Browsing by Subject "class"

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  • Krivonos, Daria (2018)
    This article analyses the position of young unemployed Russian-speaking migrants in Finland as being both racialised and racialising Others. Young Russian-speakers’ claims to whiteness are analysed against the backdrop of their racialised position as well as the neoliberal reshaping of class relations in Finland. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork on young Russian-speakers’ employment in Helsinki, the article shows that young Russian-speakers’ racialisation of Others is a modality through which their own racialised class position is lived and narrated. Through such boundary-making processes young Russian-speakers resist being classified as ‘welfare abusers’, the unemployed and low-skilled workers. The article argues that young Russian-speakers’ efforts to be recognised as white should be understood as a struggle against classification, through which they generate alternative value as deserving citizens and respectable workers.
  • Kaukonen Lindholm, Olli Veikko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The focus of this thesis is on the recent changes in ethnic and class relations that have taken place in Bolivia since the beginning of the 21st century with the expansion of the economic middle class and the rise of the indigenous movements, Evo Morales and his socialist party to political power. This is approached through the medium of coca leaf, a key symbol of the Central Andean indigenous peoples, and its chewing that has recently been appropriated by all social layers of Bolivia. The recent popularity of coca challenges the race-based class structure of Bolivia, where prejudices on indigenous peoples have been epitomised in coca. The realities of social change are investigated by looking into the contemporary perceptions that Bolivians have towards coca, and how its increasing use reflects the changing identities and relations between different social layers. The city of Tarija was chosen as the primary field site as coca is commonly chewed there publicly. As previous anthropological research on coca has mainly been conducted in rural surroundings, this thesis illuminates how the leaf is used by the urban population of Bolivia. The principle research questions are: How is the chewing of coca leaf perceived and practiced by the different layers, of the contemporary society of Tarija, and how does this contribute to the production of separate ethnic and class identities, but also national and departmental unity? This thesis is mostly based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Bolivia between 3 December 2018 and 23 February 2019, of which two months were spent in the city of Tarija and it surroundings, while one month of supplementary research was conducted in other parts of Bolivia. In addition to participant observation, the material collected included 14 recorded interviews as well as 63 informal interviews. Besides ethnographic data, this thesis also analyses the history of coca leaf at the epicentre of racial and social relations of Bolivian society, which also includes its place as one of the main ingredients of the global drug trade. As the perceptions surrounding coca are linked to its possible narcotic qualities and medical applicability, an analysis of the medicinal value of the coca leaf is included to provide a background for the claims made by the interviewees. To approach the multiple meanings of the coca leaf, this thesis employs a locally engaged theory. Anthropological concepts and theories of multiple origins are employed and applied throughout the ethnographical analysis to build a multi-sited and encompassing understanding of coca chewing. The identities are approached from an intersectional perspective to show the complexity of identity building, where gender, age, race and class are in interaction with each other. The reasons that members of different groups give for coca chewing and how these reasons work to create differences between the chewers are analysed to demonstrate how the traditional upper and middle classes of Tarija do not partake in the key symbolism that coca has for the Central Andean indigenous peoples. Instead, they perceive coca as an ancient medicine, a national emblem that works to create unity between all Bolivians by connecting them to their shared indigenous roots, while the chewing of the leaf for work-related reasons, as a stimulant, is perceived to be practiced mainly by the rural population and the working class. By further differentiating the zones of coca production to traditional producers and narcotraffickers, and as also demonstrated with an analysis on the public chewing of coca, this thesis argues that through coca chewing, the traditional upper and middle classes are able to overpass the racism previously employed in demonstrations against Evo Morales and his socialist party. Their new rhetoric highlights national unity regardless of class or ethnicity in the name of democracy. The ambiguous relation that the people of Tarija have towards coca reflects the ambiguous relations that exist between the different social layers of the city. The increasing popularity of coca reflects the social change that has diluted the colonial race-based boundaries between social classes, but also the limits of this change, as many of the prejudices and stereotypes previously attached to race and coca, instead of disappearing, have been reassigned to low income levels and political affiliation.
