Browsing by Subject "sociology"

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  • Pihkala, Panu (2020)
    Eco-anxiety and climate anxiety are widely discussed in contemporary media and are subjects of growing research interest. However, there is a lack of research about the definitions and variations of these phenomena. This article analyzes various views of eco-anxiety from a wide range of disciplines. Insights from various anxiety theories are used to discuss empirical studies about forms of eco-anxiety. The article points out that uncertainty, unpredictability, and uncontrollability seem to be important factors in eco-anxiety. Most forms of eco-anxiety appear to be non-clinical, but cases of “pathological” eco-anxiety are also discussed. Other relevant terms and phenomena are scrutinized, such as ecological grief, solastalgia, and ecological trauma. The relationship between studies on eco-anxiety and research about ecological emotions and affect is probed. Eco-anxiety is found to be closely connected to fear and worry, but several disciplines include discussion of its character as existential anxiety. Psychosocial and sociological perspectives point out that social dynamics shape forms of eco-anxiety in profound ways. While paralyzing forms of eco-anxiety emerge as a problem, it is noted that eco-anxiety manifests itself also as “practical anxiety”, which leads to gathering of new information and reassessment of behavior options. This variety of forms of eco-anxiety should be taken into account in healthcare and public discussion.
  • Van der Vet, Freek (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Through interviews with 40 human rights practitioners, this dissertation broadens our knowledge as to how international litigation before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) (a) contributes to finding remedies for victims of grave atrocities and (b) impacts on the compliance of Russia to the European Convention on Human Rights. In particular, this dissertation examines the work of a group of nongovernmental human rights organizations (NGOs), and the lawyers working for them, who litigate at the ECtHR on behalf of victims of the Russo-Chechen conflicts, discrimination based on ethnicity, or victims of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment during police detention. This research examines the diffusion of human rights by connecting four previously unconnected social processes of international human rights practice: claim-making, translation, implementation, and protection. First, the influence of the political context on litigation strategies, second, the translation of human rights from the claims of the victim to the Court and vice versa, and third, the contention surrounding the implementation and search for domestic remedies following litigation. A fourth process evaluates the issue of protection in Russia: how human rights defenders manage risk and practice advocacy in a dangerous environment. This dissertation contributes to socio-legal and human rights research by examining how Russian human rights lawyers use legalism and how they operate in transnational networks of human rights experts and activists. The author argues that lawyers do not only make legalistic claims to rights, but experiment with how rights can be used to expand their potential protection to their clients: by managing expectations of clients, expanding the scope of the European Convention, and developing novel ways of protecting themselves against government repression. This dissertation is based on semi-structured interview methodologies and deterritorialized human rights research on expert human rights practitioners working in the same network but in various places. The author conducted the interviews between 2009 and 2012 during various fieldwork trips in the Russian Federation, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Finland. The dissertation consists of four peer-reviewed articles and an introduction. Article 1, Holding on to Legalism: the Politics of Russian Litigation on Torture and Discrimination before the European Court of Human Rights , examines the position of the human rights practitioner between the State and the victim before and during litigation with the ECtHR. It observes how the human rights practitioner selects applicants, conducts public investigations, and uses international litigation as leverage in cooperation with the State to find suitable remedies for the applicant. In particular, the article argues that Russian lawyers do not simply have a belief in legalism, but use legalism as a political strategy. Article 2, Seeking Life, Finding Justice: Russian NGO Litigation and Chechen Disappearances before the European Court of Human Rights , analyzes the interaction between the ECtHR and the victim. The practitioner mediates in struggles that have no easy solution. The author specifically investigates the lawyers dilemma whether to discourage the expectation of relatives of the disappeared on finding their family member alive after their enforced disappearance. This expectation at times conflicts with the NGOs and Court s aim to presume the death of a disappeared person and establish a violation of the right to life. Article 3, Transitional Justice in Chechnya: NGO Advocacy for implementing Chechen Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights , presents the interplay between the ECtHR and the Russian State. In particular, this article argues that the judgments of the ECtHR inform processes of transitional justice. Moreover, it argues that favorable judicial attention to litigation is insufficient to implement a judgment at home. Instead, the judgments provide political leverage for NGO domestic advocacy campaigns promoting the implementation of the judgment, criminal prosecution of perpetrators, remedies for victims, and transitional justice in post-conflict Chechnya. The practitioner lobbies with the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) to promote the judgments domestic execution. Accordingly, the litigation process before the ECtHR does not end after a final judgment; instead, it prompts a series of broader political claims to ending impunity and truth seeking, informed by the NGOs strategies. Article 4, Violence and Human Rights in Russia: How Human Rights Defenders develop their Tactics in the Face of Danger, 2005-2013 (awaiting editorial decision) adds to the subject matter of the dissertation by revealing how human rights defenders respond to the curtailing legal measures by the Russian State. It analyzes how Russian human rights defenders take protective measures, practice advocacy under high-risk situations, and manage fear in dangerous situations. Moreover, it identifies how the State uses law to regulate the behavior of civil organizations and popular movements. This domestic struggle is vital to our understanding of human rights practice in Russia, since these human rights defenders are reliant on the government to guarantee their autonomy.
