Ongoing projects

The civic potential of climate mobility (HUMANE–CLIMATE)
HUMANE–CLIMATE explores the potential of critical pedagogical interventions and youth climate action to raise awareness of climate mobility and encourage equitable encounters within ‘the humanitarian border’, in the empirical contexts of Athens, Greece and Tampere, Finland. It approaches the dilemma of how young can learn to understand and respond to climate change and forced mobility, through three research questions: 1) How is the European Union preparing for the increasing climate mobility and how do Greece and Finland position themselves in this policy framework? 2) How are attitudes toward climate mobility impacted by a change of perspective from territorially-based world view, stressing borders and bordering, to a relational world view emphasizing connectedness and interdependency? 3) Can critical environmental citizenship, based on a relational understanding of climate mobility, be fostered through encounters between youths with and without recent migrant background?

Researchers: Kirsi Pauliina Kallio (PI, leader of RT1), Aila Spathopoulou (leader of RT2), Kimmo Härmä (postdoctoral researcher), Maria Sulonen (research assitant RT1), Nefeli Bami (research assitant RT2)

Duration: 1.9.2022–31.8.2026
Funding: Academy of Finland, Research Council for Culture and Society

Empowering Urban Cyclists with Citizen Science (BiciZen)
This ECIU SMART-ER pilot project focuses on the development of urban cycling in four European cities: Barcelona (Catalonia), Enchede (Neatherlands), Aveiro (Portugal) and Tampere (Finland). Additionally, the projects involves expertise in citizen science methods and crowdsourcing tools from the team based in Dublin (Ireland). In a co-creative spirit, we aim to learn with urban cyclist and municipal administration stakeholders about urban mobility, public engagement and cycling, through a citizen science platform that empowers urban cyclists with relevant travel information and supports cities in their transition to a low-carbon mobility future. The pilot will develop an intuitive crowdsourcing tool for cyclists that will allow them to document their cycling experience, inform mobility policy, and generate valuable data for researchers studying cycling policy, public engagement, and computer science. Similar to how amateur star-gazers contribute to the discovery of new celestial features (Kuchner et al 2016), our project will mobilize the urban cycling community to uncover new insights and patterns about urban cycling. Our work acknowledges cyclists as issue-based urban citizens (Häkli et al 2020). The project hence contributes to both urban democracy and urban sustainability. The platform will allow cyclists to share geo-located commentary, experiences, photos, and data about cycling infrastructure, with particular attention to cycle path maintenance, bike parking and theft.

Researchers: Jouni Häkli & Kirsi Pauliina Kallio (Tampere team leaders), Miki Mäkelä (researcher), in collaboration with Universitat Autonomà de Barcelona (consortium leader), University of Twente, Aveiro University and University of Dublin.

Duration: 19.5.2022–31.10.2023
Funding: European Consortium of Innovative Universities, ECIU SMART-ER program for Citizen Science Pilot Projects

The Politics of Embodied Encounters in Asylum Seeking (POEMS)
The research concerns embodied encounters between asylum seekers, the migration regime, and societies that host refugees. The project is divided into three research tasks: 1) analysis of European Union and Finnish asylum policies; 2) the study of encounters in asylum application process; and 3) an ethnographic study of experiences of personhood in everyday encounters.

Embodied political presence is studied as an asset that asylum seekers have when encountering migration governance that often seeks to reduce them into manageable bodies. The research draws from philosophical anthropology with an understanding of human corporeality as a duality of objective and subjective embodiment embedded in reflexivity. In practical terms, we look into the potential of corporeality as an interface between political subjectivity and agency that may be consequential for improved dialogue with host societies. The project will increase our understanding of the political dynamism of asylum and refuge.

Researchers: Jouni Häkli (PI, leader of RT1, RT2), Kirsi Pauliina Kallio (leader of RT3), Gintarė Kudžmaitė (postdoctoral researcher), Aura Lounasmaa (postdoctoral researcher)

Duration: 1.9.2021–31.8.2025
Funding: Academy of Finland, Research Council for Culture and Society

