Read 16.01.2021 at 23.22

Expressions of Suffering
: People


Vilma Hänninen, PhD.

Research interests: Mental health, coping with life changes, narrative research

C: Narratives of depression

Depression has been the object of different and separate research traditions in various disciplines. As Arthur Kleinman has noted, "If there ever was a situation accurately captured by the image of blind men and the elephant, this would seem to be it". In this study, an attempt is made to integrate the findings of relatively separate fields of psychosocial research of depression by narrative approach.

The founding idea of the study is that the narrative structure is not only present in told narratives but also in the way people understand and guide their life (inner narrative) and, ultimately, in the human life itself. Narrative structure knits together the temporal, intentional, material, social, causal, moral and emotional aspects of existence.

The phenomenological symptoms of depression, such as felt disconnectedness from social relations, hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness, lack of motivation, and loss of pleasure can be seen to reflect a breakdown of the functions of the inner narrative. Depression could thus be seen as a state in which an individual´s inner narrative has shattered or collapsed. The concept of narrative is will be used as a framework for understanding the process of depression as an interplay between the actual life situation, personal ways of interpreting it, cultural conceptions, and social interaction.

The study proceeds on three levels.
1. On the first, theoretical level, the integration of psychosocial research of depression from the narrative viewpoint is pursued.
2. On the second level, the forms, changes and tensions of Finnish cultural understanding of depression are explored using material from folklore, popular culture, and media.
3. On the third level, narratives of depressive persons will be analysed. These are gathered from e.g. biographical writings and interviews of members of self-help groups.

Hänninen, Vilma 2001. Lev Semjonovits Vygotski: tietoisuuden kulttuurihistoriallinen kehitys. Kirjassa V. Hänninen, J. Partanen & O.-H. Ylijoki: Sosiaalipsykologian suunnannäyttäjiä. Tampere: Vastapaino. (Lev Semonovits Vygotski: the socio-historical development of consciousness.)

Hänninen, Vilma 1999. Sisäinen tarina, elämä ja muutos. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 696, Tampere. (Inner narrative, life, and change)

Hänninen, Vilma & Koski-Jännes, Anja 1999. Narratives of recovery from addictive behaviors. Addiction 94(12),1837-1848.

Koski-Jännes, Anja & Hänninen, Vilma 1998. Dialogiset prosessit ja riippuvuudesta vapautuminen. Kirjassa A R Lahikainen & A-M. Pirttilä-Backman (toim) Sosiaalinen vuorovaikutus. Helsinki: Otava. (Dialogical processes in recovery form addiction.)

Hänninen, Vilma 1996. Coping with unemployment as narrative reorientation. Nordiske Udkast 24:19-32.

Anna Leppo , MSc

Research interests: sociology of health and illness, institutional interaction & identity, ethnography

I: Suffering, social memory and the Karelian heart

I am currently working for Marja-Liisa Honkasalo in her study Suffering, social memory and the Karelian heart. My task in this project consists of collecting and organizing data and conducting background research that serves as a contextualisation for how cardiovascular diseases and depression are experienced and understood by the North Karelian people. I work with various materials and themes such as letters and other contemporary texts written by North Karelians about health and illnesses and political documents that shed light on the vast structural changes that have taken place in North Karelia in the last few decades.

My previous research interests have included a study of identity construction through institutional interaction in a 12-step rehabilitation unit for substance abusers, and a study of the transition of the Alcoholics Anonymous movement in Finland in the late 1990’s.

Vakaumuksen ja vastarinnan näyttämöt. Etnografinen tutkimus AA-perustaisesta päihderiippuvuuden laitoshoidosta. Unpublished MSc thesis, Department of Sociology, University of Helsinki, 1999.

Ilkka Arminen & Anna Leppo 2001: “Professionals’ Responses to Clients who Act Against their Best Interests in 12-step rehabilitation”. In: Listening to the Welfare State: Conversation Analyses, Discourse Analyses and Ethnographic Studies of Client-Helper Relations in the Nordic Welfare System, ed. by Mike Seltzer, Ashgate

Annika Lillrank, Ph.D

Research interests: sociology of health and illness; subjective illness experience, narrative research.

E: Experiencing back pain - a study of men and women with back pain

The musculoskeletal diseases are a major public health problem in Finland. Chronic back pain affects 17 percent of all those over 30 years of age and about 25 percent of all work related disability pensions are due to this disease.

The aim of my current study is to achieve understanding on the subjective experiences of what the life and work are like to female and male back pain sufferers. How do men and women actively meaning-make their life and work in the social interaction between trust and trouble? My ongoing research focus on the process of early disability pension for women between 39 to 56 years old.

Back pain has an aberrant status in bio-medicine mainly because it is so baffling to medical professionals. My resent analysis shows how diagnosing back pain is an uncertain process that ranges from several months to several years, up to 20 years. This long process profoundly challenges the doctor-patient relationships. This problem involves especially lack of objective criteria for assessing in determining whether this is "real". This permitted a disrespectful attitude toward back pain sufferers. Only when the protagonists had actively defined their situation anew, did it indicate the turning points toward diagnosis and treatment.

In this data the addressed major disappointments focused on when subjective experience regarding one's pain or work (dis)ability was not given respectful considerations by the health care system: However, subjective experience proved to be capable of objective evaluations. How the multicausal subjective experiences and how these conflicting impacts should be interpreted are central questions for further research.

My mutiple data consists of 165 individually written autobiographies, obtained through the national writing competition "Elämän selkäranka" in 1999. During the spring 1999 I conducted in-depth interviews with 16 women and 7 men. This is a coherent data on questions regarding women's back pain and work related circumstances.

This research provides new knowledge and understanding of the complex microsocial circumstances of what work and everyday life are like for people suffering from back pain. The study offers new theoretical knowledge of how to conceptualise the subjective experience of back pain between back pain sufferers and the health care system. Moreover, it contributes new knowledge of how to improve the health care and the rehabilitation management, thus filling hithero neglected areas of relevant research.

Lillrank, Annika: (In press: Social Science and Medicine) Back Pain and the Resolution of Diagnostic Uncertainty in Illness Narratives.

Lillrank, Annika (2002) The Tensions between Overt Talk and Covert Emotions in Illness Narratives: Transition from Clinician to Researcher. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 26: 111-127.

Lillrank, Annika and Ullamaija Seppälä (2000) Sairauden ja terveyden kokemus maallikkonäkökulmasta, (Lay Experience of Health and Illness) in Terveyssosiologian suuntauksia.(eds) Kangas, Ilka, Karvonen, Sakari, Lillrank, Annika. Gaudeamus Kirja, University Press of Finland Ltd.

Lillrank, Annika (1999) Samspelet mellan verbal och icke-verbal interaktion i forskningsintervjuer (The Interplay Between Overt Talk and Covert Emotions in Interviews) Sosiologia No 2, pp 95-108.

Lillrank, Annika (1999)Varför insjuknade vårt barn? (Why did our child fall ill?) Nordisk Sosialt Arbeid Nr. 1,pp 33-38.

Lillrank, Annika (1998) Living One Day at a Time - Parental Dilemmas of Managing the Experience and the Care of Childhood Cancer. Doctoral Dissertation, Stakes Research Report 89. Gummerus printing, Jyväskylä.

Lillrank, Annika (1998) Päivä kerrallaan - Vanhempien selviytymisstrategiat lapsen sairastuttua syöpään (Living One Day at a Time - Parental Coping Strategies After The Child Is Diagnosed with Cancer) Yhteiskuntapolitiikka Vol. 63 No 4 pp 317-326.

Lillrank, Annika (1998) Chronic Childhood Illness In Contemporary Society. Sosiaalilääketieteellinen aikakausilehti No 4 pp 291-293.

Lillrank, Annika (1991) Kvinnors dilemma i välfärdsstaten; att arbeta och sköta sjukt barn (Women's Dilemma in a Welfare State: How to Care for a Sick Child when Working Full-Time) Naistutkimus-Kvinnoforskning Vol. 4. No1 pp 7-13.


- Selkäpotilaiden kokemuksia diagnoosiprosessista. (How patients with back pain experience the diagnosing process). Luennot lääkäripäivillä taamikuussa 2002, Sosiologipäivillä maaliskuussa 2002 ja Terveystieteen päivillä lokakuussa 2002.

