University of Helsinki


The Migration and Diaspora Studies Research Group (MIDI) is an active research group at the University of Helsinki. The group has an interest in contemporary migration processes and the social consequences of migration in an increasingly global world. The research projects focus on immigrant integration processes, diasporic social relations, transnational ties and the formation of new ethnic boundaries and emerging forms of citizenship, as well as the political responses to these significant societal developments. The projects provide information about the positive importance of diasporas for development, equality and social progress. The research group contributes to the aim of the University of Helsinki to seek solutions for global challenges and to create new ways of thinking for the best of humanity.


Östen Wahlbeck

Östen Wahlbeck is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Helsinki, Finland, Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the University of Tampere, Finland, and Professor II at the University College of Southeast Norway. He holds a PhD in Ethnic Relations from University of Warwick, UK (1997). He is the author of the monograph Kurdish Diasporas (Macmillan 1999) and a number of edited books , including Debating Multiculturalism in the Nordic Welfare States (together with Peter Kivisto, Palgrave 2013). He has published widely in the field of international migration and ethnic relations, including articles in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Journal of Intercultural Studies, Journal of Refugee Studies, Ethnicities and Mobilities. His research interests include transnational migration, immigrant businesses, refugee studies, and integration policies. He has been the project leader of several large research projects in these areas funded by the Academy of Finland.

Niko Pyrhönen

Niko Pyrhönen is Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki. He holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Helsinki, where he defended his doctoral thesis in 2015, entitled “The True Colors of Finnish Welfare Nationalism.” In 2017, he was invited to the University of San Francisco as visiting scholar. His fields of expertise cover immigration, welfare nationalism, hybrid media and public debate. Pyrhönen has participated in several national and international research projects, including “EUROSPHERE Diversity and the European Public Sphere”, Academy of Finland project “Challenging Power”, University of Jyväskylä project “Mobilizing the ‘Disenfranchised’ in Finland, France, and the United States”, and conducted an overview of Nordic Migration Research in a joint project by NordForsk and the Finnish Institute of Migration. He has published several articles on political rhetoric, national identity, populism, and the Nordic welfare state.