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Press Release

Press Release

Doctoral thesis on diaconal work in in times of new societal challenges

Lise-Lotte Hellöre.
Lise-Lotte Hellöre

D.Sc. (Econ. & Bus. Adm.), M.Th. Lise-Lotte Hellöre’s doctoral thesis in Practical Theology will be put forth for public defence at the Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology at Åbo Akademi University.

The thesis is entitled I det fördolda. Om diakoni och värdeskapande i brytningstider.

The public defence of the doctoral thesis takes place on 26 April 2024 at 1.15 PM at Teologiska annexet, Theologicum, Piispankatu 16, Turku. Associate Professor Jakob Egeris Thorsen, Aarhus University, Denmark, will serve as opponent and Professor Cecilia Nahnfeldt, Åbo Akademi University, as custos. You can also follow the defence online.


This study examines how diaconal work in the Porvoo diocese creates value. Special focus is on the experience of the Covid-19 pandemic and on domestic violence. Questions asked are how diaconal workers in the diocese perceive their work, what value it creates and how diaconal work can be developed in times of new societal challenges. Although diaconia is local by characteristic, the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and domestic violence are present across the geographical area.

The research is based on a survey (in 2019) of all diaconal workers in the diocese, of which there are about one hundred, and on 22 interviews (in 2021). This material is analysed partly with perspectives from management and marketing.

Results show that the idea of helping where the need is greatest and where no one else helps is problematic. Diaconia as it is organized today seems to be most suitable for regular challenges in people’s lives, where diaconal workers make a large difference. At the same time, my results show the potential and need for flexibility within diaconal work, also from foremen. This, in turn, can lead to new potential for the deaconry, which the Covid-19 crisis proved. One of these new areas of development, I believe, is in cooperation with shelters for victims of domestic violence. Such cooperation is largely underdeveloped in most of the diocese. The study suggests this would provide great possibility for value creation for society, the individual and the church alike.

Lise-Lotte Hellöre was born in Jakobstad in 1975. She can be reached by email lise-lotte.hellore@abo.fi.

The doctoral thesis can be read online through the Doria publication archive.

Click here for a press photo of the doctoral student. Photographer is Timo Jakonen.

Instructions for following the doctoral defence remotely:

To follow the defence, you need the Zoom software or the Google Chrome browser. You do not need to create a Zoom account to follow the defence. If you install the application, you participate by clicking on the meeting link, after which you should allow the link to open in the Zoom app.