Terhi Utriainen, PhD.

Research interests: Religion, intersubjectivity, gender, embodiment and ethics

Terhi Utriainen

F: The Religious Nude - Metaphors of nakedness and dress as expressions of suffering and identity

This study in comparative religion aims at analysing some central cultural and religious subtexts and imaginary constructions behind both religious and secular everyday expressions of suffering in the contemporary Finnish culture.

The study aims at analysing meanings and cultural backgrounds of such metaphors as ‘nakedness’ and ‘becoming denuded/undressed/dressed’ which are frequently used in everyday language as well as in more poetic or rhetoric discourses to express basic existential situations, such as suffering. The basis of this observation was made in my doctoral theses (Utriainen 1999) where a lot of the caregivers of dying people described the situation of the dying using the metaphors of nakedness and nudity. My hypothesis is that these metaphors refer to the question of identity (as personal continuity and as the state of belonging to a community), and thus reflect Christian anthropological thinking.

Methodologically the study is a study of metaphors. It deals with metaphors of nakedness and dress as metaphors of identity as process. Material for the case studies for analysing the use of the metaphorical pair of nakedness and dress are: 1) selected biblical narratives; 2) Greek orthodox liturgical songs; 3) Finnish Lutheran hymn texts; 3) texts by the caregivers of the dying (reanalysis of some of the material of my doctoral theses) and 4) ethnographical and interview texts derived from the project directed by Marja-Liisa Honkasalo: Expressions of suffering - ethnographies of illness experience in contemporary Finnish contexts - with which my study works in close co-operation. The present work participates also in two other projects: Body and Society in the Biblical World directed by Martti Nissinen and Risto Uro; and Gender, Body and Ethics in Late Christian Culture and Theology, proposed to the Academy of Finland by Elina Vuola.

The philosophical and theoretical frame of the study is provided by phenomenology of the body and its feminist and ethical applications.

Honkasalo M-L & Utriainen T. 1994. "Women writing their death and dying: Semiotic perspectives on women's suicide notes." Semiotica 109-3/4, 195-220.

Utriainen, Terhi 1998. Feminine and masculine in the study of Balto-Finnic dirges; old and new questions." Gender and Folklore. Perspectives on finnish and Karelian Culture. Ed. Satu Apo, Aili Nenola and Laura Stark-Arola. Finnish Literature Society, Helsinki 175-200.

Utriainen, Terhi 1998. "Occupying a Space as Eyes and Body. Comments on the Diversity of Fieldwork, the Postures of Knowledge, and Summer Experiences in an Elderly Women's Village in Olonets Karelia." Gender and Folklore, Perspectives on Finnish and Karelian Culture. Ed. Satu Apo, Aili Nenola and Laura Stark-Arola. Finnish Literature Society, Helsinki, 292-304.

Utriainen, Terhi 1999. Läsnä, riisuttu, puhdas: Uskontoantropologinen tutkimus naisista kuolevan vierellä. Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura, Helsinki. (Present, Naked, Pure. Study in anthropology of religion on women by the side of the dying.)

Utriainen, Terhi 2001. "Loppuva ja täyttyvä aika. Kolme kertomusta kuolemisesta." Ajan taju. Kirjoituksia kansanperinteestä ja kirjallisuudesta. Toim. Eeva-Liisa Haanpää et. al. Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura, Helsinki, 82-96. (End and fulfillment of time. Three stories about dying.)

Utriainen Terhi, 2002. "Riisuttu, yhteinen liha. Initiaatio, väkivalta ja sukupuolet Hesekielin tarinassa langenneesta Israelista". Itkua ikä kaikki? Kirjoituksia naisesta, vallasta ja väkivallasta. Toim. Satu Apo, Anu Koivunen, Leena-Maija rossi ja Kirsi Saarikangas. Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura, Helsinki, 151-163.

Utriainen Terhi, 2002. "In word and deed. Textual analysis and embodied ethnography in the frame of women’s studies." Styles and positions. Ethnographic perspectives in comparative religion. Ed. Tuula Sakaranaho, Tom Sjöblom, Terhi Utriainen and Heikki Pesonen. Department of Religion series, Helsinki University.


- "Riisuutumisen metaforia Raamatun teksteissä".
Kutsumus, ruumis, kokemus. Puheenvuoroja uskonnosta ja sukupuolesta. (Pyydetty esitelmä.) Turun yliopisto, Calonia, 8.-9.3.2002.
- "Naked, Nude and Redressed – metaphors of shame, suffering and identity through biblical texts." Third Nordic Workshop in Medical Anthropology: Expressions of Suffering. University of Joensuu, Mekrijärvi Research Center, March 20-23, 2002.
- "Ahdistus, epäjatkuvuus ja kuolema". Scientific and cultural aspects on anxiety (pyydetty yleisöesitelmä). – Organizers: Helsinki Graduate School in Biotechnology and Molecular Biology and Finnish Graduate School in Neuroscience and Life 2000 Research Program
- "Phenomenology as the preliminary method" – comment to prof. Douglas Allen. Approaches in comparative religion reconsidered... – Helsingin yliopiston uskontotieteen laitoksen ja Suomen uskontotieteellisen seuran symposio. Tieteiden talo 18.-19.11.2002.

International conferences:
- EASR:n (European Association for the Study of Religions) kokous Le Monotheisme: diversite, exclusivisme ou dialogue? Pariisi, Collège de France et Ecole Normale Supérieure. 11-14 Septembre 2002.

Yleisesitelmiä ja koulutustilaisuuksia, esimerkiksi:
- "Suomalainen kuolemanperinne". Suomen hautaustoiminnan liiton vuosikokousesitelmä 12.4.2002. Tiedekeskus Heureka.
- "Kokemus kuolevan vierellä – riisuttua läsnäoloa?" Esitelmä Saattohoito voimavaroja ja jaksamista tukevana työnä. Turun yliopiston täydennyskoulutuskeskus 8.11.2002.

Keywords: religion, gender, metaphors, embodiment, suffering, identity

Salome Tuomaala, MA

Research interests: Gender, sexuality, ethics, embodiment, reproductive rights

H: Abortion, Embodiment, Gender and the Sacred

I currently work on my doctoral thesis on experiences of abortion and abortion ethics. I am approaching the theme by comparing Finnish expressions of experiences of abortion to Anglo-American feminist discussions on abortion ethics.

In Finland abortion was legalized in 1950, and the law was reformed in 1970. The current abortion law allows abortion to be performed at woman´s request for various medical and social reasons. However, woman´s desire to have an
abortion is not in itself a sufficient reason to interrupt pregnancy. In practice the interpretatation of law is broad and the general view is that it is easy to get an abortion in Finland. Still, what that the current law
signals is found highly problematic by those concerned with women´s rights.

In my MA thesis I examined how and what Finnish women tell about their experience of abortion. In addition to women´s interviews I analysed newspaper editorials. In my Ph.D. study I will expand the analysis by collecting stories written by people who have experienced abortion or
accompanied their spouses in abortion process. I want to include stories of men´s experiences in my study, because I am interested in getting a more detailed picture of those agents of abortion that public discussion does not mention.

Yet another source of data for my study is the variety of feminist theological and philosophical texts on abortion. I will compare ideas of
feminist theologians exploring Christian tradition of abortion ethics to secular feminists’ texts examining concepts of (woman’s) body, self and citizenship. Finally, I will compare Finnish expressions of experiences of
abortion to Anglo-American feminist discussions on abortion ethics.

Tuomaala, Salome 2002: Ruumiita mahdollisuuksien rajoilla. Kokemuksia,kertomuksia ja keskusteluja abortista. Naistutkimusraportteja 2002:1. Helsinki. Tasa-arvoasian neuvottelukunta. Sosiaali- ja terveysministeriö.

Tuomaala, Salome 2001: "Mies, sikiö, nainen.
Sukupuolittunut aborttiretoriikka Kirkko&Kaupunki-lehdessä" - Retorinen tutkimus uskontotieteessä. Toim. Tuula Sakaranaho. Helsingin Yliopisto. Uskontotieteen laitos.

