The researchers of the LegitRel project have backgrounds in the study of religion, economic sociology, and social and public policy from the University of Turku, the University of Helsinki, and the University of Eastern Finland.
Titus Hjelm

Titus Hjelm is Professor in the Study of Religion at the University of Helsinki. Finland. Previously he was Reader in Sociology at University College London, UK. His publications include Peter Berger and the Sociology of Religion: 50 Years after The Sacred Canopy (ed., Bloomsbury Academic, 2018) in addition to several other books and many journal articles on the sociology of religion. He is the co-editor of the Journal of Religion in Europe and the founding chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Sociology of Religion Group.

Tuomas Äystö

Tuomas Äystö is a Postdoctoral Researcher in study of religion graduated from the University of Turku. His main expertise is on the questions of religion and society, particularly those involving politics or the officials. He defended his doctoral dissertation addressing the contemporary themes of official categorizations of religion in 2019 and has published articles on topics such as religion and the parliamentary politics, and the transgression of societal moral boundaries.

Anna Haapalainen

Anna Haapalainen (MA) is finalizing a doctoral dissertation on the relationship between the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church and the changes in the religious landscape. Haapalainen’s research has focused on the themes of institutional religious communities, power, agency and gender. Central publications include an edited volume (with Minna Opas) titled Christianity and the Limits of Materiality (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), and the articles “Spiritual Senses as a Resource (Temenos 52:2, 2016) and “An emerging trend of charismatic religiosity in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland” (Approaching Religion 5:1, 2015).

Jere Kyyrö

Jere Kyyrö works as University Teacher in the Study of Cultures at the University of Turku, Finland. He has degrees in Study of Religion (PhD) and Sociology (MSocSc). His research interests focus on the various relations and interactions between religion, national identity and media. His published doctoral thesis monograph analyzes cultural controversies around the figure of field marshal Mannerheim in Finnish media in the 2000s and 2010s. He has written several research articles and book chapters on various topics, such as civil religion, nationalism and the visibility of religion in Finnish party politics.

Aki Koivula

Aki Koivula, DSocSc, holds a title of docent (adjunct professorship) in economic sociology at the University of Turku. Currently, Koivula works as a University Lecturer and Head of Discipline in Economic Sociology at the University of Turku. Koivula has special expertise within the survey methodology and diverse theoretical knowledge from social science fields. He has been involved in multiple research projects, and he has published more than 35 refereed articles in academic journals from a variety of fields.

Ilkka Koiranen
Talvikki Ahonen

Talvikki Ahonen is a Postdoctoral Researcher in study of religion at the University of Helsinki. She holds a PhD (social and public policy) from the University of Eastern Finland. Her research interests include religious communities as societal actors and transnational migrations, with specific focus on Orthodox Christian churches and diasporas. Ahonen’s recent and forthcoming publications cover for example LGBT+ inclusion and Orthodoxy, and how Covid-19  has influenced eucharistic practices and experiences.