People, well-being and environment: past, present and tomorrow

The cultural anthropology Age of Adjustments research group, People, well-being and environment: past, present and tomorrow, concentrates on long-term human-environment relations. The joint research question focuses on practical applications: how research and policies are reasoned, applied and with what results and dilemmas. While acknowledging the developments of theoretical presuppositions, such as the relationships between culture, nature and human biology, our main focus is on topical societal problems of today. We also participate in future-oriented studies and societal applications for increasing the policy relevance of research. The critical research question is: How are the presumptions of certain research and policy practices acknowledged, and what are their expected outcomes for people and environmental conditions?

In our group, humans are understood as highly adaptive, partially due to cultural means such as new technologies. However, the important consideration is that societies and communities, individuals and livelihoods, are not equal regarding the possibilities for adaptation; some means are politically prohibited or economically unavailable. This dilemma is exemplified by the concept of adaptive capacity. Adaptation is usually complicated and connects the local level with global phenomena, and to the general development of technology, economy and industry. In short, human adaptation is embedded with globally connected local resilience and vulnerability dilemmas, and for the outcome of adaptation the level of adaptive capacity is important. An important question is: How is this complexity recognised in research and in adjustment policies? Our research group, with five post-doctoral researchers and seven PhD students, focuses on individual- as well as community-level adaptation dilemmas and relevant societal discourses. Case studies consider topics such as how individuals and communities adapt in changing environments, but also how their relationship to themselves and their environment changes according to their cultural, mental and physical capabilities.

Research group

Anneli Meriläinen-Hyvärinen, University lecturer: Changing meaning of place in mining projects

Élise Lépy, Postdoctoral researcher: Climate change and human adaptation

Riitta-Marja Leinonen, University teacher (defended 6.9.2013) From servant to therapist. The changing cultural models of human-horse relationships in Finland.         

Aila Mustamo, PhD student: Black Metal Nationalism and Multiculturalism in Finland and Norway.

Svetlana Huusko, PhD student: Growing Up Healthy: Adolescents and Well-being among the Evenks in Russia.

Satu Massa, PhD student: Wellbeing, cultural meanings and the use of wild berries in Finnish diet.

Tim Luoto, PhD student: Gamified wellbeing technologies and activation of young adolescent males.

Eine Alt, PhD student: Extracurriculum school festivals and the change and creation of ethnic identity in northern Karelia Russia.

Johanna Kirsi Lindh, PhD student: Postmodern cross-Christian movement and emerging cross- religious identities in Finland and Germany.

Annamaria Marttila, PhD student: The Cultural Terms of Experienced Disablement in the Narration of People with Traumatic Brain Injury.

Researchers who did their PhD in this group

Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi, PhD (defended 13.9.2013). Reindeer nomadism of Jávrrešduottar. Cultural development and knowledge system in 1930–1995.

Kristiina Korjonen-Kuusipuro, Postdoctoral researcher (defended 18.1.2013): Human-environment interaction in the Vuoksi River valley from 1800 to present.

Last updated: 12.8.2014