Queer migrations and the political geographies of reception and encounter

Questions of migration, borders, and national identities continue to be fraught and contested issues in and beyond Europe—from the height of the so-called ‘migrant crisis’ to the current moment, in which resurgent forms of nationalist and racist politics continue to reproduce conditions of crisis for many who have or would migrate. This project intervenes in that landscape by examining the role of Nordic LGBTQ+ spaces and organizations as sites of everyday reception and encounter that may challenge or reinforce these politics. Bringing together literatures on queer migrations and the geographies of encounter, this project examines queer spaces as sites through which differently situated participants in those spaces comes to encounter each other and the politics of migration more broadly. Starting methodologically with the spaces, rather than the identities of the participants in them, allows for attention to a broader range of encounters beyond the host/migrant binary that still informs much thinking around migrant ‘integration’. The project will first conduct interviews with key participants in such spaces across the Nordic countries, including representatives from queer migrant and other minoritized forms of queer activism, as well as in-depth fieldwork in two cities that will involve participant observation in LGBTQ+ spaces, interviews with participants in those spaces, and a participatory photography project that will invite participants to speak back to the project’s questions and findings. By better understanding how queer spaces are changing in response to the shifting political landscape and to the needs and aspirations of queer people who have migrated, this research stands to offer insights into ways that queer organizations and activists might counter racist politics and more effectively welcome people who have migrated, while also contributing to migration scholarship contesting prevailing framings and practices around ‘integration’ and taking forward theoretical work on the geographies of encounter.

Researcher: Derek Ruez
Duration: 01.09.2021–31.08.2026
Funding: Academy of Finland, Academy Research Fellow Project, Research Council for Culture and Society

Sustaining Peace amidst Violence at the Mexico-U.S. Border. Tracking the Entanglements between Everyday Peace and Epistemic Violence

The project addresses the entanglements of peace and violence the Mexico-U.S. Border.  Drawing on the fields of peace and conflict research and critical border studies, the project specifically looks at by what means and conditions everyday peace works towards lessening a pervasive form of ignored violence, namely epistemic violence.  The focus on everyday peace provides evidence on how the embodiment of peace from marginalised perspectives sustain the efforts to counter a violent context. The objectives of this project are threefold: To identify specific conditions and openings for everyday peace that could potentially diminish violence; to provide knowledge of the actualisation and normalisation of epistemic violence; and finally, to expand the current understanding of everyday peace in relation to social contexts permanently affected by different forms of violence. The expected results will provide knowledge about concrete actions to enhance and sustain peace at the grassroots level and will give insight about the dynamics that prompt and reassure epistemic violence. Conceptually, the project broadens the notion of everyday peace including social contexts beyond post-armed conflict and connects this notion with scenarios of sustaining peace amidst violence.

Researcher: Angel Iglesias Ortiz
Duration: 01.09.2021- 31.08.2024
Funding: Academy of Finland, Postdoctoral Project, Research Council for Culture and Society

Present-futures in/of Palestine
This project examines the future anticipations, expectations, and prospect behind the present realities and ongoing developments in the occupied Palestine. It focuses on the spatialization of what is called the ‘present-futures’ in several key West Bank sites in order to unfold Palestinian futures through the ongoing practices on the ground. It aims analyses what kind of Palestinian futures these ongoing realities rely on, and how the indefinite nature of the future operates as a source for different, even opposing contemporary acts and hopes. A manifold picture of the present-futures is thus painted, a one that asks what kind of future events the present acts engender, while also acknowledging the ways in which the anticipated future-events deeply affect the ongoing practices of governing and everyday life in the occupied territories. By looking at spatially embedded explication of present-futures it aims offer a reality-grounded lens for what the Palestinian futures might look like.

Researchers: Mikko Joronen (project leader), Tiina Järvi (postdoc researcher), tba (postdoc researcher)
Duration: 1.9.2019–31.8.2023
Funding: Academy of Finland, Academy Project Funding for early-career researchers, Research Council for Culture and Society

The Power of Precarity: everydayness of government and resistance in the occupied West Bank
This project focuses on the politics of precarity as it emerges in the matrix of everyday life in the occupied Palestinian territories. It looks at the manifold ways in which precarity operates as a technique of government that Israel uses to advance its settler colonial aims, but also as a condition that engenders new political and social forms of everyday life, action and solidarity. Moreover, it aims to look the ways in which these political and social forms are, on the one hand spatialized, while on the other hand related to the existential vulnerability of being a living being. It problematises the notions of power, governing and violence in particular, asking how they are related to the vulnerability of acting and living. By doing so, the project shows how the idea of precarity affords a useful starting point for analyzing the structures of the occupation, but also for understanding the practices of everyday resistance. It thus aims to problematize the relationship between the two and the different politicizations of precarity they produce. It asks in particular:

  • What are the modes of power and techniques of government Israel uses to occupy land and control the Palestinian population in the West Bank?
  • What kind of effects these uses have to the everyday life in Palestinian places located near the growing settlements? What are the practices of everyday resistance that are, and have been, able to reduce or alleviate the precarities and effects of Israeli practices, at least momentarily?
  • How does the idea of precarity afford a useful starting point not only for understanding the structures of occupation, but also the practices of everyday resistance?

