Liisa Lähteenmäki profile picture
Docent, Laws
Ph.D., Docent

Areas of expertise

academic writing and editing
empirical research of law and justice
law and society
regulation and deregulation
qualitative methods
working life and employment


I was born in Turku in November 1968 as the youngest of three sisters. My initial goal regarding employment and career was not in academia, but rather in catering and hospitality. I finished studies at Turku vocational institute in 1995, as a hotel and restaurant manager. Unfortunately the hotel and restaurant business was severely affected by the 1990s economic depression, rendering me and many others unemployed. After a couple of years of working as a temp I decided to apply to university studies. I started to study sociology in 1998. I finished my master thesis in 2004 and after graduation decided that I had studied enough. After trying to land a job for a couple of years, I finally decided to start to study once again, this time as a doctoral student. My dissertation, which deals with temporary agency employment and its (de)regulation in Finland was examined and approved in 2013, and since then I have worked as a researcher. During 2014-2016 I worked at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, but returned to my Alma Mater in 2016.


During my employment in University of Turku, I have been teaching especially qualitative methods (discourse analysis and interviewing) and courses concentrating on designing and executing social research. I have also planned, coordinated and executed two courses dealing with changes in the Finnish working life (“Changes in the working life during 2000” in 2009, and “Latest trends in the social research on working life” in 2010). At the Faculty of Law I have mainly taught qualitative methods as part of an undergraduate course in sociology of law. Additionally, since spring 2017, I have also been the responsible lecturer for a new special course on empirical research of law, since autumn 2016. In addition, I have participated in the planning, execution and assessment of the digital web-exam of the basic course in sociology of law. In 2019 and 2020 I was a member of the teaching group responsible for the post-graduate course on qualitative methods.

Starting from 2021 I will act as a university teacher in Social work and in the faculty of Social Sciences. My teaching responsibilities include Academic Writing and qualitative methods, supervision of Master Thesis' and a new corse concentrating on structural social work.

In addition to teaching students, I have given several lectures for professionals audiences, e.g. prosecutors at the Prosecutor Academy (the Office of the Prosecutor General), lawyers at the Regional State Administrative Agency, and researchers at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH).


I have been conducting research since 2006 when I started my PhD project. During my years in the academia, I have strongly felt that my research philosophy and ethics have the most to do with the idea of a better and more equal society. Research conducted with tax payers’ money should first and foremost aim at solving societal problems and bringing forth suggestions to fulfil the ideals of democracy, equality and humanity. This is why the topics of my research have dealt with regulation and legislation affecting the means of livelihood and especially employment: I have studied the laws that both disregard and govern employment inequality (PhD research), corporate criminal liability, especially in cases of occupational safety crimes (Corporate criminal liability), and legislation governing, explaining and constructing issues of societal security (Securitization in Finnish Legislation). My research profile is perhaps best described as one with a keen interest in regulation of societal change, especially economic circumstances and their impact on individuals, including the idea that regulation is part and parcel of decent and equal opportunities. Also, I see my research profile and research interests connecting the various aspects of economic change into the study of legislation: work, employment, safety, and security all encompass material and immaterial elements of an ideal of decent and good life. To alter, regulate and govern these constituents of life is one of the vital and necessary responsibilities of democratic decision-making and legislation. I see myself developing and working with these topics to create a truly innovative socio-legal tradition, to enhance know-how in the thematic profile of cultural memory and social change, and in the regulation of economic change.

Starting from January 1, 2018, I was working as a postdoctoral researcher affiliated with TIAS, Turku Institute for Advanced Studies. My research project during 2018-2020 covered the long term changes in Finnish legislation concerning contracts of employment, health and safety at work and unemployment benefits. My research taped into the traditions of political science, critical legal studies and critical discourse analysis. The project investigated the turns in the rationale, legitimization and target of laws regulating employment, and in the composition of people with political leverage in the making of these laws. Furthermore, the research explored narratives and memories of present and former lawmakers pertaining to these turns. By political leverage I refer to both policy recommendations the political parties are delineating and to people with influence on the content of a given law.

During 2019-2020 I also acted as the Editor-in-Chief of Oikeus-journal.

From 2021 on my reseach will focus more on narratives and cultural memory regarding social security.


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Oikeustieteen itseymmärrys (2020)

Liisa Lähteenmäki, Jaakko Salminen
(Kirjoitus tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (B1))

Matkalaukkuprofessorin kuolema (2020)

Jaakko Salminen, Liisa Lähteenmäki
(Kirjoitus tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (B1))