Browsing by Subject "kinship"

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  • Kortelainen, Tina Helena Katrin (2010)
    This thesis examines some of the ideals and values associated with family in the context of adoption in Finland, and takes a look at how normative conceptions such as these come into being. The discussion is based on material collected through ethnographic fieldwork including public information sessions held for people interested in adoption and interviews with staff members at adoption agencies. The analysis has been divided into two parts. Firstly, I explore the regulations that govern the adoption process in Finland and ask where it is that decision-making power lies. The adoption system is presented as an example of Foucault’s view that modern society does not have one centre of power from which it is steered but control rather happens through infinite smaller and larger channels and processes. Some central decision-makers that dominate the power dynamics at work can nevertheless be identified and are discussed here. Secondly, this thesis asks how adoption, family and kinship are talked about in Finland and the discourses surrounding adoption thereby remain the central object of study. The discussion identifies the dictum “the best interest of the child” as the central logic governing discourse on adoption and looks at how this brings about a discourse of “warning” and a discourse of “risk” and permeates a discourse of “understanding”. The way in which the slogan is furthermore used as an instrument of concealment is also discussed, and the saddening reality of the hierarchy in adoptive children, which is rationalised through a discourse governed by terms of supply and demand and market forces, comes into focus. Most importantly, this thesis wishes to explore the political significance of the power dynamics and the complex set of discourses characterising the adoption process in Finland. Contrary to an overarching discourse of “equality” that claims everyone is treated equally in Finland, the adoption process is marked by an inequality that “labels” applicants as “suitable” or “unsuitable” as adoptive parents. Those considered “unsuitable” are openly discriminated against on the basis of their age, health or sexual orientation, while the system proclaims not only the right to discriminate, but the importance of doing so. By asking the question whether adoption in Finland is “in everyone’s best interest”, this thesis wishes to deconstruct and criticise underlying discourses of power.
  • Sillander, Kenneth; Couderc, Pascal; Swedish School of Social Science Subunit (NIAS press,, 2012)
    NIAS studies in Asian topics
  • Koutaniemi, Riikka (Helsingfors universitet, 2011)
    This is a study on the changing practices of kinship in Northern India. The change in kinship arrangements, and particularly in intermarriage processes, is traced by analysing the reception of Hindi popular cinema. Films and their role and meaning in people´s lives in India was the object of my research. Films also provided me with a methodology for approaching my other subject-matters: family, marriage and love. Through my discussion of cultural change, the persistence of family as a core value and locus of identity, and the movie discourses depicting this dialogue, I have looked for a possibility of compromise and reconciliation in an Indian context. As the primary form of Indian public culture, cinema has the ability to take part in discourses about Indian identity and cultural change, and alleviate the conflicts that emerge within these discourses. Hindi popular films do this, I argue, by incorporating different familiar cultural narratives in a resourceful way, thus creating something new out of the old elements. The final word, however, is the one of the spectator. The 'new' must come from within the culture. The Indian modernity must be imaginable and distinctively Indian. The social imagination is not a 'Wild West' where new ideas enter the void and start living a life of their own. The way the young women in Dehra Dun interpreted family dramas and romantic movies highlights the importance of family and continuity in kinship arrangements. The institution of arranged marriage has changed its appearance and gained new alternative modes such as love cum arranged marriage. It nevertheless remains arranged by the parents. In my thesis I have offered a social description of a cultural reality in which movies act as a built-in part. Movies do not work as a distinct realm, but instead intertwine with the social realities of people as a part of a continuum. The social imagination is rooted in the everyday realities of people, as are the movies, in an ontological and categorical sense. According to my research, the links between imagination and social life were not so much what Arjun Appadurai would call global and deterritorialised, but instead local and conventional.
