People and work
Work or employment is one of the key things people do in life. Work can lead to a high level of satisfaction in life, social contacts as well as of course a salary. Work is seen, both in Marxist studies and economics, as the opposite of capital, but for example Actor Network Theory says that humans and technology form a hybrid. It is true that the balance between these two regarding production has changed – automation and ICT have supplanted human employment to some extent – but so far it is still mostly humans that program the machines. From a sociological perspective though, work and changes in it, and in employment, are very important to study.
One determinant of work/employment is ‘the economy’, whether you like it or not. I am mostly interested in macro-level developments, but for a proper understanding of work, sector-level developments are as important. In my blog-roll there are some of the blogs I follow. Occasionally I try to emulate the analyses of A fistful of Euros, because that kind of analysis is not seen often about Finland.
Sociology and Public Administration/Public Policy
I defended my dissertation in September, and therefore I now hold two titles, D.Sc. (Soc) and M.A. The latter refers to my education in Public Administration and Public Policy (University of Twente, the Netherlands). This has given me a very multi-disciplinary view of societal problems, which sociology alone cannot sufficiently account for. My main points of view in analyzing societal (or industrial relations) issues are economic, technical and legal, apart from roots in sociology.
Industrial relations and unions
My core scientific area is industrial relations. There, of course, a multi-disciplinary approach is extremely fruitful. Until now, I have focused mostly on manufacturing industry, but in the context of economic change the service sector is as interesting. One aim is to positively contribute to debates, in order to help restore the balance in discourses, as currently it often seems that the troubles of Finnish companies to compete are solely the fault of its employees. This cannot be true of course.
There are many scientific areas in which I feel like I do not know enough. In particular, I aim to become more proficient in: using R (statistical language), especially regarding time-series analysis and Bayesian analysis; Finnish labour law; labour economics; Gramscian theory (the idea of hegemony) and its post-modern applications. And the little nerd inside me wants to learn to code again (right now I am attending an online course in Programming R and home-studying Ruby and Perl).