Kati Närhi

General description

I have worked as a professor of social work at the University of Jyväskylä since 2014. I am also a social worker certified by Valvira. My research focuses on the sustainability transition, and especially on the conceptual and empirical issues of ecosocial work and examining the boundary conditions of an ecosocially sustainable transition in social work practices. In addition, I am interested in structural social work both conceptually and empirically, but also as social work practice. I am responsible professor for the nationwide social work specialisation programme in structural social work in Finland.

I have been involved in three research projects funded by the Academy of Finland: The role of welfare services in participatory citizenship of marginalized citizens, 2011–2014 (PALKO), Contribution of social work and systems of income security to the ecosocial transformation of society, 2015–2019 (ECOSOS) and Inclusive Promotion of Health and Wellbeing, 2016–2019 (PROMEQ).

In 2021–2022, I worked as the PI of the MoRa research project funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (VTR), which investigated the current state and future of structural social work in Finland. I am currently working with research groups from the universities of Jyväskylä and Eastern Finland in the PURJO research project (2023–2025) funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (VTR), which examines the current state and future of social welfare and social work management in Finnish welfare areas. I am also involved in the ASTRA project (2020–2024) (MCSA-ETN-ASTRA - Applying Sustainability Transition Research in Social Work tackling Major Societal Challenge of Social Inclusion), where the dissertation projects of 15 ESRs focus on the themes of social work and sustainability transition.

Active JYU affiliations

Research interests

By studying the sustainability transition and the role of social work in it, it is possible to increase the understanding of the boundary conditions of the necessary ecosocial changes related to the transition at the levels of individuals, communities, service systems and more broadly societies. Examining the sustainability transition opens different opportunities, understanding and tools for social work to work, for example, together with service users to support sustainable wellbeing in individual life situations. Furthermore, since the root causes of social and ecosocial problems can often be seen to be located in dysfunctional structures of social relations, institutions and societies, it is important to study the boundary conditions, challenges and opportunities of structural changes from the perspectives of social welfare and social work.

Fields of science

Follow-up groups

Projects as Principal investigator

Publications and other outputs

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Last updated on 2024-17-04 at 21:10