  • Paavola, Saana; Kurppa, Kalle; Huhtala, Heini; Saavalainen, Päivi; Lindfors, Katri; Kaukinen, Katri (2022)
    Background Serological screening of the relatives of coeliac disease patients is widely endorsed. However, the need for and the optimal timing of possible re-testing of once seronegative at-risk individuals for coeliac disease remain unclear. Objective We investigated this issue by inviting a large cohort of previously screening-negative relatives of patients with coeliac disease to participate in a follow-up study. Methods Altogether 599 relatives of coeliac disease index patients not diagnosed with coeliac disease in a screening study carried out in 2006-2010 were asked about possible later diagnosis or re-tested with coeliac disease autoantibodies in 2017-2021. Besides incidence, the possible impact of various patient-related clinical factors and HLA haplotype on the later diagnosis or screening positivity was examined. Results Fifteen (2.5%) relatives were either diagnosed with a coeliac disease (n = 8) during the follow-up period or were found to be screening-positive in the re-testing (n = 7), giving a combined annual incidence of 221/100,000 person-years in all relatives and 336/100,000 among those carrying coeliac disease-associated HLA DQ2/DQ8. The new cases more often carried the high-risk (DQ2.5/2.5 or DQ2.5/2.2; 35.7% vs. 7.4%, respectively, p < 0.001) HLA and were younger at initial screening (23.3 vs. 40.5 years, p = 0.028) and - in spite of a negative screening outcome - had higher median transglutaminase antibody level in the first study than those not affected. There were no significant differences between the affected and non-affected relatives in other demographic data, degree of kinship with the index, current symptoms or frequency of chronic co-morbidities. Conclusion The incidence rate for later coeliac disease diagnosis or new seropositivity in relatives who had been tested once was 221/100,000 person-years in all and 336/100,000 among those carrying at-risk HLA genetics after similar to 10 years of follow-up. HLA-typing could help to target a subgroup of relatives who would benefit most from re-testing.
  • Laivo, Soila Pauliina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This thesis answers to a question “Why adolescent girls drop out of school in Northern Uganda?” In Uganda, approximately 70% of the children drop out of public school before 7th grade, the final year of primary school. In northern Uganda, girls drop out of school in more significant numbers than boys, and it happens around the age when girls reach puberty. Northern Uganda is also a particular location because it is recovering from long conflict, affecting strongly the whole population living in the area. The thesis is based on two-month ethnographic fieldwork in northern Uganda during the spring of 2015. To answer the main research question this study seeks to analyse it through taking a look how the school, the community and the girls themselves experience and talk about dropping out, education and growing up in the current post-conflict state of the social life. The thesis argues that the dropout rate is linked to the adolescence as life-stage of becoming an adult that is making the girls to make decisions about the future. The analysis is done through three different perspectives – the educational, societal and personal narratives of the youth. The first perspective is the education and schooling in northern Uganda. It explores the concept of ’educated person’ by Levinson and Holland through sexual education and gender in education. The study shows that Ugandan public primary and secondary education is deriving its ideas and understanding of educated person from the national curriculum, which often conflict with the local concepts of the educated person in the Acholi community, influencing the blamed and real reasons for dropping out. The second perspective looks into the community and the societal pressures the girls are facing when growing up. It will describe family, kinship, marriage and gender in post-conflict context and show how in these areas of life, the past conflict, “loss of culture”, generational conflicts and subsequent disobedience are presented as reasons behind the challenges to stay in school. The third perspective tells the stories of the girls met and talked to during the ethnographic fieldwork in Northern Uganda. It answers the question “What is happening in the life of a girl when she drops out of school?”. It is argued that the girls take actions of a gendered agency to further their lives and become adults. Thus, dropping out of school cannot just be explained as a simple event just suddenly happening without their own will. It will further answer the question “What makes some girls stay in school?” to show how those girls still in school manage the crosscurrents of growing up in Acholiland. The thesis argues that the girls in northern Uganda are active appropriators and social agents who through their own actions contest, struggle and penetrate the structures in their society while also at the same time reproduce them. In Northern Uganda, both the community and the state together with different international agencies will have plans and expectations for the girls’ future. The study shows how the girls navigate the school, community and peer expectations and sociocultural and economic structures to stay or finally drop out of school. These structures are state organised and aid-infused formal schooling and society in amidst of post-conflict recovery which creates a framework where the girls are acting. The school presents the modern and globally orientated educated person, and in contrast to it, the community is looking for to restore ‘traditional’ way of life. It is argued that these two sides are often in conflict and in the middle of this conflict the girls act and solve their way out of it, looking for adulthood and gaining respectable status in the society. The schools, the community and even sometimes the development actors see the girls as passively following the things they will encounter. The thesis will show that they are not. The girls either stay in school or drop out of it, but more often as a consequence of their own decisions and actions than passively because the school or the community could not support them. It is demonstrated that dropping out of school looks more of line a tactic for the future as a respectable grown-up than mere problem to be solved.
