Who we are

Poverty and Development Research Center
University of Jyväskylä
Email firstname.lastname@jyu.fi

DIRECTOR


Laura Stark, leader of the research center, is professor of Ethnology. Her research interests include housing, the informal economy, transactional sex, and mobile remittances in urban Tanzania, as well as gender theory and social change. She is currently the leader of a four-year, multi-researcher project funded by the Academy of Finland (2013-2017) to study urban poverty in Ethiopia and Tanzania.

Keywords: urban poverty, Tanzania, sexuality, mobile phones, informal economy

Links: Academia.eduDepartment website, personal website


OTHER RESEARCHERS (in alphabetical order)


Jukka Jouhki is senior lecturer of Ethnology. In his PhD study (2006) Jukka focused on the relationship between expatriate Europeans and Tamil villagers in rural Tamil Nadu, India. Since 2010 he has studied the cultural aspects of mobile communication in India, and, lately he has started to study the views and values of democracy in the slums of Chennai. Jukka is the representative of University of Jyväskylä for the board of the Finnish University Network of Asian Studies.

Keywords: democracy, India, mobile communication, slums, voting

Links: Academia.eduDepartment website, LinkedInTwitter



Tiina-Riitta Lappi is currently studying urban poverty. The focus of her study in Dar es Salaam is how poor women find ways and create practices to combine their daily duties as caretakers with trying to provide for their families as well. In Addis Ababa she styides how major urban development projects affect the poorest inhabitants. Her methods are ethnography and oral history.

Keywords: poverty, livelihoods, survival strategies, informal urbanism, oral history

Links: Department website



Susanna Myllylä studies the position of the kebele non-planned inner-city settlements in Addis Ababa, particularly concerning youth as tenants. She focuses on those dwellers who live in the backyards of the settlements and face the most vulnerable living conditions. Susanna's next fieldwork will take place in spring 2015, in cooperation with the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC).

Keywords: youth, livelihoods, housing, space, Addis Ababa



Jyri Mäkelä is a doctoral student of Ethnology studying housing in Addis Ababa and Kuala Lumpur. He studies residents in condominiums for people with lower income status, and focuses on the everyday experience and effects of housing in their lives. He is also interested in visual anthropology and has recently filmed a documentary about a preschool in a slum in Dar es Salaam.

Keywords: urban anthropology, Ethiopia, Malaysia, housing, visual anthropology

Links: Department website



Diana Raitala is a doctoral student of Ethnology interested in customary property rights and marriage (bridewealth) among the Luo of Kenya. In her ethnographic research Diana focuses on the dynamics between marriage (bridewealth), property rights and poverty. As she is also a lawyer in her native Colombia, she takes a legal approach challenging western concepts and definitions of property rights.

Keywords: bridewealth, Kenya, Luo, marriage, property rights

Links: Department website



Jelena Salmi is a doctoral student of Ethnology studying space and identity in urban restructuring and liberalization in Ahmedabad, India. In her ethnographic study Jelena focuses on the displaced and resettled slum-dwellers, and examines how contemporary urban governmentality is experienced by people that do not conform to the aesthetic norms of neoliberal megacities.

Keywords: development studies, ethnicity, identity, space and place, urban anthropology

Links: Department website



Maarit Sinikangas is a doctoral student of Ethnology studying poverty in urban settlements in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In her research, Maarit focuses on the connection between poverty and transactional sex, the main focus group being women for whom transactional sex is a livelihood strategy or a way to pursue a wanted lifestyle.

Keywords: transactional sex, livelihood strategies, Tanzania, urban slums, informal economy

Links: Department website



Sanna Tawah is a doctoral student of Ethnology studying mobile technology and gender in Cameroon, West Africa. The title of her doctoral thesis is "The Market in my Hands: Mobile Phones for Social and Financial Connectivity among "Buyam-Sellam" Women in Cameroon". Sanna's research is based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Cameroon.

Keywords: mobile technology, gender, development, Cameroon

Links: Department website



Sirpa Tenhunen is starting a research project on urban politics in India. She has also studied the appropriation of mobile technology in rural India, and her latest book Innovation as Social Change in South Asia: Transforming Hierarchies analyzes the interplay between cultural values and innovative processes. Sirpa has published articles in Contemporary South Asia and Ethnos, to name a few.

Keywords: South Asia, India, political anthropology, mobile technology, innovations

Links: Academia.eduDepartment website