Tuomaala, Salome : Sukupuolet abortissa. Nettijulkaisu raijakoo.



- 27.3.2002 Ihmisten ja jumalien synnyttäminen. Luento Helsingin Yliopiston uskontotieteen laitoksen Ruumiillistuva yhteisö.
Tirkistysluukkuja antiikin perintöön -luentosarjassa.
- 25.4. 2002 Ruumiillisuus ja abortti. Esitelmä Naistutkimuksen ainejärjestön Asenne F:n kokouksessa.
- 8.6.2002 Naisten ääni ja toimijuus abortti-tilanteessa. Esitelmä nuorten naistutkijoiden kesäleirillä.
- 12.11.2002 Synti ja oikeus. Aborttiretoriikka kristillisessä ja feministisessä diskurssissa. Luento Helsingin yliopiston naistutkimuksen laitoksen luentosarjassa Sukupuoliongelmia uskonnon kontekstissa. Toimin myös ko. luentosarjan järjestäjänä.

Keywords: gender, sexuality, ethics, embodiment, reproductive rights

Juha Soivio, MA

Research interests: Heart disease, experience of illness, biomedicine, technology, anthropology at home

Juha Soivio

B: Biomedicine and experiences: the construction(s) of ischaemic heart disease in Finnish contexts (2002 - 2004)

My current project examines the meanings of ischaemic heart disease in medical, institutional and everyday contexts. How are is meaning bestowed in different contexts and how do the cultural ideologies and the social practices of health care system and everyday life become embodied as ways of being sick and carrying illness? Ischaemic heart disease is a major health problem in Finland, causing 1/3 of all deaths alone. It has been the target of large scale national programs since 1960's. As a specific, publicly notified disease entity, ischaemic heart disease exists not only in particular individuals, but serves as a structuring factor in social situations, as a social actor and mediator. The scale of the problem and the intensive agency of diverse institutions dealing with it provides the background for my focus on how the category of ischaemic heart disease is filled by the sufferers themselves. I have analysed the treatment of an infarction, and the transformations related to it, as a ritual. At the moment I am working on how the ritual messages of the treatment coincide with local concepts of health and illness, autonomy and morals in everyday settings and individual suffering.

Methodologically my study is based on participant observation, interviews, and the analysis of medical and health educational material. I have done 8 moths of participant observation in the emergency room, cardiac care unit, and the medical ward of a local hospital to grasp the realities of the health care settings. I have interviewed hospital staff and patients in the hospital and in their homes. The results will be published as a monograph in 2004. My study is part of Marja-Liisa Honkasalo's project Expressions of Suffering -Ethnographies of Illness experiences in Finnish Contexts", which is funded by the Academy of Finland.

Soivio, Juha 1998. Pitkäaikaissairauteen sopeutuminen, sairauden selittäminen ja lääketiede haavaista paksusuolentulehdusta sairastavien kertomuksisssa. (Coping, explaining, and biomedicine in narratives of colitis ulcerosa) Unpublished MA thesis, University of Helsinki, Department of cultural anthropology.

Soivio, Juha 1999.Biomedicine and the Experience of Chronic Illness: Ulcerative Colitis, a Lived-With-Illness. Suomen Antropologi 4:93-113.

Soivio. Juha 2002. Crossroads between transformation and stability. Hospitalisation in Finnish cardiac care as an example. AM, Rivista Della Società Italiana Di Antropologia Medica 13-14, 289-310.

Soivio, Juha 2003. Lääketieteellinen teknologia ja sairauden kokemus (Biomedical technology and illness experience). In: Honkasalo & Kangas & Seppälä (eds.), Sairauden kokemus (Illness experience), SKS. (in press)


- Notions of responsibility in acute myocardial infarction. III Nordic Seminar on Medical Anthropology, March 20-23, Ilomantsi.
- Constructing Morality Through Illness. The Case of Coronary Heart Disease. Anthropology and the Health of Populations: Global Trends and Local Contexts. The 3rd Annual International Socail Anthropology Conference, June 20-22, London, UK.
- Onko sepelvaltimotaudilla sukupuolta? (does Ischaemic heart disease have a gender?). Terveydenhuoltotutkimus 2002, 15.9., Tampere.

Lectures and teaching:
- Sosiaaliantropologia (Social Anthropology). A course in January-February, Työväenakatemia, Avoin yliopisto.
- Sepelvaltimotaudin kokemus (The experience of ischaemic heart disease). Ikäihmisten yliopisto, Hämeenlinna.
- Kulttuuriset sairausselitykset (Cultural explanations for illness). An assistent on a course held in spring at the University of Helsinki, Department of Anthropology.
- Kulttuurin tutkimus omassa kulttuurissa. Esimerkkinä sepelvaltimotauti. (Anthropology at home. Ischaemic heart disease as an example) 14.11., Åbo Akademi.

- A member of the organising committee for the III Nordic Seminar on Medical Anthropology, March 20-23, Ilomantsi.

Marja-Liisa Honkasalo, MD., PhD.

Research interests:  bodily symptoms and social meanings, women's health and the body, suicide letters and meanings of death, chronic pain as embodied experience

Marja-Liisa Honkasalo

A: Suffering, social memory and the Karelian heart

Finland is a country which is known for its exceptionally high rates of both cardiovascular diseases (CVD), depression and suicide. Geographically, they co -vary, having the highest incidences in the eastern and the lowest in the western areas of Finland. The "eastern excess" is about 50% among middle aged men regarding mortality in CVD. According to careful epidemiological studies, the geographical incidence difference of CVD and suicide has persisted throughout decades. The general mortality difference between eastern and western parts of Finland may constitute a persistent long-lasting pattern too, at least during the time period reliable data has been accessible.

In the field of public health, there is abundance of epidemiological research on this topic, looking, in cardiovascular epidemiology, separately at heart diseases, and in psychiatric epidemiology at depression and suicide, which are considered etiologically intertwined. Currently, the main medical explanatory theories are based on risk factors: for CVD factors as dietary fat and smoking, and for depression and suicide the rapid structural change in the country and the ensuing solitude, mediated by abundant use of alcohol, especially among men. The repeated results of careful causal epidemiological studies of CVD point out that there are not one single measurable explanation for the disease, and the well-known bundle of explanations: food fat, smoking, heavy use of alcohol, genes and so on, explain only a part of its variance. There is scanty ethnographic research done in this field. However, quite a lot Finnish folklore studies illuminate people's own beliefs and understandings of heart diseases and melancholy and their etiologies and interconnections.

The general aim of the study is to examine the problem at issue from ethnographic points of view, contextualizing the research problem with the local history and present everyday life in a North Karelian village. Theoretically, the illness pattern is conceptualized
1) in a social context of rural life, which, since the 1960'ies, has faced heavy changes, especially continuous displace of the population, and
2) as an "imaginary landscape of suffering", which means
multi - layered memories of social traumas, and
historically and culturally constructed expressions of suffering, and
identity issues constituting links between the present and past.

The study makes use of multiple data. A 10 month long ethnographic field work is conducted in a North Karelian village, with about 50 interviews with villagers and their relatives. In addition, archive material from Finnish Literature Society focusing on local North-Karelian ethnomedical illness categories and illness theories, and from local county archives are used.

