications: 

Narges Azizi Fard

Narges Azizi Fard is a postdoctoral researcher at the Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Helsinki. She holds BA and MA in computer engineering (software) (Iran); She was a research assistant for four months (South Korea), and she did her PhD in computer science (Italy). 

The projects in which she was involved are as follows: 

  • Clustering the social networks based on modularity optimization on three datasets, including Karate Club, Dolphins and Jazz. 
  • Developing methods for predicting mergers and acquisitions based on the network structure of the Japanese automotive industry. 
  • Modelling the connection between educational attainment and food purchases (in London) by applying spatial econometric tools. 
  • Analyzing food consumption of Londoners through social media to investigate if digital data can be an appropriate representative of real data. 
  • Characterizing the cultural aspects of countries through Wiki Loves Monuments image dataset and providing quantitative evidence of a link between the visual representation of a country’s cultural heritage and the set of social, political, religious, and cultural values through a world value survey research program. 

Her research effort is related to computational social science, which involves the application of computational methods and data-intensive machine learning tasks to solve societal issues at scale like health, poverty, education, sustainability, ageing, etc. Her primary focus at HSSH will be on developing computational indicators and analysis methods that can be used to study the datafication of society and, in particular, contested epistemies and epistemic communities in online environments. 

Recent publications:

  • Azizifard. N, Gelauff. L, Gransard-Desmond. J, Redi. M and Schifanella. R, “Wiki Loves Monuments: crowdsourcing the collective image of the worldwide built heritage”, JOCCH (Accepted), 2022. 
  • Azizi Fard, N., De Francisci Morales, G., Mejova, Y. et al. On the interplay between educational attainment and nutrition: a spatially-aware perspective. EPJ Data Sci. 10, 18 (2021).
Niko Hatakka

Niko Hatakka is a political scientist and communication scholar who works as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki. His previous postdoctoral affiliations include POLSIS at the University of Birmingham and the Centre for Parliamentary Studies at the University of Turku. Niko’s research has focused on the relationship of populism and the media, populist political communication, populist radical right party organisation and activism, and far-right online movements. He defended his doctoral dissertation titled ‘Populism in the Hybrid Media System’ in 2019 and has published in journals such as New Media & Society; Information, Communication & Society; Discourse & Society; and Media, Culture & Society.

Recent publications:

Rūta Kazlauskaitė

Rūta Kazlauskaitė is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki. Trained as a political scientist, she is an interdisciplinary scholar, working at the intersections of memory studies, media studies, historical theory and political psychology. She holds a BA in Political Science from Vilnius University, an MSSc in Political Science from the University of Helsinki and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Helsinki (2018). Since 2021, she has been part of the Now-Time, Us-Space (NTUS) project, in which she explores how history museums and cultural organizations in Poland employ immersive virtual reality representations of Polish history for delineating an affective memory regime that aims to obliterate the liberal/leftist “pedagogy of shame” and articulate a resurrected national pride. Her articles have been published in Rethinking History, Journal of the Philosophy of History, International Journal of Heritage Studies, Emotions and Society, Ethnicities, and Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research.  

Previously, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Media in Aalto University, Finland, where she examined the affordances of virtual reality for representation of contested pasts. She was also a postdoctoral researcher in the Academy of Finland funded project “Whirl of Knowledge: Cultural Populism in European Polarised Politics and Societies” (WhiKnow, PI Emilia Palonen) as well as a project, funded by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation, "Mobilizing ‘the Disenfranchised’ in Finland, France and the United States: Post-Truth Public Stories in the Transnational Hybrid Media Space” (PI Karina Horsti), in which she focused on emotions of shame and pride as resources for political right-wing mobilisation. 

She is a permanent member of the Virtual Cinema Lab at Aalto University and a Vice President of the Finnish Interdisciplinary Society FINTERDIS. 

