Browsing by Subject "agency"

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  • Finch, Susanna (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    The study examined a bilingual child's agency in the context of a bilingual school. Previous research has shown that supporting a pupil's agency improves his or her motivation and engagement towards school and hence also enhances learning results. The traditional roles of teacher and pupil can be changed by encouraging pupils to agency. Bilingualism is a pervasive phenomenon in the world and affects the Finnish school worlds as well. The need for language proficiency and the demands for bilingual education increase perpetually. The study sees language as a base for human action and that it is used as a tool in the expressions of agency. The study strived to find out how children express agency and how they use their mother tongues if they have two mother tongues instead of just one. The goal of the study is to examine how the agency of an English?Finnish-bilingual child is expressed through verbal communication in a classroom. The study also strived to investigate what kinds of tasks the two mother tongues are used for in interaction. The case study centers on one 11-year-old American Finnish focus student who speaks English and Finnish as her mother tongues. The data of the study were collected by videotaping in a fifth grade of a bilingual school. In addition, a semistructured interview was used to interview the focus student and her mother in order to find out what kind of language choices the child makes and how was the development of the child's bilingualism and two mother tongues supported. The data consisted of approximately 8 hours of video material. Agency and language were examined from the viewpoint of the sociocultural framework. The results were interpreted using qualitative discourse analysis. The main result of the study is that the focus student's agency was expressed in verbal communication in a classroom through three different ways: through expertise, providing humor, and playing with institutional roles. Another finding was that agency was created partly through language. The focus student used her two mother tongues consistently for different tasks, of which communicating with family, friends, and teachers was the most significant one.
  • Hilska, Juuli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This study/research is an explorative work examining the effects of the use of talk audio digital products on agency. Visual products are most often the focus in discussions on human-computer interaction (HCI) and Science Technology Studies). Therefore, an examination of agency in the context of voice-based talk-audio products has remained a minority but is necessary in the era of digital services. The thesis explores the use of products in two environments with different cultures; urban Bangalore in India and urban Stockholm in Sweden where semi-structured interviews with undergraduate students were conducted. The concept of agency builds on Anthony Giddens’ classical approach. The concept of talk audio was created in the context of data collection and refers to talk-based auditory products. Inspired by studies of personal stereo use by Michael Bull and music sociology by Tia DeNora, the thesis explores how individuals construct their agency both consciously and less consciously when using talk audio products. Young people use talk audio products when constructing their agency consciously to manage it in relation to their environment (e.g. to avoid noises of the city, or to escape the repetitive elements of urban life), and to manage their inner reality inside their heads (e.g. manage their thoughts and feelings, avoiding feelings of loneliness, escaping to an imaginary place). Young people also constructed their agency less-consciously in order to manage their mood but they, in part, struggled to express how. By comparing talk audio use to music listening, the students described to attain a “normal” level of mood and thoughts instead of strong emotional states they get when listening to music. When choosing between music and talk audio products, the students aimed to attain a mood that was, in their minds, suitable for the current or future social situation. With talk audio, the interviewees describe getting a chance for a change of thoughts to feel less stressful or to gain perspective on their daily issues through the talk audio content and voice of the talk audio host. The young people also describe finding perspective e.g. on political topics from talk audio, while they also simultaneously learn, are entertained, get information and develop their social skills. The perspectives and information the students described to receive through talk audio were always curated by the talk audio host(s). All of the young people also said to have experienced talk audio products as distinctively personal and intimate. In contrast to music use, they described it to “feel strange” to listen together, and they only listened to talk audio alone or with a significant other. According to previous literature on radio and podcasts, the sense of ‘being there’ in a talk audio product can create a sense of a two-way communication for the audience. The relationship my informants described with talk audio hosts was perceived as distinctively personal; many would describe how they would feel being addressed exclusively or that they would take part in the discussions themselves. They also described talk audio to be more “authentic” than other mediums (e.g. in comparison to social media). With these findings I argue that the primary material for constructing agency through talk audio use builds from, in light of this data, the perceived relationship the listeners have with the talk audio host. The young people would describe talk audio hosts of something similar as talking or hanging out with friends or having a mentor. The phenomenon of an always-available human-presence decreased the level of loneliness for some participants and thus extended their sociality with technologically mediated content. Nevertheless, since the talk audio hosts are mostly unaware of the listeners’ reactions to their content, the social encounter is controlled solely by the listeners, unlike in a traditional interpersonal encounter. This creates one form of agency the students build with talk audio; a form of parasocial agency.
  • Nieminen, Juuso Henrik; Tuohilampi, Laura (2020)
    Promoting student agency has been seen as the primary function for new generation assessment environments. In this paper, we introduce two models of self-assessment as a way to foster students' sense of agency. A socio-cultural framework was utilised to understand the interaction between student agency and self-assessment. Through a comparative design, we investigated whether formative self-assessment and summative self-assessment, based on self-grading, would offer students different affordances for agency. The results show that while both models offered affordances for agentic learning, future-driven agency was only presented by the students studying according to the summative model. Our results shed light on the interplay of student agency and self-assessment in higher education.
  • Maaranen, Katriina; Kynäslahti, Heikki (2021)
    This study reports a practical experiment involving young pupils, their teachers and university students, named the Media Agent project. The purpose of the project was for the university students to teach the schoolchildren new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills, which they then would teach to other pupils and teachers at their own schools. The theoretical framework consists of students' pedagogical thinking and the concept of agency within the new Finnish Basic Education Curriculum (2014). By interviewing 18 pupils, the authors aimed to find out what their experiences of this project had been. In this qualitative study they used thematic analysis. The main themes that emerged from the data were (1) Media Agent; (2) the teaching event; and (3) impact. The results were very positive, although we also need to be somewhat critical towards them.
  • Korhonen, Henni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The focus of this thesis is on environmental agency in two different video games, The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle and Final Fantasy VII Remake. The research questions aim to answer how the player can act as an environmental agent in these two games and what are the key differences between these games. The study is executed in a form of qualitative two-case case study with the help of close reading. With close reading eight different types of agencies that form the typology of this study, will be analysed in order to answer the research questions. The data for this thesis was collected by playing both games and taking notes by following close reading. The notes were then analysed with the different types of agencies. The results showed clear overlapping of the types of agencies, and it could be said that environmental agency can be used better in the game when the overlapping is happening. The agencies complemented each other and made the possible learning process in the game more fulfilling. The main difference between the game seems to be that The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle as a life simulation game offers more diverse possibilities for environmental player agency. The studies about environmental games are mainly focused on serious games and not so much on commercial games. Video games hold great potential to engage people in environmental things especially with the help of player agency. It offers the player the ability to make meaningful choices and if they are structure well, the player can see the consequences of their agency which serves as an effective feedback which could lead to positive learning. In this case, the environmental agency in the game could be transformed into real-life environmental agency. As video games have become more immersive and their environments more realistic, it could be worth considering that separating virtual environment from the real-life one might not be necessary anymore. Therefore, games like The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle and Final Fantasy VII Remake could serve as an example of how environmental agency within them could be harnessed into wider use.
  • Tuominen, Tiina (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    In different sectors of education percentage of school drop outs is highest in upper secondary vocational school even though dropping out has decreased in recent years. When discussed about dropping out, it's essential to recognize when it's about increasing risk of alienation and when it's necessary for individual's life. The purpose of this research it to offer a new point of view that considers life choices and turning points as process that continues individually and multidimensionally. In this research interest focus on agency behind dropping out and situational actors that lead to decisions to drop out. The theoretical framework concentrates changes in youth and working life, situational actors behind school drop outs and agency as individual's power to shape their life circumstances by choosing their actions. The research was carried out qualitatively. The data was collected in October 2015 and is based on open interviews that were analyzed using content analysis. In this research nine individual interviews were used. Interviewees were young persons who had quitted at least once in upper secondary vocational school and started another education or got employed after dropping out. Interviews indicated human agency as active operations that contain ability to picture alternative course of actions and possible future outcomes. In narrations agency can be seen as interaction that is strongly combined to time. Decision making is influenced by the past, present and future. As active and planned decision making, narrations show that agency is limited or allowed by structural and social actors that guide individual's actions and decision making. In narrations situational actors that lead to quitting, appeared to be set of various actors that eventually lead to limited agency and quitting school.
