New Research Culture lecture series

New Research Culture luentosarjan tunnuskuva. Ihmiset juhlivat ja ilmassa on paljon punaista, keltaista, sinistä ja vihreää pulveria.

The New Research Culture lecture series deals with the burning issues of the humanities and social sciences research as well as the possibilities of the future. The main theme of the lecture series is the promotion of new multidisciplinary research culture in the humanities and social sciences.

Four internationally distinguished keynote SSH-researchers will speak in the New Research Culture lecture series during the academic year 2020-2021. Each keynote speaker shares his or her views on how the humanities and social sciences should react now and in the future. What to research, how to research, and how to better show the need for SSH research in society? After the keynote address, the perspective is deepened through a panel discussion.

Due to the coronavirus situation, the upcoming New Research Culture event will be held in Zoom.

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Meeting ID: 622 5742 3290

Simon Lindgren is Professor of Sociology at Umeå University in Sweden. He is interested in the relationship between digital technologies and society.

Beyond method: Social science in the age of datafication  

The ongoing and intensifying datafication of our societies poses huge challenges as well as opportunities for social science to rethink core elements of its research enterprise. Prominently, there is a pressing need to move beyond the long-standing qualitative/quantitative divide.

This talk is an argument towards developing a critical science of data, by bringing together the interpretive theoretical sensibilities of social science with the predictive and prognostic powers of data science and computational methods.

Professor Simon Lindgren argues that the renegotiation of theories and research methods that must be made in order for them to be more relevant and useful, can be fruitfully understood through the metaphor of hacking social science: developing creative ways of exploiting existing tools in alternative and unexpected ways to solve problems.

After the keynote address, the discussion will continue with Susanna Lindroos-Hovinheimo, Ted Hsuan Yun Chen and director of HSSH professor Risto Kunelius.

Professor Lindgren is director of Centre for Digital Social Research (DIGSUM), an interdisciplinary academic research centre studying the social dimensions of digital technology, and the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Digital Social Research.

He studies the transformative role of digital communication technologies (internet and social media), and the consequences of datafication and algorithms, with a particular focus on politics and power relations.

Professor Lindgren uses combinations of methods from computational social science and network science, together with analytical frameworks from interpretive sociology and critical theory.

Susanna Lindroos-Hovinheimo is Professor of Public Law at the University of Helsinki. In her current research, she focuses on EU privacy law and the regulation of digitalization. She has published extensively in international legal journals on Legal Theory, EU law and Privacy Law. She is the author of Private Selves - Legal Personhood in European Privacy Protection (CUP Forthcoming 2021).

Ted Hsuan Yun Chen is a Postdoctoral Researcher jointly appointed in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki and the Department of Computer Science, Aalto University. His primary research agenda focuses on the social and political consequences of climate change, and efforts to stem these negative and often conflictual outcomes. Methodologically, he is interested in developing computational and network approaches for studying sociopolitical phenomena as complex systems.

Unfortunately the recorded video is not available due to technical issues.

Frank Trentmann is Professor of History at Birkbeck College at the University of London.

The Practice of Dialogue: Humanities and Social Sciences in the 21st century

Interdisciplinarity has been the mantra of the last generation of academic research. But what is involved in actual collaboration between researchers from the humanities and social sciences?

In his talk, professor Trentmann will look at the “doing” of interdisciplinary dialogue, with practical examples from past collaboration, particular experiments and lessons on what works well (and less well). The example will range from large networks, such as the Cultures of Consumption research programme (UK – ESRC/AHRC) which involved over fifty researchers from across the humanities and social sciences; workshops that were designed to produce joint publications; as well as smaller, more heterodox activities that combined intellectual exchange with fun and sociability.

The aim is to introduce a discussion of interdisciplinary collaboration as a process and to identify the participants, resources and competences needed for a creative and effective pursuit.

After the keynote address, the discussion will continue with Katalin Miklóssy, Johan Munck af Rosenschöld, and director of HSSH professor Risto Kunelius.

Katalin Miklóssy is Head of Eastern European studies and works at the Aleksanteri institute, University of Helsinki. She focuses on systemic change and the evolution of the rule of law from comparative political history perspective, with special interest on regional development and East-West interaction. Miklossy was elected as the founding member of the Teachers’ Academy at the University of Helsinki as recognition of excellency of teaching and pedagogical scholarship.