Recent publications: 

Sabine Volk

Sabine Volk is a doctoral researcher in HEPP’s “Now-Time, Us-Space” project, funded by the Kone foundation (2021-2022). Previously, she was a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher in the European Union’s Horizon 2020 project “Delayed Transformational Fatigue in Central and Eastern Europe: Responding to the Rise of Illiberalism/Populism (FATIGUE)” (2018-2021). During her doctoral studies at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, she has been a visiting fellow at HEPP (06/2022), and the “Mercator Forum Democracy and Migration” (MIDEM) at the Technical University Dresden (09/2019-02/2020). Sabine is a member of the Berlin-based Institute for Protest and Movement Research (ipb) and co-chair of the Working Group “Memory and Populism” of the Memory Studies Association (MSA). 

Sabine’s PhD project explores right-wing populist mobilizations from a cultural perspective, shedding new light on protest rituals, (collective) memory, and the onsite construction of ideology. For the “Now-Time, Us-Space” project, she focuses on the intersections of space and time in populist mobilization, examining the case of far-right protest in the eastern German city of Dresden. Her broader research interests include far-right politics, populism, and memory politics in Germany and Europe. She has published in international journals and peer-reviewed volumes.  

Recent publications:   

  • Volk, S. (2022). Resisting ‘Leftist Dictatorship’? Memory Politics and Collective Action Framing in Populist Far-right Street Protest, European Politics and Society, online first.
  • Volk, S. (2022). Patriotic History in Postcolonial Germany, Thirty Years after “Reunification”, Journal of Genocide Research, 24(2), 276-287.
  • Volk, S. (2022). Contested Memories of the East German Peaceful Revolution: Appeals to 1989 by the Populist PEGIDA Movement, in Contested Legacies of 1989: Geopolitics, Memories and Societies in Central and Eastern Europe, ed. N. Maslowski & K. Torbicka, pp. 117-134. Peter Lang.
  • Volk, S. (2021). Political Performances of Control During COVID-19: Controlling and Contesting Democracy in Germany, Frontiers in Political Science: Comparative Governance.
  • Volk, S. (2020). ‘No borders, no nations’ or ‘Fortress Europe’? How European citizens remake European borders, in European Studies and Europe: Twenty Years of Euroculture, ed. J. de Jong, M. Neuman, S. Stanivukovic-Neuman & M. van der Waal, pp. 77-92. Göttingen University Press.
  • Volk, S. (2020). “Wir sind das Volk!” Representative Claim-making and Populist Style in the PEGIDA Movement’s Discourse, German Politics, 29(4), 599–616.
  • Volk, S. (2019). Speaking for “the European People”? How the Transnational Alliance Fortress Europe Constructs a Populist Counter-narrative to European Integration, Politique Européenne, 66, 120–149.
Salla-Maaria Laaksonen

Salla-Maaria Laaksonen, D.Soc.Sc., is a Docent of Communication and a University Researcher in the Centre for Consumer Society Research, University of Helsinki. Her research connects broadly to the fields of digital communication studies, technology studies, and organization studies. Her current work investigates the use of data, algorithms, and automation in organizations, as well as the logics of the hybrid media system in consumer-business relationships. She is currently leading a research project that studies the influence of Unconventional Communicators in the Corona Crisis. Her previous projects have focused on, for example, organizational reputation online, political communication on social media, and organizing on digital platforms. She is an expert in digital and computational research methods. She is a founding member of the academic association Rajapinta and an invited member of the Young Academy Finland. 

Recent publications: 

  • Laaksonen, S-M.; Koivukoski, J. & Porttikivi, M. (2021). Clowning around a polarized issue: Rhetorical strategies and communicative outcomes of a political parody performance by Loldiers of Odin.  New Media and Society.
  • Laaksonen, S-M., Pantti, M. & Titley, G. (2020). Broadcasting the Movement and Branding Political Microcelebrities: Finnish Anti-immigration Video Practices on YouTube. Journal of Communication 70(2).
  • Laaksonen, S-M.; Bodström, E. & Haavisto, C. (2021). Finding the voice of a protest: negotiating authority among the multiplicity of voices in a pro-refugee demonstration. Forthcoming in: Benoit-Barné, C. & Martine, T. (Eds.), Speaking with one voice: Multivocality and univocality in organizing. Routledge Studies in Communication, Organization, and Organizing Series.
  • Laaksonen, S-M.; Haapoja, J.; Kinnunen, T., Nelimarkka, M. & Pöyhtäri, R. (2020). The Datafication of Hate: Expectations and Challenges in Automated Hate Speech Monitoring. Frontiers in Big Data: Data Mining and Management / Critical Data and Algorithm Studies.
Taavi Sundell 

