Browsing by Subject "SOCIOLOGY"

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Now showing items 1-12 of 12
  • Kaidesoja, Tuukka (2022)
    University rankings have led to the following paradox. On one hand, global and national university rankings have an increasing impact on scientific research and higher education. On the other hand, a growing number of researchers have argued that university rankings are biased and methodologically flawed as well as documented their unintended consequences that are counterproductive to education and research activities in universities. In this article, I combine sociological and cognitive perspectives to develop a theoretical framework for explaining this paradox. The theoretical framework has four interrelated parts. The first is a distinction between three temporal stages through which university rankings commensurate universities. The second consists of an account of the social mechanisms through which university rankings generate reactive outcomes that tend to transform universities instead of just measuring their quality. The third is a league table metaphor that links the conceptual domain of team sports and the conceptual domain of universities and, I argue, provides a cognitive mechanism that shapes how many extra-academic actors, such as prospective students and policymakers, understand the results of university rankings. The fourth focuses on the affordances of the published league tables of university rankings that many extra-academic actors use for outsourcing part of their decision-making to the league tables. As a whole, this framework allows us to understand how the interrelated and materially mediated actions of different groups of actors give rise to and sustain the paradox of university rankings.
  • Grön, Kirsikka (2021)
    In recent years, scholars studying data-intensive healthcare have argued that data-driven technologies bind together new actors and goals as part of healthcare. By combining the expectation studies with justification theory, this article adopts a novel theoretical perspective to understand how these actors and goals are enroled in healthcare. Drawing on a case study of Apotti, a Finnish social services and healthcare information system renewal project, the article shows how new emerging health data assemblages stress the aims of producing the common good in public healthcare. The project is studied by analysing interviews of the project's key actors and various documents produced in the project. The paper shows how, in the collective expectations, the new information system is justified by multiple understandings of the common good, which might be contradictory with each other. Along with the established goals of improving public healthcare operations, the new information system is expected to empower clients and patients, audit and manage personnel, promote national digital social and healthcare service markets, provide better data and tools for research, and promote Finnish research and business in international competition. These expectations are not all based on the settled understanding of the common good of public healthcare as promoting health; the common good is also defined in other terms such as improving research, promoting markets and business, and making Finland famous and a leading country in the digital social services and healthcare field. These goals and expectations are purposely ambiguous to be loose enough to gain attention and maintain it even when the promises are not met. The paper identifies the ambiguity and plurality of the common good as strategies of data-intensive healthcare and raises concerns of how this might shape public healthcare in the future. As the plural understandings of the common good might not support each other, the paper calls for further assessments of how this will affect public healthcare's core objectives and for seeking solutions that carefully balance the goals of the current and evolving multi-stakeholder environment of data-intensive healthcare.
  • Pääkkönen, Juho; Laaksonen, Salla-Maaria; Jauho, Mikko (2020)
    Social media analytics is a burgeoning new field associated with high promises of societal relevance and business value but also methodological and practical problems. In this article, we build on the sociology of expectations literature and research on expertise in the interaction between humans and machines to examine how analysts and clients make their expectations about social media analytics credible in the face of recognized problems. To investigate how this happens in different contexts, we draw on thematic interviews with 10 social media analytics and client companies. In our material, social media analytics appears as a field facing both hopes and skepticism—toward data, analysis methods, or the users of analytics—from both the clients and analysts. In this setting, the idea of automated analysis through algorithmic methods emerges as a central notion that lends credibility to expectations about social media analytics. Automation is thought to, first, extend and make expert interpretation of messy social media data more rigorous; second, eliminate subjective judgments from measurement on social media; and third, allow for coordination of knowledge management inside organizations. Thus, ideas of automation importantly work to uphold the expectations of the value of analytics. Simultaneously, they shape what kinds of expertise, tools, and practices come to be involved in the future of analytics as knowledge production.