  • Niska, Miira (2021)
    Entrepreneurship promotion in higher education is a highly controversial issue. Yet entrepreneurship education is nowadays part of the education system all over Europe. In order to be legitimate, entrepreneurship education implemented in higher education institutions is expected to serve multiple stakeholders, among them society, students and faculty members. Yet previous studies have demonstrated that students and faculty members also object to entrepreneurship education. This article adopts a frame analytic perspective on entrepreneurship education and examines attempts to make sense of entrepreneurship education in a way that aligns various stakeholders’ interests. The data analysed in the article consists of interviews (N = 11) with people who implement entrepreneurship education in a Finnish university. The article calls for more research on university students’ and graduates’ relation to social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial work life agency emphasized in the implementers’ framings.
  • Kristmannsdottir, Gudrun; Keski-Rahkonen, Anna; Kuusinen, Kirsti-Liisa (2019)
    A sense of agency is a transtheoretical concept that increases our understanding of important processes in psychotherapy. Agency can be described in terms of how strongly the person believes that she can have an impact on her problematic experiences and behaviors. In this case study, a patient's sense of agency in relation to symptoms of bulimia nervosa was assessed during 3 years of psychotherapy. Five distinct phases of agency in relation to eating disorder symptoms were identified: A false sense of agency or no agency at all, a weak sense of agency, a nascent sense of agency, a wavering sense of agency, and a strong sense of agency. A better understanding of patient agency can facilitate adapting approaches and methods best suited for the patient's capacity for change throughout treatment.
  • Lounela, Anu (2020)
    Climate change mitigation pilot projects (REDD+ - Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) affect and interact with the local population in Central Kalimantan and many other parts of Indonesia. Rather than being politically and economically neutral activities, climate change mitigation projects tend to objectify the value of carbon, land and labour, contributing to a process of commodification of nature and social relations. In this specific case study, a set of values - equality and autonomy - central to the Ngaju people, the indigenous population in Central Kalimantan, become contested in the course of the climate change mitigation project. These central values are produced in everyday activities that include mobility and the productive base - subsistence and market-based production - among the Ngaju people. On the other hand, the climate change mitigation project-related environmental practices and actions produce values that point to individual (material) benefit and stratification of the society. The aim of the paper is to draw attention to and create understanding of value production and related tensions in the efforts to 'fix' environmental degradation problems through the climate change mitigation pilot project in Central Kalimantan.
  • Etelämäki, Marja; Voutilainen, Liisa; Weiste, Elina (2021)
    The primary means for psychotherapy interaction is language. Since talk-in-interaction is accomplished and rendered interpretable by the systematic use of linguistic resources, this study focuses on one of the central issues in psychotherapy, namely agency, and the ways in which linguistic resources, person references in particular, are used for constructing different types of agency in psychotherapy interaction. The study investigates therapists' responses to turns where the client complains about a third party. It focuses on the way therapists' responses distribute experience and agency between the therapist and the client by comparing responses formulated with the zero-person (a formulation that lacks a grammatical subject, that is, a reference to the agent) to responses formulated with a second person singular pronoun that refers to the client. The study thus approaches agency as situated, dynamic and interactional: an agent is a social unit whose elements (flexibility and accountability) are distributed in the therapist-client interaction. The data consist of 70 audio-recorded sessions of cognitive psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, and the method of analysis is conversation analysis and interactional linguistics. The main findings are that therapists use the zero-person for two types of responses: affiliating and empathetic responses that distribute the emotional experience between the client and the therapist, and responses that invite clients to interpret their own experiences, thereby distributing control and responsibility to the clients. In contrast, the second person references are used for re-constructing the client's past history. The conclusion is that therapists use the zero-person for both immediate emotional work and interpretative co-work on the client's experiences. The study suggests that therapists' use of the zero-person does not necessarily attribute "weak agency" to the client but instead might strengthen the clients' agency in the sense of control and responsibility in the long term.
