Academy of Finland, 2018–2022

Project director:

Project objectives:

As a result of the ‘refugee crisis’, the variety and number of people to be deported from Finland have grown rapidly. However, there is still very little social science research related to deportations in Finland.

In this research project, action-oriented research is carried out on the deportation of asylum seekers from three thematic perspectives: 1) laws, policies and practices relating to deportations, 2) trust and mistrust in civil society activism related to deportations, and 3) deportation trips of asylum seekers.

  • The research project asks:
    • How has the deportation machinery (including laws, policies and deportation practices) developed?
    • How is the legislation on deportations used to produce deportable subjects and deportation status?
    • How is institutional (dis)trust reflected in deportations and related activism?
    • How is social (dis)trust manifested in expulsions and related activism?
    • What are the temporal and spatial dimensions of deportation trips?
    • How do various deportees of different backgrounds experience their deportation trips and how are forced returns collectively experienced in the communities of the deportees?

The aim of the multidisciplinary research is to provide new social, theoretical and methodological openings to support critical evaluation of the deportability of asylum seekers. The approach of ‘militant research’ contributes to this aim by strengthening the agency of those involved in the research.

Key partners:

Migration Institute of Finland:

  • Finland: We See You (Linda Bäckman), House for Every Women (Minna Saunders), Johanna Leinonen (University of Oulu) Karina Horsti & Päivi Pirkkalainen (University of Jyväskylä), Lena Näre (University of Helsinki), Marko Juntunen (University of Helsinki), Päivi Rannila (University of Turku), Ahmed Zaidan (freelance journalist-poet), Rewan Kakil (freelance photographer), new networks created via fieldwork in Southern Finland
  • Abroad: Don Mitchell (University of Uppsala), Sieglinde Rosenberger (University of Wien), Nick Gill (University of Exeter), Heaven Crawley/Esra Kaytaz (University of Coventry), Nicholas De Genova (University of Houston)


  • Lyytinen, Eveliina (2022) Revisiting the ‘dual imperative’ of forced-migration studies – commentary to Refstie. Fennia – International Journal of Geography,
  • Pirkkalainen, Päivi, Lena Näre & Eveliina Lyytinen (2022) ’I do not trust any of them anymore’: Institutional distrust and corrective practices in pro-asylum activism in Finland, Current Sociology,
  • Lyytinen, E. (in progress) Nomospheres of deportability – Legal geographies analysis of the Finnish deportation machinery. Political Geography.  
  • Lyytinen, E. (in review) Superdiversiteetti kotouttavassa turvapaikka-aktivismissa. Teoksessa: Martikainen, T. & Pöyhönen, S. (toim.) Superdiversiteetti. Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, Helsinki.
  • Lyytinen, E. (2022a) Kokemuksia ja havaintoja lain väkivallasta karkotuksissa. Teoksessa: Pirkkalainen, P., Lyytinen, E. & Pellander, S. (toim.) Suomesta poistetut – Näkökulmia käännytyksiin ja karkotuksiin. Vastapaino, Tampere.
  • Pirkkalainen, Päivi, Eveliina Lyytinen & Saara Pellander (2022, fortcoming) Johdanto. Teoksessa: Pirkkalainen, P., Lyytinen, E. & Pellander, S. (toim.) Suomesta poistetut – Näkökulmia käännytyksiin ja karkotuksiin. Vastapaino, Tampere.
  • Lyytinen, E. (2022b) ‘I have my everything in here’: Welcome, unwelcome and rewelcome in asylum seeker’s deportability. Hospitality & Society, 12(2): 145-163.
  • Lyytinen, Eveliina (2020) “Rebellious research” on deportability – Combining We see you’s core areas of academia, activism, and arts. Siirtolaisuus-Migration, 2: 23-24 (
  • Lyytinen, Eveliina (ed.) (2019). Turvapaikanhaku ja pakolaisuus Suomessa. Turku: Siirtolaisuusinstituutti. Available in our online shop.
  • Lyytinen, Eveliina (2018). Taisteleva tutkimus turvapaikanhakijoiden karkotettavuudesta. Siirtolaisuus-Migration 2, 35–37.


  • The politics of protection regarding displacement from Ukraine – reflections from Finland, 4.5.2022, University of Exeter, Routes conversations
  • Symposium: On Being Displaced: Studying Forced Migration through the Lens of Mobilities Studies, 12.-13.5.2022, University of Oulu and MIF, Helsinki
  • Trust in Refugee Research, 18.5.2022, CTPSR webinar series, University of Coventry
  • Legal geographies of the Finnish deportation machinery, ETMU conference, 2.-3.12.2021, University of Oulu
  • Miten soveltaa ’lain väkivallan’ käsitettä karkotustutkimuksessa?, Social justice, geography and activism: how are geographers making better futures?, and a commentary to Hilde Refstie’s keynote lecture, Geography Days, 4.-5.11.2021, University of Oulu
  • Symposium: The Ethics of Studying Forced Mobilities, 7.-8.10.2020, MIF
  • Trust and Mistrust in Deportation-Related Activism in Finland, 4.12.2019, University of Wien
  • (Mis)trust in deportability and deportation activism & Deportations and deportability in Finland working group, ETMU conference, 15.11.2019, University of Tampere
  • Studia Generalia lecture series on return migration to Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, autumn 2019, MIF and Finnish Immigration Service
  • Legal geographies of the Finnish deportation machinery, Geography department, 13.9.2019, University of Uppsala
  • Reflections of (un)welcome in asylum seekers’ deportability. Royal Geographical Society conference, 28.8.2019, London
  • Naisten kokemuksia pakolaisuudesta, World Refugee Day event, 20.6.2019, MIF
  • Asylum seekers’ deportations – perspectives from sending and receiving societies. Finnish Institute in the Middle East, 24.5.2019, Beirut
  • Symposium: Producing (Im)Mobilities: Do States Create Vulnerabilities? 25.-26.4.2019, MIF
  • “Rebelling research” on deportability in Finland, Activist research in practice: Challenges and strategies in politically engaged research workshop, Sociology Days 2019, 29.3.2019, University of Turku.
  • Legal geographies of the deportation machinery, Legal Geography Mini-Symposium IV: Inequality and Violence, 27.3.2019, University of Turku.
  • Multiscalar activism on asylum seekers’ deportability in Finland,  Democratizing displacement, Refugee Studies Centre, 19.3.2019, University of Oxford.
  • Action-oriented research with “activists” on asylum seekers’ deportability in Finland, Ethnography with a twist, 14.2.2019, University of Jyväskylä.
  • Turvapaikanhaku ja pakolaisuus Suomessa anthology’s publishing event, 24.1.2019, MIF 
  • Toimintatutkimusta turvapaikanhakijoiden karkotettavuudesta. Matkalla ajassa ja paikassa project’s final seminar, 19.10.2018, University of Lapland
  • Action-oriented research with “activists” on asylum seekers’ deportability in Finland. EMMIR conference, 13.12.2018, University of Oldenburg
  • Pakomatkoista pakkopalautuksiin kick-off seminar, 16.10.2018, MIF