Jaakko Turunen

Jaakko Turunen

Senior Lecturer

I am a researcher and teacher at the Academy of Public Administration and teach also in Social Work and Police Education.

+46 8 608 49 97 +4686084997

Social Sciences


I came to Sweden in 2009 to pursue my PhD studies in political science at Södertörn University (BEEGS) and Uppsala University. Before I came to Sweden, I studied at the Universities of Helsinki (MA) and Exeter (BA Hons). For a while, I also worked as a bureaucrat at the central administration of the University of Helsinki.

In February 2015, I defended by thesis Semiotics of Politics. Dialogicality of Parliamentary Talk, in which I studied the evolution of political debate in Polish and Slovakian parliaments. The thesis makes a methodological contribution to the dialogical study of language in politics. It also addresses some more philosophical questions concerning the nature of interpretation, linguistic interaction, and materiality of language.

More concretely, in my thesis I engaged with Russian cultural semiotics, hermeneutics, conversation analysis and political debate. I studied how conversation analytical concepts like turn-taking, sequencing, repair and code-switching could be understood as aspects of a hermeneutical circle in which the interlocutors engage in the course of a parliamentary debate. Understanding interpretation as something productive (rather than reproductive) - as hermeneutics and cultural semiotics claim - that nevertheless occurs within a certain linguistic context helps address the relationships between the broader cultural and more immediate linguistic contexts of parliamentary talk. Particularly interesting in this respect become Bakhtins idea of dialogicality of language and Lotmans notions of translation and explosion, which I take as two aspects of understanding that imply two different ways of relating between the individual understanding and the cultural understanding. These ideas were illustrated with the help of a close study of two parliamentary debates: one concerns the Slovak state language law amendment in 2009 and the other the citizens initiative on gender parity in electoral law in Poland in 2010.


Nordisk Østforum 1/2016
https://tidsskriftet-nof.no/index.php/noros/article/view/396 (in Norwegian)

Idäntutkimus 4/2015
http://www.helsinki.fi/idantutkimus/arkisto/2015_4/it_4_2015_lassila.pdf (in Finnish)

Current research

Since my defense, I have pursued two parallel research tracks. On the one hand, I have developed the idea of dialogicality of language to study how organising in civil society could be studied through social media and what implications this has to the ideas of civil society organisation prevalent in politics and policy. On the other hand, I have continued to study Polish politics and parliament through the prism of biopolitics and language.


Since spring 2015 I have been almost full-time teacher in different classes in political science and social work at Södertörn University.

I have developed a profile in methods-teaching having taught different methods classes, including qualitative as well as quantitative approaches, at undergraduate and Master-levels both in political science and social work. I have also developed together with colleagues a course on qualitative research methods for social science Master-students. I have also designed a class on Nordic Politics that was initially for exchange students at Södertörn, but also now included in a modified form in the course palette for students of Scandinavian languages at SWPS University in Warsaw. The course was held at SWPS for the first time in April 2018.


I comment current political affairs to Finnish language media in Sweden, including Sisu Radio and SVT Uutiset.

Since 2005, I have been a member of the editorial board of the Finnish Review of East European Studies (Idäntutkimus).
For journal presentation: https://vietseura.wordpress.com/idantutkimus-lehti/
for latest articles: https://journal.fi/idantutkimus/index

I was a member of the organising board of the 15th International Bakhtin Conference (www.bakhtinconference.com) that will be held in Stockholm in July 23-27, 2014. The Conference was co-organised by Södertörn University, together with Gothenburg University and the Swedish Royal Art Academy in collaboration with the Bakhtin Centre, University of Sheffield, UK.

DiVA (Digitala Vetenskapliga Arkivet) is Södertörn University's system for digital publishing and for registering publications produced by researchers, teachers and students.


The researcher is not participating in any projects at this moment.