Tiina Seppälä

Senior researcher, docent


Dr. Tiina Seppälä is a senior researcher in International Relations at the University of Lapland and adjunct professor of International Development Studies at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She has engaged with women’s rights and slum activists in Nepal and Bangladesh, anti-eviction movements in India, asylum seekers in Finland and anti-war activists in the UK. She is interested in development, displacement, social movements, post/decolonial and feminist theory, ethnographic research and arts-based methods.


Tiina Seppälä holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Lapland. Her PhD thesis (2010) dealt with the anti-war movement and theories of global resistance. She is interested in activism, social movements, development, forced migration, displacement, post/decolonial studies, feminist theory, ethnography and engaged scholarship. Recently, she has focused on feminization of resistance, decolonial feminist solidarity, and arts-based research methods. She has engaged with slum activists and women’s rights movements in Nepal and Bangladesh, anti-eviction movements in India, asylum seekers in Finland, and anti-war activists in the UK. She has been a visiting scholar in India (Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group, 2011–2012), Nepal (Nepal Institute of Peace, 2012, 2014, 2020), Bangladesh (Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit based at the University of Dhaka, 2015), and Australia (University of Newcastle, 2019). Her research project 'Governance, Resistance and Neoliberal Development: Struggles against Development-Induced Displacement and Forced Evictions in South Asia' was funded by the Academy of Finland (2013–2016). Currently, she works as a university lecturer in Political Science (temporary position) and as a senior researcher in 'Rethinking Nordic Democracy: Civil Disobedience in Exceptional Times' research project, funded by the Academy of Finland. She is a member of the Service Design Research Group CO-STARS at the Faculty of Art and Design.

She has the title of a docent (adjunct professor) of International Development Studies at the University of Jyväskylä.

Research projects

  • Project date 1.9.2013
  • Head of research Tiina Seppälä
  • Language n/a

The project provides theoretically innovative and empirically new and valuable knowledge of the complex dynamics between governance and resistance in the context of the dominant, neoliberal development paradigm. It studies social and political struggles in three countries in South Asia - Nepal, Bangladesh and India - by examining social movements that fight against forced displacement and slum demolitions - all caused by development projects. The project engages critically in the debate on neoliberal development by analyzing problems related to it, charting possibilities for addressing hem, and offering alternative visions for socially, culturally and politically more sustainable models of development.