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Press Release

Press Release

Doctoral Thesis on the Construction of Professional Identity Among Foreign-born Library Students


Ritva Hyttinen.
Ritva Hyttinen

M.A. Ritva Hyttinen’s doctoral thesis in Information studies will be put forth for public defence at Faculty of Social Sciences, Business and Economics, and Law at Åbo Akademi University.

The thesis is entitled Desire for Inclusion: Construction of Professional Identity of Library Students with an Immigrant Background.

The public defence of the doctoral thesis takes place on 12 May 2023, at 13.15, in Stora auditoriet, ASA-house, Vänrikinkatu 3, Turku, and online. Professor Andreas Vårheim, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, will serve as opponent and Research Leader, Professor Kristina Eriksson-Backa, Åbo Akademi University, as custos.


The public library is a unique institution that aims to promote social justice which is attached to the concept of social inclusion. Although, multiculturalism is one of the fundamental principles of public libraries and the global library professional community is committed to advocating equality, diversity and integration, librarianship has not become a career choice of interest amidst the immigrant population. This thesis contributes to understanding the professional identity construction and experiences which influence society newcomers’ integration into the professional community and the career continuum.

The professional identity construction is studied through the lens of public libraries and library professionalism, but the research is attached to the Social Identity Theory. According to the concept of social identity people seek groups that have meaning for them, have positive identity and can provide them the sense of belonging. Inclusion as such is linked with socialisation, a process during which an individual seeks a place for oneself among the group.

The interview data have been collected in three different phases: when the participants started their studies; at the end of their studies; seven years after their studies. According to the results, the domains of education, practice and professional community are significant platforms at the beginning of the professional career. They provide a setting for the professional identity construction and career continuum evaluation. If the librarianship aims seriously at the integration of people with an immigrant background into the profession, it should pay attention to each domain, and also support positive experiences which in turn produce a sense of belonging, strengthen self-esteem and distinctive identity construction. These in turn could improve newcomers’ certainty of the career choice and its continuum.

Ritva Hyttinen was born in 1961 in Joensuu, Finland. She can be reached by phone +358 449 072 891 or email ritva.hyttinen@turkuamk.fi.

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

Click here for a press photo of the doctoral student.


Instructions on how to follow 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.