My site is concentrated to my working life. I am Professor Emerita of Youth Research (School of Social Sciences and Humanities) at the University of Tampere, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion (Dept. of World Cultures) and Sociology (Dept. of Social Research) at the University of Helsinki. I have been Research Professor at the University of Eastern Finland (Kuopion yliopisto) and Nordic Youth Research Coordinator and Director of the Nordic-Baltic PhD level doctoral school network. As the President of the Finnish Youth Research Society (1992-2005) and as the IBYR editor (1998-2002) and President (2002-2006) and member of the Executive and Advisory Board (2006-2018) of ISA RC 34 (International Sociological Association, Research Committee of Sociology of Youth) and also the Vice President of the European Association for the Study of Religions EASR (2000-2007), I have been widely connected to the international scientific networks.
My research interests have been in multidisciplinary youth research, gender studies, longitudinal studies and comparative studies. I have researched attitude and value changes of young people, worldview formation, religious socialisation and education, identity formation, youth and social capital and transitions to adulthood.
I have directed, for example, the Academy of Finland research projects on Social Capital and Young People (SoCa BeSS, 2004-2007) and on the Changing Life-styles and Values of the Young Persisting Temporary Unemployed in the Different Labour Markets of Finland (Work-Preca 2008-2012). I have written, co-authored and edited a number of books and scientific articles (in total 273 publications) including Arvot, muutos ja nuoret (Values, Change and Youth; Helsinki University Press, 2002), Youth, Citizenship and Empowerment with Claire Wallace (Ashgate, 2001; published in Korean 2007). In Swedish I have published Ung i utkant. Aktuell forskning om glebygsungdomar i Norden (TemaNord, 2003). This book is a result of the Nordic research project A Comparative Study of Living Conditions of Periphery Young People, which I coordinated and directed. Mixed Methods in Youth Research (Helve, ed. 2005) is a result of the co-operation of the Nordic-Baltic Youth Research Doctoral School Network. Youth and Social Capital (Helve & Bynner eds., Tufnell Press, 2007) and Contemporary Youth Research, Local Expressions and Global Connections with Gunilla Holm (2005) are examples of my international research cooperation.
I have had an on-going interest in the M.A. EYS development project connecting my work in university teaching and youth research to the work of my colleagues. This project was coordinated from Innsbruck University and the core consortium integrated 11 universities and a further 11 associated partners from across Europe. It was also actively supported by the Youth Partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe. It has been indeed a privilege to work in these many-sided environments focused on youth and young people.
The Work-Preca research project resulted in the book Youth and Work Transitions in Changing Social Landscapes (Helve & Evans, eds., Tufnell Press, 2013). This project has led to collaboration with colleagues from Tampere University, the Canadian Academica Group led by Dr J. Côté and Japanese researchers led by Dr. Shinichi Mizokami, in international cross-cultural studies examining the connections between higher education and the process of identity development among youth in different social, political and cultural settings. The current comparative intercultural Identity Horizons Cross-Cultural Survey (IHCCS), conducted among 18-24 year old students in higher education in Finland, Japan and Northern America has resulted from this.
I am involved in a new network: the European Union-financed COST Action IS1311 Intergenerational Family Solidarity Across Europe. The aim is to develop mechanisms, programmes and policies that will foster and nurture solidarity between the younger, middle and older generations. See also CV and List of Publications.