CFP Ethnologia Fennica 2/2024: Sensing the urban


Sensory ethnography described by Sarah Pink (2009) pays particular attention to the multisensoriality of experience, perception, knowing and practices. In addition to the present moment emphasized in the ethnographic research, senses as part of the urban life can be studied in different temporalities, in past, present and future. This can be done by using, for example, archives, documents for future urban planning, or participatory design processes as research materials.  

In this call, we invite researchers who study the urban pasts, presents and futures, to consider with us what kinds of ontological, methodological, theoretical or empirical questions and consequences the sensorial turn brings into the study of urbanity.  

People live in complex relationships and entanglements with their urban environment. They move through the city and spend they work and free time in urban settings. They live with other humans, but also with non-humans, and the materiality of their environment affects their lives in multiple ways. To study this complexity with sensory point of departure, like ethnography, means looking at the city by emphasizing people’s sensory experiences and narrations of it. However, we do not want to limit the research only to the present, but we are also curious of the past (and future) sense of the urban. It is, for example, interesting how different generations experience the urban in different times.  

Urban environments, and consequently, lives lived in them, are often planned and designed according to the prevailing discourses, ideologies and ideas, while they are simultaneously formed in different layers of time. These in turn direct and contextualize the sensory experiences, knowing of the city and practices related to and in the city.  

The method of sensory ethnography is currently well established. Ethnographers have paid attention to different senses, such as eyesight, sound, smell and touch as well as noticed that the experiences are often multisensorial. It has been suggested that there are even more ways of sensing the world than we acknowledge at the present. 

For this special issue we invite articles that discuss different ways of doing sensory research in urban settings containing sensorial perception, knowing and practices related to city and urban environment in present and through time.  

The special issue is edited within the research project “Designed, experienced and sensed socio-material wellbeing in Linnakaupunki, Turku” (Hyvinvoinnin suunniteltu, koettu ja aistittu sosio-materiaalisuus Turun Linnakaupungissa). The project combines perspectives of Ethnology, Cultural History, Museology and Futures Research, and is conducted at the University of Turku, Åbo Akademi University and University of Oulu. 

Ethnologia Fennica is a peer-reviewed, international open access journal. The journal publishes original scholarly articles, review articles, conference reports and book reviews written in English. The articles undergo double-blind peer review. The Finnish Publication Forum classifies Ethnologia Fennica as a leading academic journal at Level 2 (on a scale of 0 to 3). 

Please submit your abstract by 8 December 2023, and the article manuscript by 22 of March 2024. The deadline for reviews, reports and commentary texts is 31 August 2024. The issue will be published in December 2024. 

Please submit your language revised article (which should not exceed 10.000 words) through the submission system ( Authors need to register with the journal prior to submitting their manuscript or, if already registered, they can simply log in and begin the submission process. For further information, please see our article guidelines at and our style guide at

Please note that in every issue, we also publish articles outside the theme, and you can submit your manuscript at any time.