Marja-Liisa Honkasalo
MD., PhD., Docent,
Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies


1.1. In scientific seria

1. Honkasalo M.-L. & Honkasalo A. 1979. Occupational Health Care. Administration,
Structure, Content. Arhiv za higijenu rada i toksikolgiju, 30, 1509-1514 (suppl.).
2. Honkasalo A. & Honkasalo M.-L. Automaatio ja alkoholinkäyttö. 1982.
Alkoholipolitiikka, 47, 10-14. English Summary: The Automation Process and
the Use of Alcohol.
3. Honkasalo M.-L. 1983. Kvinnan och alkoholen – vems är problemet? Alkoholpolitik
46 (1), 16-21. English Summary: Women and the Use of Alcohol – Whose
4. Honkasalo M.-L. 1982. Nainen ja alkoholi – kenen ongelma? Alkoholipolitiikka
47, 220-225.
5. Honkasalo M.-L. 1982. Kuuliaiset ruumiit – näkökohtia työnjaon ja kurinpitovallan
suhteesta. Sosiologia 17, 20-31. English Summary: Docile Bodies – Views
on Disciplinary Power and the Division of Labour.
6. Honkasalo M.-L. 1982. Dead End – Views on Career Development and Life Situation of
Women in Electronics Industry. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 3 (4), 445-464.
7. Honkasalo A. & Honkasalo M.-L. 1983. Gargantua, Sisyfos ja luova juominen.
Alkoholipolitiikka, 48 (3), 127-133. English Summary: Gargantua, Sisyfos
and the Creative Drinking.
8. Honkasalo A. & Honkasalo M.-L. 1983. Gargantua, Sisyfos och det kreativa
drickandet. Alkoholpolitik, 46, 89-95.
9. Honkasalo M.-L. & Kandolin I. 1984. Naisten työ ja rasitusoireet Helsingin seudun
kokoonpanoteollisuudessa. Sosiaalilääketieteellinen aikakauslehti, 21, 25-39. English Summary: Women's Work and Stress Symptoms in a Manufacturing Plant.
10. Honkasalo M.-L. 1985. Om symptomens betydelser. Socialmedicinsk Tidskrift,
62, 413-415.
11. Honkasalo M.-L. 1988. Oireiden ongelma – sosiaalilääketieteellinen tutkimus
oireista, niiden esiintymisestä ja merkityksistä kahta tutkimusmenetelmää
käyttäen. Kansanterveystieteen julkaisuja M 101, 213 sivua ja liitteet. (Väitöskirja). English Summary: The Problem of Symptoms – a Social Medical Study on Symptoms by Two Methods. (Ph.D. Thesis) Publications of the Institute of Public Health.
12. Honkasalo M.-L. 1989. Kvinnors symptom – lidandets och njutningens språk?
Kvinnovetenskaplig tidskrift, 10, 12-21. English Summary: Women's Symptoms
– a Language of Pleasure and Suffering?
13. Honkasalo M.-L. 1989. Symptoms, Sign and Medical Semiotics. Psychiatria Fennica,
20, 119-128.
14. Appelberg K. Romanov K., Honkasalo M.-L. & Koskenvuo M. 1991. Interpersonal
Conflicts at Work and Psychosocial Characteristics of Employees. Social Science and Medicine, 32, 1051-1056.
15. Utriainen T. & Honkasalo M.-L. 1991. Nainen kuolemisensa kirjoittajana. Naisten
itsemurhaviestit initaatio- ja identifikaatioriittinä. Psykologia, 26 (4), 252-261. English Summary: Women's Suicide Notes as an Initiation and Identification Rite.
16. Honkasalo M.-L. 1991. Medical Symptoms: A Challenge for Semiotic Research.
Semiotica, 87 (3/4), 251-268.
17. Honkasalo M.-L. & Utriainen T. 1992. Kuolemalla kuolemista vastaan. Psykologia, 27, 196-207. English Summary: Death Contra Dying: Abjection and the Metaphors of Death in Women's Suicide Notes.
18. Lemettinen A., Pelttari H., Honkasalo M.-L. & Lönnqvist J. 1993. Itsemurhamenetelmät
neljässä Euroopan maassa vuosina 1985-1988. Sosiaalilääketieteellinen Aikakauslehti 30, 26-38. English Summary: Suicide Methods in Four European Countries 1985-1988.
19. Honkasalo M.-L. & Utriainen T. 1993. Boundaries in Finnish Women's Suicide Notes.
Acta Semiotica Fennica, 2, 229-342.
20. Honkasalo M.-L., Kaprio J., Heikkilä K., Sillanpää M. & Koskenvuo M. 1993. A
Population-Based Survey of Headache and Migraine in 22 809 Adults. Headache, 33, 403-412.
21. Honkasalo M.-L. 1994. Etnografia ja tutkiva subjekti. Sosiaalilääketieteellinen
aikakauslehti, 31, 15-23. English Summary: The Researching Subject and the Research Process – Narratives from a Field Work.
22. Honkasalo M.-L. 1994. Miten naiset kirjoittavat vaivoistaan – omaelämäkertatutkimuksen mahdollisuuksista terveystutkimuksessa. Sosiaalilääketieteellinen aikakauslehti, 31, 41-48. English Summary: How Women Write about Their Illnesses – Notes on the Possibilities of Autobiographical Method in Health Research.
23. Honkasalo M.-L., Kaprio J., Winter T., Heikkilä K., Sillanpää M. & Koskenvuo M. 1995.
Migraine and Concomitant Symptoms among 8187 Adult Twin Pairs. Headache, 35, 70-78.
24. Appelberg K., Romanov K., Honkasalo M.-L., Heikkilä K. & Koskenvuo M. 1995. The Use
of Tranquilizers, Hypnotics and Analgetics among 18 592 Finnish Employees: Associations with Interpersonal Conflicts at Work or with a Spouse. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 46, 1315-1322.
25. Honkasalo M.-L. & Utriainen T. 1996. Women Writing their Death and Dying, Semiotica, 109, 195-220.
26. Appelberg K., Romanov K., Heikkilä K., Honkasalo M.-L. & Koskenvuo M. 1996.
Interpersonal Conflict as a Predictor of Disability: A Follow-up Study of
15 348 Finnish Employees. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 40, 157-167.
27. Romanov K., Appelberg K., Honkasalo M.-L., Heikkilä K. & Koskenvuo M. 1996. Recent
Interpersonal Conflicts at Work and Psychiatric Morbidity: A Prospective Study
of 15 530 Employees Aged 24-64. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 40, 169-176.
28. Honkasalo M.-L. 1996. Laadullinen tutkimus paradigmahaasteena. Esimerkkinä
krooninen kipu. Sosiaalilääketieteellinen aikakauslehti, 33, 119-129. English Summary: Qualitative Health Research as a Paradigmatic Challenge. Chronic Pain as an Example
29. Hakkola M., Honkasalo M.-L. & Pulkkinen P. 1996. Neuropsychological symptoms among
tanker drivers exposed to gasoline. Occupational Medicine, 46, 125-130.
30. Hakkola M., Honkasalo M.-L. & Pulkkinen P. 1997. Changes in Neuropsychological
Symptoms and Moods among Tanker Drivers Exposed to Gasoline During the Work
Week. Occupational Medicine, 47, 344-348.
31. Honkasalo M.-L. 1997. Liike ja liukumo – kivun merkityksiä ja naispaikannoksia.
Synteesi, 15, 31-41.
32. Honkasalo M.-L. 1998. Space and Embodied Experience: Rethinking the Body in Pain.
Body & Society, 4, 35-57.
33. Putkonen H., Collander J., Honkasalo M.-L. & Lönnqvist J. 1998. Finnish Female
Homicide Offenders 1982-1992. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, 9, 672-684.
34. Honkasalo M.-L. 1999. What is Chronic is Ambiguity – Encountering Biomedicine
with Long-lasting Pain. Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 24, 75-92.
35. Nisula T., Honkasalo M.-L. &Viljanen A.-M. 1999. Suffering and Healing – Notes on
Recent Discussions in Medical Anthropology. Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 24, 5-10.
36. Berg M. & Honkasalo M.-L. 2000. Pregnancy and Diabetes – a Hermeneutic
Phenomenological Analysis of Women's Experiences. Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology,
21, 39-41.
37. Honkasalo M.-L. 2000. Chronic Pain as a Posture towards the World. Scandinavian Journal
of Psychology, 41, 197-208.
38. Honkasalo M.-L. 2001. Vicissitudes of Pain and Suffering: Chronic Pain and
Liminality. Medical Anthropology, 19, 80-115.
39. Honkasalo M.-L. 2002. Sairauden tulkinta, tieto ja uskomisen ongelma. Teologinen Aikakauskirja. Suomalaisen teologisen kirjallisuuden julkaisuja 233, 72-89.
40. Honkasalo, M.-L., Hinkkanen R.: 2002. Boundaries and continuities - a genealogical approach to illness representations in Finland. Antropologia Medica 13-14, 167-190.
41. Honkasalo M.-L. 2003. Brutalités de l´Histoire et Mémoire du Corps. Ethnologie Française, XXXIII, 287-293.
42. Honkasalo M-L. 2003. Pain, Self and the Body. The American Journal of Semiotics, 17, 9-41.

