Ulla Rantakeisu, Professor of Social Work
Ulla Rantakeisu was born and raised in the trilingual city Kiruna, and her mother tongue is Finnish. After working in Luleå and Stockholm for a few years, she moved to Umeå to first study through municipal adult education and then at Umeå University, where she completed her bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1993.
After completing her degree, Ulla Rantakeisu became a research assistant at the then centre for public health research at the Värmland county council. In 1999, when Karlstad University was established, she was appointed lecturer at the university. She conducted her doctoral studies at the University of Gothenburg and obtained her degree in 2002.
“My research has mainly focused on the consequences of unemployment, socially and on health. I have also done research on how welfare institutions function to sort and exclude vulnerable groups. In the 1990s I studied racially and ethnically-related violent crime and became interested in how officials view integration, and not least in the concrete forms resistance to integration may take.”
She has continued to use gender and class as important analytical categories in investigating how unconscious discrimination affects the users of welfare institutions. A new research focus is care for the elderly and the relation between different organisational ideologies, the working conditions of care workers, and care practices.
“With my colleagues in social work, I will in future research the working conditions of care workers amid societal development shaped by contradicting organisational ideologies, ideally in a cross-disciplinary manner and in partnership with the community. Another aspect is the relation between powerlessness, emotions and wellbeing. I would also like to follow up my earlier studies of racist crime.”
Ulla Rantakeisu always longs for the north, particularly during early spring and summer. She enjoys ice-skating and skiing in winter and spends her summers in a cottage on an island in the Torne River. She has built her own wood-fired sauna to feel more at home in Karlstad, and she describes this as by far the best place for everyday conversations with her family.