Browsing by Subject "power relations"

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  • Saarilehto, Ilmari (2006)
    This thesis examines the actors' power relations in the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Support Programme (RWSSSP) in Nepal. I study the power relations in this case through analysing actors' conceptions about development, roles, motivations and conflicts related to the programme. I approach the programme as a case of Finnish aid and reflect it on the academic aid debate. With reflection and comparisons to the different views in the aid debate the case will be put into a wider theoretical context and by confronting the theories with the complex reality of the case some general conclusions may be drawn about the power and roles of different actors in development aid. The analysis is based on interviews, field observations, different types of literature and archival material. The most important sources of information are the interviews and observations made during my fieldwork in Nepal in September 2004. I performed the analysis of the actors' perceptions on the issues studied using some of the methods of grounded theory for categorizing and conceptualizing my interview data. I also analysed the discourses relevant in the case at hand, not by methods of detailed discourse analysis but rather as a part of the issues scrutinized, manifest in what people say about their actions, relations and motivations. My analysis of the context and project history of the case is based on critical review and textual analysis of archival material, project related documents, relevant academic studies. My main conclusions relate to the roles and power relations of different actors in the programme, their conceptions and the determinants of a successful programme. In RWSSSP, the practical power seemed to be largely concentrated in the hands of the programme consultant staff having a very central role in programme coordination, planning and implementation. The often criticised donor domination was less prominent, DIDC mainly directed the approaches and principles represented in documents, while the programme consultants controlled the day-to-day operation of the programme and also the picture transmitted about it to the donor. The local government agencies, much promoted in programme documents, had been largely bypassed in practice. Local non-governmental actors were, however, in an important position in the implementation of schemes at community level, but not above that. The central role of the implementing consultants can, in my opinion, be generalised to some extent as donor staff is often far removed from the field and depend on consultants for most information about field level activities. The different actors' conceptions of development seemed quite similar, which is largely explained by the fact that all actors benefit from representing their needs and conceptions in line with the dominant development discourses. There was, however, a clear difference between the stated and implicit meanings of development. All the actors emphasised the issues prominent in development discourses as development, but also seemed to see development as an immanent process in society through which it develops and "modernises". So, the actors' conceptions of development seemed more similar than many simplifying theories state. The RWSSSP has often been cited among the most prominent successes of Finnish development aid. This success seems to be based on representing the programme according to the trends of development discourses and on getting measurable results. Such determinants of project success can be largely generalised, as project success is finally judged in the donor countries where only the representation and some quantified results in project reports are seen. Coherent representation and tangible results are needed also to justify aid.
  • Meri, Maija (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This study addresses the ways in which environmental challenges and power relations are manifested through tourism in the easternmost province of Panama, Darién. Historically, the area of Darién has remained relatively isolated from the rest of the country and tourism in the area is of small-scale. However, the high biodiversity and natural resources have drawn increasing attention, thus resulting in tensions and competing interests between different stakeholders. Local perceptions of tourism bring insight about how people make sense of and engage with touristic activities, and how geopolitical and ecological discourses contribute to environmental inequalities. The theoretical background draws from geopolitical ecology, which states the role and impact of the environment in the shaping of political space and power relations. The research is based on 37 thematic interviews and participant observation carried out during a one-month ethnographic fieldwork in Darién. The findings indicate that tourism has contributed to exposing the environmental challenges in Darién, but also caused controversy over the use of resources for tourism. Tourism brings forward power relations and demonstrates that different players are in an uneven position. The results show that tourism in Darién has been influenced by its remoteness and the nowadays largely misleading assumption of its unstable security situation. Darién faces a broad range of environmental problems, resulting mainly from the State´s weak presence and poor environmental policies. However, tourism has been locally able to enhance environmental awareness and interest towards conservation. Different tourism actors have unequal possibilities in making use of natural resources depending largely on their wealth and social networks. Further geopolitical interests appear through territorial issues and questions concerning land ownership. The findings indicate that by looking at tourism, many underlying tensions related to existing social inequalities, power relations and distribution of ecological benefits can be revealed.
  • Peltola, Katja (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    Higher education is seen to be a part of the global educational market nowadays. In order to stand out on this market, universities work for accreditations so that they can prove the level of their quality. Accreditations are preceded by long processes during which the university has to show that is meets all the requirements. There is quite a lot of research on accreditations as such but less on how they effect the internal power relations at a university. In this research, the aim was to study the effects of an accreditation process on internal power relations at a university. The theoretical starting point was Risto Heiskala's power theory which combines resource theories and structuralism and Hannu Simola's grid of the effects of a power mechanism. Simola's grid is based on Heiskala's theory. The aim was to analyse how accreditation processes present themselves a university from the power aspect and also how accreditation processes are talked about and how they are regarded. The material was collected at Svenska handelshögskolan (Hanken) where they were working towards an accreditation. The material consisted of 26 protocols and 6 interviews. All the interviewees worked in the university management. The analysis was based on Simola's grid and the material was analysed using critical discourse analysis. The results of this research show that a lot of power is used during accreditation processes. During these processes, many power relations seem to change, either momentarily or more permanently. At times, the use of power seems to be conscious while at times it seems to be more unconscious. The effects of power that is being used seem to cover all the four areas in Simola's grid, namely resources, position, identity and self-regulation. According to the results of this research, the effects seem to be more complicated than the grid suggests. In some research papers, accreditations have been mentioned as a new form of steering. According to the results of this research, this steering mechanism seems to cover the whole university and its staff and this is why there should be more research on the internal effects of the processes. The material in this research represented mainly the point of view of the management. In order to get a broader picture of the situation in future research, the material should cover also the research and teaching personal. In this research, the material was collected in a small university but it would be interesting to see whether the results apply also for a larger organisation.