  • Perkinen, Annika; Valtonen, Juha; Ruismäki, Heikki (2022)
    Purpose and problem statement: Sports clubs have a positive impact on many children and adolescents, yet teenagers are increasingly quitting their sports club participation when they reach adolescence. The drop-out phenomenon has been widely studied. Conversely, the factors supporting the continuation of the sports club participation have been examined less. Our research question was: How is the experience of involvement related to continuing to participate in sports club activities? In this study, the concept of sports club participation means training in a football team. Involvement, for its part, consists of belongingness, inclusion, and togetherness. Approach: Eight female footballers were interviewed in this retrospective case study. Guided by the theoretical background, the classification body of the four components of involvement; communality, creating space for youth voice, participating in a sport that suits oneself, and environmental factors, was formed. The interview material was transcribed and placed in the categories of involvement components according to the content analysis. Consequently, the resulting subcategories were formed and discussed. Results: The main results of the research suggest that according to the interviewees, communality was built at both the club and the team level and within each adolescent’s positive social relationships. Creating space for youth voice included the dialogue between the club and the player, the coach and the player and the player's role in the team. The factors that made a sport suit oneself were the holistic consideration of the adolescent’s life, the experiences of finding one’s own place in the sport and the meaningfulness of the sport. The environmental factors were linked to the club’s structures, and both the location and the costs of the sport. Due to the limited nature of the research data, the results of the study cannot be generalised but can be considered to be indicative. Conclusions: Based on the study, involvement could provide a diverse approach to the development of sports clubs. By identifying the factors leading to meaningful sport, and by adapting participation according to the components of involvement, it is possible to motivate adolescents to continue their sports club participation longer, develop the sense of belonging and hence their well-being. Further studies should examine the component of creating space for youth voice in sports clubs, as it has been less studied
  • Pernu, Tuomas K.; Elzein, Nadine (2020)
    Since our moral and legal judgments are focused on our decisions and actions, one would expect information about the neural underpinnings of human decision-making and action-production to have a significant bearing on those judgments. However, despite the wealth of empirical data, and the public attention it has attracted in the past few decades, the results of neuroscientific research have had relatively little influence on legal practice. It is here argued that this is due, at least partly, to the discussion on the relationship of the neurosciences and law mixing up a number of separate issues that have different relevance on our moral and legal judgments. The approach here is hierarchical; more and less feasible ways in which neuroscientific data could inform such judgments are separated from each other. The neurosciences and other physical views on human behavior and decision-making do have the potential to have an impact on our legal reasoning. However, this happens in various different ways, and too often appeal to any neural data is assumed to be automatically relevant to shaping our moral and legal judgments. Our physicalist intuitions easily favor neural-level explanations to mental-level ones. But even if you were to subscribe to some reductionist variant of physicalism, it would not follow that all neural data should be automatically relevant to our moral and legal reasoning. However, the neurosciences can give us indirect evidence for reductive physicalism, which can then lead us to challenge the very idea of free will. Such a development can, ultimately, also have repercussions on law and legal practice.
  • Lehti, Lotta; Määttä, Simo K.; Viuhko, Minna (2022)
    This article analyses the importance of trust in counselling for refugee and other migrant women who have experienced gender-based violence. The data consist of journal entries written by social workers, case workers, legal counsellors, and psychologists working for seven non-governmental organizations providing counselling services for women in six European Union countries. The analysis focuses on how trust is represented in the journals and how it is linked to agency and vulnerability. Trust is necessary to build a form of agency that enables refugee women to be vulnerable in the sense that they expose themselves to the actions and expectations of the persons who help them. This form of vulnerability makes it possible to recount the events that have made them vulnerable in the sense of having been subjected to harmful actions. In the journals, the presence or absence of trust is always assessed by the counsellors, and the voice of the refugee women is not clearly present.
  • Raunio, Sonja (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    In my research I examined violence in secondary school from the point of view of the students. I asked, how the students themselves defined violence. I focused on who was considered to be someone who has information on the phenomenon or power to define it. In previous research it has been reported that mundane, everyday violence has been studied less than extreme acts of violence. In my research, I drew attention to the mundane aspects of the phenomenon and what it is at its limits. I tried to determine why some things were named violence, when others were not. In my research I regarded violence as gendered, since I wanted to study the phenomenon as a structure rather than as attached to specific individuals. In my understanding, violence and power are inseparably linked. Therefore I chose to approach the phenomenon from the perspective of a feminist theory. Key concepts in my research were violence, gender, school and agency. I used feminist ethnography as a method to both produce and analyze the data. In feminist ethnography it is essential to interact as respectfully as as possible with the people who are being studied as well as to maintain a critical attitude toward knowing and the hierarchies related to knowledge. The ethnographer tries to understand the world of the people she studies by participating in it. In feminist ethnography attention is drawn to power relations as well as in the intertwining differences. The data consist of field notes and interviews. For two weeks I observed the school days of the students of one seventh grade in one school located in the Helsinki metropolitan area. My observation covered classes, breaks and meal times, but I did not follow the students if they left the school grounds unless the classes were held there. I interviewed 17 of the 18 students in the class, in pairs or individually. Half of the interviews were done individually and the other half in pairs. There were 12 interviews in total. According to my research, the student's status in the social hierarchy, their position regarding the norms in the society and the discourses related to violence or bullying in society were some of the factors that influenced the way the students defined violence or were affected by it. Violence in school appeared to be so normal that often it was not even noticed or regarded as such. An atmosphere was maintained actively where the possibility of violence was always present. The teachers used the threat of violence as a resource to emphasize their message. Gendered structures were also entwined with the normalization of violence. Violence or the threat of it was linked in particular with the correct representations of masculinity. In addition to gender other differences affected how it was possible to be present in school and how violence could be defined or used as a resource. According to my research, racism, homophobia and gendered structures limit the students' agency. The students seemed to be struggling to understand situations from other person's points of view and to understand the consequences of their actions. On the other hand, the teachers did not seem to understand the students' perspective. I too shared the difficulties with identifying and naming violence. My conclusion is that even though no one is able to distinctly define violence, it is not to be accepted. Based on my research, violence should always be intervened, despite the difficulties of defining it.
  • Hannuniemi, Tiina (Helsingfors universitet, 2011)
    Nonstandard hour child care is a subject rarely studied. From an adult's perspective it is commonly associated with a concern for child's wellbeing. The aim of this study was to view nonstandard hour child care and its everyday routines from children's perspective. Three research questions were set. The first question dealt with structuring of physical environment and time in a kindergarten providing nonstandard hour child care. The second and third questions handled children's agency and social interaction with adults and peers. The research design was qualitative, and the study was carried out as a case study. Research material was mainly obtained through observation, but interviews, photography and written documents were used as well. The material was analysed by means of content analysis. The study suggests that the physical environment and schedule of a kindergarten providing nonstandard hour child care are similar to those of kindergartens in general. The kindergarten's daily routine enabled children's active agency especially during free play sessions for which there was plenty of time. During free play children were able to interact with both adults and peers. Children's individual day care schedules challenged interaction between children. These special features should be considered in developing and planning nonstandard hour child care. In other word, children's agency and opportunities to social interaction should be kept in mind in organising the environment of early childhood education in kindergartens providing nonstandard hour child care.
  • Koskela, Iida-Maria; Paloniemi, Riikka (Informa UK Limited, 2022)
    Environmental Education Research
    How to secure a sustainable future is currently one of the key challenges across society. Bandura’s theory of human agency provides important insights into this question by recognising the role of individual, proxy and collective agency in initiating action and change. In this article, we conceptualise sustainability agency and discuss psychological features and competencies that are relevant for supporting agency in sustainability education. Agency may manifest in different forms and contexts: countless actions in individual lives, communities, and local, national and global scenes can contribute to sustainability. This range of opportunities to be engaged in sustainability transformations can be better acknowledged in sustainability education in formal, non-formal and informal learning settings by broadening and clarifying the targets and indicators of successful sustainability education. Consequently, sustainability education and related participation in advancing sustainability can become more inclusive and meaningful for actors with diverse backgrounds.
