Postdoc project, here I come!

I can now finally announce it publicly, since it also can be found from the interwebs: I received funding for 12 months from the Finnish Cultural Foundation. I am beyond delighted for this, since FCF also funded almost my entire PhD project!

My new project will dive into a very current and difficult matter: violence in online environments.The aim is to create a coherent understanding of how hatred and violence are affecting online communication practices and discourses of hate, and whether these practices are bleeding from the online realm into offline interactions. The project is titled “It’s just talk…” – The Discourses and Practices of Online Violence, and will last approximately three years during which I will examine different aspects of visual and textual violence within three case studies.

Case 1. Twitter and hatred in 140 letters;

Case 2. Online misogyny and gaming culture;

Case 3. Trolling and violence in online memorials.

I am super excited to have this opportunity to continue almost immediately after earning with my PhD in August 2014. This new project also allows me to visit University of Stockholm and Existential Terrains program, which explores existential challenges and vulnerabilities that digital technologies both enable and restrain. The focus of the program is on digital memory cultures, death, mourning and managing the digital afterlife. I will be co-organizing and attending the programs seminars and workshops, in addition to lecturing and teaching about online ethnography – among other topics.

FCF was very generous to Finnish cultural studies this year. Many of my colleagues and friends received funding for their projects as well, such as Dr. Kirsi-Maria Hytönen (check her blog!) from the University of Jyväskylä and Dr. Ulla Savolainen from the University of Helsinki. We attended the annual FCF party at the Finlandia house on Friday the 28th of February, and went to celebrate afterwards together to a great local restaurant Kolmon3n. It almost sounds like a beginning of a good joke – “ethnologist, folklorist and anthropologist went to a bar..”

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Despite these fantastic news and celebrations, the current economic climate has left me worried about the future of Finnish culture studies – as well as my own future income. A degree does not bring you a job, when the current demand is that a) you should have job experience of +4 years from the job field in question, b) getting a doctorate is not considered as job experience, c) there are at least 100 other applicants for the same position, d) research as job experience is not either understood what it actually means or it is considered as “too much” as job experience, e) you usually should have the doctoral degree anyway.

The media and many bloggers have also discussed the matter and wondered why the Finnish education system is backfiring its students, since education is not the most valued trait of an applicant. Job experience is also extremely difficult to gain when you are young and still in the middle of finishing schools – unless you are the kind of greedy multi-tasker who doesn’t value their free time and personal relationships as high. Also, it’s also not unheard of that some students decide to pursue a doctorate since they cannot find employment. It’s a vicious and irrational circle.

But.. all’s well that ends well? At least for now, for this year. Now there are articles to be written, fieldwork to be conducted and research to be made. Life is good.

 

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