Representations, Encounters, Interaction (REI)

This community consists of two research groups:

Representations of the Self and the Other as a Factor in Cultural Encounters

Representations of Nature and Culture


Representations of the Self and the Other as a Factor in Cultural Encounters

Principal investigator:

Kari Alenius (Professor)

Research group members:

Olavi K. Fält (Professor)

Timo Sironen (University Lecturer, Ph.D)

Roman Hautala (Ph.D)

Petteri Mertala (Ph.D)

Esko Nevalainen (Ph.D)

Marika Rauhala (Ph.D)

Erja Simuna (Ph.D)

Antti Heikkinen (MA)

Essi Jouhki (MA)

Eleonoora Kalliokoski (MA)

Hannu-Pekka Kangas (MA)

Marja Nousiainen (MA)

Sanna Salo (MA)

Annariina Seppänen (MA)

Janne Timonen (MMS)

Leena Vuolteenaho (MA)


Conceptions of self and others form the basis for all cultural encounters. The central significance of such conceptions may be understood through their close engagement with identity, which is a basic feature of the existence of individual personas and of human communities. Every individual and every community has an identity, which distinguishes them from all other individuals and communities. Identity, in turn, consists of all the elements that people use in defining themselves.

The research group focuses on analysing how conceptions built on communal identities affect cultural encounters in various historical situations. The terms group identity or collective identity may be used as synonyms for communal identity. Although group identity is built from connecting elements that are often felt to be identical or nearly identical, and although identities possess a certain continuity that is sometimes very strong, one must be careful not to over-emphasise the constancy or mutually exclusive character of identity. It is clear that, within human communities, individuals differ to some extent in their perceptions both of the elements that make up their own group identity, and of the relative importance of those elements. Secondly, different groups may, and often do consider some of the same elements as part of their identity; in other words, groups almost never differ categorically from each other in all aspects of their identity.

Thirdly, it must be remembered that all people belong to multiple identity groups. People can perceive themselves simultaneously as members, for example, of various social, religious, ethnic, cultural, gender, and other comparable groups. In different life situations the significance of membership in different groups will vary. Fourthly, it should be emphasized that, in spite of certain continuity, identities are in a state of continuous testing and modification. People judge the content of their group identities, weigh the criteria for group membership, and may attempt either to strengthen existing elements or to modify them; they may also exchange one group for another.



Representations of Nature and Culture

Principal investigator:

Maija Kallinen (Associate Professor, Ph.D)

Research group members:

Tero Anttila (Post doc)

Samu Sarviaho (Post doc)

Jouni Huhtanen (MA)

Suvi Kuokkanen (MA)

Mirette Modarress-Sadeghi (MA)


Last updated: 19.10.2018