  • Härkönen, Heidi (2010)
  • Harkonen, Heidi (2019)
    Among low-income Havana residents, men frequently give money and other forms of material support to women in whom they have a romantic interest. For women, men's material contributions are expressions of responsibility and care. While men share this view to a degree, they sometimes have more ambiguous emotions regarding such practices. These tensions in different views of gendered reciprocity are influenced by large-scale changes that have taken place in Cuban society since the 1990s. Although, traditionally, state socialism has embraced ideas of gender egalitarianism and women's independent income, the post-Soviet period has seen the emergence of new inequalities, dependencies, and marginalizations that threaten earlier, socialist understandings of intimacy. The importance that women currently place on material wealth in terms of their views of a desirable partner highlights the gendered consequences of Cuba's contemporary economic transformations and their complex interplay with individuals' aspirations for love.
  • Tammisto, Tuomas (University of Helsinki, 2018)
    Research Series in Anthropology
    The thesis examines how the Mengen living in the rural Pomio District in Papua New Guinea reproduce their society and their lived environment by engaging in swidden horticulture, logging, wage labor on plantations and community conservation. These four practices have created and continue to create different kinds of places and social relations that involve the Mengen, like other inhabitants of Pomio, within larger political and economic structures. These have also produced, reproduced and at times significantly changed the environment of the Mengen. By examining the four complex modes of engaging with the environment, the thesis seeks to answer two questions. First, how the Mengen produce their livelihood, a socially meaningful environment and valued social relations in the process. Second, how the Mengen take part in natural resource extraction, the expansion of industrial agriculture and state territorialization on a resource frontier---a spatialized process in which resources, practices and their values are defined. This often involves struggle, which reflects the notion that the greatest political struggles are not only over who gets to appropriate value, but who gets to define it. The study is aimed as a contribution to the understandings of human-environmental relations and natural resource extraction. It suggests that political ecology combined with anthropological theories of value help us understand how people who have intimate relations with their lived environment engage in a globalized resource economy. The thesis argues that there is no uniform way in which "the Mengen" take part in logging or the making of the state. The very different approaches deployed and the ensuing disagreements are, however, often disagreements over how best to pursue Mengen values of establishing productive relations with each other, the land and people from elsewhere. The Mengen have been successful in retaining their system of values over long and extensive contact with commodity relations, foreign companies and state administrations, while adapting to and incorporating these changes into their lives without losing hold of what they value. A key reason for this is that they have not been dispossessed of their lands, but continue to hold them communally.
  • Saari, Nelli-Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Ancient DNA research has become a widely applied method to examine past communities. The acidic soil in Finland has previously complicated archaeogenetic research but advances in the field have opened up new opportunities in recent years. This thesis integrates genetic data and archival research to examine the genetic ancestry and social organisation of Early Medieval communities in Southwest Finland. In this era, the coastal region of Southwest Finland experienced diverse societal changes induced by trade networks, urbanisation and conversion to Christianity. These shifts can be observed in large inhumation burial grounds from the Crusade Period (1025/1050–1150/1200 CE). While the burial grounds contain well-preserved skeletal material, no prior ancient DNA investigations have been undertaken in the area. A total of 30 individuals from three burial grounds, Tuomala, Kansakoulunmäki and Humikkala, were studied. The sites are located in the historical Raisio and Masku parishes close to Raisio river valley. The burial context was reconstructed with archival research, and the genetic data was extracted from skeletal samples. The resulting genome-wide data for 8 individuals from the Kansakoulunmäki burial ground was studied with exploratory population genetic and kinship analyses. The archival research produced a detailed burial context for 14 individuals from Kansakoulunmäki in Raisio and 15 individuals from Humikkala in Masku. The genetic results concluded good molecular preservation at Kansakoulunmäki and poor at Tuomala and Humikkala. The Kansakoulunmäki and Humikkala individuals bore traces of diverse connections to the Baltic Sea region. The integrated results revealed possible evidence of patrilocality and potential female genetic connections to Sigtuna in Central Sweden. These findings may point towards female mobility or exogamous marriage patterns between the two regions. Kinship relations were also detected. The possible sibling relationship could indicate an Early Medieval burial practice where close kin was buried together. The Kansakoulunmäki individuals appeared local and displayed genetic continuity with present-day Finns. This thesis adds to an emerging body of research on the ancient genetic compositions and social practices in coastal Southwest Finland in a period of transformation. The results underline the potential of interdisciplinary strategies combining genetic and archival research, as well as possibilities in the investigation of larger inhumation burial grounds. The study contributes to diverse lines of research with new data and interpretations about the Early Medieval communities, suggesting potential for further analyses both in Finland and across the Baltic Sea region.