Pertti Alasuutari University of Tampere, FinlandPertti Alasuutari is a sociologist, cultural studies scholar, paterfamilias and a highly significant figure in the development of both Finnish and international qualitative research. His career has gone from strength to strength as regards advancement in Finnish academia, as witnessed by some twenty books, and numerous articles in both Finnish and foreign journals.
Yet Professor Alasuutari insists that he did not consciously choose the career of a sociologist.
Professor Alasuutari completed his school education in Rovaniemi, Lapland in 1975 and went to study technology at the University of Oulu. But not for long. In 1977 he dropped out and began to dream of becoming a journalist, in the meantime doing supply teaching.
"In summer I studied journalism at summer university in Lapland and began my military service"
His days in the army driving a desk led him to another state agency. In autumn 1978 the train from the north arrived in Tampere with the 22-year-old on board. He had gained admission to study sociology.
"For the first year I only studied journalism, and didn't even set foot in the Department of Sociology," grins Professor Alasuutari.
In 1983 the Westermarck Society awarded a prize for a master's thesis to the youthful Alasuutari. The thesis was entitled "The Realm of Male Freedom". The ethnographic approach was to describe the alcohol culture of a group of men patronizing a suburban pub.