Earlier research projects

Immigrants and National integration strategies: developing a Trans-European Framework for Analysing Cultural and Employment-related integration (INTERFACE) 2007-2008

The aim of the EU funded research project was to approach immigrant integration as a multifaceted phenomenon, where various aspects interact with each other. The project investigated the significance of various dimensions and environments connected to integration, including the labour market, school and family and their relationships with each other. Immigrant families were interviewed to supplement individual level data with information on the family integration process and its effects on the individual. Researcher in charge was Marja Peltola (M.Soc.Sc.).

Identities of Finnish youth work and civic activities (2005–2007)

The research project focused on clarifying how identities of youth work and civic activities entail dimensions of professionalising, as well as exploring the prevailing ethos in Finnish youth work and the possible implications of ‘youth work’ in today’s Finland characterised by challenging avenues towards adulthood. I.e. the purpose was to discuss the related practices, theoretical relations and theories on practice. What can ‘social pedagogics’ mean in this context; what about critical pedagogies; and what is youth education? What are the methods of youth work? What is the challenge of multiculturalism like? What is the position of civic activities in this context? What does youth policy mean? What about young people and their culture, everyday life and spaces? How do these situate in the entity of youth work, which can also be conceptualised as socialisation of a media society.

The themes of the research project were discussed in a research study circle concerning youth work and civic activities as well as in research seminars organised by the Youth Research Network. The main outcome of the project was article anthology titled Nuorisotyötä on tehtävä (Youth Work Must Be Done, in Finnish). The anthology manuscript was interactively drafted online (www.kommentti.fi) with actors in the field and published in spring 2007. The unique youth work anthology includes texts from thirty field actors. The project leader was Tommi Hoikkala.


  • Anu Gretschel, D.Phil. (University of Jyväskylä & Kajaani University Consortium): Municipal youth work as an arena and supporter for youth influence and civic activities. Also coordinates the more broadly-based project Municipality of children and the young.
  • Anne-Mari Souto, M.A. (Educ.) (Youth Research Network & University of Joensuu, Department of Sociology): Young people and multicultural education.
  • Sirkku Kotilainen, D.Phil. (University of Jyväskylä, The Research Centre for Contemporary Culture): Media Education and Youth Work: Young People as Local Actors on the Net.
  • Merja Kylmäkoski, D.Phil. (Finnish Youth Research Network & Humak University of Applied Sciences, Osaamisverkosto Kannuste [Kannuste expert network]): Space for the youth. Research project on the youth premises of the Jyväskylä region. Funded by Humak until 31 December 2006.
  • Sofia Laine, M.Soc.Sc.: Active citizenship in transnational political processes initiated by states and civic organisations. A comparative study on an EU meeting ‘Young Active Citizenships’ and a World Social Forum’s Youth Camp. Funded 1 August 2006 – 31 December 2008.
  • Juha Nieminen, M.A. (Educ.) (University of Tampere, Department of Education): Youth work and the development of welfare society.
  • Kari Paakkunainen, Lic.Soc.Sc. (University of Helsinki, Department of Political Science): Political participation of the young in Europe. Developing indicators for a comparative study carried out in European Union (EUYOUPART), and the project The image of young entrepreneurship. Funded by Center for School Clubs until 31 December 2006.
  • Petri Paju, Lic.Soc.Sc. (Youth Research Network): Youth participation project as youth work.
  • Sini Perho, M.Soc.Sc. (Youth Research Network): Peer student activity as a support system for school’s collectivity and pupils’ participation. Funded by The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare until 31 December 2006.

In the Cores of Capital Area Youth Work (Youth Departments of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa)

The cooperative project’s participants were the cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the Humak University of Applied Sciences, City of Helsinki Urban Facts and the Finnish Youth Research Network. The research project was a continuation of Mikko Salasuo’s project Atomized Generation. The project’s central questions were: What are the “best practices” of youth work like and what are their connections to youth culture? How does youth work support youth group structures: formation, viability and development according to changing interests? What are the methods for joining groups? Which mechanisms have led to the birth of activities that interest youth, and what role did youth work play or could play? The project was performed in a so-called Blook format, a special online method that makes research public in a new way and enables interaction with actors in the field.

What makes youth work multicultural? Experiences, viewpoints and challenges in Finland’s 10 largest municipalities

(Youth Departments of the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Turku, Tampere, Lahti, Kuopio and Pori.)

The research project was a continuation of the Multicultural young people, leisure time and participation in civic activities project coordinated by the Finnish Youth Research Network.

The continuation project was a partnership project in cooperation with the ten largest municipalities, which proved to be a fruitful model for cooperation. The ten largest municipalities funded the project. The project was a research and development project: it offered concrete tools for identifying the multicultural challenges of youth work and produced suggestions for answering them in administration and practical operations. The project report was prepared in open cooperation with funders. The results were tested before finalizing the publication in a common discussion event with youth work professionals from the ten largest municipalities. Project researchers: Veronika Honkasalo, Anne-Mari Souto and Leena Suurpää.

15–19 year-olds in the Finnish society

This interdisciplinary research project, completed in 2005 under the auspices of the Youth Research Network, focuses on the various dimensions of the life of Finnish 15–19 year-old youths on the one hand in their own social surroundings, and on the other in the space bordered by societal structures. The research carried out during the project abounded in topics as follows: culturally defined age orders and crossing their borders; multiculturality and racism in the everyday life of the young; the significance of youth projects in social work; the effects of residential area and family background on the educational prospects of the young; the effect of parents’ work on the wellbeing of the young; and the changes of youth consumption cultures in information society.

The project included the expertise of the fields of sociology, education and psychology, and the applied methods included, among others, evaluation research, participatory observation, both group and individual interviews, media analyses, text analyses as well as survey and statistical analyses. The final report of the project (Wilska, Terhi-Anna & Lähteenmaa, Jaana [eds.] Kultainen nuoruus [Golden youth]) will be published in the 5th Annual Conference of Finnish Youth Research Society on 20 October 2006.
Terhi-Anna Wilska acted as researcher in charge.

A joint research on young people, new phenomena and the incidence of services in the Helsinki area

The project was carried out in collaboration with the cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, Humak University of Applied Sciences, City of Helsinki Urban Facts, and Youth Research Society in 2005–2007. The late modern times of the 1990s and the beginning of 2000 have witnessed a considerable change within the Finnish youth culture in comparison to how it was perceived during the 1960s, the 70s and the 80s. New generations have entered the stage of youth culture, acting out their contemporary image as originated by themselves. The study focused on youth-cultural phenomena among 13–16 year-olds in the Greater Helsinki area (including the neighbouring cities of Espoo and Vantaa) as well as on the interaction of these phenomena and the related public services.

Four slightly distinguishable research topics can be named as follows, to be later united in the light of the results of the study: 1. It is essential to explore the current phenomena and 2. to clarify the public services targeted for the young in the areas observed. 3. The focus is on the interaction that links the youth phenomena to the available service system. 4. What is more, the self-made services of the young, created for themselves and their peer groups, will be explicated. The first part of the study is completed in June 2006 and a report on it is published in the series of City of Helsinki Urban Facts.
Researcher Mikko Salasuo (Youth Research Network) worked in the project.

Open method of coordination and youth organizations in the EU

A study on the open coordination method applied in the EU. Carried out by researchers Anna Sell and Nina Rahja, who have completed a report on the topic in June 2006. Funded by European Youth Forum.

Political Participation of Young People in Europe - Development of Indicators for Comparative Research in the European Union (EUYOUPART)

The Finnish Youth Research Network participated in the joint EU project of eight countries in 2003-2005. The project leader is the private research institute SORA (Institute for Social Research and Consulting, Vienna, Austria). The participants included non-member states and data was also collected outside the participating countries. The core data consists of survey data on 15-24-year-old Europeans.

The project considered forms of the political participation of youth, also unconventional participation and compared political cultures. The collective mission was to build meaningful indicators after several comparative and testing phases (in 2004, collected survey data and qualitative thematic interviews), e.g. factor analyses and their variants. The aim was to assess European conventional youth participation and “new politics” and their differing actualizations in Europe.

Participating Network researcher: Kari Paakkunainen

InTo - Inside the Outsiders: Deviant Immigrant Minors and Integration Strategies in European Justice Systems.  EU, Directorate General, Justice and Home Affairs, 2004–2005.

Participating countries: Italy (coordinating country), Germany, Finland.

