I have served as a researcher at the Church Research Institute (current Church Institute for Research and Advanced Training) since 2005. My research field is the study of religion, especially the sociology of religion and cognitive science of religion. For my Ph.D. degree in Comparative Religion at the University of Helsinki in 2002, I studied the Hare Krishna movement and its guru concept. Prior to the Church Research Institute, I worked as a researcher at the University of Helsinki.
My focal areas of interest include religious change, religious diversity, new religious movements, especially the communities with origins in India, as well as phenomena such as yoga and meditation representing the interface of religion and spirituality.
Examples of my research topics:
- Moderni kirkkokansa: Suomalaisten uskonnollisuus uudella vuosituhannella (together with Kimmo Kääriäinen and Kati Niemelä). Kirkon tutkimuskeskuksen julkaisuja 82 (2003).
- The Founder of the Hare Krishnas as Seen by Devotees: A Cognitive Study of Religious Charisma. Leiden: Brill (2008).
- Uskonto ja ihmismieli: Johdatus kognitiiviseen uskontotieteeseen (edited together with Ilkka Pyysiäinen and Tom Sjöblom). Helsinki: Gaudeamus (2008).
- Uskonnot Suomessa 2008. Kirkon tutkimuskeskuksen julkaisuja 102 (2008).
I have been engaged in several domestic and international research projects, the most important of which are:
- Mind and Society in the Transmission of Religious Ideas (2003–2006) (PI: Dos. Ilkka Pyysiäinen)
- The Role of Religion in the Public Sphere: A Comparative Study of the Five Nordic Countries (NOREL) (2009–2014). (PI: Prof. Inger Furseth)
- What Are the Impacts of Religious Diversity? Regions in Three European Countries Compared (2007–2010) (PI: Prof. Volkhard Krech, Co-PI: Kimmo Ketola) (NORFACE ERA-NET research programme Re-Emergence of Religion as a Social Force in Europe).
I have also served in various domestic and international positions of trust:
- Finnish Society for the Study of Religion, Board member (2006–)
- The EUREL (Sociological and Legal Data on Religion in Europe and Beyond) network, Correspondent (2014–)
- The Young Adults and Religion in a Global Perspective (YARG), Center of Excellence in research, Åbo Akademi University, Member of the steering group (2015–2018)
- EVS Council of Program Directors (responsible for material acquisition in Finland) (2015–2019)
- Nordic Journal of Religion and Society , Member of the Board of editors (2016–)
- Ministry of Education and Culture, Member of the Expert Committee appointed by virtue of the Act on Freedom of Religion, Section 23 (2016–)