  • Kemppainen, Laura; Koskinen, Veera Katariina; Bergroth, Harley; Marttila, Eetu Samuli; Kemppainen, Teemu (2021)
    Health and wellness–related travel, also known as medical tourism, is a topical phenomenon with a wide range of effects in both local and transnational contexts. This scoping study examines the literature on this phenomenon from the perspective of travelers. The literature search was conducted using three databases (EBSCOhost, Web of Science, and SCOPUS) and covered the period from 2010 to 2018. The results show that the literature is divided into two academic fields: social sciences and tourism. Travel from the Global North to the Global South still dominates the field of medical travel research, and studies on South-to-South or intra-regional travel are underrepresented. There is a need for a more in-depth qualitative understanding of travelers’ lived experiences and for studies with more advanced quantitative methods and longitudinal research designs. We call for more interdisciplinary and theoretical approaches to health and wellness–related travel and propose a conceptual model that considers travelers’ intent (medical/wellness) and status (patient/tourist).
  • Young Kyu, Shin (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This dissertation examines insecure workers’ union memberships and attitudes towards new welfare programmes. To compare union memberships and policy preferences among different types of insecure workers, this research classifies these individuals into four different groups: part-time employees, temporary workers, low-skilled workers in the service sector, and solo self-employed workers. The first sub-study explores the unionisation of insecure workers by European industrial relations regime by estimating multilevel binary logistic models with the data from the European Social Survey Round 5 (2010). The second one investigates insecure workers’ choices regarding unemployment insurance and union membership after the reform of the Finnish Ghent system in 1992 by analysing the pooled Finnish Income Distribution Survey data from 2000 to 2012. On the other hand, the third and fourth sub-studies to examine insecure workers’ preferences for new social policy ideas concentrate on universal basic income and social investment policy for unemployment, respectively. To address these topics, both sub-studies estimate binary logistic regression models with clustered standard errors and country dummies by using the data from the European Social Survey Round 8 (2016) The first sub-study reveals that insecure workers’ inclination to join a union varies according to their form of employment and the industrial relations regime to which they belong. The second sub-study illustrates that in the transformed Finnish Ghent system, both part-time and temporary employees are inclined to have no union membership, whereas low-skilled service workers do not make significantly different choices from other employees. In addition, the third sub-study shows that only temporary employees tend to have more favourable attitudes among different groups of insecure workers. The fourth sub-study demonstrates that in a budgetary trade-off scenario between social protection and social investment, part-time permanent employees are inclined to be more supportive of social investment policy, whereas part-time temporary workers are less likely to support it. On the other hand, full-time temporary employees and solo self-employed workers do not exhibit significantly different preferences from standard employees.
  • Egerer, Michael (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    The concept of addiction is increasingly applied in order to understand various problematic behaviours. However, this inclusion remains disputed. The study examines the conceptualisation of addictions by analysing stimulated group discussions of general practitioners and social workers in Finland and France on the topics of alcoholism, pathological gambling and eating disorders. The dissertation consists of one methodological working-paper (I.), three empirical sub-studies (II., III., and IV.) and a summary article. Sub-study III. was written together with Matilda Hellman and Pekka Sulkunen. The study builds on the assumption that social reality is constructed and taken-for-granted. Concepts develop in a certain cultural context. Culture in its different occurrences is the framework for thinking and acting. This study is particularly concerned with institutions as one occurrence of culture. The empirical bases of the enquiry are 27 Reception Analytical Group Interviews, which challenged the participants to question their taken-for-granted understanding of addiction by presenting them with short film clips. Finnish informants focus on the harm done towards the family and society and therefore follow the traditional Finnish non-medical model. French participants by contrast laid emphasis on the suffering of the individual addict and consequently express characteristics of the medical model (II., III., and IV.). Secondly, Finnish social workers understand all three problem behaviours similarly as social problems, whereas their French colleagues understand alcohol and eating problems as individual issues. A common denominator in both countries is a functional explanation of all three problem behaviours as a form of poor coping with life s hardships (except for gambling in France) (III. and IV.). Finally the study shows that in the context of the modern Finnish welfare state the importance of citizens autonomy allows individual excess to some extent, as long as innocent others are not harmed (III.). This study traced the influence of institutions on images of addiction. It suggests considering addiction as culture-level bound. Beside the traditional concept of addiction other institutional settings also have an impact on the images of addiction. Due to the complexity of the contexts involved, this dissertation recommends cautiousness when including behavioural excesses under the umbrella of addiction. Treatment research should take into account institutionally embedded understandings of addictions when implementing new treatment strategies and policy approaches from other cultural contexts. This dissertation asks for a layered concept of culture, which can account for the multifarious influences of the social context on the concept of addiction.