In Finland immigration has increased during the last decades. This has also reflected into criminal policy and practical criminal justice system operations. The aim of the study was to analyse immigrant youth criminality and related social and youth life path aspects. Secondly, encounters of immigrant youth committing crimes and the judicial system were analysed, along with related problems and development needs. How do immigrant youth experience the Finnish criminal justice system? What views do various officials have of the challenges of increasing multiculturalism? The aim was to produce comparative data for scientific research as well as applicable information for the needs of the Finnish society and the EU.

Project researchers in Finland: Päivi Honkitukia (National Research Institute of Legal Policy) and Leena Suurpää (Finnish Youth Research Network).

Study Duration of Higher Education Students and Development of Well-being Services. Student research foundation Otus and the Finnish Youth Research Network, 2004 - 2005

The study concerning the study duration of higher education students and development of well-being services began in spring 2004. The aim was to reveal thoughts and experiences of nearly graduated or recently graduated students of universities and universities of applied sciences from their study years. The research focused on the students’ life during their studies: the everyday life of studying, the proceeding of studies, well-being and student well-being services.

The researchers interviewed both university of applied sciences and university students from various parts of Finland and utilised already existing survey sheet data about students. In addition a writing competition for students titled “Student life” was organized. The study was completed in September 2005, and a report was published in the Sitra publication series. Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund funded the research.

The project researchers were Eija Mannisenmäki (Otus rs.) and Maarit Valtari (Finnish Youth Research Network).

Youth Cultures as Health Literacy, Academy of Finland, Research Programme TERVE, 2002–2004

A consortium project with the Stakes alcohol and drug research group.

Young people’s health is quite good according to traditional measurements, but the picture gets tinted with darker tones when the focus moves from biological health to the psychological, social and cultural dimensions of health. Health can be seen as the life historical and life political choice of an individual living within social ties, while health literacy is a central element. In this project health is measured in connection to consumer cultures that raise experiences, pleasure and hedonism, corporality in general, as central orientation points of youth life, and risk and self control as the corresponding technologies of the self.

Health and health promotion are investigated in the project through young people’s own cultures, social worlds and identity goals. Anorexia, drugs, alcohol and the intoxicant use of youth with sports hobbies are concrete cases, through which young people’s varying health cultures are investigated. Questions related to interventions are approached on the levels of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. A model is built from the results of the subprojects of the consortium, which can be utilized in future interventions.

Project researchers: Mirja Määttä, Tuukka Tammi, Anne Puuronen, Elina Oinas ja Kati Rantala (Finnish Youth Research Network), Pasi Koski, Mikko Salasuo, Elina Virokannas ja Jaana Lähteenmaa (Stakes).

Contested memberships - immigrant youth in Finland
Academy of Finland, Research Programme SYREENI, 2001-2003.

The research project focuses on the practices and terms of encounters between immigrant youth and Finnish society. The project’s research area is both young people’s everyday experiences and activities and the material and cultural circumstances of the Finnish society that frame the everyday life of youth. Various approaches are tied together under the concept of membership. With this concept family relations, local youth cultures, public spaces and institutions (e.g. school and youth house) can be investigated in a multifaceted way, as arenas of integration and exclusion, governing practices (e.g. punishment mechanisms), and the categorization practices concerning immigrant youth. The methods used in the research project vary from ethnographic fieldwork to statistical analyses.

Researchers: Petri Hautaniemi, Päivi Harinen, Anne-Mari Keskisalo, Tapio Kuure, Krista Künnapuu, Leena Suurpää.

Youth Net cultures in Japan, South Korea and Finland – a comparative study

In collaboration with the research group of professor Tadamasa Kimura of Tokyo University. The Finnish research group includes Tommi Hoikkala, Sami Myllyniemi and Terhi-Anna Wilska. Funding (by Tokyo University and University of Tampere, Information Society Institute), provided only for conducting a survey.

A research project on the services available for the young in Finland

A research project focuses on clarifying how and to what extent previous studies on the topic have approached the youth-targeted services and how these studies relate to each other. That is to say, the project explicates which areas have already been covered and which need further examination. Subsequently, the aim is to explore the collaboration between various service forms as well as examining the possibilities of future collaboration. Funded May 2006 – February 2007.

Researcher Reetta Pietikäinen works on the project.