Her recent publications include the co-authored and co-edited Strategic Culture in Russia’s Neighborhood (Lexington 2019), The Politics of East European Area Studies (Routledge 2016, 2019).

Johan Munck af Rosenschöld is a postdoctoral researcher at the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) at University of Helsinki. His current research focuses on science-policy interfaces, projectification of environmental policy, and inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration from organizational and institutional perspectives.

Frank Trentmann is a historian of modern and contemporary societies. He works as a professor of History at Birkbeck College at the University of London. Trentmann is also a part-time professor of Moral History and Consumption at the University of Helsinki and an Associate at The Centre for Consumer Society Research.

Trentmann Trentmann has also published on consumption, materiality, political culture and everyday life. He was a Director of the large interdisciplinary research programme Cultures of Consumption. He is currently working on a new project about changes in moral values and practices in the twentieth century.

His publications include: Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First (Penguin)

The recorded video is available on the UniTube website. The length of the video is 1 h 26 minutes.

Åse Gornitzka is a Vice-Rector of the University of Oslo and Head of the Research Committee. Her main research interest are public policy and public administration, organization theory and institutional theory, EU governance and decision making, public reforms and organizational change.

Securing the republic? - Science, universities and political order in the Nordic Countries

The idea that scientific knowledge plays a fundamental role in good government has been an enduring tenet in political thought and historically a supporting argument for establishing universities in order to “secure the republic”, to quote James Madison.

Yet, studies have paid little systematic attention to the role of universities in liberal democratic systems – what is the democratic value of scientific knowledge and higher education in present day political orders? How does it manifest itself? How does political organization influence the relative weight and authority of scientific expertise in public policy?

The mix of decision-making concerns we see also changes over time and across systems. This is evident in the current response to the Covid-crisis, as the world has turned into a brutal experiment in the use of scientific knowledge in public policy making. We are now starting to see the effects of different “knowledge regimes”.

Taking the Nordic countries as the empirical reference, we see the panoply of different practices in giving and accepting policy advice and in mixing scientific, economic, social and political decision-making premises. The variety of responses to the acute crisis also gives us grounds for reflecting on deeper and possibly paradoxical trends: “scientization” of political orders, on the one hand, and, and, on the other, an increasing contestation of scientization that challenges the value of science and higher education.

After the keynote address, the discussion will continue with Åsa von SchoultzJanne Varjo and director of HSSH professor Risto Kunelius.

Åse Gornitzka is Professor at the Department of Political Science and, since 2017, Vice-Rector for Research and Internationalisation at the University of Oslo. Gornitzka holds a doctoral degree in Public Administration from the University of Twente.

She has studied reform and change in higher education, organisational change within universities and the interface between expertise, public administration and governance in the EU and at the national level. This work includes research on the role and composition of the numerous expert groups in European Union policy-making.

Gornitzka’s most recent contributions deal with reputation management in public sector organisations, such as Universities as Agencies: Reputation and Professionalization (Palgrave – Macmillan, 2019), a book she edited together with Christensen and Ramirez.

Professor Åsa von Schoultz holds the Swedish Chair in Political Science at the University of Helsinki since 2017. Her research currently focuses on electoral competition within parties and citizens’ and elites’ perceptions on democratic processes. Other fields of interest are voting behavior, political participation and political behavior of minorities.

Janne Varjo is an associate professor (tenure track; education, society and culture) at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, and more particularly in the Research Unit focusing on the Sociology and Politics of Education (KUPOLI).

After his doctoral thesis Drafting Education Legislation for the Competitive State – The Parliament of Finland and the 1990s Change in Education Policy (2007) Varjo has worked in six research projects altogether. All of these projects are closely connected to issues of educational equality and governance of education – the range of objects of inquiry varying from nation states to social classes, and from municipalities to ethnic groups. He is also the editor-in-chief of Kasvatus (Finnish Journal of Education).

A recorded video of the event is available on the Think Corner´s website. The length of the video is 1 h 33 minutes.

