Petteri Pietikäinen

History of Sciences and Ideas

History, Culture and Communication Studies
Faculty of Humanities

Petteri Pietikäinen

Petteri Pietikäinen attained his PhD at the University of Helsinki in 1999, and was nominated as Adjunct Professor (Docent) in the history of science and ideas in 2003 at the University of Helsinki. He did his post-doc research in Ireland (University College Dublin), the US (MIT) and, lastly, in Stockholm, Sweden, as a PI of a research project.

He has been Professor of the History of Sciences and Ideas at the University of Oulu since 2011. During the past 13 years he has mainly studied the histories of madness, psychiatry and "abnormal psychology" as well as the relations between the human sciences and social engineering. He has also led research projects, including one that forms part of the Oulu University Profiling Area "FibrObesity" (2021-26).

He has now started a new book project in which he examines adjustment thinking (social, psychologial, "racial") in the 20th -century United States, starting from World War I and the Americanisation programs of the era, and focusing on the ways in which European immigrants as well as African-Americans from the southern states were studied by social scientists and psychologists in Chicago between ca. 1914-1945.

Selected list of publications:


  • Otto Pipatti & Petteri Pietikäinen (red.) [eds], Moral, evolution och samhälle. Edvard Westermarck och hans närmaste krets. Helsingfors: Svenska Litteratursällskap, 2021. [‘Morality, evolution and society: Edward Westermarck and his inner circle’]
  • Kipeät sielut. Hulluuden historia Suomessa. Helsinki: Gaudeamus, 2020. [History of Madness in Finland]
  • Petteri Pietikainen & Jesper Vaczy Kragh (eds), Social Class and Mental Illness in Northern Europe. London: Routledge, 2019.
  • Mikko Myllykangas & Petteri Pietikäinen (toim.) [eds], Ajatusten lähteillä. Aatteiden ja oppien historiaa. Helsinki: Gaudeamus, 2017. [Edited textbook on the history of sciences and ideas]
  • Madness: A History. London: Routledge, 2015
  • Hulluuden historia. Helsinki: Gaudeamus, 2013 [‘History of Madness’]
  • Alchemists of Human Nature: Psychological Utopianism in Gross, Jung, Reich and Fromm. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2007
  • Neurosis and Modernity: The Age of Nervousness in Sweden. Leiden: Brill, 2007
  • Petteri Pietikäinen (ed.), Modernity and Its Discontents: Sceptical Essays on the Psychomedical Management of Malaise. Stockholm: Ax:son Johnson Foundation, 2005
  • C.G. Jung and the Psychology of Symbolic Forms. Helsinki: Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, 1999