  • Risberg, Annette; Tienari, Janne; Vaara, Eero (Informa plc, 2010)
    In this study of symbolic power relations in a transnational merger, we suggest that the popular media can provide a significant arena for (re)constructing national identities and power in this kind of dramatic industrial restructuring, and are an under-utilized source of empirical data in research studies. Focusing on the press coverage of a recent Swedish-Finnish merger, we specify and illustrate a particular feature of discursive (re)construction of asymmetric power relations; superior (Swedish) and inferior (Finnish) national identities, which, we argue, are embedded in the history of colonization and domination between the two nations. The findings of the present study lead us to suggest that a lens taken from post-colonial theory is particularly useful in understanding the wider symbolic power implications of international industrial restructuring.
  • Vamio, Ida (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The cultural and sacred heritage of indigenous peoples is in a vulnerable position, because of the general threats cultural and religious heritage are facing around the world and because indigenous peoples are often not in a position where their wishes and needs are listened to. In addition to this, indigenous heritage may require a special approach and the following of certain rules, which may clash with existing heritage practices. This thesis researches how the sacred heritage of indigenous peoples is discussed through analyzing documents pertaining to the subject of indigenous sacred heritage and discusses how this may affect the way this heritage is approached in practice. It focuses on the following question: who has the power to manage and care for the indigenous sacred heritage? Additionally, it analyzes how these documents accommodate the rights of indigenous peoples, if they do so at all. It attempts to reveal this by critically examining the discourses found within the texts. The core of the thesis discusses the visible and implicit power relations present in the heritage practices and the wider sector involving the indigenous sacred heritage. The primary source material consists of the Sacred Natural Sites – Guidelines for Protected Area Managers compiled by IUCN, the Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance, its practice note The Burra Charter and Indigenous Cultural Heritage Management and the Statement on Indigenous Cultural Heritage, produced by Australia ICOMOS. Critical Discourse Analysis is used as an analysis method and approach. The theoretical framework is based on the ideas presented in the Critical Heritage Studies, more specifically the Politics of Scale, concerning the issue of scale in the heritage field, and how heritage has commonly been understood and managed through the Authorized Heritage Discourse. The thesis shows that the existing power relations clearly preference the national scale of heritage, as well as the heritage practitioners in the management and overall control of indigenous sacred heritage. While the involvement of indigenous peoples is at times encouraged and even demanded, and some discourses present in the text give full control to indigenous peoples, these people ultimately have very little authority in the matters related to their heritage. The rights of indigenous peoples are only somewhat accommodated in the analyzed texts, partially due to the strong influence of the national scale, because the acknowledgment of the rights of indigenous peoples varies by country.
  • Kärkkäinen, Jarkko-Pekka (Helsingfors universitet, 2014)
    In my thesis I examined a pseudepigraphal gospel called the Gospel of Barnabas (GOB). This so called gospel has been an important part of the Muslim polemics against Christianity since the beginning of the 20th century. Many Muslim scholars claim that it is the only true Gospel written by Jesus’ close disciple and apostle Barnabas. However, the majority of the Western scholars claim that it is really a medieval Islamic writing. My approach to the study of the GOB was quite theoretical; I used two different theories through which I tried to get new information on the GOB. The first theory is the counter-history theory developed by Amos Funkenstein and David Biale. Through this theory I examined the GOB itself and tried to analyse if it can be seen as a counter-history. With this theory I answered to the research question “what kind of text is the GOB?” The other theory is the power relations theory by James C. Scott. Through this theory I examined the historical situation of Moriscos in Spain and tried to see if it is reasonable to locate the origins of the GOB there. With power relations theory my aim was to answer to the research question “where and why was the GOB written?” Through the counter-history theory I found out that the author of the GOB has used mainly Christian sources to produce a different depiction of Jesus’ life. With the thematic analysis I discovered that the GOB redacts many important Christian dogmas with Islamic ideas and so produces an Islamic counter-history of the narratives of the canonical gospels. Hence, as an answer to the research question of what kind of text the GOB is, I would say that the GOB is an (polemical?) Islamic counter-history of the Christian idea of Jesus. Through the power relations theory I found out that the power relations between dominant Christians and subordinate Moriscos was a very fruitful context for a writing such as the GOB to emerge. The GOB can be seen as a disguised intellectual resistance, where the message and the messenger are hidden. It was probably written to influence the Christian majority. To the research question of where and why the GOB was written, I answer that it was probably written in Morisco Spain as an intellectual resistance.