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Tuulikki Pietilä

Lecturer of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki

I have been an anthropology lecturer at the University of Helsinki since 2000. My research has focused on Africa. Thematically, I have examined various socio-cultural processes that take place in the encounter of global and local regimes of value.

In Kilimanjaro I investigated how women's trading activities and everyday gossip shaped the social order and cultural conceptions at the time of economic and political liberalisation. This research was published as a book entitled Gossip, Markets, and Gender: How Dialogue Constructs Moral Value in Post-Socialist Kilimanjaro (University of Wisconsin Press, 2007). The book was awarded the Aidoo-Snyder book prize by the African Studies Association (USA, 2009).

In South Africa I investigated the formation of music industry structures and practices in the intersection of global and local ideas of ownership and authorship as well as diverse modes of organising creative labor and rewards from it. This research was published as a monograph entitled Contracts, Patronage and Mediation: The Articulation of Global and Local in the South African Recording Industry (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

In 2013-2016, I was the PI in the research project called “Youth Music and the Construction of Social Subjectivities and Communities in Post-Apartheid South Africa”. This was a joint project based at the University of Helsinki’s discipline of Social and Cultural Anthropology and South Africa’s Human Sciences Research Council. For more information on the project, see:

Currently I am doing comparative research in Tanzania and South Africa on the moral values of the African creative class. I am also the PI in the ongoing project entitled "The Morality of Success among the Emerging Black Middle Class in South Africa" (2016-2020). This Academy of Finland-funded project investigates the concepts and practices related to success and prosperity among the emerging black middle class in South Africa.


  • –present
    Lecturer of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki