Mila Seppälä profile picture
Doctoral Candidate, Political Science
Doctoral Student, Political Science
PhD. candidate

Areas of expertise

discourse analysis
critical discourse analysis
political discourse
legal discourse
North American studies
African American studies;


I am a Ph.D candidate at the University of Turku graduate school's Utuling program for Language and Translation studies. I am currently working together with the John Morton Center for North American Studies on a multidisciplinary PhD. thesis on gun legislation in the US. I am also working as project researcher for the #TRAGE project that examines the challenges of reporting school shootings in the media. I specialize in critical discourse analysis, pragmatics, and U.S politics.  I finished my Master's in 2018 and my Bachelor in 2016 in English linguistics in the University of Turku. My passion is to continue conducting innovative interdisciplinary research that questions the status quo in societies.


I am working as a TA for Professor Benita Heiskanen for North American Studies course "Race, Class, and Gender in U.S. History and Culture" in the fall of 2019. I am generally interested in teaching the basics of discourse studies as well as North American Studies, particularly US politics.


I have approached all my research from the perspective of critical discourse analysis. I study social issues by critically examining the discourses relevant to the problem with the aim of changing the status quo. I am especially interested in the treatment of minorities in the United States as well as studying the different forms of institutionalized discrimination. Moreover, I am interested in examining the role ideologies play in producing and reproducing discourses that are explicitly or implicitly discriminatory. For example, I did my Master's thesis on police violence in the US and how the language in state legislation makes it practically impossible to regulate behavior of police officers and thus, restrict power abuses by the law enforcement. I found this to be a symptom of a broader cultural ideology unique to the United States. I believe the same phenomenon to affect the debate on gun legislation, which I am currently exploring in my Ph.D. thesis. Specifically, I am studying how the concepts of freedom and security affect the argumentative strategies employed by lawmakers, member of the judiciary and special interest groups arguing for a change in gun legislation.   


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