Mila Seppälä

  • Doctoral CandidatePolitical Science (Department of Philosophy, Political Science and Contemporary History)


By appointment

ORCID identifier

Areas of expertise
North American Studies; Political Science; youth activism; social movements


I am a Ph.D. researcher at the Department of Philosophy, Contemporary History and Political Science, working on my dissertation at the John Morton Center for North American Studies at the University of Turku. My research focuses on youth activism in the United States and the development of political imagination in the gun violence prevention movements in the United States. I have worked on multiple publications together with the Campus Carry project led by my supervisor Professor Benita Heiskanen, I am a part of the JMC Research Network and a guest lecturer in the North American Studies (NAMS) minor program. The academic year 2021-2022 I spent at The University of Texas at Austin as an ASLA-Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Research Fellows grantee. At UT Austin, I conducted fieldwork for my dissertation and studied in the American Studies program. I finished my Master's in 2018 and my Bachelor in 2016 in the Department of English, specializing in discourse studies.


In my dissertation, I examine how young people are organizing against gun violence and transforming conceptions about public security in the United States. I approach youth advocacy for gun control by focusing on three key areas of study: collective identities, online social networks and the waves of protest sparked by the activism of Generation Z (the generation born after 1996). I consider how collective identity constructions are mobilizing young people to take action against gun violence by paying attention to how youth-led gun control movements are conceptualizing gun culture in relation to their own national identity. I analyze how youth movements form in online networks to explore how social media as a space affects the ways young people choose to take part in civic action. Finally, I critically evaluate the impact of youth-led gun control movements within the broader social movement industry Gen. Z has activated. I study how young people taking part in various different movements are together constructing a larger narrative that rejects the traditional institutions responsible for legislating and enforcing public security in the U.S.


I have worked as a TA for Professor Benita Heiskanen on her Race, Class and Gender course and for Senior Researcher Lottamari Kähkönen on her Poor and Working-Class Whites in the U.S course in the NAMS program. I have also given a seminar on youth activism and worked as an instructor on the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election course.


Last updated on 2023-12-07 at 12:45