  • Marionneau, Virve (2015)
    AIMS - The principles of free trade and free circulation of services within the European Union have created pressures to make the strictly controlled European gambling markets more open. According to the Court of Justice of the European Union, restrictions on gambling are only allowed if they are justified in admissible terms of consumer protection, prevention of criminal activity and protection of public order. This study compares the gambling laws of two European societies, France and Finland, to analyse how their legal frames of gambling have been adjusted to these principles. DESIGN - The data consists of up-to-date legislation on gambling in Finland and France. A qualitative analysis was conducted to study whether new ways of justifying have been included in legislative texts and if these are substantiated by measures related to consumer protection or crime prevention. RESULTS - France has mainly justified its restrictive policies on gambling in terms of preventing criminal activities while the Finnish legislation highlights the charitable causes funded by gambling proceeds, a claim not accepted by the Court of Justice of the European Union. Consumer protection is increasingly stressed in both countries, and the range of rationales has also grown notably since 2007. CONCLUSION - While the vocabularies of justification accepted by the CJEU have expanded since 2007, these have not been substantiated by many new legislative measures. This is not attributed to political ill will but rather to the difficulty of changing existing legislative traditions.
  • Hiilamo, Heikki Tuomas; Merikukka, Marko; Haataja, Anita (2018)
    This study asks how Finnish 6-year-olds who stay at home before school start compare in educational outcomes with children who attend public day care. Earlier studies have shown that participation in public day care can enhance school performance especially among disadvantaged children. In Finland, the child home care allowance scheme supports the home care of 6-year-olds if they have a younger sibling under the age of 3 who is also not attending public day care. We used as outcome variables grade point average after compulsory school at age 15 to 16 and dichotomous variable measuring completion of further education by age 25. The study utilized data of the birth cohort 1987 (N = 4,928). The results show that staying at home before school start is associated with poorer school performance but not with completion of further education.
  • Uddin, Mohammad Jasim (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    This dissertation seeks to shed light on microcredit policies and practices, and attempts to contribute to the understanding of how microcredit relates to the lives of the borrowers in rural Bangladesh. More specifically, this study delves into whether the group-based micro-loans that are channeled through women facilitate social capital, reconstruct gender relations and provide a way out of poverty at the village level in Bangladesh. The empirical data of this study was collected from 151 married women microcredit borrowers of two project areas of the Grameen Bank (GB) and two project areas of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) in the Sylhet District, Bangladesh where both the GB and the BRAC have been operating micro-loans over a period of several years. The ethnographic description relates to the questions of how NGOs use neoliberal policies and credit on the one hand, and also how local people appropriate credit on the other hand. I have endeavoured to contribute to understanding the focuses of microcredit initiatives within the context of Foucault s disciplinary power (1977) and governmentality (1978, 1979, 1988) against the background of neoliberalism. I stress the power relations, implications of enforced institutional discipline of microcredit organizations, and vulnerability of microcredit borrowers. By applying Scott s notions of hidden resistance (1990) and weapons of the weak (1985), I have focused on how microcredit borrowers criticize rules of programmes and procedures out of earshot and out of sight of the officials of the NGOs. Following the entitlement approach detailed by Sen (1981, 1987, 1999) I have also addressed the mechanism whereby poor people take credit year after year and get further mired in debt. Fundamentally, the objective of this study has rotated around some complex questions: To what extent microcredit programmes, a product of neoliberalism and the capitalist world system, intersect and connect with the local women borrowers to facilitate social capital, women s empowerment and poverty alleviation in rural Bangladesh? Does the group lending tenet really work, or is it only a process of getting access to credit for the borrowers or does it fulfil a governing strategy of microcredit organizations to the borrowers in accordance with the market rationality? Are women microcredit borrowers really rational economic actors who invest credit themselves at the local level? Is credit through women a policy of women s empowerment or a project of covert regulative practice? Are the microcredit borrowers undergoing the win-win situation of increased financial outcomes and enhanced well-being that microcredit programmes have pledged to offer? My work draws attention to what microcredit NGOs aim to change, and the techniques they apply. My study is an analysis of what microcredit initiatives fail to do: mobilize social capital, reconstruct gender relations, and alleviate poverty. The study argues that microcredit can be regard as a form of governmentality that is exercised via a generalised control over people s behaviour and over their beliefs, and by spreading the values of entrepreneurship with the market as the solver of all ills. Whilst the much lauded microcredit organizations (such as GB, BRAC) push neoliberal ideologies onto rural borrowers, they have failed because many borrowers cannot yield sufficient profit and or use credit for the purposes for which it is supposed to be used for. The package of training and consciousness raising lessons that originally went alongside the GB or BRAC microcredit programme is now missing from their rural operations. Therefore, ensuring a win-win situation that microcredit originally promised has been failed. Microcredit organizations reinforce pre-existing kinship and gender structures, and there has been a wide scale mission creep, which has turned micro-lending NGOs into money-lending businesses or installment collecting organizations.
  • Tolonen, Tarja (2019)
    This article draws on ethnographic fieldwork and interviews to explore young minority men's relation to school and city space in Helsinki from the perspective of their everyday experiences of racialisation in public spaces. The article uses the concept of 'power geometrical' relations of space by drawing on several research traditions, including youth and masculinity studies, studies on social space, racialisation and ethnicity, and human geography. The evidence shows the school to be an important site of local and national power geometry (Massey, D. [1994]. Space, Place and Gender. Cambridge: Polity Press), in which 'informal' and 'physical' spheres are dominated by peers and connect to streets and public spheres (Gordon, T., J. Holland, and E. Lahelma. [2000]. Making Spaces: Citizenship and Difference in Schools. Houndsmills et al. London: MacMillan Press Ltd). The article shows how young minority men knew their place both in narrow local power geometries, and within the wider city and school spaces, exploring how they formed their own lived spaces (Lefebvre, H. [1991]. The Production of Space. Oxford: Blackwell), claimed their spaces and marked their spaces with diverse tactics. Some tactics were socially open, such as making friends; some were very mobile, such as claiming their own urban spaces by mobility, or marking and 'hanging around'; and some involved big groups of friends, crowds, defence and embodied accounts.
  • Kullman, Kim (2015)
    Working between and beyond the interdisciplinary areas of childhood studies and children’s geographies, this thesis explores how children learn practices of everyday mobility in metropolitan Helsinki (population 1.4 million). Children’s urban movement has become a contested issue in Euro-American settings due to a range of developments, among them the growth in car traffic, the increase in travel distances to school and the widening influence of risk thinking on cultural understandings of childhood. Such tendencies have conspired to intensify the regulation of children’s engagements with urban environments, thereby circumscribing their agencies and sociabilities. Elaborating a more affirmative account of children’s mobility, this thesis gives prominence to the varied competencies, experiences and knowledges of movement that are already in place in the daily lives of families. Through a close exploration of the actual practices whereby children foster their mobilities, the thesis indicates that some of the current concerns around children’s urban movement are misplaced and that societies need to reconsider how children are involved in the shaping of present and future mobilities. The thesis draws on empirical research in two specific sites where children in Helsinki learn mobility: a model traffic area for 5-10-year-olds and the school journeys of 7-12-year-olds, the first of these providing an entry-point into formal pedagogical practices, the second into informal learning through mundane urban travel. The study has deployed various qualitative and participatory methods—including mobile ethnography, digital picture-making and visual interviews—to create an open-ended and flexible arena for children, parents and educators to experiment with diverse ways of becoming mobile and to convey their experiences of such becomings. Further extending this approach, the thesis allies itself with Donald Woods Winnicott, Daniel Stern, Gilles Deleuze, Bruno Latour and other thinkers to trace out a series of mobility experiments, transformative relational arrangements, which suggest a three-fold argument about mobile learning. First, the thesis develops a detailed account of children’s mobility that eschews generalised assumptions about their agency, stressing instead its dynamic and relational emergence as part of daily practices of movement. Children’s mobility in Helsinki is often constituted in collective experiments that draw together a variety of people and materials, from parents and siblings to zebra crossings and bicycles—all carefully composed to engage children in an equally safe and playful elaboration of their agency in relation to other urban bodies. Describing these heterogeneous set-ups and their intricate workings, the thesis brings out the creativity and diversity of children’s everyday movements. Second, the thesis proposes an affirmative view of children’s mundane mobilities by demonstrating that the experimental forms of learning cultivated by the families and educators in Helsinki contribute to children’s sense of belonging in urban and traffic environments. Such experimental learning speaks of more caring and collaborative styles of movement that this thesis further clarifies in an attempt to develop alternative ways of understanding children’s mobility that bypass some of the control-oriented and risk-averse attitudes surrounding the geographies of childhood in present Euro-American societies. This also enables a closer examination of how mobility experiments could help academics, educators, planners and other professionals to support and stimulate children’s mobility in a manner that enriches their civic agency and participation. Third, the thesis elaborates a methodological argument about the importance for childhood research to move beyond the effort to describe the world as it appears towards a more active and collective experimentation with the ways in which the world could become otherwise, as dealing with ever-complex empirical challenges asks for more dynamic and open-ended modes of working. The thesis indicates that understanding issues such as children’s mobility requires continuous experimentation with concepts, devices and methods so that both researchers and participants have an opportunity to detect and amplify unexplored possibilities in their practices. The areas of childhood studies and children’s geographies, through their interdisciplinary inclinations and sensitivities to human potential and transformation, are particularly well placed to contribute to such an exploration of more responsive forms of engagement.
  • Pipatti, Otto (Routledge, 2019)
    While highly respected among evolutionary scholars, the sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher Edward Westermarck is now largely forgotten in the social sciences. This book is the first full study of his moral and social theory, focusing on the key elements of his theory of moral emotions as presented in The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas and summarised in Ethical Relativity. Examining Westermarck’s evolutionary approach to the human mind, the author introduces important new themes to scholarship on Westermarck, including the pivotal role of emotions in human reciprocity, the evolutionary origins of human society, social solidarity, the emergence and maintenance of moral norms and moral responsibility. With attention to Westermarck’s debt to David Hume and Adam Smith, whose views on human nature, moral sentiments and sympathy Westermarck combined with Darwinian evolutionary thinking, Morality Made Visible highlights the importance of the theory of sympathy that lies at the heart of Westermarck’s work, which proves to be crucial to his understanding of morality and human social life. A rigorous examination of Westermarck’s moral and social theory in its intellectual context, this volume connects Westermarck’s work on morality to classical sociology, to the history of evolutionism in the social and behavioural sciences, and to the sociological study of morality and emotions, showing him to be the forerunner of modern evolutionary psychology and anthropology. In revealing the lasting value of his work in understanding and explaining a wide range of moral phenomena, it will appeal to scholars of sociology, anthropology and psychology with interests in social theory, morality and intellectual history.
  • Kouvonen, Petra (2013)
    The thesis “Participatory Policies and Social Rights in Out-of-home Placement Services. Negotiated Agencies of Vulnerable Children” investigates the possibilities of participatory policies, in the meaning of involving the civil society, such as children, their parents and non-public service providers, to be turned into social rights for vulnerable children in out-of-home placement. The guiding questions have been: what roles do social needs of children who might suffer from multiple problems, including e.g. substance abuse, play when difficult lifestyle related issues are dealt with in varied networks? Are social needs, such as the need to assistance or treatment, addressed or are there obstacles to meet such needs when participatory policies are applied? Two sets of data have been used. The first set of data was collected on the basis of participant observation and semi-structured interviews from three Professional Foster Homes. The second set of data was drawn from professional child welfare journals and policy documents. The theoretical perspective has been approached from two different traditions of moral thought: the “theory of justice” elaborated by John Rawls (1971) and an orientation called “communicative ethics” (Benhabib; 1992, 2006). The results shows that participatory policies, which largely are inspired by communicative ethics, not automatically turn out in inclusive practices addressing children’s social rights. Partnerships are seldom established on the bases of social needs. The main finding was that the most vulnerable children, such as those suffering from own substance abuse, were met with more repressive responses and demands for self-control than children with fewer own problems. Furthermore, participatory approaches which were set out to involve children in decision making in matters that concerns their own lives, were frequently overruled in relation to this group. However, a supportive context with strategies for adult support and clear preventive policies for e.g. substance use appeared to create inclusive responses even for the “weakest ones”. Thus, future efforts calls for more coordinated and tailored guidelines at the national level on how to apply participatory practices for specific vulnerable groups in the context of out-of-home placement. In designing these practices, children’s personal experiences might also have a place.
  • Novkunskaya, Anastasia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The system of healthcare in Russia since the 1990s undergoes perpetual and considerable transformation and has become a particular field of concern to the state. Maternity care services, in particular, appear to be even more symbolically significant to the authorities, provoking additional efforts to redesign their provision and organisation. This study addresses institutional changes that have occurred since 2006, when the most appreciable state measures to improve maternity care were taken and a new, ‘statist’ policy model emerged in Russian healthcare. It focuses on the perspective of healthcare practitioners, working in maternity facilities in small-town Russia. The research is designed as a multiple case study and allows comparison of the differing limits to and opportunities for professional agency emerging in formally similar institutional settings. Each case (n = 4) addresses a complex of antenatal and maternity care facilities located in one small Russian town, located in a distance from regional, economic and cultural centres. The data were collected between 2011 and 2017 years. The qualitative methods of in-depth interviews (N= 28) and participatory observations in two cases under investigation have been applied in the study. The main method of data analysis is common thematic content analysis. This study revealed the diversity of medical approaches, doctor–patient relations, dispositions toward change and notions of professional commitment in practices by a formally homogeneous social group of practitioners providing maternity services. Focusing on the provision, regulation and arrangement of maternity care, analysis of the health professionals’ narratives provided evidence of aggravated working conditions in terms of a growing domination of managerial and market institutional logics. In such conditions of the institutional complexity, healthcare professionals find some forms, in which professional agency can be practices in the field of maternity services. As a result, both organisational transformations and micro-scale changes took place in one of the cases under investigation over the course of a decade from 2007. The case of ‘stealthy innovators’ exemplified the substantial internal restructuring initiated by healthcare professionals in order to integrate a new, more patient-centred and family-friendly approach to childbirth. The study results confirm a top-down approach to change in the field of maternity care in Russia, and suggest that most recent state-led changes have been centralised in character and have resulted in the predominance of managerial and market logics of regulation. Different organisational settings present various combinations of institutional logics and their hybrids, and some of them favour institutional alterations initiated by health professionals, at least at the level of their practices. In spite of some positive examples of the institutional change occurred in the field of maternity care, this work has identified that some state reforms may have unintended consequences for healthcare professionals working in the maternity units of small Russian towns, and that there is a particular vulnerability of health practitioners in Russia. The key suggestion of the study is to consider healthcare professionals’ perspective in future reforms, in order to provide more space for their agency in terms of the institutional work they might accomplish to make the system of maternity care more safe, accessible and patient-friendly.
  • Maury, Olivia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The doctoral thesis examines the contradictory images and realities of non-EU/EEA migrants holding a student residence permit in Finland while working alongside their studies. Drawing on in-depth interviews (N=41+12) with non-EU/EEA student-migrants, the thesis examines the multiple effects of the one-year permit in student-migrants’ everyday lives. A key aspect of these experiences is the insecure and precarious work they undertake in order to obtain income and successfully renew the one-year permit, which requires a secure means of support (interpreted as 6720 €/year) and private health insurance in addition to them advancing in their studies. The thesis fills a gap in research by moving beyond conventional approaches to student migration limited to an assessment of highly skilled migration and instead focuses on the implications of borders and residence permit bureaucracy for student-migrants’ everyday lives and labour. The theoretical framework is rooted in a research discussion on the constitutive role of borders in contemporary capitalism advanced by critical migration researchers. Borders affect the political and juridical structure of labour markets, and consequently, the experiences of working migrant populations. The analysis developed in the five publications included in the thesis is structured around three core themes. Precarisation is examined from the point of view of working student-migrants in a variety of contractual employment settings and work sectors. Unpaid work occurs across these work arrangements and creates a pool of flexible labour. At the same time, this process is sustained by the student-migrant-workers’ insecure temporary migration status in the country, together with social differentiation based primarily on race, gender and age. Temporal borders offers an analytical angle for examining the impact of the temporary one-year student permit on the quotidian lives of student-migrant-workers. The thesis demonstrates that student-migrant-workers have experiences of a punctuated lived time because of the temporary nature of their permit, which creates a fruitful ground for the differentiation of labour and, consequently, the production of a low-paid labour force in Finland. Finally, the student-migrants’ pragmatic, yet ambivalent, strategies for confronting and challenging the forms of administrative bordering that they face when trying to extend their permit are examined. The thesis demonstrates that student-migrant-workers creatively find ways to challenge the borders by adjusting their work contract or by switching their migration status. Thus, student-migrants appear as active subjects embodying a drive to make a better life for themselves in Finland. The thesis contributes to a sociological analysis of increasingly fragmented labouring figures in the context of contemporary capitalism. Theoretically, it participates in the research discussion on borders and the production of flexible labour, not solely from a spatial perspective but also from a temporal one. In conclusion, the thesis highlights mechanisms for hierarchising the labour force and demonstrates how differential inclusion is continuously reproduced.
  • Salmela, Mikko; Capelos, Tereza (2021)
    Ressentiment is central for understanding the psychological foundations of reactionary politics, right-wing populism, Islamic fundamentalism, and radicalism. In this article we theorise ressentiment as an emotional mechanism which, reinforcing a morally superior sense of victimhood, expedites two parallel transvaluation processes: What was once desired or valued, yet unattainable, is reassessed as something undesirable and rotten, and one's own self from being inferior, a loser, is reassessed as being noble and superior. We establish negative emotions of envy, shame, and inefficacious anger as the main triggers of ressentiment, with their associated feelings of inferiority and impotence, which target the vulnerable self. We identify the outcomes of ressentiment as other-directed negative emotions of resentment, indignation, and hatred, reinforced and validated by social sharing. We map the psychological structure of ressentiment in four stages, each employing idiosyncratic defences that depend on the ego-strength of the individual to deliver the transvaluation of the self and its values, and finally detail how social sharing consolidates the outcome emotions, values, and identities in ressentiment through shallow twinship bonds with like-minded peers. Our interdisciplinary theoretical account integrates classic philosophical scholarship of ressentiment and its contemporary proponents in philosophy and sociology, which highlight envy as the prime driver of ressentiment; it also considers the sociological approaches that focus on the repression and transmutation of shame and its social consequences, as well as the psychoanalytic scholarship on psychic defences and political psychology models on the emotionality of decision-making. We conclude the article by elaborating the political implications of ressentiment as the emotional mechanism of grievance politics.
