Browsing by Subject "Religion"

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  • Pentikäinen, Marja (2005)
    This study concerns the journeys of refugees through their narratives about their personal experiences. The two groups of my study, the Vietnamese and the Somali, arrived in Finland on three different statuses: as quota refugees, as asylum seekers and via family reunification. The status of these refugees is scrutinied from an individual, juridical and cultural angle. My fieldwork, with personal interviews, was done at the end of the 1990´s, the time when the amount of refugees was greatly increased and, actual policy concerning refugees, was created in Finland. To study meaningful experiences requires a shared desire between the researcher and her field to be able to describe and analyze something that may be intensely personal and often hurtful. The individuals are studied both as representatives of themselves, as well as their status and the group. Both groups, the Vietnamese and Somalis, have a different culture, religion, language, ethnicity - their refugee experiences are different as well. The Vietnamese come as quota refugees, the Somalis as asylum seekers - their juridical position is different accordingly. After these groups have stayed in Finland their family reunification program becomes possible. The basic research material collected by myself through interviews contains life stories with a plot, the dynamic curve containing the beginning, middle and end phases. In adapting these narratives to Arnold van Gennep´s crisis of passage; a three-phase model of separation, marginality/liminality and incorporation, a fourth dimension: a settling down phase is created. By this theoretical framework I describe the refugee process with four phases they go through: 1) Separation means the moment of escaping the homeland and the beginning of the journey. 2) In the liminality phase the Vietnamese are in the refugee camps and the Somalis in the reception centres - neither group belonging to any society. 3) In the phase of incorporation the refugees become legalized, as members of Tampere city community in this case. 4) In the fourth phase new life in Finland begins after the refugees have received their new status and space. Ttransition from one state to another is not automatic. My study reveals that the meanings of the refugees´ own culture still continues in the new country. Having been used to an extended family system in their home country, in Finland they only have their nuclear family and a weak social network. They, however, try to live within a collective culture of home country, without being able to adapt to the new requirement of individualism. Although many of them have received Finnish citizenship they still feel being refugees. What feels positive to them, is, that they can combine their old familiar traditions with their newly achieved experiences in Finland. To be a refugee seems to be an endless journey as one looks for a place, a space, a self.
  • Napola, Jukka (Helsingfors universitet, 2015)
    Recent evidence suggests paranormal and religious beliefs may result from cognitive biases that all humans share. People who think in an intuitive manner are supposedly more affected by these biases than analytical people. Consequently, mounting evidence suggests those who endorse intuitive thinking style tend to be more religious and have more paranormal beliefs than people with an analytic thinking style. However, less attention has been paid to people who are highly analytical but nevertheless have supernatural beliefs. Since analytical people should be less susceptible to cognitive biases, other factors such as metacognitive tendencies might account for these beliefs. On the other hand, if intuitive thinking style is a major causal factor behind paranormal beliefs, an intuitive sub-group among sceptics could be considered an anomaly. Metacognitive tendencies could be a potential psychological factor behind scepticism. A sample of nearly 3000 Finnish participants revealed that there was an analytical and intuitive subgroup among the believers and sceptics. Particularly, analytic believers had more cognitive biases and lesser tendency to belief flexibility than analytic sceptics. Intuitive sceptics had more cognitive biases than analytic sceptics but they adhered more to flexible thinking than intuitive believers. The results of this thesis underline the multifarious nature of both paranormal beliefs and thinking styles. Although analytical thinking may help the person to overcome the automatic and often erroneous shortcuts that the mind produces, it may fail to suppress overlearned and reflectively practiced beliefs. On the other hand, an intuitive thinking style and cognitive biases may not necessary lead to paranormal believing, especially if the living environment encourages a sceptic worldview. Future studies should address the mechanisms that lead individuals with similar epistemological tendencies to acquire totally different metaphysical beliefs.
  • Uro, Risto (2017)
    In recent years, a number of New Testament and early Christian scholars have begun to use cognitive science approaches in their work. In this paper, I situate those efforts within the larger framework of the changing humanities, and the increased interest among humanistic scholars and social scientists in drawing on the growing body of knowledge on the cognitive and evolutionary roots of human thinking and behaviour. I also suggest how cognitive historiography can be helpful in shedding new light on issues discussed by New Testament scholars, by elaborating a case study: an analysis of the rite introduced by John the Baptist.
  • Kallinen, Timo (Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2016)
    Studia Fennica Anthropologica
  • Alava, Henni Leena (Swedish Mission Council, 2016)
    What should development organisations take into account when considering whether to provide funding to a long-established church in the Global South, or to an organisation affiliated with such a church? Drawing on research in Northern Uganda, this article suggests that the key to addressing this question is in recognition of churches’ unique historical, social and religious embeddedness in local societies. From the point of view of donor organisations, this embeddedness is paradoxical: the same things that enable churches to ‘deliver development’ in an unusually effective and meaningful way, make churches appear as challenging grassroots partners for development. This is because the spiritual, historical and political embeddedness of churches makes the effects of their activities greater than of organisations lacking such embeddedness – whether those effects be ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. The notion of embeddedness draws attention to the need for donors to cease to think of churches in negative terms, as foreign impositions. The history of missionary churches is inseparably embroiled in the history of colonisation. However, the religious faiths and practices initially brought by missionaries to many parts of Africa are now an integral part of the life of many local adherents. Church members experience churches as their own – often much more so than they do the UN, NGOs, or secular discourses of human rights and development.
  • Kuuttila, Iina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    In recent years, differences between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar, particularly between populations native to the state of Rakhine, have developed from intolerance to outright oppression. Historical tensions over identity are threatening the future of the nation; the outlook for the humanitarian crisis is very worrying. Rohingyas, an Islamic ethnic group in Myanmar, have been deemed by the government as “illegal immigrants” and widely perceived as Bangladeshis. The Rohingyas of Myanmar have become a stateless population fighting for their right to stay in Myanmar due to the Buddhist government's nationalist vision to unite and protect the nation from the existential threat posed by non-Buddhist outsiders. The purpose of this thesis is to shed light on the tensions between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar through the discourse and narratives of Rohingyas and Rakhine Buddhists interviewed for this study in 2016 and 2017. This thesis explores how Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar experience belonging to a nation that does not consider them nationals. In other words, how Rohingyas make sense of their feelings of belonging while being told they do not belong. The notion of belonging is central in defining an individual’s social identity. Membership to certain groups is essential in constructing a sense of belonging; bonding through social networks creates a sense of security and acceptance. This study is aimed to unpack the notion of belonging through the key concepts in which Rohingyas anchor their sense of social identity. In other words, through the theoretical lens of cultural belonging – from ethnic boundaries to nationalism – this study interprets Myanmar’s Rohingyas’ sense of belonging through their discourse on nationality and ethnicity. Analyzed using James Scott’s (1985) concept of everyday resistance, the objective is to understand how these markers of belonging translate into the everyday lives of Rakhine’s Muslim and Buddhist populations. The study found that, based on the discourse of the Rohingyas, their sense of belonging is anchored to their nationality and their ethnicity simultaneously. While nationality is unquestionable, ethnicity is more fluid. At first Rohingya participants upheld the notion that their ethnicity is tied to their identity, however if offered nationality without ethnic recognition, the Rohingya would give up their ethnic identity. Understanding how they manage to maintain these feelings while being oppressed and harassed comes down to resistance. Rather than rioting, demonstrating, or violently confronting the state, the participants of this study simply insisted that they are citizens and belong in Myanmar. The reoccurring theme of belonging suggests that nationalism is used as an everyday form of resistance. This practice is a way of attempting to achieve results without the risks of violence. Maintaining a balance between their national and ethnic identities silently resists the state's claims of Rohingyas being illegal migrants or stateless individuals, without adhering to the state's demands of renouncing their Rohingya ethnicity. Unfortunately, recent developments do not promise a brighter outlook for the Rohingya population: resistance has been met with punishment and it is unlikely that everyday resistance will be the sole method of opposition in the future. There is no end in sight to the affliction of the Rohingyas and further violence cannot be ruled out as a possible consequence. Passive resistance has not brought about a solution in the short term, nor has the attempts of the international community. My hope is, that by increasing knowledge about the plight of the Rohingya of Myanmar, this study prompts further research and action.
