Regional and Political Geography

The research in Regional and Political Geography at Oulu University focuses in general terms on regional transformation. Socio-spatial structures (for instance, regions, territories and borders), all kinds of connections and networks, as well as ideas, identities and spatial concepts as well as concepts mobilized in regional planning are understood to be in a continuous transformation that is they are related to both material practices and ideologies. All this occurs in an ever more transnational world. Respectively state-centric, territorial views of the world are challenged by diverging interactions and policy mobilities, for example. Research work on Regional and Political Geography focuses on themes that are topical in contemporary international academic debates and has been committed to push further theoretical work on concepts such as region/territory, border, border-crossings/mobilities and control and how they manifest themselves e.g. in regional planning. Respectively this work also resonates with such political geographic themes as geopolitics, nationalism/regionalism, governance and biopolitics.

Team members have a long reputation in carrying out original theoretical and empirical research on the social construction of territories, regions and borders, spatial identities, as well as various forms of control that manifest themselves in politics, culture, economy and governance at and across various spatial scales. Group members have worked in several empirical contexts: in Finland, elsewhere in the European Union area, USA, Hong Kong, Canada, Japan, etc. Ongoing projects focus on the intersection of many contemporary themes in (new) regional geography and political geography, such as border governance, topological borders, securitization, regional identity as well as on nationalism and memory.

Researchers representing regional and political geography work in close cooperation with Regional Development and Regional Policy (part of members are also in this group), and Tourism Geography Groups at the Geography Department. RELATE, the Center of Excellence nominated by the Academy of Finland for the period 2014-2019 brings together these three departmental research teams (and the SPARG team from Tampere University) and gives synergy for our research work.



Anssi Paasi

5.9.2018 Researcher

Hidefumi Nishiyama

27.5.2019 Researcher

Juha Ridanpää

9.8.2019 Researcher

Kaj Zimmerbauer

16.5.2019 Researcher

Fredriika Jakola

Recently finished and ongoing research projects

  • Transformation and transnationalization of state spaces: Geopolitics of borders, mobilities and planning in the Arctic (SPARCTIC), other PIs Professor Jarkko Saarinen and Prof. Toni Ahlqvist. Evaluation process by the Academy of Finland, funding from the University of Oulu. Project leader/PI Anssi Paasi
  • RELATE Center of Excellence (Finnish Academy 2014-2019), Director, Professor Anssi Paasi
  • Geographies of Irony: Mikael Niemi’s literature and the renegotiation of regional identities in the Tornio Valley. Contact person: Juha Ridanpää
  • Border management, biopolitics, and narratives of border crossings" (Finnish Academy 2011-2013). Led by Eeva-Kaisa Prokkola
  • Mobilities, Borders, and Identity International recruitment package by Oulu University (University of Oulu 2011-2015) Led by Lauren Martin
  • Privatizing Border Enforcement in the European Union and United States (Finnish Academy 2013-2016) Led by Lauren Martin
  • Region-building, boundaries and identity in a globalizing world (Finnish Academy 2008-2012). Director: Anssi Paasi, Researchers Joni Vainikka and Kaj Zimmerbauer.
  • GLASE (Multilayered Borders of Global Security), Consortium between the University of Eastern Finland, University of Oulu, University of Helsinki and Finnish Border Guard (Strategic Funding by the Academy of Finland 2016-2019)