Researcher: Mikko Joronen
Duration: 01.09.2017–31.8.2022
Funding: Academy of Finland, Senior Research Fellow Project

Mapping undocumented lives: Cross-border mobilities, urban spatialities and the paperless migrants in the EU (SA275307)
It is estimated that there are currently some 3.8 million paperless migrants living in the EU-member countries. Whereas the question of their (lack of) social rights has been brought up in several studies, very little is known about the ways they get by in cities and spaces without the due documents that would entitle them to those rights. In this study I aim to fill this gap and focus, therefore, on the embodied, material mobilities and moorings of the paperless migrants, the mobilisation of transnational networks and the politics and spatial practices in diaspora.
The research maps the geographies of the “undocumented everyday” and gives the paperless a voice through a qualitative approach. It aims to trace some of the creative interfaces between work on urban public space, mobilities, transnational migrations and the intricate idea of development. The key concepts are inclusion, legality, visibility, mobility, power structures and people’s right to be (in public).

Researcher: Inka Kaakinen
Duration: 01.01.2016–31.12.2018 and 1.9.2021–8.8.2022
Funding: Academy of Finland, Postdoctoral Project

Previous projects

The Possibilities and Limits of Compassionate Urbanism
This project examines the ‘compassionate city’ as an imaginary increasingly taken up in urban governance and activism. Existing literatures in migration and urban studies are ambivalent about compassion, which is understood by some as key to potentially productive responses to the challenges facing marginalized city residents and by others as an individualizing or moralizing discourse compatible and complicit with the political-economic orderings that produce the very problems toward which compassion might be imagined a response. Advancing these conversations in new directions, this project seeks 1) to document this emerging turn toward compassion and critically examine the ways that it does or does not open up space from which to create more just and inclusive cities for migrants and other racialized and religious minorities and 2) to investigate, in a broader way, the multiple kinds of subjectivities and agendas that urban commitments to compassion do produce. As such, this project proposes a relational comparison across three case study cities (Louisville, Leeds, and Helsinki) that—through interviews with local officials, compassion advocates, and activists making claims on city governments in the interest of migrant rights and racial justice—can open up the politics of compassion in each city, advance theoretical work on plurality and urban politics, and contribute to better understanding the transnational topographies and topologies through which urban policies and political strategies are imagined and enacted.

Researcher: Derek Ruez
Duration: 01.09.2018–31.08.2021
Funding: Academy of Finland, Postdoctoral Project

Spaces of Post-Socialism: Transitional Justice in Yugoslavia’s Successor States
The European integration project was conceived as an antidote to a troubled past, especially during the first half of the twentieth century. In fact, its very raison d’être was to overcome burdensome heritage and to avoid once and for all future wars and authoritarian regimes. This was true not only in relation to and in the aftermath of WWII and the Holocaust, but also with regard to the Southern and Eastern enlargement rounds, which were inter alia motivated by embracing European countries that had left behind the yoke of authoritarianism and/or totalitarianism. This European enlargement and integration project has gone largely unchallenged, until recently. In 2014 to openly question the ‘transition’ to capitalism and the expansion of the new Europe post-1989 – and an expanding neoliberal European Union – became commonplace in Yugoslavia’s successor states. Resistance sprang from Zagreb to Ljubljana, from Skopje to Sarajevo, as popular movements across the region responded to two common enemies, rapacious neoliberal capitalism and the post-democratic governance of corrupt and continually divisive elites. And as such, instead of division and fragmentation – the common language of Balkanist literature and a long-held Orientalist perception of the Balkans from a Western viewpoint – citizen-activists in the post-socialist Yugoslav successor states entered an era of multicultural and multiethnic resistance, treading a path towards a future of justice and democracy beyond national borders and territorial disputes. Spaces of Post-Socialism is as a result, an important and timely initiative for understanding transitional justice post-Yugoslavia, grass-roots political movements in the post-socialist successor states of the ex-Yugoslavia, the ‘transition’ to capitalism and its discontents, and everyday spaces of post-socialism in the ex-Yugoslavia and post-socialist spaces beyond its former territory.

