Browsing by Subject "Representation"

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  • Falcão, Pedro (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    In the past few decades, media has assumed an increasingly important role in shaping social and political understandings of the world. This is true across the world and its importance is magnified whenever the society it depicts is one of imbalances and inequalities. Such is the case in Bolivia, where centuries of colonialism, exploitation, discrimination, and injustices have created an immense gap between the Indigenous majority and a criollo minority, across all aspects of social, economic, and political life. After Evo Morales’ ascent to the presidency in 2006, Indigenous Peoples became the archetype for national citizenry, in a sharp contrast with their image under much of Bolivia’s history as a country. After the refounding of the nation as the Plurinational State of Bolivia in 2009, Indigenous Peoples were given a sociopolitical emphasis befitting of their representativeness, a volte-face contested by many. Coupled with these great changes in Bolivian society was the media (and particularly online media) growth registered in the last few decades. Its role as a political watchdog and as a social tone-setter became exponentially magnified, especially in its portrayal of Indigenous Peoples, no longer a marginal sociopolitical player in Bolivia but at the front and centre of national politics. This study analyses how Bolivian media portrays the country’s Indigenous Peoples in its online publications. This research focused on the second half of Evo Morales’ third term in office, when the new role of the indigenous person as a citizenship archetype had already been modestly consolidated. This study focuses on four distinct newspapers, relying on content analysis and framing analysis of articles dealing with and representing Indigenous Peoples as a methodology. The four newspapers were chosen either for their size and importance (El Deber, La Razón, Página Siete) or their political affiliation with the State (Cambio). As vehicles of information, the publications analysed convey heavily biased stances, widening the gap between one side and the other in an already deeply divided society like Bolivia’s. This polarisation acts as a tool of division, stoking flames of conflict and eroding the fertile middle grounds of dialogue, debate and compromise. Some media still portrays Indigenous Peoples as ossified relics of a pre-Columbian past, relying on binary oppositions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous, others discredit differences under the guise of mestizaje, while some focus on Indigenous Peoples’ agency to highlight what has been achieved and how their own volition can shape the course of their social, economic, and political path. Indigenous Peoples’ representations in Bolivia are, therefore, quite divergent, even amongst bigger and mainstream outlets, creating their own kind of echo chamber; depending on the media consumed and the sociopolitical predispositions of the readers, two quite divergent portrayals are real and coexist side by side. This very contradiction could be an object of future studies, in an attempt to study what is the role of the media in broadening social divides. This is especially true in a society like Bolivia, where the differences between the “haves” and the “have-nots” are stark and the media is openly and partially biased, enacting a role that is more opinion-based and less informative than the common canons of journalistic objectivity.
  • Kaskinen, Martta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This thesis is a contribution to the discussion on gendered representations of Global South subjects in development NGOs’ communication in the West, and the imaginaries of development they create and maintain. Empirically, it focuses on the context of Finland and particularly, on Finnish NGO fundraising campaigns that concentrate on girls’ and women’s rights in the Global South. The changes in the Finnish political field within which NGOs operate gives contextual relevance to studying NGOs’ private fundraising in Finland. In 2016, the Finnish government cut public funding for development NGOs by 43 %, which forced many organisations to rethink their funding channels. NGOs have since reported increase in competition for donors, which has contributed to the NGO fundraising ‘markets’ increasingly functioning with a capitalistic market logic. Public discussions on development and distant human rights issues thus get increasingly reduced to advertisement appeals, as NGOs must to ‘sell’ the rights-holders’ deservingness of donations. At the same time, the Finnish spectator-donors’ imaginary power in ‘making a change’ is reinforced. This trend is not compatible with NGOs’ other important societal mission, which is the global education of Finnish citizens. A study conducted in 2015 shows that Finnish people’s knowledge on development in the Global South is extremely pessimistic. From a postcolonial perspective on knowledge production and power, this thesis challenges the ‘ends justify means’ argument by questioning whether pessimistic and colonial imaginaries should be the price to pay for fight against inequality – and ultimately, are these means productive for global equality. The empirical example campaigns for this thesis were Uncut by the International Solidarity Foundation, Maternity Wear for a 12-year-old by Plan International Finland, and Women’s Bank Walk by the Finn Church Aid –administered Women’s Bank. The ethnographic research consisted of 10 NGO and expert interviews, 8 short interviews with participants and volunteers in a campaign event, document analysis, discussions, participant observation, and online data collection. The data was analysed using qualitative and visual discourse analysis tools, against the theoretical framework of relevant postcolonial, post-humanitarian, feminist, and de-colonial theories. The main findings of the research are that although NGOs consciously strive for the ‘respectful representation’ of women and girls in the Global South, the capitalist marketing framework used in fundraising communication is not productive for challenging the underpinning colonial discourse. Rather, by a rhetorical logic of empowerment, the power relations are denied – which only reinforces subordination, albeit disguises it better. However, there are significant differences between NGOs on how their power in representation and knowledge production is understood and reflected upon.
  • Estus, Roberta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis focuses on examining American culture in the early twenty-first century via its popular culture depiction of German culture in the 1940s. Film is used as a means to represent, recreate, and reaffirm cultural values; it provides evidence of deeply rooted beliefs and preferences. Representations on screen reflect present realities, rather than historical fact. By showing history in a certain light, we are actually showing ourselves in a certain light. In this thesis I use the categories of witness, accomplice, and perpetrator to examine three Hollywood films from 2008 and 2009 depicting German women during the Holocaust: The Reader, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and Inglourious Basterds. I identify these archetypes as they are displayed in the films and analyze the way that history is used to reflect contemporary values, focusing on the gendered aspect of war guilt. The way that female characters are depicted in these three films says something about the prevailing expectations for women in early twenty-first century American culture, namely that they lack the agency that being responsible or guilty requires. Guilt implies full agency. If a person does not have agency, they are not guilty but instead either complicit or another victim of the real guilty party. By denying women agency, we excuse them from guilt. Prevailing beliefs about the eternal masculine and feminine are maintained when we choose to ignore the nuances of history, opting instead to reiterate simplistic binaries that satisfy audience demands.
  • Salminen-Saari, Jessica F. A.; Garcia Moreno-Esteva, Enrique; Haataja, Eeva; Toivanen, Miika; Hannula, Markku S.; Laine, Anu (2021)
    Given the recent development of mobile gaze-tracking devices it has become possible to view and interpret what the student sees and unravel the associated problem-solving processes further. It has also become possible to pinpoint joint attention occurrences that are fundamental for learning. In this study, we examined joint attention in collaborative mathematical problem solving. We studied the thought processes of four 15-16-year-old students in their regular classroom, using mobile gaze tracking, video and audio recordings, and smartpens. The four students worked as a group to find the shortest path to connect the vertices of a square. Combining information on the student gaze targets with a qualitative interpretation of the context, we identified the occurrences of joint attention, out of which 49 were joint visual attention occurrences and 28 were attention to different representations of the same mathematical idea. We call this joint representational attention. We discovered that 'verifying' (43%) and 'watching and listening' (35%) were the most common phases during joint attention. The most frequently occurring problem solving phases right after joint attention were also 'verifying' (47%) and 'watching and listening' (34%). We detected phase cycles commonly found in individual problem-solving processes ('planning and exploring', 'implementing', and 'verifying') outside of joint attention. We also detected phase shifts between 'verifying', 'watching and listening', and 'understanding' a problem, often occurring during joint attention. Therefore, these phases can be seen as a signal of successful interaction and the promotion of collaboration.
  • Haarala, Jaakko-Juhani (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    This thesis investigates the skills acquired through a Cross-Cultural Kid (CCK) -experience and contemplates if they can be useful in politics as well as in the representation and understanding of diversity. The main purposes of the thesis are: (1) to concur that the interviewees are indeed CCKs, (2) to describe what kind of CCK-related skills they may or may not have acquired, and (3) to discuss how and to what purposes these skills have been used in politics and in the representation of diversity. In an ever-globalizing world, moving and travelling from one country to another has become the norm. Consequently, most societies, including Finland, have become ever more diverse. In the past two decades, Finland’s immigrant population increased fourfold, currently totalling over five per cent of the population. Globalization has also contributed to an increase in children that have been raised in-between cultures, namely CCKs, in Finland and elsewhere. As the size of the migrant population grows and the heated public debate revolving around immigration-related topic intensifies, it becomes crucial to properly represent the increasing diversity in political arenas, too. Previous research on CCKs suggests that CCKs have gained unique skills through their experience of having been raised in-between worlds, such as expanded worldviews, adaptability, observational and social skills to name a few. The literature on descriptive representation by Anne Phillips (et al.), the concept of shared experience by Jane Mansbridge and the idea of a preferable descriptive representative introduced by Suzanne Dovi form the theoretical framework of the thesis. The research is based on interviews of six candidates in the 2015 parliamentary elections of Finland, conducted 3 months prior to the elections. The candidates belong to different parties, ethnicities, and social backgrounds. The interviews are coded and analysed by using the QCA (Qualitative Content Analysis) method, as presented by Margrit Schreier. The results of this thesis support that the interviewees are CCKs and that they qualify as descriptive representatives of their electorate, claiming they shared a similar experience. The interviewees describe many abilities that are useful in politics and in the representation of diversity – particularly concerning the ability to relate to others, adapting to changing situations like a “chameleon” and a sensitivity to the society’s silent voices. In addition to these skills, the interviewees had also benefited from amplified media attention at a time when their distinctive phenotypes are subject to an increasingly heated and divisive political debate. The thesis provides some unique research into the CCK -experience, bringing the concept into the realm of Political Science for the first time. Combining theories of descriptive representation and the CCK -experience provides crucial insight into political representation of diversity.
  • Inkiläinen, Essi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    This thesis examines how the diversity of gender and sexual orientation is represented in a recent English as a foreign language (EFL) textbook series, New Insights, intended for general upper secondary education in Finland. As the series has been created with the intention to follow the current National Core Curriculum for General Upper Secondary Education (NCC), this thesis additionally seeks to find out whether the contents of the textbooks conform with the NCC in terms of its assertion of upper secondary education recognising the diversity of gender and sexual orientation. Although the curriculum does not explicitly dictate the contents textbooks should include, the materials are nonetheless expected to reflect its key contents and values. Acknowledging the central part textbooks play in the teaching process as well as learning, it is necessary to research the framework these materials provide to their users, especially considering the potential influence textbooks may have on the knowledge and attitudes learners take on. The theoretical background of this study is based on the fields of applied linguistics in the matter of textbook research, as well as gender studies regarding gender and sexuality in language. Previous research on EFL textbooks has observed problematic portrayals of LGBT+ topics and a lack of representation of these minorities, which is highly concerning given the harmful consequences such invisibility has been shown to have on LGBT+ students. Additionally, in the language classroom themes related to everyday life and human interaction are already a constant, which is why including not only diverse but fair representations is important. The material for the study consists of two electronic copies of the printed textbooks, New Insights 1-2 and New Insights 3, as the following textbooks in the series are yet to be published at the time of conducting this study. A combined methodology of qualitative content analysis and discourse analysis is employed in order to to examine the manner of representations within the textbooks. The study is solely concerned with the written and visual texts, and any audio-visual or spoken materials are disregarded. The found instances are categorised into three types. Regarding gender, those categories are direct representations of gender diversity, gender-exclusive vs gender-inclusive language, and third person singular pronouns; in terms of sexual orientation, the categories are direct mentions of sexual orientation, references toward romantic relationships, and diversity of sexual orientation in family structures. With these methods, the study seeks to answer the following research questions: 1) How is the diversity of gender represented in the New Insights series? 2) How is the diversity of sexual orientation represented in the New Insights series? 3) How do the findings of questions 1 and 2 correlate with the general objective of recognising the diversity of gender and sexual orientation mentioned in the current NCC? The results of this study are in accordance with previous research, as limited representation of diversity is observable in the contents, and while certain positive portrayals are also present, several instances nonetheless contain problematic characteristics. Hence, the most obvious finding to emerge from the results is that while New Insights includes some references that suggest a progressive direction in terms of recognising the diversity of gender and sexual orientation, several instances that disregard that notion altogether are simultaneously present. A combination of contradicting contents and limited representation throughout the textbooks provides support for the conceptual premise that while New Insights attempts to be more aware of and acknowledge this diversity, the incoherence leads one to speculate whether the textbooks genuinely advocate for inclusivity or if such contents have been included merely to fulfil the standards set by the NCC. All in all, it seems that there is still much room for improvement for the forthcoming textbooks within the series as well as future EFL textbooks in general. Acknowledging the findings of this study, it is necessary to note that those responsible for producing textbooks need to challenge the implicit heteronormativity and gender normativity in their materials. The present study provides additional evidence regarding how diverse genders and sexual orientations are represented in educational materials along with adding to a growing body of literature within the field gender studies regarding gender and sexuality in language.