  • Cole, Robert; Brockhaus, Maria; Wong, Grace Yee; Kallio, Maarit Helena; Moeliono, Moira (2019)
    Themes of inclusion, empowerment, and participation are recurrent in development discourse and interventions, implying enablement of agency on the part of communities and individuals to inform and influence how policies that affect them are enacted. This article aims to contribute to debates on participation in rural development and environmental conservation, by applying a structure-agency lens to examine experiences of marginal farm households in three distinct systems of resource allocation in Lao PDR’s northern uplands—in other words, three institutional or (in)formal structures. These comprise livelihood development and poverty reduction projects, maize contract farming, and a national protected area. Drawing on qualitative data from focus group discussions and household surveys, the article explores the degree to which farmers may shape their engagement with the different systems, and ways in which agency may be enabled or disabled by this engagement. Our findings show that although some development interventions provide consultative channels for expressing needs, these are often within limited options set from afar. The market-based maize system, while in some ways agency-enabling, also entailed narrow choices and heavy dependence on external actors. The direct regulation of the protected area system meanwhile risked separating policy decisions from existing local knowledge. Our analytical approach moves beyond notions of agency commonly focused on decision-making and/or resistance, and instead revisits the structure-agency dichotomy to build a nuanced understanding of people’s lived experiences of interventions. This allows for fresh perspectives on the everyday enablement or disablement of agency, aiming to support policy that is better grounded in local realities. Keywords: agency, participation, rural development, forests, conservation, Lao PDR
  • Laherto, Antti (2020)
    Global sustainability crises are changing the aims, pedagogies and research in science education. The field is increasingly oriented towards transformative education for sustainable development. School science should now support responsible agency and value-based transformation. This article argues that the thinking in the field of Futures Studies can help students to see alternative futures and take action. Science education provides excellent opportunities for scenario building activities, addressing the uncertainty, and shaping transformative agentic orientations. Future-oriented activities developed in the I SEE project are presented as an example. The suggestions are discussed with relation to the topical sustainability crises and the COVID19 pandemic.
  • Högström, Emma-Lotta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Serial killing, although statistically rare, is frequently covered in news and entertainment media. Consequently, what has followed, is an extensive scholarly debate over the serial killer’s place in popular culture and the media as some have suggested that cultures promote serial killers by glorifying and overrepresenting them in the media. This thesis, guided by an interest in the problematic portrayal of this crime, explores the discursive portrayal of serial killers in two Finnish tabloids – Iltalehti and Ilta-Sanomat – by adapting a Foucauldian discourse analytical approach. Previous research has suggested that serial killers are most often portrayed as either monsters, celebrities or as mad or bad by the press. The celebrity portrayal of the serial killer is most often present in the American media, while the European media tends to lean towards a more monstrous portrayal. The results from this thesis correspondingly found that three Finnish serial killers; “the Serial Strangler”, “the Serial Drowner” and “the Poison Nurse” were most often portrayed as either mad, bad, or power hungry. The results presented in this thesis demonstrate how certain discourses are used to make sense of crimes that appear incomprehensible. These discourses determine how these offenders are seen by the public and place them in subject positions that in turn restrict their future possibilities of rehabilitation and reintegration. The discourses present in the Finnish tabloids tend to portray these serial killers as highly agentic, deviant individuals fully responsible for their violent crimes and thus beyond help. This thesis demonstrates that the Finnish portrayal of serial killers leans towards the more European kind: the Finnish serial killers were not glorified or portrayed as celebrities. Neither were they portrayed as killers motivated by fame, which suggests there are some cultural differences in the phenomenon. Serial killers do, however, even in Finland receive a lot of attention, exposure and recognition. Implications and meanings behind these findings are discussed and suggestions for future research possibilities are presented.
  • Polynczuk-Alenius, Kinga (2018)
    To introduce economic justice into global trade, fair trade organizations strive to shorten the distance' between producers and consumers through mediation. This article problematizes the idea of shortening the distance' through the notion of maintaining the proper distance' in representing distant others. This perspective is used in narratological analysis of the content that fair trade organizations curate on their Facebook pages to represent Southern producers. The two organizations studied are: (1) Fairtrade Finland, a non-governmental organization (NGO); (2) Pizca del Mundo, a commercial brand in Poland. This article identifies the discursive and narrative forms of mediated agency that are offered to producers. The analysis revealed that Fairtrade Finland utilized Facebook to extend the narrative of producers as active subjects. By using the affordances of Facebook, Pizca del Mundo increased the mediated agency of producers but problematized the maintenance of the proper distance in their representations.