Photo of Eija Ranta
  • PL 18 (Unioninkatu 35), 308



  • PL 18 (Unioninkatu 35)




Research output per year

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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

  • Senior Lecturer in Development Studies
  • Head of Discipline of Development Studies
  • Fellow at the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
  • Board member of the Society and Change study programme
  • Vice-member of the University of Helsinki Equality and Non-Discrimination Board
  • Principal Investigator for the Academy of Finland research project 'Citizenship Utopias in the Global South: The Pursuit of Transformative Alternatives in Times of Disillusionment' (2019-2023)

My research examines complex articulations between development, politics and power. I am interested in the concepts and practices of development, as well as in the decolonizing alternatives to mainstream development and neoliberal globalization. In terms of politics, I navigate at the intersections of formal political organizations, state bureaucracy, and transformative politics at the sphere of social movements and civil society. I look at power as intricate governmental assemblages, entailing local, national, and global processes. My interdisciplinary social scientific approach draws on political anthropology, ethnographies of development policy and cooperation, decoloniality thinking and political economy of development. 

My latest book Vivir Bien as an Alternative to Neoliberal Globalization (Routledge, 2018) examines indigenous politics, state formation and transformative alternatives to mainstream development thinking through the ethnographic analysis of state discourses and bureaucratic applications of the notion of Vivir Bien/Buen Vivir (living well) in Bolivia. I investigated the potentials and challenges in the search for more just, inclusive and ecologically sustainable alternatives to growth-based development models in the global South.

Keywords: Politics of development, state formation, power, governmentality, civil society, social movements, citizenship, decoloniality, transformative alternatives, political economy of development.

Country experience: Bolivia, Kenya, Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Ghana, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Peru, Chile and Brazil.

External positions

Associate researcher, Centro Latinoamericano de Ecología Social (CLAES)

2 Jan 201631 Dec 2017

Associate researcher , Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi

1 Nov 201431 Oct 2015

Fields of Science

  • 5203 Development Studies
  • Politics of Development
  • Political anthropology
  • Political Economy of Development
  • Decoloniality
  • Postcolonial Theory
  • Latin America
  • Africa

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.


Toward Human/Non-Human Conviviality: Buen Vivir as a Transformative Alternative to Capitalist Coloniality

Ranta, E., 2020, (Accepted/In press) Routledge Handbook of Transformative Global Studies. Hosseini, S. A. H., Motta, S. & Gills, B. (eds.). Routledge

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

Miksi Latinalainen Amerikka kuohuu?

Heikkinen, A. & Ranta, E., Mar 2020, In : Kehitys. 1, p. 26-29 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleGeneral public

Kuuban muutosvuosi perustuslakiuudistuksen jälkeen

Ranta, E., 23 Apr 2020, In :

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleGeneral public

Open Access

Vivir Bien as an Alternative to Neoliberal Globalization: Can Indigenous Terminologies Decolonize the State?

Ranta, E. M., 14 Mar 2018, London: Routledge. 190 p. (Rethinking Globalizations)

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Open Access

Kehityspolitiikan kriisi tulee selättää

Ranta, E. & Stocchetti, M., 22 Jul 2019, In : Helsingin Sanomat.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleGeneral public

Open Access



Latinalaisen Amerikan protestit

Eija Ranta (Speaker)
16 Jan 2020

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

What is happening in South America and why?

Eija Ranta (Member of organizing committee)
13 Jan 2020

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

Third World Quarterly (Journal)

Eija Ranta (Reviewer)
Nov 2019Dec 2019

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

The Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development Formas (External organisation)

Eija Ranta (Board member)
1 May 201930 Nov 2019

Activity: Membership typesMembership or other role in review committee

PhD supervision Sebastian Caballero Paz: 'Gold-mining Conflicts in the Bolivian Amazonas'

Eija Ranta (Supervisor), Gutu Wayessa (Supervisor)
1 Jan 2020 → …

Activity: Examination typesSupervisor or co-supervisor of doctoral thesis