  • Talikka, Sanna Julia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established as an official government body to create national reconciliation after apartheid. It provided an arena for the perpetrators and victims to try to understand each other and their actions. Even though the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is studied from various perspectives, the role of religion in it as a transition process has not received much attention. This study is a critical analysis, which examines the role of religion in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The analysis is supported with the theories of conflict resolution and transitional justice by using the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s reports as primary sources and the previous academic study as secondary sources. The very little investigation of religion that has been conducted in the multidisciplinary field of transitional justice, justifies the relevance of the study. The study begins with an overview of the role of religion in conflict resolution and peacemaking. Reconciliation and truth commissions as mechanisms of transitional justice are examined and analyzed before moving onto the brief historical overview of South Africa and apartheid. The role of religion in the history of South Africa is explained to support historical the perspective of the study. The role of Religion in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is analyzed from several different perspectives to support the argument that religious connotations took place during the Commission’s existence. The results show that religion and especially Christianity played a significant role in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work. Main reasons for it appear to be the religious historical and cultural notions of the society, and the role of religious leaders as commissioners. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission relied strongly to the ideas of reconciliation and forgiveness which guided its work and eventually swayed religious influence to take place. States that choose reconciliation as an approach to transition to democracy often tend to have strong involvement of religious communities in their society. Even though conflict resolution theories take religion into account, it is very much an underutilized topic in the transitional justice field. With the theoretical ground and the case established, the study shows the importance of understanding religion in conflict resolution and reconciliation processes.
  • Felix, Bella (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Is there a Lockean separation of church and state in contemporary Russia? The answer to this question has, for a long time, been yes, at least on paper. However recent amendments to the Russian secular constitution now include a mention of Russia’s belief in God. This is not the only piece of legislation in Russia that has adopted religious rhetoric. In fact, after a few decades of a complicated relationship, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the Russian state have increased their cooperation. Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials have declared that Russian Orthodox values, are part of the newly promoted Russian identity. This acceptance of conservative Orthodox values as part of the Russian identity, has had its influence on Russian legislation and thus Russian society. Examples of this are restrictions on abortion, the ban on ‘homosexual propaganda’, the importance of the family and traditional gender role in society etc. This has an influence on the status of the Lockean separation of church and state in Russia. Lockean because this thesis utilizes John Locke’s theory of tolerance, slightly adapted to the modern context, to analyse the status of the separation of church and state in contemporary Russia. A secular state is defined here as a state with not just a separation of institutions, but also one with freedom of conscience based on the idea of tolerance. This policy of tolerance entails that a government 1) cannot deprive any citizen of their civil rights based on their values, 2) they cannot prosecute a citizen based on their values and 3) a government cannot impose a certain belief system on their citizens directly or indirectly. These three criteria form the theoretical framework of this thesis. The case materials of this thesis include the Bases of the Social Concept by the ROC to analyse what values they promote, speeches by Putin that outline foreign and domestic policy to show that the Russian government also promotes Orthodox values, and Russian federal legislation regarding family values to analyse the effect of the values of the ROC on Russian legislation. After studying federal legislation affected by the adoption of Orthodox values this thesis concludes that although criteria 1) and 3) are violated to some extent, there is not enough proof that criteria 2) is affected. Discourse in Russian legislation has gotten more religious, but in practice this religious influence has not led to Russian citizens being prosecuted for things like getting an abortion or falling in love with someone of the same sex. However, an increased cooperation between church and state has led to the dilution of the separation between the religious and the secular, and the Russian government has started using the conservative values of the church as a political tool to suppress those who think differently or are critical of the government.
  • Jousmäki, Henna (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2014)
    COLLeGIUM: Studies across Disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences 15
    This chapter shows that, although the geographical roots of Christian metal (CM) bands do play a role, not least for the audiences, the crossing of national borders in online settings is equally important both to the audience and to the bands themselves. A detailed look into the discourse and interaction around Finnish CM music on YouTube.com is the basis for considering social media sites, such as YouTube, as providing a space for translocal negotiation of and identification on the basis of religiosity, music, language and place.