Elsa Saarikkomäki profile picture
Postdoctoral Researcher, Laws
Dr. Soc. Sc., Postdoctoral Researcher


Caloniankuja 3

Areas of expertise

private security guards
sociology of law
qualitative and quantitative research methods


Currently I am conducting a postdoctoral research project on legitimacy of private security. I am an Editor in chief of 'Haaste' trimestrial publication.

I hold a PhD in sociology (2017, University of Helsinki) and I have previously worked as a researcher at Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy (University of Helsinki). My research there has included research topics such as trust in policing, young people’s experiences of police and private security guards (PhD), crimes against businesses and crime victims.

I have participated in an interdisciplinary research project on asylum seeker decisions (University of Turku). Together with international researchers we have led a comparative project about experiences of policing among ethnic minority youth in the Nordic countries (University of Turku). I have strong expertise in empirical methods, both qualitative and quantitative.


I have taught criminology and sociology of law in different universities. For instance, I have been responsible for Research Areas of Criminology course (2018, University of Helsinki). In 2017, I have planned and taught at criminology course at Faculty of Law in University of Turku. I led seminar work of international students at University of Helsinki in 2009 and 2010 in English.
I have developed with my colleague ‘a peer pressure and support method’ for writing conclusion section for article-based dissertation and for cooperating during writing. Based on it, we created a workshop for Faculty of Law PhD students in University of Turku and published an article in Journal of University Pedagogy. Title: Vertaistuella tohtoriksi: tällä mallilla artikkeliväitöskirjan yhteenveto syntyy (melkein) kuin itsestään.


The starting point for my current postdoctoral research is the rapid rise of private security, which indicates a shift from a criminal justice system monopolized by the state and its police to a pluralized policing system. This study scrutinizes how and to what extent private security has succeeded in legitimating their role in policing and how their legitimacy is fostered or challenged. These aims are studied empirically: how the role and legitimacy of private security is negotiated in legislative processes, by policing agents themselves and by the objects of policing. By utilizing approaches of procedural justice, securitization and privatization of policing, the study produces knew knowledge about pluralized policing.
Please see the full list of my publications attached in the links above.


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