Researcher: James Riding
Duration: 01.08.2016–31.12.2019
Funding: Academy of Finland, RELATE Centre of Excellence

Beyond MALPE-coordination: integrative envisioning (BEMINE) (SA303550)
Similarly to other European countries, Finnish urban regions are facing a variety of challenges: urban sprawl, enhanced by migration, puts pressure on sustainability and accessibility and accelerates segregation, local economies struggle to remain efficient and competitive, urban governance finds it hard to engage citizens, and urban development continues to operate in ‘silos’ and lacks policy integration. Hence, the focal point of the project is to develop integrative perspectives in Finnish city-regional governance to meet these challenges. In Finland, integrated land use, housing, transport, services and economic development (MALPE) has become a new practice to encompass key municipal planning sectors and to address state/city region relations in urban regions. Progressing upon the MALPE framework, the project aims at: 1) comprehending Finnish urbanization processes, urban-rural and agglomeration dynamics and drivers in a Nordic and broader international comparative context, and their implications to sustainability, functionality and economic livelihood; 2) gaining analytical insight of tendencies towards depolicization and ambiguities in knowledge management and policymaking in the current MALPE work; and 3) providing normative solutions for coping with these processes and tendencies, in terms of incorporating qualitatively new knowledge on emerging urban phenomena and new forms of political agency, and for interlinking sectored and scaled policy sectors. With research insights gained from the above, the project aims at 4) generating policy and planning recommendations for Finnish city regions involved in MALPE work. In a co-creative fashion with the stakeholders, urban planning, policy co-coordination and scenario-making (e-)tools will be developed, in a) identifying, modelling and estimating critical thresholds in the development of urban structures, transport and service networks, migration, commuting and consumption patterns and agglomeration mechanisms, b) developing foresight in scenario-building and envisioning future pathways and c) configuring necessary strategic choices towards more sustainable urban development. The project addresses questions A-D of the Research Programme.

Researchers: Jouni Häkli (project leader), Pia Bäcklund, Kirsi Pauliina Kallio, Olli Ruokolainen
Duration: 01.04.2016–31.08.2019
Funding: Academy of Finland, Strategic Research Council

Transcultural roadmap for supporting belonging among
 unaccompanied children and young people (TRUST)
During the year 2015 about 95 000 unaccompanied refugee children and young people claimed asylum in Europe. The sudden increase in numbers of unaccompanied minors has occurred due to several long-standing wars and conflicts in Middle East and Africa. The contemporary protection and integration measures in several EU countries have not been adequate to handle this new situation sustainably. The TRUST project works together with unaccompanied minors, stakeholders and care practitioners. TRUST develops understanding and practical tools through which the unaccompanied minors can be supported and protected in an embracing manner in the new host societies. The project focuses on practices through which the transcultural and translocal belonging among unaccompanied minors can be acknowledged, recognised and supported. Through experiments and pilots in Germany, Sweden and Finland TRUST gains first-hand knowledge how to ground social integration and belonging into care practices and policies. Site of research: JKK & TRANSIT research center.

Researchers: Anna-Kaisa Kuusisto-Arponen (project leader), Kristiina Korjonen-Kuusipuro (postdoc researcher), Jaakko Tuominen (research assistant)
Duration: 1.10.2016–31.9.2018
Funding: Academy of Finland, Key Project Funding

Sexuality, Migration, and the Urban Politics of Difference and Encounter
This project is developing a queer-political approach to the geographies of difference and encounter in the context of public debate and scholarly work on migrant settlement, reception, and citizenship. Building on queer work highlighting the mutual constitution of sexuality and race, this project approaches sexuality as an aspect of urban ‘diversity’ that is still often ignored in broader discussions around migrant integration and multiculturalism. Drawing on interviews with racialized queer migrants living in Sydney, Australia, this project examines how queer spaces figure into the settlement and reception experiences of queer migrants, as well as how sex and dating become important contexts for encounter across difference. This research aims to develop a better understanding of queer migrants’ experiences of citizenship and exclusion at the intersection of race and sexuality, as well as an analysis of the place of sexuality in all migrants’ experiences of settlement and reception. More broadly, it will highlight how regimes of racialization and sexual normativity shape the opportunities and obstacles that migrants face as they work to make a place for themselves in receiving societies.

Researcher: Derek Ruez
Duration: 01.05.2017–31.10.2018
Funding: Academy of Finland, RELATE Centre of Excellence