  • Weiste, Elina; Peräkylä, Anssi; Valkeapää, Taina; Savander, Enikö; Hintikka, Jukka (2018)
    Diagnosis is integral part of the way medicine organises illness: it is important for identifying treatment options, predicting outcomes and providing an explanatory framework for clinicians. Previous research has shown that during a medical visit not only the clinician but also patients provide explanations for the causes of their symptoms and health problems. Patients' lifeworld explanations are often differentiated from the diagnostic explanations provided by clinicians. However, while previous conversation analytic research has elaborated the ways in which diagnostic and lifeworld explanations are interactionally structured in somatic medicine, there is little research on how these explanations are organised in psychiatry. Psychiatric diagnosis is particularly interesting because in mental disorders illness itself is not determined by any objective measurement. Understanding of the patient's problem is constructed in interaction between the patient and clinician. The focus of this research will be patients' references to diagnosis in psychiatry and the functions of these references. The findings are based on conversation analysis of 29 audio-recorded diagnostic interviews in a psychiatric outpatient clinic. Our results demonstrate that patients can utilise diagnostic categories in several ways: disavowing a category to distance their symptoms from it, accounting for their life experiences being rooted in psychiatric illnesses and explaining their illnesses as being caused by certain life experiences. We argue that these explanations are important in patients' face-work - in constructing and maintaining a coherent and meaningful view of the patient's self.
  • Taipale, Jaakko (2019)
    This article investigates how civil court judges practice meta-expertise in cases that feature contradictory and inconclusive medical expertise. The empirical case study consists of a sample of eleven Helsinki district court verdicts from 2014–2017, drawn from a larger number of similar traffic insurance compensation cases. The case-type features a medical controversy concerning traumatic brain injury (TBI) diagnostics. I contend that the difficulties judges face in evaluating the medical expertise result from epistemic asymmetries between legal and medical professionals. This study highlights the importance of explaining and understanding how judges overcome uncertainty and discriminate between expert positions. Drawing from earlier studies on meta-expertise and judges’ practice of evaluating expertise in court, I introduce the concept ‘socio-technical review’ to describe judges’ practice of facilitating highly technical and esoteric scientific expertise to needs of judicial decision making. I argue that socio-technical review is a special form of practicing meta-expertise, which effectively allows meta-experts to manage epistemic asymmetries. In examining how meta-expertise is practiced in the TBI case-type, the paper contributes to general sociological understanding of decision-making under uncertainty and suggests further studies in comparable settings.
  • Kupari, Helena (2020)
    In the study of lived religion, the focus on laypeople as religious agents can result in the simplistic juxtaposition of religion-as-practised by individuals and religion-as-prescribed by institutions. This perspective leads to analyses that over-emphasize agency and overlook the embeddedness of religious persons in intricate power relations that expand beyond the institution(s) closest to them. I propose that Pierre Bourdieu's social theory, particularly as related to the religious field, offers tools for tackling this issue. While Bourdieu's work has been criticized for relegating the laity to the status of passive consumers of religious goods, his theorizations can also be employed to produce nuanced micro-level accounts that prioritize laypeople's practical knowledge of the field and the positions they take within it. Based on my case study of older Finnish women's normative assessments related to religion, I demonstrate how scholars can investigate the role which their informants' histories and investments within the religious field play in their religion-as-lived. The women in my study, lifelong members of Orthodox or Lutheran churches, defended their positions in the increasingly individualistic Finnish religious field through an emphasis on childhood socialization as the foundation of 'proper' religion.
  • Botez, Andrei; Hietanen, Joel; Tikkanen, Henrikki (2020)
    In this study, we critically examine the ongoing adoption of various posthumanist influences into the fields of marketing and consumer research from a theological perspective. By conducting a theological-historical assessment, we propose that it is not posthuman notions of human/technology relations, nor their broader context in the emerging non-representational paradigms, that mark radically new disruptions in the continuing restructuring of the disciplines of marketing and consumer research. Instead, we argue that what is taking place is an implicit adherence to a contemporary form of age-old Christian dogma. As a radical conjecture, we thus propose that an identification of certain similarities between Christian dogma and the grounds for various posthumanist frameworks suggest that posthuman thought may well herald the global dissemination of a far more elusive, authoritarian, and hegemonic system than that which posthumanists typically claim to have abandoned. Consequently, we elaborate on implications to developments in marketing thought.
  • Yli-Kauhaluoma, Sari Susanna; Pantzar, Mika (2018)
    Objective Self-tracking technologies have created high hopes, even hype, for aiding people to govern their own health risks and promote optimal wellness. High expectations do not, however, necessarily materialize due to connective gaps between personal experiences and self-tracking data. This study examines situations when self-trackers face difficulties in engaging with, and reflecting on, their data with the aim of identifying the specificities and consequences of such connective gaps in self-tracking contexts. Methods The study is based on empirical analyses of interviews of inexperienced, experienced and extreme self-trackers (in total 27), who participated in a pilot study aiming at promoting health and wellness. Results The study shows that people using self-tracking devices actively search for constant connectivity to their everyday experiences and particularly health and wellness through personal data but often become disappointed. The results suggest that in connective gaps the personal data remains invisible or inaccurate, generating feelings of confusion and doubt in the users of the self-tracking devices. These are alarming symptoms that may lead to indifference when disconnectivity becomes solidified and data ends up becoming dead, providing nothing useful for the users of self-tracking technologies. Conclusions High expectations which are put on wearables to advance health and wellness may remain unmaterialised due to connective gaps. This is problematic if individuals are increasingly expected to be active in personal data collection and interpretation regarding their own health and wellness.
  • Tupasela, Aaro; Snell, Karoliina; Tarkkala, Heta (2020)
    The Nordic countries aim to have a unique place within the European and global health data economy. They have extensive nationally maintained and centralized health data records, as well as numerous biobanks where data from individuals can be connected based on personal identification numbers. Much of this phenomenon can be attributed to the emergence and development of the Nordic welfare state, where Nordic countries sought to systematically collect large amounts of population data to guide decision making and improve the health and living conditions of the population. Recently, however, the so-called Nordic gold mine of data is being re-imagined in a wholly other context, where data and its ever-increasing logic of accumulation is seen as a driver for economic growth and private business development. This article explores the development of policies and strategies for health data economy in Denmark and Finland. We ask how nation states try to adjust and benefit from new pressures and opportunities to utilize their data resources in data markets. This raises questions of social sustainability in terms of states being producers, providers, and consumers of data. The data imaginaries related to emerging health data markets also provide insight into how a broad range of different data sources, ranging from hospital records and pharmacy prescriptions to biobank sample data, are brought together to enable "full-scale utilization" of health and welfare data.
  • Olakivi, Antero Olavi (2020)
    Care organizations in northern Europe recruit increasing numbers of migrant workers, but mostly to low-end jobs and especially to old-age care. According to sociological research, employers and managers play a significant but under-examined role in such recruitment. This article examines the roles played by two care work managers who both have responsibilities in recruitment in a public nursing home in Finland. The article examines the managers’ work through the lens of their occupational agency. Drawing on Emirbayer’s distinction between substantialist and relational sociology, the article adopts a relational perspective on the managers’ agency. Opposite to substantialist studies that operate with analytically pre-given entities (such as agents and structures), the article portrays the managers’ agency as open to relationally changing interpretations. The analysis demonstrates how the managers’ agency in and around recruitment depends on how the recipients of care, migrant workers and their broader political environment are constructed and interpreted. These relationally changing interpretations, the article argues, can serve many functions, including care work managers’ impression management in different situations and, ultimately, the recruitment of migrant workers to (precarious) old-age care.
  • Häkkinen, Esko (2020)
    Émile Durkheim known among other things for his pioneering sociology of criminal law was also a corporatist theorist and can be interpreted as a predecessor for an institutionalist approach that has recently gained popularity in comparative criminal justice. Durkheim suggested an inverse relationship between the intensities of ‘repressive’ regulation and ‘restitutive’ welfare state regulation. Contemporary institutionalist research has arrived at the same conclusion, but the connection between Durkheim’s theory and the empirical observations of modern comparative research has gone largely unnoticed in both legal scholarship and sociology. Correcting this omission might prove useful for substantive theory: Apart from welfare state strength, neo-institutionalist research has also associated lenient criminal law with corporatist political economy and consensus democracy. Durkheim’s political sociology proposes an answer for the interrelationship between these factors. Durkheim considered social corporatism a democratic institution and as such a precondition for a democracy capable of building the collective restitutive regulation that could alleviate society’s reliance on punitive justice as a basis for social cohesion.