  • 'The Republic of Fear: Mental Illness in the Finnish Civil War of 1918’. Social History of Medicine, Published online: 23 February 2023,
  • ‘”A psychological riddle demanding a solution”. Crowd psychology and the Finnish Civil War of 1918.’ History of European Ideas, Published online: 01 Dec 2021,
  • Vilma Niskanen & Petteri Pietikäinen: ’Rikollisuus ja sosiaalisen disorganisaation teoria Chicagon sosiologisen koulukunnan tutkimuksissa 1918-1948.’ Kriminologia 1, No. 1/2021
  • ‘Psychiatry and Society’. In D. McCallum ed., The Palgrave Handbook of the History of Human Sciences, 2021,
  • ‘Marginalisierung und Stigmatisierung in Wissenschaftsgeschichte und Psychoanalyse: Die Fälle Wilhelm Reich und Erich Fromm’. In Mathis Lessau, Philipp Redl & Hans-Christian Riechers (Hg.), Heterodoxe Wissenschaft in der Moderne. Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2021.
  • Otto Pipatti, Jouni Ahmajärvi & Petteri Pietikäinen, ’Westermarckilainen evolutionismi’ [’Westermarckian evolutionism’], in Otto Pipatti & Petteri Pietikäinen (eds), Moral, evolution och samhälle. Edvard Westermarck och hans närmaste krets. Helsingfors: Svenska Litteratursällskap, 2021.
  • Petteri Pietikäinen & Otto Pipatti, ’Ultimate and Proximate, Genetic and Environmental. History of the Explanations of Altruism since the 1960s.’ In Esa Ruuskanen and Heini Hakosalo (eds), In Pursuit of Healthy Environments. Historical Cases on the Environment-Health Nexus. London: Routledge, 2020.
  • ‘Abnormal psychology’. In Robert J. Sternberg & Wade E. Pickren (eds), Cambridge Handbook of the Intellectual History of Psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.
  • Petteri Pietikainen & Jesper Vaczy Kragh, ‘Professionalization of Psychology in the Nordic Countries’. In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the History of Psychology. Online Publication Date: Oct 2019. DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190236557.013.597
  • ‘Pity the Poor Patient: The Indigent Mentally Ill in Late 19th and Early 20th-Century Finland.’ In Petteri Pietikainen & Jesper Vaczy Kragh (eds), Social Class and Mental Illness in Northern Europe. London: Routledge, 2019
  • Petteri Pietikäinen & David Clark, ‘The psychology of adjustment in the United States from the late 19th century to World War II’. European Yearbook of the History of Psychology, Vol. 3, 2017
  • Petteri Pietikäinen & Jari Turunen, ‘Diagnoses in and out of time: Historical and medical perspectives on the diagnoses of distress’. Diagnosis, February 2017, DOI 10.1515/dx-2016-0013
  • Katariina Parhi & Petteri Pietikäinen, ‘Socialising the anti-social: Psychopathy, psychiatry and social engineering in Finland, 1945–1968’. Social History of Medicine, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2017, doi:10.1093/shm/hkw093
  • ‘Strengthening the Will: Public Clinics for the Nervously Ill in Sweden in the First Half of the Twentieth Century’. Social History of Medicine, Vol. 22, No.1 2009
  • ‘Futures past: C.G. Jung’s psychoutopia and the “German revolution” of 1933’. In Junginger, Horst (ed.), The Study of Religion under the Impact of National Socialist and Fascist Ideologies in Europe. Leiden: Brill 2008
  • ‘Utopianism in Otto Gross’s thought.’ In Heuer, Gottfried (ed.), Utopie und Eros. 5. Internationaler Otto Gross Kongress. Marburg an der Lahn: Literatur, 2006
  • J. Bos, D. Park & P. Pietikainen, ‘Strategic self-marginalization: The case of psychoanalysis’. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Vol. XLI, No. 3, Summer 2005
  • ‘Truth hurts: The sociobiology debate, moral reading and the idea of dangerous knowledge.’ Social Epistemology, Vol. 18, No. 2-3, April-September 2004
  • “‘The sage knows you better than you know yourself’: Psychological utopianism in Erich Fromm’s work’. History of Political Thought, Vol. XXV, No. 1, Spring 2004
  • ‘Soul Man meets the Blind Watchmaker: C.G. Jung and neo-Darwinism’. Psychoanalysis and History, Vol. 5, No. 2, July 2003
  • P. Pietikainen & J. Ihanus, ‘On the origins of psychoanalytic psychohistory’. History of Psychology, Vol. 6, No. 2, May 2003
  • ‘Utopianism in psychology: The case of Wilhelm Reich’. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 38, No. 2, Spring 2002
  • ‘Dynamic psychology, utopia, and escape from history: The case of C.G. Jung’. Utopian Studies, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2001
  • ‘The Volk and its Unconscious. Jung, Hauer, and the “German revolution”’. Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 35, No. 4, October 2000
  • ‘Jung’s psychology in the light of his “personal myth“’. Psychoanalysis and History, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1999
  • ‘National typologies, races, and mentalities in C.G. Jung’s psychology’. History of European Ideas, Vol. 24. No. 6, 1998
  • ‘Archetypes as symbolic forms’ and ‘Response to my critics’. Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1998 (a special issue devoted to my article, three commentaries on my article, and my response to the commentators)

Research interests

  • history of madness; history of psychiatry and psychology; science - society relations; intellectual history of 20th-century Communism, totalitarianism and "mass society"

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Phone number

0400 250 611

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History of Science and Ideas
PO Box 1000
90014 University of Oulu