Sara Liinamo

Sara Liinamo

Doctoral Researcher


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Profile information

I work as a doctoral researcher in the research project Sociology of Testing: Personality Tests Constructing Ideal Subjects for Working Life. The project is funded by Kone Foundation (2020–2024).

I study personality tests and testing as cultural texts and practices. I utilize several different qualitative data sets: personality tests, historical documents and interviews with testing professionals and those who have been tested. In addition, I utilize interview data in which people answer to personality test statements and discuss their interpretations of different statements and how they end up answering in a particular way. 

On the one hand, my focus is to analyse what kind of knowledge personality tests produce in different contexts when they are used and interpreted by different actors. I ask how personality tests as cultural texts shape people's self-understanding and how they structure, explain and steer the course of life. On the other hand, my focus is to trace the meanings that have historically been built into the tests and analyse what kinds of meanings personality tests produce about gender, age, social class, ethnicity, sexuality, and physical capacity. I am interested in whether personality tests construct certain kind of ideal subjects. One of the aims in my research is to produce new methodological tools for analysing personality tests as cultural texts.

Theoretically and methodologically, I am interested in sociology of knowledge, science and technology studies, social constructionism, discourse analysis, intersectionality, and multi-sited ethnography. My research interests include psychologisation of society and culture, equality in working life, critical psychology, and career guidance & counselling for social justice.

My background is in Social Psychology (Master of Social Sciences) and in Guidance and Councelling (Master of Education).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Social Sciences, Social Studies, in the Discipline of Social Psychology


Master of Arts (Education), Study Guidance Counsellor, University of Jyväskylä



  • H Social Sciences (General)


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