Taavi Sundell is a doctoral researcher in world politics at the University of Helsinki and a researcher at the Finnish Institute in the Middle East, Beirut, Lebanon. His doctoral research focuses on the post-foundational political economy of higher education in the contexts of Jordan, Finland, and Open Access publishing (Plan S). Combining discourse theory and critical political economy, Taavi’s article-based dissertation examines how, and with what implications, different actors have articulated the economic foundations of higher education. From 2023–26, he will work as a postdoctoral researcher in the Kone Foundation-funded research project Migration, Transnational Educational Paths and Diasporic Multilingualism (MIGDIA), focusing on the ideological foundations and practices of global governance of refugee education in the context of Lebanon.  

Recent publications: 

  • Sundell, T. (2021). Political economy of Plan S: a post-foundational perspective on Open Access. Political research exchange, 3(1), [1934049].
  • Taavi Sundell (2021) Toward a Post-Foundational Political Economy: Economism and Private Property as Capitalism’s Contingent Foundations, New Political Science, 43:1, 6-29,
  • Findlow, S., Hayes, A., & Sundell, T. (2020). Academic Capitalism, Conceptualizations of. In M. E. David, & M. J. Amey (Eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Higher Education (pp. 18–23). Sage Publications. 
  • Palonen, E., & Sundell, T. (2019). Análisis Posfundacional del Discurso. In B. Herzog, & J. Ruiz (Eds.), Análisis sociológico del discurso: enfoques, métodos, procedimientos (pp. 77–99). Publicacions de la universitat de València.
Virpi Salojärvi

Virpi Salojärvi is an Assistant Professor in the School of Marketing and Communication at the University of Vaasa and affiliated with the Helsinki Hub on Emotions, Populism and Polarisation at the University of Helsinki. She is a work package leader in the Academy of Finland -funded project Whirl of Knowledge: Cultural Populism in European Polarised Politics and Societies (2019-2022, PI Emilia Palonen) and a senior researcher in ENDURE: Inequalities, Community Resilience and New Governance Modalities in a Post-Pandemic World (2022-2025, PI Mihai Varga, Freie Universität Berlin). She also participates in a Helsingin Sanomat Foundation funded project Short videos as young people’s news source (2022-2024, PI Tanja Sihvonen, University of Vaasa), and previously in Mainstreaming Populism in the 21st century (2017-2021, PI Juha Herkman). Her main research interests include polarisation and conflict, populism and media, emotions, (audio-)visual analysis and Latin American studies.  

Salojärvi is a Chair in IAMCR's (International Association for Media and Communication Research) Crisis, Security and Conflict Communication Working Group. She has frequently visited the Universities of Miami and Valencia as a visiting scholar. 

Her previous and current teaching include courses on media theory, social media research, media and society, populism and media, and Master’s seminar, in addition to guest lecturing on populism, freedom of expression, and visual analysis. Moreover, she supervises PhD candidates and Master’s thesis. 

Recent publications: 

  • Salojärvi, V. 2022. Faceless government: civic action in media photographs during the Venezuelan anti-governmental protests of 2017. Visual Communication 21(1), 53–72. DOI: 
  • Salojärvi, V., & Jensen, R. B. (special issue eds) 2021. Active agency, access and power. Media, War & Conflict 14(3). 
  • Salojärvi, V. 2020. Populistiset miesjohtajat ja performatiivisuus: Timo Soinin, Hugo Chávezin ja Donald J. Trumpin hahmot journalistisissa kuvissa (Populist male leaders and performativity: The characters of Timo Soini, Hugo Chávez and Donald J. Trump in journalistic photographs). Media ja Viestintä, 43(4), 366-384. 
  • García Santamaría, S. & Salojärvi V. 2020. Media in Authoritarian Contexts. A Logics Approach to Journalistic Professional Resistance in Cuba and Venezuela. In X. Orchard et al. (eds) Media & Governance in Latin America: Towards Plurality of Voices. New York: Peter Lang. 
Yannick D. O. Lahti

