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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

Anni Kajanus is a specialist in the anthropology of China, her research focuses on morality, cooperation, competition and conflict; migration, education, gender and family. 

She is the author of Chinese Student Migration, Gender and Family, which situates the family project of investing in the overseas education of the only child within the wider socio-moral transformation of the Chinese society, and China's engagement in the international education market.

Her most recent research brings together methods and approaches from anthropology and psychology, for a comparative study of children's social and cognitive development across cultural-historical contexts, including cooperative behaviours, morality, understanding of social hiearchies, etc. The broader aim of this work is to contribute to the multi-disciplinary study of the origins of human social behaviour.

Before joining UH, Anni held postdoctoral fellowships (Marie Sklodowska-Curie; Leverhulme) at the Department of Anthropology, LSE, and the Department of Psychology, Harvard.

Anni received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Helsinki, MSc in Migration Studies from the University of Amsterdam, and BA in Anthropology from the University of Kent.

Current courses: Persons and Social Relations; Central Themes in Social and Cultural Anthropology; Bachelor's Seminar; Ethnographic Methodologies

Education/Academic qualification

Ph.D., Univeristy of Helsinki

M.Sc., University of Amsterdam

BA, University of Kent


  • 5143 Social anthropology
  • Cognitive anthropology
  • China
  • Morality
  • Migration
  • Kinship
  • Personhood
  • Cooperation
  • Competition
  • Conflict
  • Culture and ontogeny
  • Education

Publications 2015 2019

Children’s fairness in two Chinese schools: A combined ethnographic and experimental study

Kajanus, A., McAuliffe, K., Warneken, F. & Blake, P. R., Jan 2019, In : Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 177, p. 282-296 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Mutualistic vs. zero-sum modes of competition: a comparative study of children's competitive motivations and behaviours in China

Kajanus, A., Feb 2019, In : Social Anthropology. 27, 1, p. 67-83 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Playing ball: Cooperation and competition in two Chinese primary schools

Kajanus, A. E., 13 Dec 2018, Cooperation in Chinese communities: Morality and practice. Stafford, C., Judd, E. R. & Bell, E. (eds.). Bloomsbury academic, 2. (LSE Monographs on Social Anthropology).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Chinese student migration, gender and family

Kajanus, A. E., 2015, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Research output: Book/ReportBookScientificpeer-review

Overthrowing the first mountain: Chinese student migrants and the geography of power

Kajanus, A., 2015, In : Journal of current Chinese affairs. 44, 3, p. 79-102 24 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Activities 2014 2018

  • 2 Invited talk
  • 1 Organisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars
  • 1 Editor of research journal
  • 1 Oral presentation

Intergenerational Care in Rural-Urban Labour Migrant Families in China

Anni Kajanus (Speaker)
23 Oct 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Who will yield? – Children’s understanding of dominance and prestige in China and in the UK

Anni Kajanus (Speaker)
2 Nov 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Helsinki Anthropology Friday Seminar Series

Sarah Green (Chair of organizing committee), Matti Aleksanteri Eräsaari (Speaker: Presenter), Susanne Brandtstädter (Speaker: Presenter), Angie Heo (Speaker: Presenter), Joel Lee Robbins (Speaker: Presenter), Melissa Demian (Speaker: Presenter), James Ferguson (Speaker: Presenter), Sahana Udupa (Speaker: Presenter), Cris Shore (Speaker: Presenter), Bruce Kapferer (Speaker: Presenter), Anni Elisa Kajanus (Speaker: Presenter), Catherine Alexander (Speaker: Presenter), Dace Dzenovska (Speaker: Presenter)
19 Jan 201814 Dec 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

Social Anthropology (Journal)

Anni Kajanus (Editor)

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal