Research output per year

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Personal profile


My current research has three primary areas: migration and refugee research, intercultural education and practice theories/praxis.

Migration/refugee research, especially in relation to childhood and education (Kaukko 2017, Kohli & Kaukko 2017, Kaukko & Wernesjö 2017, Millei, Korkiamäki & Kaukko 2018), has been my main interest since the beginning of my PhD. Currently my main agenda in this field is to understand refugee students’ educational success and school wellbeing. I believe that while certain circumstances and processes can make refugee children vulnerable and struggle in school, the relationship between difficult experiences and consequent problems is correlational rather than causal (Kaukko & Wilkinson forthcoming 2018). I want to understand how, despite a fragmented educational history and exile-related stressors, many refugee children succeed in schools, and what kind of educational practices they have found helpful in their learning.

The second theme is ethical praxis in intercultural education, which has been central in my work in Finland, as a lecturer in Intercultural Teacher Education programme, University of Oulu. Ethical praxis in intercultural settings requires teachers to critically reflect their work beyond their immediate teaching practice and think, what is good for the individual learners now and in the long run (regardless of where they will be), and what kind of practices resonate with the lifeworlds of the child, (regardless of how distant they are from the world of the teacher). In my ongoing research, I explore this with Finnish and Australian teachers and educational leaders working with refugee students.

My third, mainly theoretical research interest is closely linked to the other two. I frame my current research within practice theories, especially within an emerging theory of practice architectures (Kemmis, Wilkinson, Edwards-Groves, Hardy & Bristol 2014). This theoretical approach conjoins the individual and the societal approaches, and the ways in which experiences and the site-specific (educational) practices are nested with one another: how the everyday reality (of students, teachers, educational leaders, to take school as an example) is composed in socio-material realities (of schools) and, especially, shaped by the cultural-discursive, material-economic and social-political arrangements among which the practices are enacted (Kemmis et al 2014).

I came to Monash as a visiting researcher in 2016 with my family. Before that, I was a lecturer at University of Oulu, Finland.  

External positions

Lecturer, University of Oulu

1 Aug 201531 Jul 2016

Doctoral Student (scholarship), University of Oulu

1 Jan 201331 Jul 2015

Teaching fellow, University of Oulu

1 Aug 201231 Jul 2015

Research area keywords

  • Migration studies
  • Intercultural education
  • Practice theories
  • Qualitative research methhods
  • Childhood studies

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output

Belonging and participation in liminality: unaccompanied children in Finland and Sweden

Kaukko, M. & Wernesjo, U., Feb 2017, In : Childhood. 24, 1, p. 7-20 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

The CRC of unaccompanied asylum seekers in Finland

Kaukko, M., 2017, In : International Journal of Children's Rights. 25, 1, p. 140-164 25 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

The management of time and waiting by unaccompanied asylum-seeking girls in Finland

Kohli, R. S. & Kaukko, M. M., Dec 2018, In : Journal of Refugee Studies. 31, 4, p. 488-506 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Rethinking the ethical and methodological dimensions of research with refugee children

Kaukko, M. M., Dunwoodie, K. & Riggs, E., 2017, In : Zeitschrift fuer Internationale Bildungsforschung und Entwicklungspaedagogik. 40, 1, p. 16-21 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

The P, A and R of participatory action research with unaccompanied girls

Kaukko, M., 2 Apr 2016, In : Educational Action Research. 24, 2, p. 177-193 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Advancing Women's Research Success Grant

Kaukko, Mervi (Recipient), 12 Mar 2018

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Emerging Action Researcher

Kaukko, Mervi (Recipient), 2013

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


Kaukko, Mervi (Recipient), 26 Nov 2018

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Press / Media

Ali and the Long Journey to Australia

Mervi Kaukko


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Research