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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

I am a Senior university lecturer in development studies, faculty of Social Science, and an adjunct professor in development geography, faculty of Sciences, at the University of Helsinki.

I am interested in (post)development, postcoloniality and decoloniality, critical geography, political ecology, participatory research and qualitative methods in the following themes: international aid, environment politics, water and natural resource management, local/indigenous knowledges, local evaluation of environment and climate change, environmental justice, civil society dis/empowerment, environmental migration, and tourism gentrification. Studied areas are in Africa and the Middle East, Ecuador and Italy (Venice, where I am from).

My research topics:

1) Goal 4+: Eco-Cultural Pluralism in quality education in Ecuadorian Amazonia: I am the PI of the Academy funded project in development research (2018-2022) in cooperation with researchers of the Amazonas State University of Puyo (Pastaza Province, Ecuador), to promote recognition of eco-cultural diversity and inclusion of indigenous pedagogies as part of quality education in Ecuadorian Amazonia.

2) Political ecology of water in the Taita Hills, Kenya. I was responsible for a sub-team of the Academy-funded project TAITAWATER (PI: Petri Pellikka, 2012-2016). The study has involved a multi-method participatory approach to study critically, spatially and historically, the drivers of environmental deterioration and water scarcity in the Taita Hills. The research has looked at the socio-environmental and political dimensions of the water crisis, which relate to problems of disempowerment of local farmers deriving from colonial and post-colonial structures, cultural changes and also burocratic framing of the issues that challenge their very participation in problem solving and resource co-management.

3) Local knowledge and power in irrigation practices in Tafilalet, Morocco. This project is in collaboration with the University of Meknès-Errachidia and the NGO AOFEP from Ferkla oasis.

4) Climate Change and Migration: COST European network (ISCH COST Action IS1101 2011-2015) where experiences of climate and environmental changes were discussed widely among scholars from various parts of Europe, the US and Canada, especially looking at possible contributions from social studies and humanities, and also in relation to non-academic partners involved in international panels on CC.

5) Tourism gentrification and the right to the city in Venice, Italy a self-ethnography project involving my origins and solidarity alliance with practices of resistance.


Other activities

Supervision: I have supervised two PhD candidates (completed: Johanna Hohenthal and Karen Heikkilä) and I am currently supervising 4 PhD students in the areas of development studies and tourism, within two doctoral programmes of the University of Helsinki: Political, Societal and Regional Change (PSRC) and Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences (DENVI), University of Helsinki. I have supervised more than 30 Master students (completed).

Board member in scholarly associations: a) I am a national Executive Committee member (representing Finland) in the European Association of Development Studies EADI https://www.eadi.org/ and also a Co-Chair of the Working Groups Sub-Committee. b) Vice board member of the Finnish University Partnership for International Research UNIPID http://www.unipid.fi/ 3) Board member of the Finnish Society for Development Research http://www.kehitystutkimus.fi/ .

Editorial board member: Academic journal Fennia – International Journal of Geography; book series Nuove Geografie, Franco Angeli ed.; international advisory board of ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies.


  • 5203 Development Studies
  • 519 Social and economic geography
  • 117 Geography, Environmental sciences
  • 1172 Environmental sciences
  • 517 Political science

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

Publications 1993 2019

Political ecology of asymmetric ecological knowledges: diverging views on the eucalyptus-water nexus in the Taita Hills, Kenya

Hohenthal, J. M., Räsänen, M. & Minoia, P., 2018, In : Journal of Political Ecology. 25, 1, p. 1-19 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Mapping Meaning: Critical Cartographies for Participatory Water Management in Taita Hills, Kenya

Hohenthal, J. M., Minoia, P. & Pellikka, P. K. E., 2017, In : Professional Geographer. 69, 3, p. 383-395 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Venice reshaped? Tourist gentrification and sense of place

Minoia, P., 2017, Tourism in the City: Towards an Integrative Agenda on Urban Tourism. Bellini, N. & Pasquinelli, C. (eds.). Springer International Publishing , p. 261-274 14 p.

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

Ecological sanitation: a sustainable goal with local choices. A case study from Taita Hills, Kenya

Andersson, M. & Minoia, P., 2017, In : African Geographical Review. 36, 2, p. 183-199 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Social Aspects of Water Scarcity and Drought

Hohenthal, J. & Minoia, P., 2017, Handbook of Drought and Water Scarcity : Principles of Drought and Water Scarcity. Eslamian, S. & Eslamian, F. A. (eds.). Boca Raton: CRC Press, p. 607-626 20 p.

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

Open Access

Projects 2011 2022


Activities 2003 2018

MA Thesis supervision in Development Studies

Paola Minoia (Supervisor)

Activity: Examination typesSupervision of other thesis (Master's, Licentiate)

MA Thesis examiner in Development Studies

Paola Minoia (Supervisor)

Activity: Examination typesSupervision of other thesis (Master's, Licentiate)

Journal of Rural Studies (Journal)

Paola Minoia (Reviewer)
Apr 2018

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

Universidad Estatal Amazonica

Paola Minoia (Other role)
5 May 201816 May 2018

Activity: Visiting an external institution typesAcademic visit to other institution

The Airbnbization of tourism cities

Paola Minoia (Speaker)
1 Jun 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Press / Media