New Spaces of Refugee Aid: Innovation and the Humanitarian Imaginary in the Middle Eastern Refugee Crisis (SA295297)
Contemporary humanitarianism is going through what has been defined as an “innovation turn”. At a global level, refugee assistance and post-disaster relief are marked by growing reliance on information and communication technologies (ICTs), solutions based on ‘smart design’ and partnerships with the private sector. Held in Istanbul, the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) has put innovation at the centre of its agenda, while at the same time highlighting, by the very choice of its location, the role of the Middle Eastern refugee crisis in catalysing these changes. As “tech” and “data-optimism” come under increasing critical scrutiny across the social sciences, however, several voices are pointing to the need for a critical appraisal of the actual impact technological innovation has on international aid. The project sets out to advance this critical research agenda. Based on fieldwork in Geneva, Beirut, Amman and the Azraq refugee camp (Jordan), it focuses primarily on the use of ICTs and SMS outreach in both urban and camp sites, as promoted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In doing so, it addresses two interrelated sets of questions: 1) What is the impact of remote communication and management techniques on humanitarian space? In which ways is the growing separation of international aid workers from beneficiaries changing the nature of the humanitarian enterprise? 2) What kind of global and local economic practices are mobilized through the spreading of these technologies in refugee settlements? What role does the private sector play in the ‘technologization’ of refugee aid? How does humanitarian technology promote refugees’ economic self-reliance, as one of the tenets of neoliberal development and aid?

Researcher: Elisa Pascucci
Duration: 01.09.2016–19.08.2019
Funding: Academy of Finland, Postdoctoral Project

Governing Spaces of Precarity in Palestine
Researcher: Mikko Joronen
Duration: 01.08.2015–31.7.2018
Funding: School of Management, University of Tampere

Using geosocial realities to do altergeopolitics: international accompaniment for peace in Colombia
This project extends the argument for understanding some nonviolent activism as altergeopolitics by thinking through how the geopolitical, geoeconomic, and geosocial are entangled – and how these connections are leveraged and perhaps reworked by those doing altergeopolitics. Empirically this work focuses on international accompaniment, and in particular how it is shaped by global dynamics of race. International accompaniment is a strategy whereby accompaniers who are less at risk serve as what are sometimes called ‘unarmed bodyguards’ for peace and justice activists in conflict zones. The accompaniers are less at risk because they have various entangled privileges (usually race, class, and passport, i.e. being from the global North), and because they use that position to pressure various state entities (going from North to South) to ensure both their security and that of the person or community they are accompanying. Accompaniment in Colombia is drawn in to the racially charged geographic imaginary of tropicality that, while not as frequently studied, appears to be as global and enduring as Orientalism. In Colombia it has taken a particular form, where the higher areas in the Andes mountains are imagined as more European, because they are cooler, and the hotter lowlands are imagined as more savage and violent. This is a geosocial dynamic where global and local logics of practice differ, and this work turns to how accompaniers navigate and leverage these in their daily practices.

Researcher: Sara Koopman
Duration: 15.08.2016–31.12.2016
Funding: Academy of Finland, RELATE Centre of Excellence

Governing urban green – knowledge base of planning in the context of institutional ambiguity
The project investigates possible “pathologies” and “bolted actualities” of administrative actions concerning knowledge processes in public planning in the context of institutional ambiguity. Here, “Pathologies” refer to unrecognized, conflicting actions, “bolted actualities” mean recognized, conflicting or detrimental actions that the actors don’t know how or by whom to change. Focus of inquiry is how these affect the quality of the knowledge base of planning and especially the utilization of experiential knowledge. Research design makes visible the explicit and implicit restrictions of knowledge utilization that are embedded into current administrative actions, and informs how these condition the democratic nature of processes and the desirable quality of urban green. The project rationale is based on planning theoretical interpretations of democratic processes, as well as the application of the concept of “experiential knowledge” to analysing internal public sector activities.

Researcher: Pia Bäcklund
Duration: 1.8.2015–31.3.2018
Funding: School of Management, University of Tampere

Transcultural Memories of Childhood Displacement: Tracing the Emotive-Spatial Tactics of Belonging (SA266161)
Forced displacement radically changes social and spatial experiences of people and communities. The questions of one’s origin and belonging become contested and vague. Forced displacement often continues to affect people’s lives for decades. This research focuses on the long-term spatial experiences and bodily emotions of forcibly displaced. This research analyses the adults’ memories of childhood displacement and how these displacements are depicted in visual culture products. The twofold approach enables regeneration of the idea of displaced body as a carrier of memory and reveals emotive-spatial tactics involved in reconstructing the sites and ties of belonging. This research concludes that transcultural patterns of displacement memories and their dissemination exist. The new knowledge clarifies the multilevel geopolitics of belonging and creates an opportunity for a wider understanding of how and why displacement leaves such a deep impact on individuals and cultural communities.

