Sanna Aaltonen

Sanna Aaltonen

Senior Researcher / Sub-project PI

DrSocSc, Adjunct Professor/Title of Docent (University of Helsinki)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

+358 44 416 5300 | Twitter @saaltone


Sanna joined the Youth Research Network from University of Helsinki where she worked as a post-doctoral researcher. She is a sociologist by discipline and her doctoral thesis was on young people and sex-based harassment. In addition to gender and girl studies her expertise covers youth transitions, inter-generational relations, young people and marginality, social class analysis and qualitative methodologies. Her current research focuses on promotion of wellbeing among young adults not in education or employment. She works as a work package leader in a consortium project entitled Inclusive Promotion of Health and Wellbeing (PROMEQ). The consortium is led by Professor Marja Vaarama (UEF) and funded by the Strategic Research Council (SRC) of the Academy of Finland for three years 2016-2019. Additionally she is affiliated in a project entitled Ajolähtö that focuses on young adults in the precarious labour market as well as a project Youth in time, a longitudinal, multi-sited research project. Sanna has taught mainly at undergraduate levels in sociology of youth, education and social research methods.

Earlier research projects:
  • 2014-2015 - Young people in Service System, funded by the Ministry of Culture and Education, research group: Dr Sanna Aaltonen (PI), Dr Päivi Berg
  • 2011-2013 - Cross-generational Relationships and Youth Transitions to Adulthood, funded by Youth Research Society, personal grant
  • 2008-2010 - Feasible Futures? Transitions of Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Young People, funded by Academy of Finland, personal research grant for Postdoctoral Researcher’s project
  • 2003-2005 - Agency and power in the lives of young people: borders and possibilities, funded by University of Helsinki, research group: Dr Tuula Gordon (PI), MSocSc Sanna Aaltonen, Dr Tarja Tolonen
  • 1999-2006 - Girls, boys and sex-based harassment, several funders, doctoral project

 Profile in Researchgate  Profile in

Publications in English

Journal Articles

  • Aaltonen, Sanna, Berg, Päivi & Karvonen, Sakari (2017) Affordances of Welfare Services – Perspectives of Young Clients. Nordisk välfärdsforskning | Nordic Welfare Research, vol. 2 no. 1, 30-38. DOI: 10.18261/ISSN.2464-4161-2017-01-04
  • Berg, Päivi & Aaltonen, Sanna (2017) Wendy, Peter and the Lost Boys—The Gendered Discourses of Welfare Service Practitioners and Their Young Clients. Young. vol. 25 no. 2,157-173.  DOI: 10.1177/1103308816640699
  • Aaltonen, Sanna (2017) Challenges in gaining and re-gaining informed consent among young people on the margins of education. International Journal of Social Research Methodology. vol 20, no. 4, 329-342, doi: 10.1080/13645579.2016.1170412
  • Aaltonen, Sanna & Karvonen, Sakari (2016) Floating downstream? Family background, parental support and future expectations of young people from less privileged backgrounds. Sociology, vol 50, no. 4, 714-730.
  • Aaltonen, Sanna (2016) ‘My Mother Thought Upper Secondary School Was OK, but then My Sibling Said No’ - Young People's Perceptions of the Involvement of Parents and Siblings in their Future Choices. Sociological Research Online, vol. 21, no. 1, 5 <> DOI: 10.5153/sro.38502015
  • Määttä, Mirja & Aaltonen, Sanna (2016) Between rights and obligations – Rethinking youth participation at the margins. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol 36, no. 3/4, 157-172.
  • Aaltonen, Sanna (2016/2003) Told, Denied and Silenced. Young People’s Interpretations of Conflicts and Gender in School. In T. Hoikkala & M. Karjalainen (eds.) Finnish Youth Research Anthology 1999–2014. Helsinki, Finnish Youth Research Network, 332-345. (Reprint of an article originally published in 2003.
  • Aaltonen, Sanna (2013) “Trying to push things through”: Forms and bounds of agency in transitions of school-age young people, Journal of Youth Studies, vol 16, no. 3, 375-390.
  • Aaltonen, Sanna (2012) Subjective orientations to the schooling of young people on the margins of school. Young, vol 20, no. 3, 219-235.

Book Chapters

  • Aaltonen Sanna (2017) Grin and Bear It! Downplaying Sexual Harassment as Part of Nordic Girlhood. In: Formark B., Mulari H., Voipio M. (eds) Nordic Girlhoods. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 83-102.
  • Stokes, Helen, Aaltonen, Sanna & Coffey, Julia (2015) Young People, Identity, Class and the Family. In H. Cahill & J. Wyn (eds.) Handbook of Childhood and Youth Studies. Singapore, Springer, 259-278.
  • Aaltonen, Sanna. & Honkatukia, Päivi (2012) Interviewing young people in institutional contexts—methodological reflections. Teoksessa t. Tolonen, T. Palmu, S. Lappalainen & T. Kurki (eds.) Cultural practices and transitions in education. Tufnell Press, Lontoo, 34-47.

Reports, book reviews, conference proceedings

  • Aaltonen, Sanna, Berg, Päivi & Ikäheimo, Salla (2016) Relationship between young people and welfare services. Stockholm, Nordic Center for Welfare and Social Issues.
  • Aaltonen, Sanna (2015) Youth Researchers of the World, Unite! Book review on J. Côté (2014) Youth Studies. Fundamental Issues and Debates, Sosiologia no. 4, 401-403.
  • Aaltonen, Sanna (2015) Book review on H. Stokes (2012) Imagining Futures: Identity Narratives and the Role of Work, Education, Community and Family and H. Cuervo & J. Wyn (2012) Young People Making it Work: Continuity and Change in Rural Places, Young, vol 23, no. 1., 97-99.
  • Aaltonen Sanna & Sunnari Vappu (2001) Sexual Harassment – Conceptual and Methodological Reflections, in v. Puuronen (ed.) Youth on the Threshold of 3rd Millennium. University of Joensuu, Publications of Karelian Institute, no 130, 31-44.
 Positions of trust in 2017