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Mari Hatakka

6.10.1968, Helsinki

MA 1998 (major in folkloristics, minors in women’s studies and religious studies), L.Phil 2004 and PhD 2011, University of Helsinki

Director of Development (sales), Lippupiste 2014-
Promotions for artists, editorial staff of the Suomenparhaattapahtumapaikat catalogue 2013-2014
Marketing manager, Flow Festival 2012-2013 (parental leave substitute)
Sales director, Tiketti 2008-2012
Go-go girl for Topi Sorsakoski ja Agents with Tiina Isohanni 1986-1990
Singer in the band Laika & Cosmonauts 1991-1992
Member of the band Fabulettes with Saara Soisalo and Tiina Isohanni 1993-
Member of the band Leningrad Cowboys 1994-2000
Expert on the MTV reality TV show Ensitreffitalttarilla, spring 2015

Read more on Mari Hatakka’s Linked In profile

Doctoral dissertation

Photo: Antti Kuivalainen
Written by Mari Hatakka and Suvi Uotinen (ed.)
Translated by Olli Silvennoinen

Doctoral dissertation on the course of the heterosexual relationship

I started my studies in folkloristics at the University of Helsinki in 1989, when the subject was still called Finnish and comparative folk poetry studies. I was very thrilled about the winds of change in the field at the beginning of the 1990’s and had somewhat of an awakening when I read American cognitive anthropologists.

I feel a little horrified to say that I began to develop an academic interest in the topic of my doctoral research, the Finnish relationship, very early on. For this I ought to thank the late Leea Virtanen, who was professor at that time.

I also remember how exciting it was to participate in the birth of women’s studies as a subject. It was clearly an experience, which shaped my attitude toward life and all of my research work. To be a completely over-the-top humanist, I also studied religious studies – a wonderful and only very slightly practical combination in the business world. However, thanks to these subjects I am able to understand people’s diverse conceptions and ways of communicating. This is a continuous merit in sales work and in the developing marketing field. Good common knowledge is also useful in the business world.

As I worked as a stage performer for practically all of my student life, studying was at times more of a hobby for me. I had my own work and friend groups outside of the university, and I was a bit of an outside member compared to the active core of our subject.

Memories from the Leningrad Cowboys years, smiling like the sun. Mari Hatakka (right) and Tiina Isohanni (left) with Tom Jones in Boston 1995. Photo: Maarita Dubitsky.​
Memories from the Leningrad Cowboys years, smiling like the sun. Mari Hatakka (right) and Tiina Isohanni (left) with Tom Jones in Boston 1995. Photo: Maarita Dubitsky.​

It was only when I was working on my doctoral dissertation and was accepted in the Graduate School of Cultural Interpretations at the beginning of the 2000’s that I began to feel a sense of collegial togetherness with others like me, which I found rather pleasant. At the same time I also realised that only a small part of us would find their place in the university world, especially in such a small field as mine.

Finishing my doctoral dissertation was at times a dramatic and nearly a tragic process. The thesis was rejected on the first round of examination, and I decided I would abandon the entire project because it came as a complete surprise and felt very unfair.

My faith in the academic world was becoming very shaky, but after a couple of years of pondering I decided to have my dissertation re-examined, and was more successful this time. My dissertation Nainen, mies, rakkaus, seksi: Heterosuhteen kulku, kulttuurinen malli ja sitä selittävät diskurssit kahden omaelämäkerta-aineiston valossa (‘Woman, man, love, sex: The course, cultural model and discourse of the heterosexual relationship in light of two autobiographical data sources’) was examined at the University of Helsinki in January 2011.

At this point I had already worked in the business world for a couple of years, and I didn’t imagine for a second that I would return to the university, but I am nevertheless proud of my achievement – and of my research even though it was never continued.


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