Researcher: Anna-Kaisa Kuusisto-Arponen
Duration: 1.9.2013–31.8.2018
Funding: Academy of Finland, Academy Fellow Project

Political presence as a right of the child (SA258341)
The study sets out to disentangle the dilemma of children and young people’s participation and political agency at large, tracing the dynamics, ambiguities, contradictions, and inequalities embedded in the political worlds and communities of differently aged and positioned young individuals. Particular attention is paid to the political subjectivities, positions, roles, relations and action in their experienced political worlds, yet acknowledging that individual adults, adult-led institutions, and the adult society as a whole are important actors and boundary-markers in youthful politics, and that children are players in their political realities as well. The study leans on a theoretically informed “Political Presence Model” that allows the identification of political agency in different situations and happenings and thus opening children and young people’s political worlds for analysis. Field work is carried out in elementary schools and other venues where different kinds of child and youth groups can be attained. In data collection, the project makes use of the MAPOLIS method that provides access to children and young people’s political worlds and helps building practical arrangements where their political presence can be studied and supported from their own starting points. The project aims at a theoretical breakthrough by identifying a geographical system of youthful political agency that reveals a yet unknown pattern of spatial attachments directive to the processes of political socialization, subject formation and participation. The new knowledge will contribute significantly to future research seeking to entangle the complex relationships between children and young people’s awareness and interest of societal issues and problems, their trust on the political system, readiness to civic engagement and political involvement, participatory child and youth policies, and children and young people’s mundane political worlds and other political realities. It thus provides tools for solving the dilemma of youthful political agency and coping with the consequences in distinct geographical contexts.

Researcher: Kirsi Pauliina Kallio
Duration: 01.01.2013–31.12.2017
Funding: Academy of Finland, Academy Fellow Project

Child politics: Nation, place-making and subjectivity
By bringing together current approaches in the study of nationalism and study of childhood and children, this project explores the manifold relations between nation, childhood and children. Nation and childhood provide frames of reference for societies, place, subject formation, actions, and particular morals and ethics. Nationally established and administered institutions make nationhood a powerful but mostly invisible shaper of social relations, practices, places and materialities. Such a framing is an inescapable part of the daily lives and activities of children, and in turn children re/produce through embodied routines, place-making, emotions and practices a national view of the world, including inclusions and exclusions. Symbols and narrations convey multivocal and multivalent national messages and children understand them and use them in particular and differing ways and at different times. Children’s creative re/interpretations and performances of nationhood often show little similarities to those leveled at them. The project is guided with the following questions: How do national agendas related to economic, social and political problems exploit children and tighten their regulation? How do representations of nations take advantage of ideals of childhood and how do children understand and perform those? How does one emerge as a national and political subject?

Researcher: Zsuzsa Millei
Duration: 1.2.2015–31.12.2016
Funding: Academy of Finland, RELATE Centre of Excellence

Refugees and the Material Politics of Humanitarian and Migration Governance
Recent research in political geography, anthropology, and international development has highlighted the emergence of new governance assemblages in which migration control and humanitarianism intersect. Encompassing international organizations, private contractors, states, and NGOs, these apparatuses are characterized by transnational, de-centred, and ‘hybrid’ practices of bordering in which migrants’ material cultures, labour, and networks of affective and social relations are increasingly mobilized. When setting out to understand these phenomena, it is therefore essential to look not only at the dynamics of their formation through legal and policy changes, but also at the role migrants play in countering, as well as in reproducing, these emerging technologies of migration and humanitarian governance. Based on field research conducted in Egypt (in the Cairo and Aswan regions) between 2011 and 2014, the research project sets out to explore these issues through two interrelated axes of ethnographic and theoretical inquiry. In the first, the concept of ‘semiotic and affective infrastructure’ is used for an ethnographic exploration of the role of refugee community organizations in delivering care and assistance to migrants ‘stranded’ in detention centres and victims of trafficking in Egypt. In doing so, the projects seeks to problematize notions of migrant politics of the ‘commons’, shedding light on the complex intertwining of migrants’ autonomous organizing and informal labour within the global ‘aid industry’. The second stream of research addresses theoretically the question of what forms political agency can take for subjects confronted with these ever-shifting transnational technologies of governance. In doing so, it focuses in particular on three aspects: migrant neoliberal subjectivity and the NGO world; humanitarianism and transnational belonging among refugees living in cities of the Global South, and everyday life and political becoming in abject spaces (camps, detention centres, deprived neighborhoods).

