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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

I was born in East Germany, grew up in Canada, and have since 1997 been living in Finland, where I integrated myself in Swedish. My education includes a Masters of Science in Social Work from Gothenburg University in Sweden and a Bachelors of Education from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I have been employed as a Senior lecturer & program coordinator responsible for curricula development in the International Degree Program in Social Services at Laurea University of Applied Sciences since 2000. My areas of expertise include theory and ethics in social work, multicultural and crtical social work theory including anti-oppressive and anti-racist practices, client counseling and qualitative research methods.

In 2015, I commenced my PhD studies in social work at the University of Helsinki's Swedish School of Social Science (Soc.&kom.). I have also been accepted as a researcher at CEREN (Center for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism).

The purpose of my doctoral dissertation, Critical Social Inclusion: An anti-oppressive perspective on integration programs for adult migrants is to carry out a multiple case study of integration educations for adult migrants in Finland and Canada. The research focuses on the contestations and practical interpretations of social inclusion within these programs as seen through the theoretical lens of Anti-Oppressive Practice (AOP). It investigates the integration education’s aims and foundational ideologies, how these are practically realized and how those who work and participate in the programs experience them.

The Finnish case studies are represented by the recently introduced SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) integration program at Arbis (Arbetarinstitutet) in Helsingfors and its corresponding education program at Medis (Medborgarinstitutet) in Mariehamn, Åland. As a counterpoint, they were juxtaposed with the case of Norquest College in Edmonton, Canada. The Canadian perspective was deliberately chosen in order to provide an example of a country with a long history of immigration and integration strategies, such as AOP, and one whose emphasis on multiculturalism in national discourses on inclusion differs from integration traditions in Nordic welfare states.



Education/Academic qualification

Social Work, MSc., Göteborgs Universitet

Education, Bachelor of Education (Bed.), Univ Alberta, University of Alberta


  • 5145 Social work
  • Ethnic diversity
  • Anti-Oppressive social work
  • Inclusion/Integration
  • Immigration
  • Migrants/Minorities
  • Anti-Racism
  • Nordic welfare States
  • Critical Theory
  • Power
  • 516 Educational sciences
  • Ethnic Relations
  • Discrimination
  • Human Rights
  • Life-span development
  • Local Democracy
  • Language plurality
  • International Migration

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

Publications 2005 2018

Assimilation Vs. Inclusion: An Anti-Oppressive Perspective On The Experiences Of Participants In Integration Educations

Pötzsch, T., 2018, Antiracism education in and out of schools. Aminkeng Atabong, A. (ed.). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan , p. 41-74 34 p.

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

Seamless Inclusion. a Study of Best Practices from Integration Educations in Canada and Finland

Saksela-Bergholm, S. M. & Pötzsch, T., 31 Jul 2018, (Unpublished).

Research output: Conference materialsPaperResearchpeer-review

Finlands flyktingpolitik måste ändras och bristerna åtgärdas: flyktingpolitik: insändare

Alho, R. J., Creutz-Sundblom, K. A. M., Haavisto, A. C., Nordberg, C. C., Pötzsch, T. & Österlund-Pötsch, S., 28 Feb 2017, In : Hufvudstadsbladet. 153, 58, p. 22 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleGeneral public

Open Access

Att vara annorlunda i jämlikheten: Språkval som en integrerad del av anti-förtryckande socialt arbete i integration

Pötzsch, T., 2015, Kan vi stå till tjänst?: Integration på svenska i Finland. Helander, M. (ed.). Helsingfors: Svenska kulturfonden, p. 61-67 7 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientific

Preventing the Social Exclusion of Young People in Europe: Experiences from the YARi (Youth at Risk)Project

Pötzsch, T., 2005, Socialpedagogisk tidskrift Årbok (Sosiaalipedagoginen Aikakauskirja): Sosiaalipedagoginen Aikakauskirja Vuosikirja 2005. Hämäläinen, J. (ed.). 6 ed. Kuopio: Suomen Sosiaalipedagoginen Seura, Vol. 2005. p. 89-104 15 p. 6

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientific

Projects 2018 2021

Activities 2015 2018

Assimilation vs. Inclusion: An Anti-Oppressive Perspective on Social Inclusion in Integration Programs

Tobias Pötzsch (Speaker)
30 May 201831 May 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Mångkulturellt social arbete och inklusion

Tobias Pötzsch (Speaker)
9 Oct 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Kritisk Inklusion: Ett alternativ tilll integrationsdiskurser i workshopen Integration är inte lika med sysselsättning

Tobias Pötzsch (Speaker), Emina Arnautovic (Speaker)
20 Nov 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Seamless Inclusion. a Study of Best Practices from Integration Educations in Canada and Finland

Sanna Saksela-Bergholm (Speaker), Tobias Pötzsch (Speaker)
15 Jul 201821 Jul 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

University of Arizona

Tobias Pötzsch (Visiting researcher)
10 Mar 201818 Mar 2018

Activity: Visiting an external institution typesAcademic visit to other institution