  • Bland, Clarice (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This thesis analyses the position of working-class women in Victorian Spiritualism, and how they transcended class positions using their role as mediums. Spiritualism was a religious movement that was popular in both North America and Europe during the Victorian era, and women were especially important to the movement because of their “innate” connection to the natural and supernatural realms. As the movement primarily focused on communication to and from the spirit world, women acted as intermediaries by using their bodies as “vessels” and through this attained positions of power and respect. Recent scholarship has mostly focused on the contributions of middle-class women towards this movement; however, working-class women were also greatly involved in Spiritualist circles. Working-class women were held to a different societal standard however, due to sexual and moral qualities that had been prescribed upon them by the middle class. There were many working-class women Spiritualists but how they were introduced to the movement and how they operated within it differed to their middle-class peers. This thesis examines why Spiritualism was appealing to working-class women, because they would not have used the movement to gain access to the public sphere (as was the case with middle-class women). Working-class women were already present in the public sphere and thus there must have been another reason why they were drawn to the movement. As is shown in the thesis, many Spiritualists also identified as Socialists; the two movements shared many similarities, including a vision of a utopic future where classes and genders were equal as well as a distrust for the middle-class Christians of their society. Another question examined is how working-class women viewed their own position in Spiritualism, which brings forth issues of agency and consciousness. Through examining sources from the mediums themselves as well as newspapers I am able to construct an understanding that working-class mediums knew that in order to be respected in the Spiritualist community they had to downplay their own involvement as well as emphasize their lack of interest in worldly goods. A portion of this thesis focuses on the differing treatment of public and private mediums – those women who were private mediums were commonly regarded as less likely to be fraudulent and more respected than those who were public – public, in this instance, meaning those mediums who took payment for séances and extended their circle beyond that of their family and friends. Working-class women in Spiritualism remain emblematic of contradictions that were so prevalent in Victorian society – the body of the working-class woman was thought to be her strength and her connection to the spirit realm, but it was only through giving up her agency and acting as a mouthpiece for these spirits was she respected and taken seriously. Research methods I have used include an examination of historical sources, mainly being newspapers, accounts from people present at séances and an autobiography from one of the most prominent mediums of the time. I have also included a brief overview of intersectionality and why it is important for this thesis, as well as an analysis of power. From my thesis I hope to show the Spiritualist movement from the perspective of working-class women as well as how they used it to attain their own agency.
  • Nurmi, Reetta (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    Aim of the study. Educating students to become active citizens has become more and more common in Finnish comprehensive schools. Civic knowledge and skills training is not a separate subject in Finnish primary schools (grades 1-6). In the 2004 national core curriculum for basic education civic knowledge and skills training is integrated within the other subjects. To what extent the civic education is included in everyday teaching depends a lot on the teacher. For this reason the amount of civil education can differ a lot depending on a particular class and school. Teacher's own knowledge, skills and attitude towards civic education has a strong influence on how civic education can be seen in the classroom. The aim of the study is to find out how a class of sixth graders and their teacher from the Helsinki metropolitan area see civic education in their classroom. Methods. 25 sixth graders and their teacher from a school in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area participated in the study. This study is a qualitative case study that includes different types of research data. The research data from the teacher was collected by interview. Students had written earlier essays about democracy that used in the study. The students also answered a questionnaire with open-ended questions that included questions about their possibilities to influence in matters of the classroom. research data was analysed by using qualitative content analysis. Both theory and content based analyses were used in this study. Results and conclusions. The results shows that the teacher and the students both feel that democracy is a relevant and important issue to be considered in the classroom. The students had a very positive view of democracy and how it worked in the classroom. Although the students participation in decision making was usually limited to matters outside teaching, most students felt that they had enough influence in the classroom. Based on the results, it can be said that the teacher has with teaching successfully supported her students to become active citizens.
  • Lehtonen, Inka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    In my Master’s Thesis, I analyse matrimonial advertisements published in two newspapers from 2011-12 in order to shed light on how Indian middle-class individuals and families describe their social identity and try to get more resources, “capitals” in Pierre Bourdieu’s terms, through marital alliances. I have two sets of data: one from an English newspaper published in a big metropolitan city and the other from a Hindi language newspaper published in a slightly smaller city, both from North India. I attempt to compare these two sets of data. My research method is qualitative content analysis. The theoretical perspective of this study is based on the different types of capital developed by Pierre Bourdieu. I try to find all the different factors mentioned in the advertisements which can be used as capital in the marriage market and in the other fields where the struggle for social distinction takes place. These factors are used by the advertisers to claim belonging to some groups whilst marking their difference from other groups, and to show that they hold valuable capitals. The families that post matrimonial ads in newspapers have to portray themselves and their candidate (bride or bridegroom) as an opportunity to increase and convert capitals. Education was the most frequently mentioned factor that can be seen to bring status. Everybody should be educated: grooms, brides and even the future parents-in-law. Occupation is not a quality of men only anymore but women too seem to have entered the labour force, especially in the sample from an English language newspaper. Software engineer, doctor, engineer and entrepreneur are some examples of prestigious occupations. Employment in big multinational firms and other reputed private companies is highly valued in today’s society. Descriptions of family status, such as “cultured family” or “respected family”, and parents and siblings’ occupations are frequently listed by the advertisers. The persons living abroad enjoy prestige. Other things that constitute one’s social status include property, caste, families’ social networks, values, lifestyle, religion, ethnic and linguistic group as well as dowries, gifts and lavish weddings.