Researcher: Elisa Pascucci
Duration: 1.10.2014–31.12.2016
Funding: Academy of Finland, RELATE Centre of Excellence

Early recognition in curbing the marginalization risk of children and youth (SA264436)
This research project seeks to calibrate current debates on early intervention by suggesting that more attention should be paid to the empowerment of children and youth as a preemptive measure that curbs the risk of marginalization and thus decreases the need for intervention at the outset. We recognize that in all circumstances there will be a number of young individuals in need of specific support to overcome their problems. However, instead of seeking to widen the scope of early intervention measures in child and youth policies, we propose that they should rather be seen as the last resort necessary for securing that no children and youth fall outside the mainstream society. Early intervention should therefore be preceded by policies based on the positive recognition of children and young people as actors capable of maintaining, continuing and repairing their everyday social relations and communities. The project works on the premise that to prevent the undesirable and harmful developments of childhood and youth we need to support children and early youth’s spontaneous social relationships and engagements. To this end inclusive recognition strategies should be developed to support children and young people in their everyday environments. To complement early intervention policies aimed specifically at groups who are readily identified as marginalized, we propose an approach that aims at broader recognition and empowerment. We understand that many of the risk factors in children and youth’s psychosocial development are yet unknown. We therefore wish to seek tools for the early support of children and young people by means of participatory inclusion of those not yet identified as marginalized. In practical terms the project provides tools for proactive involvement of children and young people not readily identified as marginalized. The project will produce new knowledge and policy innovations related to children and young people’s social belonging, citizenship and agency. The results will have both scientific and practical value, and relevance for policy making end users working on children and young people’s communal and societal engagement in Finland and elsewhere. The results will help the national policy-making, local administration and policy practitioners to improve their policies and foster children and youth’s well-being. The project continues our work in the SKIDI-KIDS research program.

Researchers: Jouni Häkli (project leader), Kirsi Pauliina Kallio, Riikka Korkiamäki, Elina Stenvall, Pia Bäcklund
Duration: 01.01.2013–30.6.2016
Funding: Academy of Finland

Rethinking the Ontological Politics of Power and Exception
My current research project focuses on the questions related to the political geographies of exceptionalism and government. Particular focus is on the Middle East conflicts, especially on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, but also on rethinking the notion of the ‘political’ in terms of ontology and space. It is in my interest to examine how manifold, even contradictory, techniques of government are implemented, normalized and used, especially in the prolonged conflict-situation in the occupied Palestine, but also to tease out the ontological politics involved in the process. While the former objective has more to do with the aim to map out different forms of power and techniques of government, the latter is connected to the ways in which these techniques are framed, spaces produced, bodies shaped, and everyday human life & non-human entities ordered. Here the tasks is to study the variety of ontic techniques, forms of power and spatial logics of government through different thematic contexts from the refugee camps to the water regulation, and everyday life to the role children in the conflict. Moreover, the project also seeks to elaborate the question of ontological politics, not just in relation to different thinkers from Agamben to Heidegger and Foucault, but also in proportion to questions of subjectivity, political agency, resistance, and the ontological constitution of space beyond the constrains of territorial/relation divide. The project is a continuation of my earlier work dealing with themes such as globalization, ontology of planetary space, topology, philosophy of space, and the history of spatial thinking.

Researcher: Mikko Joronen
Duration: 01.04.2014–31.7.2015
Funding: Academy of Finland, RELATE Centre of Excellence

Politics of Governing – Legitimacy and Rationality of Governance Networks
My past postdoctoral research project (funded by the Academy of Finland) focused on questions concerning the meaningfulness of the territorial municipality as the level and venue of political agency in the face of multi-actor governance networks of planning. As a senior researcher at RELATE CoE, my central point of view is that the new issue based government/governance creates circumstantial substantial territories, the demarcations and boundaries of which are conditioned and contested by the incidental intricacies related to the issues. Of specific importance is to look at the synchronization issues between statutory territorial (planning) systems and the new forms of governance – given that, whereas the actors, networks and operational logics of new governance constellations have their own spatialities and territorialities, the statutory systems have their “legal territorialities” in which a multitude of legal duties are to be spread out and delimited. This creates an interesting tension that can be seen e.g. in Finnish land use planning, where the hierarchical planning system and new strategic planning modes (e.g. MAL-work) clash and intermingle. The starting point is that the political complexity in planning also includes questions such as what kind of processes of decision making, information gathering and valuation should be incorporated in planning – and why? How new modes of governance affect (implicitly or explicitly) the knowledge base of planning is one of my key interests. I study governance practices also as civil servants´ personal experiences. This enables access to their hidden rationalities concerning not only administrative, but also societal and spatial logics, as well as the idea of legitimate knowledge in planning processes.