  • Ashrafun, Laila (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    This study is about domestic violence against women in Bangladeshi society. It delineates, in particular, why and how some women become the victims of domestic violence in the changing socio-economic setting of Bangladesh. I was inspired to carry out this study by the highlights and banner news from the daily newspapers, and writings of the scholars about the widespread events of domestic violence against women in Bangladesh. In the light of the news and studies I saw a need to sketch out an in-depth representation of domestic violence against economically and educationally underprivileged women in Bangladeshi society. The fieldwork of this study was carried out in two slums, and in a non-governmental counseling center in Sylhet, Bangladesh. I have relied on qualitative data and methods which I consider as the main strength of this study because it helps me to uncover the situation of the underprivileged young women in a meaningful context. In this study, I have tried to uncover the meaning, causes, coping strategies, resistance as well as effect of domestic violence in the lives of underprivileged women in Bangladeshi society. I have questioned women s agency and the struggle to problematize the position of women in gender relations, social, cultural, religious, and the legal arena. I have shown how women in the underprivileged class are vulnerable because of the prevailing family and social structure and are exposed to domestic violence. Focusing on domestic violence, I also examined why and how women tolerated and tried to solve informally domestic violence perpetrated against them by their husbands and other in-laws for a long time and why some women break the barriers and come to formal legal institutions to seek help. It is obvious from the study that underprivileged women s vulnerability is related to household insecurity which incarcerates the difficulties, experiences, and incidents of women s lives that expose them to violence. This study has sketched out how social-cultural and religious constraints include norms related to early marriage, the practice of purdah, dowry practices, unequal treatment between sons and daughters in the natal family, not having one s own permanent shelter, not getting property from one s father or not having property rights, a father s lack of land, obstacles to women working outside home, a preference for sons, social stigma related with marital separation or divorce. The analysis of the underprivileged women s life helped me to understand all these constraints as a whole mute the voice and limit the agency of young women both within their natal and marital homes. This makes striving for changes more difficult for women from a domestic violence free life, and capabilities for life improving decisions and steps. Domestic violence has moved from the privacy of the home into the light of the political and social arenas in Bangladesh. The issue has shifted focus from a particular man or woman relationship to the societal institutions or dominant ideology such as gender inequality, the varying constraints under which women and men live, the material, social, and the legal options that they access or mobilize. There is no doubt that poor victim women are slowly but steadily raising their muted voice and protesting against domestic violence but it has also become especially clear that, in order to compete for equal footing and establishment of rights, women need to acquire appropriate skills, improve their life situations and develop enough self-confidence. Still there are numerous problems with the legal systems in Bangladesh concerning women s issues in general and domestic violence in particular. The criminal laws and family laws, taken together, are insufficient and weak to solve women s problems when taking into account women s position and the prevalent structural barriers. I realized that the weakness of laws allow violent husbands and in-laws to find a way to escape compliance with them. In my opinion, the law alone is not capable of bringing social change and has less power to change peoples behaviors in gender relations and social practices for establishing human rights. Generally, in the societies people fear the law, legal procedures and punishment but only through fear it will not be possible to uproot violence, immorality and injustice against women. If domestic violence against women is to be stopped, strong law enforcement and state intervention are required. People should be informed and educated about the laws in informal way and cultured to practice the establishment of human rights to ensure meaningful everyday lives for all citizens.