Yannick D. O. Lahti is a political scientist and a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Helsinki. Lahti obtained his PhD-degree in 2022 from the University of Bologna in Italy. In his research, he examined European populism, populist actors, and political communication during the last European Union elections of 2019 within the Hybrid Media system. In his work Yannick Lahti departed from the consideration that as populism and populist rhetoric are challenging concepts to define - especially in relation to different media environments; they should be addressed and analyzed through the usage of a combination of methods and theoretical perspectives, namely Communication Studies, Corpus Linguistics, Political theory, Rhetoric and Corpus-Assisted Discourse Studies. 

Recently Lahti was involved with Whirl of Knowledge project and is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher conducting research for the transatlantic ENDURE-project funded by the Finnish Academy (Suomen Akatemia).  

Recent publications:

Eurídice Hernández

Eurídice Hernández Gomes is a first-year master's student in the Urban Studies and Planning program at the University of Helsinki. With public management and law bachelor's degrees done at Fundação Getulio Vargas, Brazil, she had experience working as a public policy intern in Buenos Aires City Hall and as an urban researcher at CEPESP, a public policy center in São Paulo. Currently, she is a research assistant for the Finnish team in the D.Rad project. As a research topic, she is focused on understanding public spaces' role in the inclusion and exclusion of migrants in the urban space. 

Recent publications: 


Laura Horsmanheimo

Laura Horsmanheimo is a fifth-year student completing her Master’s in Political Science at the University of Helsinki. She is currently a research assistant for the Finnish team in the D.Rad project. Minority and identity issues from intersectional perspective fascinate her the most. Laura’s Master’s thesis covers Finnish prostitution policy from a post-structural perspective.  

Recent publications: 

Vica Protovin

Vica Protovin is a Master's student in the European and Nordic Studies Master's Programme at the University of Helsinki. 

She has worked previously as a conference assistant at the Centre for European Studies at the University of Helsinki and as a coordination assistant trainee at Lahti University Campus.  

Currently, she is a research assistant for the international teams in the Now-Time Us-Space and WhiKnow projects led by Emilia Palonen at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki. 

In her Master's thesis, she analyzes speeches from the Hungarian Prime Minister to prove that he constructs his populist messages via a substitutable form that can be traced in his speeches based on Emilia Palonen's reinterpretation of Ernesto Laclau's populist theory. 

Her research interests are Hungarian populist politics, EU regional policy, and issues and ideas articulated through movement and dancing inspired by her aerial acrobatics hobby. 

Dario Quattromani

Dario Quattromani, an affiliated researcher to HEPP, has been studying political parties, electoral systems, Italian and EU politics, populism, local governments, communication platforms, applying participatory and deliberative tools throughout his hybrid research years.

Quattromani holds a PhD in Political Science specialising in Government and Institutions from Roma Tre University (Rome), and he is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Fundamentals of Politics at Link Campus University (Rome) and in Political Science at Tuscia University (Viterbo), a Teaching Assistant in Political Sociology at D’Annunzio University (Chieti-Pescara), Political Communication Officer at the Metropolitan City of Rome, and Communication Officer of the Italian Politics Specialist Group. He has published on populist parties and European issues, supervised several BA students and collaborates with the WhiKnow project as a country expert.

Roberto De Rosa

Roberto De Rosa, an affiliated researcher to HEPP, is a Senior Research Fellow in Political Science with a solid background in media studies. His main research interests focus on political parties, social capital and civic engagement, participation and political communication, political language and populism.

De Rosa is presently teaching Political Science and he is also Adjunct Professor in Political Sociology at Niccolò Cusano University (Roma). He taught Political Communication at LUMSA University of Rome and in Audio-Visual Languages and Videopolitics at Tuscia University of Viterbo and, in his teaching role, he has supervised several BA students and PhD dissertations. He has published on political parties, populist parties, social capital, political communication and participation, with his main country expertise being Italy and France. Currently, De Rosa collaborates with the WhiKnow project as a country expert.