Researcher: Pia Bäcklund
Duration: 1.9.2014–31.7.2015
Funding: Academy of Finland, RELATE Centre of Excellence

Local political agency and networks of governance (SA253845)
The research focuses on questions concerning the meaningfulness of the territorial municipality as the level and venue of political agency in the face of regional, cross-boundary multi-actor governance networks of planning, decision making and service provision. These questions are approached by investigating the enabling of citizens’ life worlds in the practices of municipal government, by enquiring what kind of municipal political agency is promoted by these practices, and by analysing what kind of interpretations of the relation between the citizen and the locality they presuppose. The study is interdisciplinary in nature. Its scientific frame of reference is based on the interpretations of place and territory in geography, concepts of networked governance in administrative studies, as well as on interpretations of the meaning of citizens’ participation in planning and decision making in planning and democracy theories. The research identifies the appearances of citizens’ spatial ties within discourses of territoriality, the meanings of these ties for political agency, and initially, the significations of political agency within the democratic society. Administrative territory is seen as a spatiotemporal and political construction of governance practices, a discoursive product that also defines the scale of participation in definite terms. With municipal amalgamations, territoriality is produced in and by various governance mechanisms. The aim of the study is to show how any practice, reflected upon or not, is pregnant with democracy ideals, with corresponding potential consequences, highlighting the importance of a theoretical understanding of these practices in promoting the coherence of ideals and practices alike.

Researcher: Pia Bäcklund
Duration: 01.08.2011–31.8.2014
Funding: Academy of Finland, Postdoctoral Project

Spatial socialisation in/to a compressing world (SA133521)
This research will study how the national and transnational realms of social action are co-configured. To challenge the view of the national realm as a victim of ‘global forces’, and to pinpoint the complex processes through which the national/international dichotomy is being renegotiated, we deem it necessary to study the institutional and subjective micro-practices of (political) socialisation that intervene in the production of new subjectivities. Rather than assuming that we already know what is national and transnational, we assert that in each case the question can only be settled through empirical analysis. To empirically contextualize our analysis we study geographical imaginations produced and reproduced in institutional and non-institutional settings of socialisation (state, school, family and peer culture), with a special focus on their dual role as agents of change and forces of inertia. The key question is how the world is imagined as other than regional spaces and what practical consequences such new forms of geographical imagination have. Our research task is divided into three subprojects, the first of which focuses on the construction of Finland as a nation-state, an assemblage where the national and transnational intermingle. The second subproject deals with the co-configuration of the national and international that occurs through the intermingling between home and virtual communities as spaces of political socialization. The third subproject analyses the transnational construction of
Finnishness in the context of school. The project aims at innovative conceptualisation of the nation-state and the nature of the ‘transnational’.

Researchers: Jouni Häkli (project leader), Kirsi Pauliina Kallio, Kristiina Vihmalo, Eeva Rinne
Duration: 01.01.2010–31.12.2013
Funding: Academy of Finland

Preventing children’s marginalisation through place-based participation (SA134949)
This project is part of the Academy of Finland research programme Health and Welfare of Children and Young People (SKIDI-KIDS). Our goal is to locate ways of preventing children’s welfare problems through the management of marginalization risks by developing children’s participation in community activities. We recognize a need to improve the social standing of those children that fall under the risk of marginalization. We suggest broad inclusion in community activities as one significant means to enhancing children’s community spirit and well-being. To this end we wish to study theoretically mechanisms that cause marginalization and to evaluate recently made child and youth policy strategies that aim at improving children’s participation. We focus particularly on how they have succeeded in involving children under the risk of marginalization. We argue that often the voice of the child is not heard when participatory practices are designed and thus significant groups of children who might benefit from early intervention to prevent their marginalization fall outside the scope of participation. To complement policies aimed specifically at groups who are readily identified as marginalized children, we propose a place-based approach that aims at better inclusion regionally and among different population groups. We understand that many of the risk factors in children’s psychosocial development are yet unknown. We therefore wish to seek tools for early support of children and, thus, for turning negative development trends positive through participatory inclusion of those not yet identified as marginalized.

Researchers: Jouni Häkli (project leader), Kirsi Pauliina Kallio, Pia Bäcklund, Elina Stenvall
Duration: 01.01.2010–31.12.2013
Funding: Academy of Finland

Children as political selves (SA126700)
The research set out to deepen understanding on how everyday life politics is practiced and performed by children, so as to produce knowledge that has relevance for understanding their autonomous politics, and to produce knowledge that has relevance for developing current child and youth policies that seek to empower children and young people. In practical terms, the aim was to gain knowledge that helps in locating problems in children and young people’s empowerment that have not yet been recognised, and produce methods for recognising and considering children’s own politics. The project produced a board assessment of the current child and youth policies, and developed theoretical and methodological advances in the study of everyday life politics in the context of childhood and youth.

Researcher: Kirsi Pauliina Kallio
Duration: 01.01.2009–31.12.2011
Funding: Academy of Finland, Postdoctoral Project