1.2. Original publications in anthologies

1. Honkasalo M.-L. 1979. On the Life Style, Drinking Habits and Work Stress of Female
Workers in the Electronics Industry. 25th International Institute on Prevention
and Treatment of Alcoholism. An ICAA-publication, 236-243. Lausanne.
2. Honkasalo M.-L. & Honkasalo A. 1979. On the Use of Alcohol as a Coping Mechanism to
Work Stress. 25th International Institute on Prevention and Treatment of
Alcoholism. An ICAA-publication, 81-93. Lausanne.
3. Honkasalo M.-L. & Kandolin I. 1982. Women and Work in a Finnish Manufacturing
Plant. Paper presented at the 8th Congress of the International Ergonomic
Association, Tokyo, August 23-28, 1982. In Noro K. (ed.) 8th Congress of
the IEA, 272-274. Inter Gropp Co, Tokyo.
4. Honkasalo M.-L. & Kandolin I. 1983. Nainen ja alkoholi – ongelman tarkastelua
naisen yhteiskunnallisen aseman ja työn näkökulmasta. Sosiaalihallitus, julkaisuja 2/1983.
5. Honkasalo M.-L. 1983. Kvinnor och alkohol - ett försök till en helhetsbetonad
analys med avseende på samhällsklass, könssystem samt arbets- och
kvinnokultur. Kvinnoforskning kring kvinna och alkohol. Nordiska Nämnden för
Alkohol- och Drogforskning (NAD). NAD-publikationer, n:o 8, 63-83. Helsinki.
6. Honkasalo M.-L. 1984. Kvinnan och missbruket av alkohol. En forskningsöversikt. I
Rapporten: Kvinne, misbruker og mor, 64-80. Nordiska ministerrådet, Oslo.
7. Honkasalo M.-L. 1984. Valta, valvonta ja naisten työ. I rapporten Husu, L. &
Honkasalo, M.-L. (edit.) Työ, nainen ja tutkimus. Valtioneuvoston kanslian
monisteita 2, 140-178. English Summary: Power, Control and Women's Work.
8. Honkasalo M.-L. 1985. Naisten työ ja terveys tutkimuksen valossa. In. Sinkkonen S.
ja Ollikainen E. (edit.) Se on kaikki kotiinpäin. Työ ja terveys, 149-164. English Summary: Women's Work and Health.
9. Honkasalo M.-L. 1986. Kvinnofyllan – finns den? Kvinnor, alkohol och behandling,
en nordisk antologi. NAD-publikationer n:o 13, 100-122. Helsinki.
10. Söderholm A-L., Honkasalo M-L, Rimpelä U. 1988. Vad kan medicinsk kvinnoforskning innebära? I antologin Honkasalo M-L. (red.) 1988. III Nordiska seminariet om medicinsk kvinnoforskning, 26-39. Social-och Hälsovårdministeriet. Jämnställdhetspublikationer D: 1/1988. Helsingfors.
11. Honkasalo M.-L. 1989 “Have the Wives over for a Sauna when I go out with the
Men!” In: E. Haavio-Mannila (red.) Women, Alcohol and Drugs in the Nordic Countries. NAD-publikationer n:o 16, 76-96. Helsinki.
12. Honkasalo M.-L. 1989. Kaukaisissa, syvissä, hiljaisissa maailmoissa – oman
kuoleman merkityksistä itsemurhan yhteydessä. In: Achte K., Lindfors O., Lönnqvist J. & Salokari M. (edit.) Suomalainen itsemurha, 31-52. Yliopistopaino, Helsinki. English Summary: On the Meanings of One's Own Death in Suicide.
13. Honkasalo M.-L. 1993. Kipeät ruumiit. In: Korvajärvi P., Nätkin R. & Saloniemi A. (edit.) Tieteen huolet, arjen ihmeet, 92-108. Vastapaino, Tampere. English Summary: Suffering Bodies.
14. Honkasalo M.-L. 1994. Lääkäri ja sairaus – merkityksiä etsimässä. In Hyry K. (edit.)
Sairaus ja parantaminen. Kirjoituksia parantamisen perusteista, 126-136. Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura, Helsinki.
15. Honkasalo M.-L. & Utriainen T. 1994. Äiti ja kuolema – itse(murha) matrilineaarisessa jatkumossa. In: Heinämaa S. & Näre S. (reds.) Pahan tyttäret, 192-208. Gaudeamus, Helsinki.
16. Honkasalo M.-L. & Åstedt-Kurki P. 1995. Onko nainen oman terveytensä määrittelijä?
in Sorvettula M. (edit.) Naisen terveys, 115-140. Kirjayhtymä, Helsinki.
17. Honkasalo M.-L. 1995. Merkit, merkitys ja lääketiede. In: Louhiala P. (edit.)
Lääketiede ja filosofia, 123-155. Gaudeamus, Helsinki. English Summary: Signs, Meaning and Medicine.
18. Honkasalo M.-L. Subject(s) and everyday life discourse – women speaking. In Synthesis and Diversity, 941-945. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
19. Honkasalo, M.-L. 2000. Miten sairaus rakentuu sosiaalisesti. Kirjassa Kangas, I., Karvonen S., & Lillrank A. (toim.) Terveyssosiologian suuntauksia, 53-72. Gaudeamus, Helsinki.
20. Honkasalo, M.-L. 2002. “Vielkii miuta nii ahistaa” – suru, ero ja menetys pohjoiskarjalaisten naisten arkipäivässä. Kirjassa Apo S., Koivunen A., Rossi L.-M. & Saarikangas, K. (toim.): Itkua ikä kaikki, 42-57. Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura, Helsinki.
21. Honkasalo M.-L. & Hinkkanen R. 2003. Sairaaksi syöttämällä tai säikähtämällä. Kirjassa Honkasalo M.-L., Kangas I. & Seppälä U.-M. (toim.) Sairas, potilas, omainen – näkökulmia sairauden kokemukseen, 13-45. Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura, Helsinki.
22. Honkasalo M.-L. Elämä on ahasta täällä -- otteita maailmasta joka ei pidä kiinni. Kirjassa Honkasalo M.-L., Utriainen T. & Leppo A. Arki satuttaa – kärsimyksiä suomalaisessa nykykulttuurissa. Vastapaino, Tampere 2004.
23. Utriainen, T., Honkasalo M.-L. Kärsimys, paha ja kulttuurintutkimus. Kirjassa M.-L., Utriainen T. & Leppo A. Arki satuttaa – kärsimyksiä suomalaisessa nykykulttuurissa. Vastapaino, Tampere 2004.
24. Honkasalo M.-L. 2004. Genus och sjukdomsföreställningar - om vardagstolkningar av hjärtsjukdomar i Nordkarelen. In:: Medicinsk forskning – teori och begreppsutveckling, 121 – 137. Vetenskapsrådet, Rapport 2004:2. Stockholm.
25. Honkasalo M.-L. 2004. Jotain jää yli. Ruumiillisuus konstruoktionismin ja eletyn jälkeen. Kirjassa Jokinen, Eeva; Kaskisaari, Marja; Husso, Marita (toim.) Ruumis töihin. Käsite ja käytäntö. Vastapaino, Tampere.


