Kaarina Koski is a folklorist specializing in vernacular belief traditions and narrative expressions. Her earlier studies have concerned chiefly Finnish folk legends and popular views about the dead, graveyards, and churches. Koski is interested in cognition and communication and especially in the culturally established genres and discourses that guide and shape the representation and interpretation of social reality. In this research project, Koski studies both academic and vernacular discourses and interpretations concerning deviant, uncanny or spiritual experiences and beliefs and their connection with the human mind, its abilities and malfunctions. The various contemporary arguments resonate with diverse culture-bound views about the relationship between supernatural beings and mental disturbances. In addition, there is dispute about the legitimate ways of gaining knowledge about reality, about values and morals connected to the interpretations, as well as the question about tolerance towards deviant views. Thus, Koski approaches the role and status of certain experiences and beliefs as a cultural and societal phenomenon. Furthermore, Koski focuses on the intersubjective and social characteristics of human mind. She analyzes texts which describe the death of a loved one and studies the role and significance of social relationships in this reality and in experiences beyond it. She is interested in the social meaning-making capacity of human mind which is, in academic research, often evaluated as inferior to or less interesting than the analytic capacities.
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