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Dr Titus Hjelm
16 Taviton Street
Tel: 020 7679 4870 (internal 24870)
  • Reader in Sociology

I studied sociology of religion, history and a PGCE in Secondary Education at the University of Helsinki. After a brief stint as a secondary school teacher, I started full-time PhD studies, which culminated in a thesis that examined constructions of Satanism as a social problem in Finnish news media. After a post doc year in Helsinki and another at the University of Amsterdam, I joined UCL in 2007 as Lecturer in Finnish Society and Culture.  

Research Summary

I have a broad interest in all things sociological, but I specialise in the sociology of religion, social theory, social problems, media, popular culture and youth. Lately I have also examined the role of religion in political discourse. My area focus is Finland and the Nordic countries, but I am also increasingly interested in the emerging field of sociology of Europe.  I have a keen interest in research methodology and have been working on an approach that combines discourse analysis with Marxist/materialist perspectives.   

In 2009 three colleagues and I set up the UCL Nordic/Baltic Research Group, which was awarded ESRC funding to run a two-year seminar series on 'The Nordic and Baltic States in the European Political Imagination'.

In 2012 I started an 18 month project titled ‘Youth Street Politics in the Media Age: Helsinki and London Compared’ in collaboration with the University of Helsinki and the Finnish Youth Research Society. The project was funded by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation.

My publications include Social Constructionisms: Approaches to the Study of the Human World (Palgrave Macmillan, in press), Is God Back? Reconsidering the New Visibility of Religion (ed., Bloomsbury Academic, in press), Studying Religion and Society: Sociological Self-Portraits (ed. with Phil Zuckerman, Routledge, 2013), Religion and Social Problems (ed., Routledge, 2011), a special issue of the Journal of Religion in Europe on Islam in European news media (2012), and a special issue of Popular Music History on heavy metal music (ed. with Keith Kahn-Harris and Mark LeVine, 2012).  In addition, I have published several books in Finnish and articles in journals such as Critical Sociology, Acta Sociologica, Social Compass, Religion and Journal of Contemporary Religion. I am also the co-editor of the Journal of Religion in Europe (published by Brill) and the founding chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Sociology of Religion Group.

I welcome PhD proposals in any aspect of Finnish society and culture, religion in Europe, social theory and a broad range of other sociological topics or research employing qualitative (discursive or ethnographic) methods.  


Teaching Summary

I have a keen interest in teaching and learning (with an emphasis on the latter) and have completed a two-year Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education at UCL, which entitles to recognition as Full Fellow of the Higher Education Academy UK. Some of my pedagogical ideas have been published as Empowering Discourse: Discourse Analysis as Method and Practice in the Sociology Classroom’ in the journal Teaching in Higher Education (2013).

Courses taught

SESS1202 Understanding Society: Introduction to Social Theory (BA)
SESS1205 Understanding Politics I: The Big Questions in Contemporary Europe (BA)
SEEE2008 Vampires, Society and Culture: Transylvania and Beyond (BA)
SEESGS77 Sociology of Religion (MA)
SEESGS62 Introduction to Discourse Analysis (MA)
SEESGS83 Political Sociology (MA)
SEESGS45 Qualitative Methods (MA)


Academic Background
2005 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Religious Studies University of Helsinki
1999 MA Master of Arts – Religious Studies University of Helsinki
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