1. Honkasalo M.-L. & Honkasalo A. 1977. Byssinoosi, pölyntorjunta ja automaatio.
Lappeenrannan teknillisen korkeakoulun julkaisusarja, Raportti 1/1977.
2. Honkasalo M.-L. 1978. Om arbetsbetingade faktorers inverkan på bruket av alkohol.
Foredrag vid Nordiska Seminariet Alkohol och arbete (Nordiska Nämnden för
Alkoholforskning) 23.-24.10.1978.
3. Honkasalo M.-L. 1978. Työn merkitys alkoholinkäyttöä säätelevänä tekijänä.
Alkoholipolitiikka 43 (3), 143-147.
4. Honkasalo M.-L. 1978. Työ ja alkoholijuomien käyttö. Katsaus anglosaksiseen ja
skandinaaviseen kirjallisuuteen. Alkoholikysymys 2/1978.
5. Honkasalo M.-L. 1978. Arbetet som delfaktor vid alkoholbruk. Alkoholpolitik
41 (4), 175-179.
6. Honkasalo M.-L. 1980. Working Conditions and the Use of Alcohol. Paper presented
in the Finnish-Polish Symposion on Alcohol and Work, Helsinki, September 22-24, 1980.
7. Honkasalo M.-L. 1982. Om arbetstingande faktorers inverkan på bruket av alkohol.
Alkohol och arbete, 15-26. Nordiska Nämnden för Alkoholforskning (NNA) publikationer
n:o 10, Stockholm.
8. Honkasalo M.-L. 1983. Naisten muuttuva alkoholinkäyttö. Naisten Raittiuskeskus,
Koulutuspäivät 13.-14.8.1983. Moniste.
9. Honkasalo M.-L. 1983. Työ ja alkoholinkäyttö tutkimuksen valossa. Radioesitelmä.
Suomen yleisradio 17.9.1983.
10. Honkasalo M.-L. 1986. Finns det något kvinnospecifikt i den könsbundna skillnaden
i alkoholkonsumtionen? NAD Nyhetsbrev 1, 9-17.
11. Honkasalo M.-L. 1986. Oireiden monimerkityksellisyydestä. The polysemous essence
of symptoms. Fifth Annual Meeting of Semiotic Society of Finland. Imatra, July
21-24, 1986. Esitelmä.
12. Honkasalo M.-L. 1984. Om symptomens betydelser. I rapporten: Kvinnoforskning i
medicinsk forskning. Sigtuna 11-13 oktober 1984. Socialmedicinska institutionen, Forskningsenheten i Luleå, 1984, 80-84. Raport från II:a nordiska seminariet i medicinsk kvinnoforskning.
13. Honkasalo M.-L. 1985. The polysemous essence of symptoms – an attempt to
formulate a systems view. International Seminar on Systems Learning and Systems Research: from Awareness to Action. Hanasaari, Finland, June 12-15, 1985.
14. Honkasalo M.-L. 1985. Naisten alkoholinkäytöstä. Status 1/1985, 18-22.
15. Honkasalo M.-L. 1990. Oireet, merkit ja lääketieteen semiotiikka. Status, 12, 7-9.
16. Honkasalo M.-L. 1995. Laadullinen tutkimus ja psykiatria. Psykiatrian asemasta, tutkimuksesta ja käytännöistä, 58-68. Psychiatria Fennica, Reports 108, Helsinki.


2. Honkasalo M.-L. 1977. Yksipuolinen lihasjännitys kuluttaa siivoojia.
Työ-terveys-turvallisuus 1/1977.
3. Honkasalo M.-L. & Honkasalo A. 1977. Työsuojelu – työterveydenhuolto. Otakustantamo, 163 s. English Summary: Labor Protection and the Occupational Health Care in Finland.
4. Honkasalo M.-L. 1977. Työterveydenhuolto palvelee henkilöstöhallinnon tavoitteita.
Sosiaalinen Aikakauskirja 5/1977.
5. Honkasalo M.-L. 1983. Ihmisen miehisistä määristä. Sosiologia 20 (2), 152-154. Kirja-arvostelu.
6. Hirvonen L. & Honkasalo M.-L. 1980. Piirteitä Neuvostoliiton päihdehuollosta ja
terveyskasvatuksesta. Alkoholikysymys 1/1980.
7. Honkasalo M.-L. 1983. Nainen, perhe ja alkoholi. Lapset ja yhteiskunta 42 (3), 152-155.
8. Husu L. & Honkasalo M.-L. (toim.) 1984. Työ, nainen ja tutkimus. Valtioneuvoston
kanslian monisteita 2/1984. English Summary: Women's Work from a Research Perspective.
9. Honkasalo M.-L. 1989. Oireiden ongelma. Lectio Praecursoria. Psykoterapia (1-2), 26-28.
10. Honkasalo M.-L. 1988. Nainen, tutkija ja lääkäri – omaa juonta etsimässä (kirja-esittely). Medisiinari 6/1988, 12-16.
11. Honkasalo M.-L. 1989. Oireet naisten viesteinä. Ryhmätyö, 28-34.
12. Honkasalo M.-L. 1993. Ruumiit subjekteina ja objekteina. Sosiaalilääketieteellinen,
aikakauslehti 30, 310-312. Kirja-esittely. English Summary: Bodies as Subjects and Objects.
13. Honkasalo M.-L. 1993. Kirje tästä maailmasta. Kirjassa Åstrand K. (toim.) Huomisen mahdollisuus, 72-78, WSOY.
14. Honkasalo M.-L. 1993. Suu, ruumis ja kulutus. Kirja-esittely. Suomen Antropologi,18, 49-51.
15. Pyörälä E. Honkasalo M.-L. 1994. Kvalitatiivinen tutkimus – haaste suomalaiselle
terveystutkimukselle. Pääkirjoitus. Sosiaalilääketieteellinen aikakauslehti, 31, 1-3.
16. Honkasalo M.-L. 1994. Asentoja elämässä ja kuolemassa. Kirja-arvostelu. Sosiaalilääketieteellinen aikakauslehti, 31, 94-96.
17. Honkasalo M.-L. 1994. Sylvia Plath ja isän kenkä – näkökulmia epidemiologiaan,
etiikkaan ja semiotiikkaan. Sosiaalilääketieteellinen aikakauslehti, 31, 218-219.
18. Honkasalo M.-L. 1996. Kvinnors symptom – ett sätt att tolka vardagslivet.
Dokumentation från ett seminarium: Kvinnors Hälsa i ett Livscykelperspective,
25-30. Folkhälsoinstitutet 58/1995, Rapporter 1996, Stockholm.
19. Honkasalo M.-L., Henriksson L. & Nisula T. 1996. Laadullinen terveystutkimus on
tullut jäädäkseen. Pääkirjoitus. Qualitative health research is here to stay. Sosiaalilääketieteellinen aikakauslehti, 33, 97-99, 1996. Laadullisen terveystutkimuksen erikoisnumero.
20. Honkasalo M.-L. 1996. Kertomuksia kivusta ja kärsimyksestä. Kirja-arvio.
Sosiaalilääketieteellinen Aikakauslehti, 33, 179-180.
21. Honkasalo M.-L. 1997. Sukupuoli tyylinä. Kirja-arvio. Synteesi, 15, 104-107.
22. Honkasalo M.-L., Lindquist J. 1997. Suffering and the Ways of Being Human. An
Interview with Arthur Kleinman. The Journal of the Finnish Anthropological
Society, 22, 48-61.
23. Honkasalo M.-L. 2000. Kulttuuri, terveys ja sairaus. Suomen Lääkärilehti, 55, 1391-1395.
24.Honkasalo M.-L. 2000. Liikkuvat subjektit, paikallinen tieto. Kirja-arvio. Sosiologia, 37, 161- 163.


1. Honkasalo M-L. 1988. III Nordiska seminariet om medicinsk kvinnoforskning. Social-och Hälsovårdministeriet. Jämnställdhetspublikationer D: 1/1988. Helsingfors.
2. Pyörälä E. & Honkasalo M.-L. 1994. Kvalitatiivinen terveystutkimus. Sosiaalilääketieteellinen aikakauslehti, 31(1).
3. Honkasalo M.-L., Henriksson L. & Nisula T. 1996. Laadullinen terveystutkimus. Sosiaalilääketieteellinen aikakauslehti, 33 (2).
4. Honkasalo M.-L., Nisula T. & Viljanen A.M. 1999. Current Trends in Medical
Anthropology. Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 24 (4).
6. Hammarstöm A. & Honkasalo M.-L. 1999. Women’s Studies and Public Health.
Scandinavian Journal of Social Medicine (4).
7. Honkasalo M.-L., Kangas I. & Seppälä U.-M. (toim.)2003. Sairas, potilas, omainen – näkökulmia sairauden kokemukseen. Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura, Helsinki.
6. Honkasalo M. –L., Utriainen T &Leppo A (toim.) 2004. Arki satuttaa – kärsimyksiä suomalaisessa nykykulttuurissa. Vastapaino, Tampere.


