IRRITATION research team
PI Anni Kajanus

I’m interested in humans as a social species. As a psychological anthropologist, my aim is to bring together an in-depth understanding of people’s cultural worlds and a systematic study of cognitive and psychological processes, to learn more about how humans cooperate and make moral judgements.

I have carried out much of my research in China, and more recently, focused on cross-cultural comparative work. I have investigated topics such as competitive motivation, conflict resolution, fairness norms, helping behaviours, and dominance and prestige hierarchies. Recently I have turned to the emotional side of cooperation, focusing on the emotion of irritation.

I'm the Principal Investigator of this project and lead the research group. If you are interested in working with me, please send me an email outlining your research interests and goals.

Fangming Cui

I received my B.A. degrees in Psychology and Brain & Cognitive Science from the University of Rochester, and my Ph.D. in Psychology from Cornell University.

As a social psychologist, my interests in the field rest in social factors relevant to emotions and interpersonal relationships. In particular, my goal as a researcher is to understand how emotional experiences in interpersonal interactions lead to diverse affective, cognitive and behavioral consequences.

In this research group, I will examine the emotion of irritation using psychological-oriented comparative methods, while drawing upon the insights gained form ethnographic research carried out by the rest of the team. 

Hua (Miranda) Wu

I am a psychological anthropologist and received my Ph.D. from the University of California San Diego.

My research is grounded in phenomenology and explores the intricate interplay between human emotion and embodiment. I study transformative experience, focusing on intergenerational dynamics and impact on mental health in living across rapid social changes in China. I work on intergenerational trauma, social precarity, and new forms of intimacy in everyday life and across lifespan.  

For this research group, I conduct ethnographic research in Shanghai, focusing on the appraisal, expression, consequences, and function of irritation in newly emerged social relations and cultural contexts.  

Justice Medzani

I hold BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Zimbabwe where I studied Sociology and Social Anthropology. I went on to study Law at the University of South Africa while I concurrently was completing his PhD in Sociology at the University of Pretoria whose focus was on the nexus between masculinity and intimate partner abuse as reported by men in Zimbabwe.

My research activities span the domains of family, identities, violence (including family and gendered violence), victimhood, inequality and vulnerability mainly within the context of Southern Africa. Largely, I have worked on interpersonal violence, masculinities and sexualities focussing on challenging gender and sexuality hierarchies. My recent past work involved the use of both qualitative and quantitative analytical tools in conducting team research on gender aimed at social inclusion and social justice.

I have also taught at various universities including the Great Zimbabwe University (2016), University of Pretoria (2017-2021), University of Johannesburg (2022), Nelson Mandela University (2022).

My current work involves an ethnographic exploration of Irritation project. My contribution as part of the team includes the examining social irritation in human interactions within private and public spaces in Zimbabwe. 

Particia Scalco

I am a social anthropologist interested in kinship studies, economic anthropology, and anthropology of moralities.

I have a degree in law and trained as a social anthropologist in Turkey and the UK. My research focuses on notions of authenticity, truth-making, and public/private spheres of everyday life, particularly in relation to sexual moralities, reproductive health, and marriageability among unmarried youth in Istanbul. My postdoctoral work examines how authenticity, truth-making, and moralities are influenced by de/regulation, informality, and competing trade regimes in the carpet trade of the Istanbul Grand Bazaar.

In the Irritation Project, I will study the dynamics between kinship and trade moralities in kinship-based enterprises in Brazil. Specifically, I will explore how irritation affects cooperation among members of these social units.

I am committed to advancing decolonial agendas within and beyond anthropology. This is evident in my research, teaching, and efforts to facilitate public exchanges between different domains of arts.

Nadia Augustyniak

I received my PhD in anthropology from The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY).

My research has focused on the expansion of public mental health services in Sri Lanka, where I explored how psychological counselling practice is shaped by clients’ and practitioners’ ethical sensibilities, tacit cultural knowledge and concrete social and material realities, including state-promoted family ideologies and class and gender relations. This work reflects my broader interest in the globalization of psychological and mental health discourses and in everyday experience and practice that go against the grain of the models of emotion and wellbeing these increasingly dominant discourses offer. The moral and economic stakes of family in counselling practice have led me to a broader interest in family relationships as a window onto the cultural-shaping of emotional life; gendered moral personhood; and the social and material dimensions of distress and wellbeing.

As part of the Irritation Group, I plan to explore irritation-like emotions in relation to normative ideals of kin-based care and mutuality and in the broader context of the far-reaching impacts of Sri Lanka’s ongoing economic crisis.   

Admin: Riikka Sarasjärvi

I am the project coordinator for the project, taking care of administrative issues and assisting in various support task to ensure that the project runs smoothly.

Project coordinators are part of research services offering post-award support for large externally funded projects, such as ERC grant projects.

My tasks include, for example, assisting with funder requirements such as reporting, checking compliance with university guidelines, as well as various tasks related to communications.