The following researchers are a part of the Centre for Research on Group Relations, Gender and Identity.
Elina Oinas

Elina Oinas is professor in Sociology at the Swedish School of Social Science in the University of Helsinki since 2015. 

Projects: In her research Elina is interested in feminisms, girls, health, knowledge and the body in different locations and transnationally. The interest in gender and the body started with her MA thesis (1994) on menstruation and medicalization. Currently her research is about academia, context, ownership and societal transformation.

She is PI in the

  1. EDIT, Equality and Democracy in Transformation, a project on feminisms and Gender Studies in comparative perspective in Ethiopia, South Africa and Finland, funded by Academy of Finland’s DEVELOP Programme 2019-2022, with Dr. Danai Mupotsa at the University of Witwatersrand and Dr. Aynalem Megersa at the Addis Ababa University.
  2. SIDA, Svenskfinlands konturer – identitet och solidaritet i möten med intima ”andra”, funded by Svenska litteratursällskapet 2020-2024, with Dr. Liu Xin.

as well as in the SCRIBE project with Salla Sariola.

(on a medical vaccine trial conducted by Nordics in West Africa.)

These projects together comprise her interest in science, power, relevance, health, feminism and politics.

Teaching: Elina will be on research leave Spring term 2020 but when in her teaching position, she is responsible for the BA and MA programs in Sociology (KSV and MSV) of her school, and the thematic packages of Gender in society. She teaches Gender in Society I and II, Gender and Race, MA seminars, MA methodology, and Post-colonial theory.

Elina is proud to be one of the few docents (=Adjunct Professor) in Women’s Studies since 2007, as Women’s Studies with its brief but productive moment in the history of academic feminism no longer exists in Finland.

Past: Elina did her PhD in 2001 at the Åbo Akademi University in Sociology, entitled Making Sense of the Teenage Body – Sociological Perspectives on Girls, Changing Bodies and Knowledges


In her post doc she worked with Katarina Jungar on HIV activism in South Africa

and girls’ groups in Finland.

Oinas was Beatrice M. Bain research fellow in Women’s Studies at the University of California Berkeley, 2005-2006, and researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala in 2007-2008, where she also currently serves as the chair of the Programme and Research Council. She has also worked as lecturer in sociology in University of Turku (2001-2, 2009-10) and in Development Studies in Helsinki (2010-2015)

Her most recent research project was a concortuim she lead with Leena Suurpää, on youth and political engagements in Africa, resulting in a book (with open access, have a look: What Politics? Youth and Political Engagement in Africa).


and a fantastic special issue with Danai Mupotsa on unruly girls.

Mupotsa, Danai & Oinas, Elina (2015) Visual Interruptions: Introduction to the Special Issue. Girlhood Studies 8(3): 3-5.

and Oinas, Elina (2015). ‘The naked, vulnerable, crazy girl’ in Girlhood Studies 8(3): 119-134.

Even if a while ago, she is still proud of the beautiful cover of the book Kvinnor, kropp och hälsa with Jutta Ahlbeck


Pride not the right word, but perhaps amazement, is the word describing the incredible, informative journey, taken with Tiina Kontinen and colleagues during the project Developing Development Studies in Tanzania and Zambia 2010-2016.

Current commitments: Elina is currently serving as a member of the Excecutive Board of the International Sociological Association 2018-2022, and chair of the UniPID, Finnish University Partnership for International Development. She is also fully aware of the fact that she should quit some of her network engagements, but finds academic institutional care work important, and sees how all this informs her research on idea(l)s of science. In the near future, however, she hopes to be able to prioritize EDIT and SIDA, finish the book and articles on SCRIBE and also have some fun with friends and colleagues and dog companions in different forests, hilltops and waters.

This last part is relevant here, as trying to find ways and cultivate an existence as academics with healthy awareness of time, self and boundaries seems harder than ever, regardless of one’s credibility in practices of public rejection of competitive, neo-lib academia. So GGRIN, EDIT and SIDA are, hopefully, also about life in general, and breathing and sharing.

Salla Aldrin Salskov

Doctoral Student
Salla Aldrin Salskov (MSc, Gender Studies, MA, Philosophy) is currently finalizing her dissertation on critique and epistemic habits in feminist theory. Focusing on questions of knowledge production, language philosophy and ethics, her research interests include critical gender and queer theory, theories of sexual difference, post-humanism, human-animal studies, and feminist philosophy. Salla has written about the conceptual politics of gender and sexual difference theory (in Swedish and Finnish) and has published articles on savior narratives and homonationalist discourses in the Nordic countries, published in *Sexualities* and *NORMA: Nordic Journal of Masculinity Studies*, and feminist philosophy published in *Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical studies in Culture and Politics*.

In 2017 she edited a special issue on feminist epistemic habits and critique together with Marianne Liljeström (University of Turku), for Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics. Salla is one of the editors of the Finnish Journal of Queer Studies (2019-2020) and the Chair of the National Association of Queer Studies.)

Salla has been a member of the editorial board of the *National Journal of Gender Studies* in Finland for which she has also acted as book review editor (2015-2017) and was a visiting scholar at PAL (center for Philosophy, Arts and Literature) at Duke University (2014-2015, spring 2017).

Salla has been teaching gender studies for over ten years (undergraduate and advanced levels), on topics such as women and globalization, gendered and sexual violence, feminist science studies, intersectionality, feminist philosophy and theory, gender, embodiment and bodily practices as well as postcolonial feminism and queer theory. In the spring 2018 she worked as a university teacher in sociology at The Swedish School of Social Sciences.