1. Honkasalo M.-L. 2004. Loss of love, loss of self – everyday theories of grief and loss in North Karelia. In: Milton Kay, Lindquist Galina (eds.) Emotions and Ethnography.

2. Honkasalo M.L. 2004. Making Continuities – Illness representations, agency and presenza in Finnish North Karelia. In Anthropologia Medica, 15.

Keywords: illness representations, local illness theories, social memory, suffering

Marja Tiilikainen, PhD

Research interests: Somali women; Muslim immigrants; multicultural issues, especially related to health and illness

Marja Tiilikainen

G: Diaspora and everyday Islam - Somali women's experiences of health, illness and healing

The topic of the on-going Ph.D. research is Diaspora and everyday Islam - Somali women's experiences of health, illness and healing. It is an inter-disciplinary study in the fields of comparative religion and medical anthropology. The research focuses on Somali women's suffering and symptoms in the context of diaspora. Furthermore, women's agency and attempts to alleviate distress and illness will be studied. The theoretical framework benefits from the discussion about memory. The research suggests that women's symptoms soak up significance from the life world of suffering, diaspora and cultural change. Bodily symptoms may also be seen as a form of communication through which Somali women can express their distress and furthermore, to try to bring about action in order to relieve it. Islam gains importance as a source of guidance and strength. Islamic healing practices are being availed of in order to heal illnesses, but in addition, Islam may be seen as a way to heal social suffering at a communal level. The research is based on ethnographic fieldwork among Somali refugee women living around metropolitan Helsinki, Finland. The doctoral thesis will be completed in 2002.

Tiilikainen, Marja 1999. Äidin huolet, arjen kivut. Kärsimys, oireet ja strategiat Suomessa asuvien somalinaisten arjessa [Mothers’ worries, everyday pains. Suffering, symptoms and strategies in the everyday life of Somali women in Finland]. Julkaisematon lisensiaatin tutkielma [unpublished licentiate thesis]. Helsingin yliopisto, humanistinen tiedekunta, uskontotieteen laitos.

Tiilikainen, Marja 2000. Aspects of Suffering and Religious Healing among Somali Refugees. -Tuija Hovi & Anne Puuronen (eds.), Traditions of Belief in Everyday Life, 187-201. Religionsvetenskapliga skrifter nr 51. Åbo: Åbo Akademi University.

Tiilikainen, Marja 2000. Somalinaiset ja maahanmuuton kokemukset [Somali women and immigrant experiences] - Karmela Liebkind (toim. [ed.]), Monikulttuurinen Suomi. Etniset suhteet tutkimuksen valossa, 93-111. Helsinki: Gaudeamus.

Tiilikainen, Marja 2001. Suffering and Symptoms: Aspects of Everyday Life of Somali Refugee Women. -Muddle Suzanne Lilius (ed.), Variations on the Theme of Somaliness. Proceedings of the EASS/SSIA International Congress of Somali Studies. Turku, Finland, August 6-9, 1998, 309-317. Turku: Centre for Continuing Education, Åbo Akademi University.

Tiilikainen, Marja, Maxamed Axmed, Amran & Lilius, Muddle Suzanne (wer./red./toim.[ed.]) 2001. Sagaal Dayrood - Suugaanta Haweenka Soomaaliyeed ee Fiinlaan / Nio höstregn - Prosa och poesi av finlandssomaliska kvinnor / Yhdeksän syyssadetta - Suomessa asuvien somalinaisten runoa ja proosaa [Nine Autumn Rains - Prose and Poetry of Somali Women in Finland]. Helsinki: Yliopistopaino [Helsinki University Press].

Tiilikainen Marja 2002: Tyttärestä äidiksi somalialaisessa suurperheessä. (Becoming a mother in a Somalian extended family). Kätilölehti 1/02: 8-10.

Malin Maili & Tiilikainen Marja 2002: Kaikkea ei pidä selittää kulttuurieroilla. Terve järki pätee myös maahanmuuttajiin. Dialogi 4/02: 29-30.

Tiilikainen Marja 2002: Homes and fields, friends and informants: Fieldwork among Somali refugee women. In: Tuula Sakaranaho, Tom Sjöblom, Terhi Utriainen and Heikki Pesonen (eds.), Styles and Positions: Ethnographic perspectives in comparative religion, 272-288. Helsinki: Department of Comparative Religion.

Tiilikainen Marja 2003. Arjen islam. Somalinaisten elämää Suomessa. Tampere: Vastapaino.


- Monikulttuurinen Suomi – mitä se on (I)? (What does multiculturalism mean in Finland?) Luento Monikulttuurinen Suomi ja uskonnot –luentosarjassa. Uskontotieteen laitos, Helsingin yliopisto, 24.1.2002.
- Yhdeksän syyssadetta: Suomessa asuvien somalinaisten runoa ja proosaa –kirjan esittely (Introducing a book on Somalian poetry nd prose written by Somali refugee women in Finland), Somalia-päivät Kulttuurien museon 5 Afrikkaa –näyttelyssä, 27.1.2002.
- Monikulttuurinen Suomi – mitä se on (I ja II)? (What does multiculturalism mean in Finland?) Luento Monikulttuurinen Suomi ja uskonnot –luentosarjassa. Avoin yliopisto-opetus, Helsingin yliopisto, 30.1.2002.
- Monikulttuurinen Suomi – mitä se on (II)? (What does multiculturalism mean in Finland?) Luento Monikulttuurinen Suomi ja uskonnot –luentosarjassa. Uskontotieteen laitos, Helsingin yliopisto, 31.1.2001.
- Somalialaiset maahanmuuttajanaiset uskonnollisina toimijoina (Somali refugee women practicing religion). Luento Uskontotieteellisiä naistutkimuksen teemoja –luentosarjassa. Kristiina-instituutti, Helsingin yliopisto, 5.2.2002.
- Tutkimuksen esittelyä terveydenhoitajien kokouksessa (Presenting research findings), Kivikon terveysasema, Helsinki, 8.2.2002.
- Etnografiaa kotona. Kenttätyöstä Suomessa asuvien somalinaisten parissa (Ethnography at home: doing fieldwork with Somali refugee women in Finland). Luento folkloristiikan kenttätyökurssilla, Helsingin yliopisto, 11.2.2002.
- Somaliäidit suomalaisen terveydenhuollon asiakkaina (Somali mothers as clients of Finnish health care) – Maassa maan tavallako: Äitiyshuollon asiakkaat vieraista kulttuureista. Kätilöliiton koulutuspäivä, Helsinki, 15.3.2002.
- Minkälaisia kasvun paikkoja kulttuurien kohtaaminen voi meille tarjota? (How can cultural conflicts trigger human growth?) - VII Ihminen ja kosmos –keskusteleva kulttuuritapahtuma. Keskustelun teemana ’kasvu’. Kuhmo-talo 15.3.-17.3.2002. Järj. Pro Kuhmo Oy ja Suomen Akatemia, 16.3.2002.
- Islam maahanmuuttajien arjessa (Islam in the everyday life of refugees). Luento Monikulttuurinen Suomi ja uskonnot –luentosarjassa. Avoin yliopisto-opetus, Helsingin yliopisto, 10.4.2002.
- Islam somalinaisten arjessa (Islam in the everyday life of Somali women). Luento Monietninen nuorisotyö –luentosarjassa. Humanistinen ammattikorkeakoulu, Helsinki, 13.4.2002.
- Islam maahanmuuttajien arjessa (Islam in the everyday life of refugees). Luento Monikulttuurinen Suomi ja uskonnot –luentosarjassa. Uskontotieteen laitos, Helsingin yliopisto, 18.4.2002.
- Somalinaisten kokemukset sairaudesta – sosiaalisten, kulttuuristen ja lääketieteellisten merkitysten risteyskohtia (Somali womens' experiences of illness - at the crossroads of social, cultural and biomedical meanings) – Maahanmuuttajien terveys ja hyvinvointi. 4. terveyssosiologian päivät. Helsingin yliopisto, Kansanterveystieteen laitos, 26.4.2002
- Näkökulmia somalityttöjen seksuaali- ja terveyskasvatukseen (Views on sex and health education for Somali girls). Helsingin kaupunki, Opetusvirasto, 24.10.2002.
- Somalinaiset ja arjen selviytyminen (Somali women and coping with everyday life). Vantaan kaupunki, Maahanmuuttajien yhteispalvelutoimisto, 18.11.2002.
- Muslimit Euroopassa ja Suomessa (Muslims in Europe and Finland). Luento Johdatus monikulttuurisuustutkimukseen –luentosarjassa. Helsingin yliopisto, uskontotieteen laitos, 4.12.2002.

