Suvi Salmenniemi profile picture
Professor, Sociology
Political Imagination and Alternative Futures (POLIMA), Academy of Finland research project (2020-2024)


+358 29 450 2958
+358 50 522 6457
Assistentinkatu 7

Areas of expertise

Political sociology
therapeutic culture, health and wellbeing
Cultural Studies
feminist research
critical social theory


I am Professor of Sociology at the Department of Social Research at the University of Turku. Before coming to Turku in 2012, I worked at the University of Helsinki and University of Tampere. I gained a doctoral degree in Sociology from the University of Helsinki in 2007. I have been awarded a title of docent in Sociology at the University of Tampere.

I have been a visiting scholar in the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge (UK), Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology, University of Edinburgh (UK), University of Birmingham (UK), University of Florence (Italy) and Tver' State University (Russia). During 2015-2018, I was the editor-in-chielf of Acta Sociologica, the journal of the Nordic Sociological Association published by SAGE. I am currently a member of the associate editorial board of the journal Sociology (2019-2023). I chair the Culture and Interaction research network at the Department of Social Research.


I am head of the BA programme in the Social Sciences.

I teach a lecture course on Social Change in the BA programme together with Hanna Ylöstalo.

My teaching in Sociology involves: research seminar for graduate students; research seminar for post-graduate students; seminar on 'Communities and Social Change' 

I coordinate the 'Doctoral Course on Qualitative Methodologies' in UTUGS.


I began my career by doing research on the Soviet Union and Russia's social transformation. I have studied gender relations and everyday life in the Soviet Union, political activism and the women's movement in Russia during the 2000s, neoliberalism and postfeminism in the postsocialist context and self-help literature and therapeutic culture in Russia.

In recent years, my research has focused on therapeutic culture and the shifting meanings and practices of wellbeing. My ethnographic study has explored the lived experience of engagements with complementary and alternative medicine, new spiritualities and self-help culture in Finland. I am interested in how and why people engage with these practices and the forms of politics and power involved in them. During 2015-2019, I was PI of the project Tracking the Therapeutic: Ethnographies of Wellbeing, Politics and Inequality funded by the Finnish Research Council for the Social Sciences and Humanities (for more details, see During 2015-2017 I was PI of the project The Puzzle of the Psyche: Therapeutic Knowledge and Selfhood in a Comparative Perspective, funded by Kone Foundation.

My current project focuses on political imagination and alternative futures and it is funded by the Finnish Research Council for the Social Sciences and Humanities (2020-2024). This project charts everyday utopian practices and spaces and the ways in which diverse groups of people seek to make alternative futures happen.  It aims at revitalising public political imagination as well as sociological imagination by identifying conceptual and empirical elements for alternative social formations and advancing social change towards more sustainable future. It combines political sociology and artistic research and maps political imagination in the fields of art, activism, media and education.

I am also PI of the Nordic collaborative project Contestation of Health and Wellbeing in the Nordic Countries (COHEWE), funded by the Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS). 


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Political Imagination and Utopian Pedagogy (2024)

Critical Arts : A South-North Journal of Cultural and Media Studies
Salmenniemi Suvi, Porkola Pilvi, Ylöstalo Hanna
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))

Editorial (2023)

Journal of Political Power
Pertti Alasuutari, Selina Gallo-Cruz, Mona Lilja, Suvi Salmenniemi, Heba Sigurdardottir
(Kirjoitus tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (B1))