In This research project Salla will continue her work on epistemic habits and the politics of knowledge production by critically assessing what kinds of theoretical, political and ethical investments and positionalities are made through a particular delineation of “proper objects” in feminist queer and anti-racist pedagogies that aim for promoting gender equality and justice. She investigates particular how geopolitical aspects come into play, how theories travel and how knowledge is assessed in various queer and feminist anti-racist spaces.

Salla Aldrin Salskov's biography on AboCRIS

Ali Ali

Doctoral Student
Ali Ali is a a Ph.D student at University of Helsinki. He focuses on issues of belonging, exclusion and marginality. In particular, he is interested in the reconfiguration of the self (or identity) when these three aspects are problematized due to the individual’s multiple associations and the contingency of that individual’s precarity. The negotiation of security and home in a state of precarity is a pivotal aspect in his research: he looks into the possibility and the dynamics of creating a social constellation where precarity and privilege are not differentially (pre)allocated according to belonging, and the relational (self other) stakes in that. This makes knowledge creation, understood in the light of who is entitled to ”produce” knowledge and whose knowledge counts as valuable, a major issue in his research – because 1) He creates knowledge, 2) He chooses where to find knowledge or truth 3) He creates a platform through which knowledge passes through. These three aspects are even more crucial for research on marginality, as knowledge is tightly connected to claims of truth, and therefore the power relations and politics involved in who lays claim to ”truth” and whose perspective of reality counts.

Ingrid Biese

Postdoctoral Researcher
Ingrid Biese, PhD, is a Postdoctoral researcher at the Swedish School of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. Biese focuses on ‘Opting out’, sustainable working cultures, career models, transformation, individualisation, identity and gender. 

Biese's blog: the opting out blog

Saara Koikkalainen

Doctor of Social Sciences / Postdoctoral Researcher

Saara Koikkalainen's research has focused on different migration phenomena, including highly skilled, intra-European migration, free movement policies, Iraqi asylum seekers in Finland, migration decision-making and the role of imagination and mental time travel in the migration process, as well as tourism and mobility. At the moment I study the situation of Nordic migrants living in London during the Brexit process. In addition, I am an expert in research finance and project planning.

Sociology, doctor of social sciences, Lapin yliopisto → 2014

Sociology, social anthropology, master of social sciences, Tampereen yliopisto 1990 → 1997

Xin Liu

Postdoctoral Researcher

Xin Liu is a postdoctoral researcher at the Swedish School of Social Science, and Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki. Liu Xin has published in journals such as Australian Feminist Studies, Parallax, MAI: Feminism & Visual Culture, Girlhood Studies, NORA, Nordic Journal of Migration Research, Sukupuolentutkimus-Genusforskning, Feminist Encounters: A journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics, and has forthcoming articles in journals such as Feminist Review and the Journal of Environmental Media.

Her recent research projects are located in the intersections of areas of environmental humanities, feminist and queer game studies, digital media research, feminist theory and social theory and economic sociology.

Harry Lunabba

University Lecturer
Social work, Social services, Welfare, Childhood Studies, Gender Studies, Boyhood

Beata Segercrantz

University Lecturer
Social Psychology, organizational psychology, innovation, organizational change, subjectivity, identity, discourse analysis, health care, gender

Beata Segercrantz, Ph.D. (Management and organization, Hanken School of Economics) is University Lecturer in social psychology at the Swedish School of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. Her current research contributes to critical studies of innovation and project work. She is in particular interested in how innovation is discursively constructed in management research, in EU social innovation policy and during technology implementation projects in care work. Her analyses focus mainly on (un)desirable effects of innovation, subjectivity, identity, interpersonal relations and power relations from a discursive perspective. Her work has been has been published as book chapters and in international journals. She is co-editor of the book “Challenging the innovation paradigm”.

Jonita Siivonen

University Lecturer
Media and Communications, Journalism, Media Language, Genre, Gender, Portrait, Languages and Literature

Research fields: Journalism and Gender, Genres and Stylistics & Media Language

Research projects:

  • Global Media Monitoring Project. Coordinator for Finland.
  • Nordic Perspectives on Gender in News Media
  • Fakta som handelsvara. Produktion, innehåll och publik - rutiner och kriser i finländska medier (in Swedish)

Journalism, media and communication on Soc & kom's webpage
Who makes the news?

Jan Wickman

University Lecturer
Sociology, Gender Studies, Men and Masculinities, Transgender Studies, Activism

Jan Wickman's research interests: the sociology of culture, the sociology of mass media, poststructuralist social theory; queer theory and politics; transgender politics; particularly the significance of social and cultural contexts for local interpretations of these, masculinity and sports, mass media representations of male athletes; "metrosexuality", aging among sexual minorities, international comparative studies

Teaching (in addition to courses related to my research interests): the history and classics of sociology, agency and social structure, contemporary social research, media sociology

Title of Docent in sociology and gender studies, Åbo Akademi 2014 →

Henrika Zilliacus-Tikkanen

University Lecturer
Media and communications, Gender studies, Media history, Journalism

Research within the research field: Journalism, media and communication

Ella Alin

Grant-funded researcher

Development studies, M. Soc. Sci., University of Helsinki

Otso Harju

PhD Candidate
Sociology, India, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Class, Research Ethics, Urban Studies, Privilege Studies, Trans Studies

Otso Harju's research focuses on gender, class and selfhood in contemporary feminist lifeworlds in metropolitan India. Harju's teaching areas include ethnography, gender and sexuality, class, and whiteness studies.

PhD Candidate, Gender Studies, University of Helsinki. 2017–

MSc, Asian Studies (South Asia track), Lund University. 2016.

BA, Philosophy, University of Helsinki, 2012.

Katriina Huttunen