Saara Liinamaa

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

cultural sociology; work and organizations; migration and citizenship; urban studies; social theory

PhD, Social and Political Thought (York)

My research agenda is guided by an overarching concern for 1) how individuals and organizations navigate conditions of uncertainty—for example, institutional responses to economic austerity or the social dimensions of precarious citizenship status; and, 2) the parallel importance of practices of creativity that respond to these uncertainties. I pursue these themes through theoretically informed, qualitative research on a range of topics, including urban cultural production and creativity-led urban development, migrant agricultural workers in Nova Scotia, and everyday sociability in public spaces (Sociable Cities Project (SSHRC-IG), with M. Horgan).

I am currently finishing a book on the relationship between artistic creativity and compromise, and I am starting a project on professional actors and performance work in the screen industry in Canada (SSHRC-IDG).

As a graduate of Social and Political Thought (York University), I am committed to supporting interdisciplinary inquiry and research in the social sciences. I welcome the opportunity to supervise graduate students who would like to pursue advanced research within any of my areas of specialization.

Articles and Book Chapters

  • Liinamaa, S. and M. Rogers. 2020. “Women Actors, Insecure Work, and Everyday Sexism in the Canadian Screen Industry.” Feminist Media Studies, May, 1–16.
  • Liinamaa, S. (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, S. 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, M., and S. 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, S. 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, S. 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.


  • Principal Investigator, SSHRC Development Grant (2020)
  • Co-Investigator, SSHRC Insight Grant (2018)
  • Harrison McCain Emerging Scholar Award (2016)
  • SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2013-2015)