Maria Mäkelä

PhD, Comparative Literature Professor, Tampere University

Internationally acclaimed narratology researcher, Doctor of Philosophy and Associate Professor Maria Mäkelä has worked as the professor in Tampere University’s Comparative Literature department for ten years. After finalizing her doctoral thesis in 2011 on the stream of consciousness and adultery in the Western novel tradition, Mäkelä’s research has focused on way in which experience and reality are depicted in different narrative ecosystems: in 17th Century court novel, in reality TV, in Hannu Karpo’s reportages as well as on various social media channels. Additionally, Mäkelä’s research looks into the changing ethos and narrator role of an artist. 

The public might know Mäkelä from her ‘Kertomuksen vaarat’ project (2017-2020, Kone Foundation) that saw Mäkelä with her team actively engaging in the public debate about the exploitation of narrative motifs and social media’s story industry. Using Facebook as the sample, the project was aimed to collect and analyze questionable or otherwise interesting ways of utilizing the story format in different sectors from business to politics. The project produced a popular guidebook ‘Kertomuksen vaarat: kriittisiä ääniä tarinataloudessa (2020), as well as two podcasts, ‘Varo kertomusta!’ (2020) ja ‘Hyvä lihava ja muita kertomuksia’ (2021) with YLE Finnish Broadcasting Company. 

Together with her team, Mäkelä continues to research the instrumentalization of narrative and and the story industry in research projects ‘Välineelliset kertomukset’ (2018-2022, Academy of Finland) and ‘Tarinat tietotekniikan toteutuksessa’ (2019-2022).

Photo: Jonne Renvall