Fostering Research Collaboration and Interdisciplinarity in and beyond the Social Sciences and Humanities: Tools, strategies, thematic strands

The second keynote speaker is Bernd Kortmann. He is professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Freiburg in Germany.

In his video speech, Kortmann shares his insights on how interdisciplinarity should be promoted both in the field of SSH and between the SSH field and natural sciences.

Kortmann has a lot say about the topic, because he directs the multidisciplinary FRIAS institute (Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies) which combines the humanities and social sciences, medicine, the natural, and life sciences, and engineering.

The basic idea of this talk is to share some insights concerning the interplay of top-down and bottom-up processes in generating or strengthening collaborative research, both disciplinary and interdisciplinary, among the humanities and social sciences, and between the SSH and STEMM disciplines.

These insights are the results of having served as the Director of a university-based Institute for Advanced Studies (Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies) for 7 years now, and as a close observer of relevant efforts (and successes) in the world of Institutes for Advanced Studies as well as among the SSH faculties of the LERU universities (League of European Research Universities).

The aim of this talk is to offer perspectives how HSSH may develop into an incubator creating a new collaborative research culture (and infrastructure) at the University of Helsinki, and thus generating a significant added value for the relevant departments and faculties.

Kortmann’s main research interest are the grammar of non-standard varieties of English especially from a typological perspective. He has published on semantics, grammaticalization, language complexity, history of linguistics, and English grammar.

After the keynote address, the discussion will continue with Salla KurhilaJaakko Kuorikoski, and director of HSSH professor Risto Kunelius.

Salla Kurhila is a professor in Interactional Linguistics. Her research interest includes second language interaction, ways of dealing with problems of understanding, and language learning in interaction. At the moment, she leads a 4-year-project on plurilingual practices in workplace interaction (funded by Kone Foundation). Kurhila says that she is inspired by the feeling that scientific knowledge is being appreciated again (despite all the alternative facts).

Jaakko Kuorikoski is an associate professor of Practical Philosophy at the University of Helsinki. His main research interests are explanation, causality, mechanisms, statistical causal modelling, rational choice theory and simulation. Kuorikoski’s main areas of specializations are philosophy of economics and philosophy of social sciences and he has published widely on scientific explanation, modeling, simulation and causal reasoning. Before returning to Helsinki, Kuorikoski worked as an associate professor in New Social Research at Tampere University.

A recorded video of the event is available on the Think Corner’s website. The length of the video is 1 h 30 minutes.

Three myths about SSH research: it´s individual, cheap and discipline-based with few partnerships

The first keynote speaker will be Kirsten Drotner, professor of media studies at the University of Southern Denmark. Drotner has led several crossdisciplinary research projects and is one of Europe’s leading specialists in the SSH field. Her research topics have included media audiences, digital learning and museum communication. For further information on Drotner’s research, please see the research portal.

In her video speech, Drotner challenges stereotypical notions of the humanities and social sciences. Three myths about SSH research: it´s individual, cheap and discipline-based with few partnerships. Drotner challenge the audience to think what we can learn about re-imagining the alternative.

After the keynote address, the discussion will continue with Sarah Green, professor of social and cultural anthropology at the University of Helsinki, Risto Saarinen, professor of systematic theology at the University of Helsinki, and Pia Letto-Vanamo, Dean at the Faculty of Law.

Professor Sarah Green is a specialist on borders, spatial relations, gender and sexuality, and information and communications technologies. Professor Green’s major conceptual interest lies consistently in the notion of location; throughout her diverse fieldwork projects, she has been exploring, in both literal and metaphorical senses, how people locate themselves in the world and in relation to themselves and others.

Professor Risto Saarinen’s core expertise lies in historical and contemporary religious studies from philosophical and systematic perspective, and he has written extensively on early modern theology and philosophy.

Dean Pia Letto-Vanamo is a legal historian and comparative lawyer specialized in European legal history, history of European integration, Nordic legal cultures and transnational law. Professor Letto-Vanamo has published extensively in the fields of the history of law, the history of the legal profession, the Nordic legal tradition with, a strong emphasis on the specific position of Finland.

A recorded video of the event is available on Think Corner´s website. The length of the video is 1 h 28 minutes.