HANS - Human activity in natural settings

Project director (PI): Tiina Keisanen

The relationship between human beings and nature has been considered from a range of theoretical and practical perspectives, not least within the humanities and social sciences. The project HANS – Human activity in natural settings: Nature as a site for mobility, interaction and socialization adopts a yet unexplored view: it studies the significance of nature for how people use language, interact with one another and accomplish social actions in situ.

The project employs ethnomethodological conversation analysis (EMCA) and nexus analysis (NA), and it draws on video recordings of people engaged in nature-related activities as well as on ethnographic observations and interviews, documentation and online material that concern such activities. The project consists of three interrelated research themes:

  1. mobility in natural environments,
  2. socialization into doing ‘being in the wild’ and
  3. nature as a social construct.

Through explorations of these themes, the project contributes to current research on social interaction and mobility, instruction and learning in informal settings settings, and, importantly, provides a new, in-depth perspective on the human–nature relationship.

The project explores social interaction in natural settings, i.e. it records and studies mundane moments of social conduct where participants engage in some nature-related activity with one another. It examines how people participate in activities beyond their immediate built environment and focuses on the linguistic, bodily and other resources that they draw on to construct, describe and reflect on their experience and understanding of nature. The settings investigated vary from informal and casual to institutional and instructional.

Project funding

Academy of Finland: Academy Project funding Sept 1, 2015– 31 Aug, 2019
Finnish Cultural Foundation: individual research grant for Dr. Pauliina Siitonen 2019-2020

More information

Project website


Last updated: 19.2.2020