International seminars:
- 20-23.3.2002 Third Nordic Workshop in Medical Anthropology. University of Joensuu, Mekrijärvi Research Center. Esitelmän aihe “Suffering, Social Memory and Embodiment: Experiences of Somali Refugee Women”.
- 2.-3.9.2002 Contesting religious equality: Muslims in global and local contexts. Department of Comparative Religion, University of Helsinki. Esitelmän aihe “ Somali women and everyday Islam in the diaspora”.
- 10.-12.10.2002 12th Nordic Migration Conference. University of Helsinki, CEREN/ Swedish School of Social Science. Esitelmän aihe “Agency at the margins: Somali women in the diaspora”.

Other activities:
- Monikulttuurista terveysmosaiikkia: Kulttuurien kohtaamisessa auttaa kysyminen ja ymmärtäminen (Multicultural health: asking and answering questions facilitates cultural conflicts, An interview). Haastattelu. Suomen Lääkärilehti 41/2002:4114-4116.

Keywords: Somali women, diaspora, Islam, memory, suffering, symptoms

Susanne Ådahl, PhD

Research interests: Social suffering, uncertainty, contingency, cancer, anthropology at home, phenomenology, narratives, idioms of distress

Susanne Ådahl

D: Good Lives, Hidden Miseries. An Ethnography of Uncertainty in a Finnish Village

Research carried out among Swedish-speakers inhabiting the coastal areas of Finland found that they lead healthier, longer and more active lives than their Finnish-speaking neighbours. Common health indicators used to explain mortality do not differ significantly between the two groups, nor does the gene pool. It is believed that strong social ties and a high degree of social capital gives them this advantage over Finnish-speakers. In a country having one of the highest incidences of depression and suicide in Europe it is especially interesting to understand what it is that makes a certain group of people fare better than the rest of the population. What makes people inhabiting Swedish-speaking areas of the country healthier and keeps them alive longer than the majority population? What perceptions do Swedish-speakers themselves have of these theories and what explanations do they present regarding this phenomenon?

The aim of my research was to understand the sources of well-being and by contrast, the sources of uncertainty and distress that are a threat to well-being among people living in farming communities in the coastal areas of Southwestern Finland. I sought to investigate how people interpret illness and how their everyday theories of illness causation can be understood as a window on culture. Within the framework of this study I understand illness as a profoundly cultural and social phenomenon and as way for distressed individuals to have a dialogue with society.

The study is based on 12 months of fieldwork conducted 2002-2003 in a coastal village. It discusses how social and cultural change affects the life of farmers, how they experience change and how they act in order to deal with changing life circumstances. Using social suffering as a methodological approach the study looked at how change is related to lived experiences, idioms of distress, and narratives. Its aim was to draw a locally specific picture of what matters are at stake in the local moral world that these farmers inhabit, and to investigate how they emerge as creative actors within this local world.

A central assumption made about change is that it is two-fold; both a constructive force which gives birth to something new, and also a process that brings about uncertainty regarding the future. Uncertainty is understood as an existential condition of human life that demands a response, both causing suffering and transforming it. The possibility for positive outcomes in the future enables one to understand this ”small suffering” of everyday life both as a consequence of social change, which fragments and destroys, and as an answer to it - as something that is positively meaningful. Suffering is seen to engage individuals to ensure continuity, in spite of the odds, and to sustain hope regarding the future.

When the fieldwork was initiated Finland had been a member of the European Union for seven years and farmers felt it had substantially impacted on their working conditions. They complained about the restrictions placed on their autonomy and that their knowledge was neither recognised, nor respected by the bureaucrats of the EU system. New regulations require them to work in a manner that is morally unacceptable to them and financial insecurity has become more prominent. All these changes indicate the potential loss of the home and of the ability to ensure continuity of the family farm.

Although the study initially focused on getting a general picture of working conditions and the nature of farming life, during the course of the fieldwork there was repeated mention of a perceived high prevalence of cancer in the area. Cancer statistics for the area do not, though, significantly differ from any other part of the country. The study asked how villagers express and interpret what cancer is and what they consider contributes to the existence or lack of cancer. I was mainly concerned with how perceptions of cancer, through talk about cancer, reflect core values tied to place, work and social relations. This ”cancer talk” is replete with metaphors that reveal cultural meanings tied to the farming life and the core values of autonomy, endurance and permanence. It also forms the basis of a shared identity and a means of delivering a moral message about the fragmentation of the good life; the loss of control; and the invasion of the foreign into the intimate sphere of the home.

The study opens up a vital perspective on the multiplicity and variety of the experience of suffering and that it is particularly through the use of the ethnographic method that these experiences can be brought to light.

Link to ethesis:

Ådahl, S. 2007: Good Lives, Hidden Miseries. An Ethnography of Uncertainty in a Finnish Village, Research Reports no. 250, Department of Sociology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki: Helsinki University Printing House.

Ådahl, S. 2004: "Enemmän kiinni maassa ei voi ollakaan" - kärsimyksiä maisemassa. In Marja-Liisa Honkasalo, Terhi Utriainen ja Anna Leppo (ed.): "Arki satuttaa. Kärsimyksiä suomalaisessa nykypäivässä", Tampere: Vastapaino.

Ådahl, S. 2000: La Vida Alegre: Intimacy and Respect in the World of Prostitution in Managua. An unpublished Masters thesis. University of Helsinki, Department of Social Anthropology.

Gorter, Anna; Segura, Zoyla; Sandiford, Peter; Zuniga, Esteban;
Torrentes, Roger; and Susanne Ådahl, 2000: “You should not tell us to
use condoms, but our clients!” An extended voucher programme in
Nicaragua. Research for Sex Work, no. 3, June 2000.

Ådahl, S. 2001: Creating Safety in an Uncertain World: Shifting Concepts of Calle and Casa in the World of Prostitution in Managua. In Maria Clara Medina (ed.) Lo público y lo privado: género en America Latina. Gothenburg: Institute for Ibero-American Studies, Gothenburg University.


- Between Difference and Similarity - the cultural construction of the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland, young academics seminar at the Finnish Institute in London, March 8-10, 2002.
- Feeling life: Ethnographies of emotions among villagers in Southwestern Finland, Third Nordic seminar on medical anthropology at Mekrijärvi research centre. March 20-23, 2002.
- Labour of Love, Bread of the Land: The meaning of pride and permanency on Kimito Island, Workshop on 'Feelings and Meanings: The cultural expressions and social impacts of emotions'at the 7th biennal of the European Association of Social
Anthropologists (EASA) in Copenhagen, August 14-17, 2002.
- “Dogs don’t bite the hand that feeds them: Managing distress in the changing rural landscape of Southwestern Finland”, Conference on Medical Anthropology at Home 3 in Perugia, Italy, 24-27 September, 2003.
- “The Legacy of Vieskeri – Agency and discipline in amateur trotting racing in Finland” at the 8th biennial of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) in Vienna, September 8-12, 2004.

Forthcoming publications:
- “Dogs don’t bite the hand that feeds them: Managing distress in the changing rural landscape of Southwestern Finland”, anthology to be published by MAAH (Network of Medical Anthropology at Home), 2004

- "The Legacy of Lohdutus – Performativity and Agency in Amateur Trotting Racing in Finland", anthology on "Exploring Regimes of Discipline: The Dynamics of Restraint", Noel Dyck (ed.), EASA series, Berghan publishers, 2005

- Anthropological Methods at the Open University, Åbo Akademi, 2002-2007
- Medical Anthropology at the Open University, Åbo Akademi, 2002-2007

Acting as treasurer of the Finnish Anthropological Society since 2004.

Keywords:  social suffering, cancer, uncertainty, contingency, lay theories, metaphors

Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
P.O. Box 4, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki
E-Mail:, Telephone: +358-9-191 23915, +358-9-2989516