Researcher in Spotlight: Anu Mutanen
The Faculty of Law starts a new Researcher in Spotlight series, where we will introduce our researchers.
University lecturer in constitutional law, LL.D. Anu Mutanen
Position in the Faculty of Law: University lecturer in constitutional law
Degrees: Doctor of Laws (constitutional law) 2015, Master of Administrative Sciences (public law) 2000, Bachelor of Arts (linguistics) 2020
Fields of interest: Constitutional law, European constitution(s), EU law, state sovereignty, self-governance, democracy, intelligence legislation, law drafting, legal writing, legal language
Describe your career path. What led you to where you are today?
My career path has included positions both within academia and civil service. I started to work as a postdoctoral researcher in constitutional law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Turku in the summer of 2019. At the moment, I am holding the position of a university lecturer and work as a substitute professor of public law. Prior to Turku, I worked as a senior specialist of constitutional law in the Ministry of Justice. As a civil servant, I was involved in significant projects such as the amendment of the Constitution of Finland and the drafting of the new Finnish intelligence legislation. Earlier in my career, I have also worked at, among other things, the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki. The academic world has always attracted me with its possibility to study societally important themes in-depth. Moreover, I find that the interaction with other researchers as well as students is extremely rewarding.
What projects are you currently working on?
My work at the University of Turku consists of research, teaching and administrative tasks. I am currently finalising a co-written article on the Europeanisation of the Finnish constitutional law. In addition, I am writing an article about the Finnish intelligence legislation from the perspective of constitutionalism. In part, my research is facilitated by a research project funded by the Academy of Finland (Constitutionalism Reconfigured – Constitutional Change in Finland 1990–2020, CORE). As a teacher, I have a multitude of duties: I supervise Master's theses on fundamental and human rights themes and teach several courses on constitutional law as well as take care of exams. I am involved in a number of working groups at the Faculty of Law, as well.
Have your interests evolved since finishing your studies?
I have always been very interested in constitutional law. My research has had a constant focus on the constitutional dimensions of state sovereignty and democracy and the effects of the European Union on national constitutionalism. In recent years, I have expanded my perspectives into other fields, such as the constitutional protection of municipal and regional self-government. My previous work as an official has had an influence on my research interests. As a result, I am currently conducting a study on intelligence legislation.
What would you be, if you were not a researcher?
I have previously also worked outside the academic world. I hope to gain a permanent position at the university, but I am equally well-suited to work as a civil servant. In fact, the work of a researcher and a public servant have a lot in common, and experience in one definitely benefits the other. The field of constitutional law provides many interesting career opportunities and possibilities of major societal influence. It has been meaningful, for example, to work as an expert for the Constitutional Law Committee of Parliament.
What inspires you?
onstitutional law inspires me a great deal, and, therefore, this field of law has been the common thread in my career so far. Constitutional law requires understanding of not only legal thinking but of societal conditions as well. For example, the current exceptional situation caused by the corona virus has evidenced the value of and need for constitutional legal expertise. I find it very important to be able to work on issues of wide societal relevance. At the university, I am also learning new things constantly. In my spare time, I try to engage in a variety of meaningful activities, as well. For example, enjoying nature and outdoor activities offer an enormous source of inspiration and balance in my life.