Sanna Toiviainen

Keynote speaker NoRNet 2021



Sanna Toiviainen is a Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Culture, Religion and Social Studies, University of South-Eastern Norway (USN).

Toivanen is currently engaged in the researh project Rethinking ´career´ for newly arrived migrants. She has previously worked as a Research coordinator and a Postdoctoral researcher at the AGORA for the Study of Social Justice and Equality in Education -Research Centre, Department of Education, University of Helsinki, and as an Associate professor at the USN.

Sanna’s previous research has focused on guidance practices for youth in the margins of education and work, with a special interest in the construction of agency in the context of career guidance. Sanna has studied the life trajectories and guidance experiences of youth in the margins to open up avenues to critically revisit practices and cultures of career counselling and guidance. Her theoretical and methodological background is in sociology, feminist theory, narrative theory and ethnography. Sanna has also worked several years as a career counsellor and involved in national development work and core curriculum design of career guidance in comprehensive and general upper secondary education in Finland.


"Elaborating the concept of co-agency in the context of guidance for young people"

In the context of guidance for young people one way of promoting social justice is to enable young people’s critical thinking and stronger societal agency. Instead of individualized notions of agency it is important to grasp the interactional and collective nature of agency and its embeddedness in social and institutional contexts and broader societal and power structures.

In light of this I will propose and elaborate a concept of co-agency as the basis for guidance interventions for young people. Co-agency is an empirically inspired concept based on my ethnographic research on guidance for young people outside education and work (Toiviainen 2019) and it is grounded on social constructionism, narrative theory and feminist thought.