Maja Povrzanović Frykman is professor of ethnology and teaches at the Department of Global Political Studies, Malmö University, Sweden. She is also participating in research projects at Agderforskning, Kristiansand, Norway, teaching in the PhD programme in Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Zagreb, and coordinating the IMISCOE research group TRANSMIG – Transnational Practices in Migration. Her main research interests are war-related experiences, refugee- and labour migration, diaspora, transnational practices, highly skilled migrants, place, ethnicity, affect, and material culture.

Professor Povrzanović Frykman is currently engaged in two projects involving refugees, entitled ‘Exploring Integration as Emplaced Practice’ (RFFAGDER, Agderforskning), and ‘Museums as Arenas for Integration – New Perspectives and Methods of Inclusion’ (AMIF, Malmö University). She recently completed two projects on the well-being of highly skilled labour migrants in Sweden and Norway and is co-editing a book on highly skilled migrants in Sweden, forthcoming in 2018 with Arkiv förlag.

Her recent publications include the articles ‘Food as a matter of being: experiential continuity in transnational lives’ (in Food Parcels in International Migration: Intimate Connections, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and ‘Conceptualising continuity: a material culture perspective on transnational social fields’ (Ethnologia Fennica, 2016), as well as two co-edited volumes: Migration, Transnationalism and Development in South-East Europe and the Black Sea Region (Routledge, 2017) and Sensitive Objects: Affect and Material Culture (Nordic Academic Press, 2016).

Taina Kinnunen works as a University Lecturer of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Eastern Finland. She is also a docent of Current Western Culture at the University of Oulu, Finland. Kinnunen has examined issues of body, gender and beauty culture in the contexts of embodied meanings of bodybuilding and cosmetic surgery. In more recent years, her research interests have included interdisciplinary research of technology, working body in the service-based economy, and the sense of touch in culturally regulated affective practices. Currently, she directs a multidisciplinary research project examining and developing the use of touch in elderly care (http://www.uef.fi/en/web/akte/home).

Kinnunen has discussed affects and affectivities especially in two contexts: 1) affective decision-making in labor recruitment processes, and 2) affects intertwined with touching habits. In both cases, she has been interested in socially and culturally adopted dimensions of affects and embodied feelings besides their material and subjective components. The presentation focuses on affects in/through touch in Finnish culture and methodological questions of combining autobiographical extracts with the touch biographies of other people.

Her publications dealing with affects include the articles “Feeling the Right Personality. Recruitment Consultants’ Affective Decision Making in Interviews with Employee Candidates” (Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies (6:3/2016) and “Good vibrations and strange feelings: Recruitment consultants’ affective reflections on employee candidates” (Embodiment and Cultural Differences, ed. by B.M. Pirani & T.S. Smith, 2016), both written together with Jaana Parviainen. In 2013, Kinnunen published the book called Vahvat yksin, heikot sylityksin. Otteita suomalaisesta kosketuskulttuurista [Strong ones manage alone, weak ones on each other’s laps. Extracts from the Finnish Touching Culture]. In 2016, she co-edited and co-wrote a collaboration book Ruumiillisuus ja työelämä. Työruumis jälkiteollisessa taloudessa [Embodiment and Working Life. Working Body in the Post-Industrial Economy] with Jaana Parviainen and Ilmari Kortelainen. Her article “Touch and Affect: Analysing Affective Practice in/through the Archive of Touch Biographies”, written together with Marjo Kolehmainen, is forth-coming.

Dr Sarah Holst Kjær is an assistant professor at the Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies at Stockholm University, Sweden. She finished her dissertation in 2009 from the Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University, Sweden. In her thesis Sådan er det at elske. En kulturanalyse af parforhold [Such is it to Love. A Culture Analysis of Coupling], Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, she discusses Scandinavian middle-class heteronormativity in urban young-adults male-female relationships before becoming getting children.

Fieldwork observations and qualitative interviews framing everyday life ’heteronormativity’, understood as ’cultural, positive and negative, fantasies of the masculine and the feminine’, was collected in Copenhagen around 2000 and subsequently analyzed.

The main ethnological research contribution to the understanding of late modern family organisation is the questioning of the psycho-social heteroterosexual couple-discourse widespread in a popular belief: A ’stabil’, ahistoric or ’sex-based’ relationship was not found amongst the couples. Although the couples used these essential ’hetero-positioning’ in their sensemaking of their relationsip, this type of gender-fixed relationality was just one out of many positionings the couples had at hand. The thesis shows that cultural contexts, materiality and things were incorporated in the relation as ’cultural thirds’ – contexts that could be used as means to change or stabilise the experience, content and quality of the relationship dynamics.

Thus, depending on various everyday life contexts – the dance floor, the kitchen, the bedroom, the sofa, or the coffee shop table points to ’ways we relate’.  Everyday life situations and their materialities, when used by the couples, shows how the exact same relationship can consists of many different, and contrasting, ways of relating and feeling.