Saara Liinamaa

Associate Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator
Department of Sociology & Anthropology
Phone number: 
(519) 824-4120 x52504
MCKN 607
Accepting graduate students: 
Yes, PhD and MA

cultural sociology; qualitative research methods; creativity; cultural work and organizations; public space and social infrastructure; citizenship and migration; sociology of sport

PhD, Social and Political Thought (York)

I am a cultural sociologist interested in creativity and everyday life. As a qualitative researcher, my research agenda combines critical analysis and meaning-centred cultural interpretation with an overarching interest in how individuals and organizations navigate conditions of uncertainty. I have published work on urban life and public space, migrant agricultural labour, art and cultural theory, and creative work and occupations. My recent book, The New Spirit of Creativity (UTP), was awarded the CSA 2023 Canadian Sociology Book Award. I am co-investigator of the Sociable Cities Project (SSHRC-IG), a project that studies sociability and belonging in public space, and principal investigator of the Cultural Labour Studies Project (SSHRC-IDG), a project that examines cultural work and occupations in Canada. As a graduate of Social and Political Thought (York University), I am dedicated to interdisciplinary inquiry across the arts and social sciences and welcome invitations to collaborate.


Liinamaa, Saara. 2022. The New Spirit of Creativity: Work, Compromise and the Art and Design University. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. CSA 2023 Canadian Sociology Book Award Winner.


Media and Reports

Saara Liinamaa. (2022, November 1, 2022). Culture change at hockey Canada is about more than replacing those in charge. The Conversation.

Mervyn Horgan & Saara Liinamaa. (2020, December 17). Head to the local ice skating rink to meet and mingle this COVID-19 winter. The Conversation.

Horgan, Mervyn, Saara Liinamaa, Tad McIIwraith, Katie McLeod. 2022. Spaces of Sociability: Enhancing Copresence and Communal Life in Canada. Knowledge Synthesis report produced for SSHRC and ESDC.

Horgan, Mervyn & Saara Liinamaa. 2012. Double Precarity: Settlement Experiences of Caribbean Seasonal Agricultural Workers in Rural Nova Scotia. Retrieved from


Articles and Book Chapters

Horgan, Mervyn & Saara Liinamaa. 2023. “Editorial: Entanglements of Improvisation, Conviviality, and Conflict in Everyday Encounters in Public Space.” Urban Planning 8(4): 1- 5.

Liinamaa, Saara, and Malia Rogers. 2022. “Women Actors, Insecure Work, and Everyday Sexism in the Canadian Screen Industry.” Feminist Media Studies 22(1):16–31. doi: 10.1080/14680777.2020.1759114.

Liinamaa, Saara, Mervyn Horgan, Amanda Dakin, Sofia Meligrana, and Meng Xu. 2021. “Everyday Multiculturalism on Ice: Observations from Hockey-Free Outdoor Urban Public Ice Rinks.” Canadian Ethnic Studies 53(3):261–75. doi: 10.1353/ces.2021.0028.

Horgan, Mervyn & Saara Liinamaa. 2022. Why you've probably never heard of the first Canadian to get a PhD in Sociology. In Jean-Pierre, Johanne et al (eds.), Reading Sociology: Unsettling a Settler Colonial Project. Don Mills: Oxford University Press.

Horgan, Mervyn, Saara Liinamaa, Amanda Dakin, Sofia Meligrana, and Meng Xu. 2020. “A Shared Everyday Ethic of Public Sociability: Outdoor Public Ice Rinks as Spaces for Encounter.” Urban Planning 5(4):143–54. doi: 10.17645/up.v5i4.3430.

Liinamaa, Saara. 2019. “The Aesthetics of Spatial Justice Under Planetary Urbanization.” In Leary-Owhin, M. and McCarthy, J.  (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Henri Lefebvre, The City, and Society (pp. 336-345). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Liinamaa, Saara. 2018. “Negotiating a ‘Radically Ambiguous World’: Planning for the Future of Research at the Art and Design University.” International Journal of Art & Design Education 37 (3): 426–37.

Horgan, Mervyn., and Saara. Liinamaa. 2017. “The Social Quarantining of Migrant Labour: Everyday Effects of Temporary Foreign Worker Regulation in Canada.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 43 (5): 713–30.

Liinamaa, Saara. 2017. “The Creative City and the Fun and Games of Creative Citizenship.” In Kurasawa, F. (Ed.), Interrogating the Social:  A Critical Sociology for the 21st Century (pp. 219-246). New York: Palgrave.

Horgan, M., & Saara Liinamaa. 2017. “First But Not a Founder: Gender, identity and the exclusion of Annie Marion MacLean from the history of Canadian sociology.” In Tepperman, L. and P. Albanese. (Eds.), Reading Sociology: Canadian Perspectives (pp.

121-126). Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Liinamaa, Saara. 2016. “The House of the Unknown Artist and the Cosmopolitan Imagination of Urban Memory.” European Journal of Cultural Studies 19 (6): 654–71.

Liinamaa, Saara. 2014. “Contemporary Art’s ‘Urban Question’ and Practices of Experimentation.” Third Text 28 (6): 529–44.

Liinamaa, Saara. 2014. “The Artist as Urban Researcher.” In Marchessault. J. and M. Darroch (Eds.), Cartographies of Place: Ways of Representing the Urban (pp. 115-146.). Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press.



Co-Investigator, SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (2022)

Co-Investigator, SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Grant (2022)

Principal Investigator, SSHRC Development Grant (2020)

Co-Investigator, SSHRC Insight Grant (2018)

  • Harrison McCain Emerging Scholar Award (2016)
    SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2013-2015)

Meghan Aebig - MA.SOC

Laura Dawson - MA.SOC

Karenna Ottywill - MA.SOC:L

Christopher Worden - PhD.SOC

Devan Hunter - PhD.SOC

Sana Taha - MA.PIA