  • Yang, Lei (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The association between socioeconomic status and health has been well studied. It has been found that people in higher social classes generally have better health and a lower mortality. However, it is still inconclusive whether the health advantage acquired by people with a higher socioeconomic status weakens in later life. Although empirical evidence in Western societies has revealed different age-related patterns of health inequality, little is known about the situation in China, which has the largest population of elderly people in the world. Recent studies in some industrialised societies also indicate that socioeconomic status is not only individual but also family level resource. In other words, the family s socioeconomic status affect the health of family members. However, few studies have been conducted in middle-income countries such as China. Unlike in Western societies, co-residence with children is still the main living arrangement among the Chinese elderly, and family members play a significant role in the provision of healthcare for them. Thus, it is reasonable to speculate that the socioeconomic status of family members is even more important in terms of maintaining the health of elderly people in China than it is in Western societies. The main objective of the present study was to investigate the trajectories of health in later life by means of different indicators of socioeconomic status, and to assess whether, and if so how the socioeconomic status of family members affects the health and mortality risk of elderly people in China. The specific aim was to find out whether elderly people with a higher socioeconomic status have better physical and cognitive functioning at baseline and a lower rate of decline with age. A further aim was to assess the extent to which higher educational levels among spouses and offspring are associated with self-rated good health and a lower mortality risk among elderly people. The data used in this study came from the Chinese Longitudinal Health and Longevity Survey (CLHLS) conducted in China in 2002-2011. The CLHLS produced the largest set of population-based survey data covering Chinese people aged 65 and over. It was based on internationally compatible questionnaires and yielded extensive information on socioeconomic status, family structure and background, living arrangements, daily activities, life styles, and health conditions. The results indicate that elderly people with a higher socioeconomic status have generally better physical and cognitive functioning at baseline, but the higher status did not protect against a decline in functioning with age. High education and household income predicted better cognitive functioning but were not associated with activities of daily living (ADL) functioning at baseline. High income was related to better instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) functioning but had no effect on the rate of change in IADL. Inadequate financial resources and unavailability of health services were mainly associated with poorer physical functioning at baseline. The findings also revealed an association between higher spousal education and a lower mortality risk among elderly people. Male elderly people living with a highly-educated child seem to have a lower mortality risk than those living with offspring educated to a low level. It was also found that elderly men and women with a low level of education but living with highly-educated adult children were more likely to report good health, although the interaction effect was only significant for females. Thus, the main effect of education on mortality among elderly males should be interpreted with caution because it may vary according to the education of co-resident children. The findings attest to the importance of socioeconomic status, in particular access to financial resources and health care services, in maintaining physical functioning among elderly people in China. Furthermore, living with a highly educated spouse or child also plays a significant role in reducing mortality risk.
  • Hyrkäs, Antti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This dissertation examines the rise of startup entrepreneurship as a cultural phenomenon, and builds a model for understanding the systemic logic behind this culture. While proceeding with the empirical research, the dissertation develops conceptual tools for modeling cultures as whirlpools that condition the transitions between different contextual rationalities. The empirical research answers the following questions: Why has this specific form of new venture creation developed such a popular sub-culture, jargon and identity? Why does it display counter-cultural tendencies in relation to the business world in general? What does it enable, as a differentiated cultural form and as a worldview, for the entrepreneurs and for the world around them?  Observing popular startup success stories, startup methodologies and articles from various business magazines, the research traces the general patterns of startup stories as well as the conceptual reservoir of startup entrepreneurship. Based on these investigations, the dissertation constructs a model that visualizes startup culture as a whirlpool of different systemic logics, and as a solution for a specific dissonance between these contexts. The findings suggest that startup culture is as much a culture of speculation as it is a culture of entrepreneurship. It has appropriated venture capital s perspective on potential markets and on venture financing, and turned these into everyday entrepreneurial jargon. In this culture, two levels of speculation are kept methodically separate: the technological speculation with problems and their solutions, and the economic speculation with possible business models and with the valuation of the startup. Startup culture can be said to condition this dissonance between the two forms of speculation. For the startup, this division creates obvious room for innovativeness, as the system of economy appears as culturally distant. At the same time, startup culture has opened a new popular form of inclusion into economy: the entrepreneur as a technological speculator, who is himself a token of speculation for venture capitalists.  Along with the empirical research, the dissertation offers new ideas on how to model culture while doing qualitative analysis. If we accept that new cultural forms develop in a mostly self-organizing fashion, then we must accept that they have their own logic separate from the logic of the actors. Thus, the theoretical interest of this dissertation is how to model and visualize the inner logic of cultures. The proposed solution draws heavily from the systems theoretical sociology of Niklas Luhmann and its later applications. Specifically, the suggested approach to modeling combines Dirk Baecker s ideas on how to model complex forms of communication in society with Niels Åkerstrom-Andersen s ideas on Luhmann s semantic analytical strategy for doing conceptual history. When combined, and slightly modified, these two applications of Luhmannian systems theory can act as a basis for an empirical approach to modeling subcultures as complex semantic forms of communication. Here, the analogy of a whirlpool is a fitting one: as opposing currents sometimes create a whirlpool, it is a steady state forming inside a non-equilibrium. In a similar fashion, cultures emerge out of the opposing contextual logics in society. When we model culture in this manner, the logic behind cultural evolution becomes clear: culture fills the gaps between different subsystemic/contextual logics, thus enabling meaningful transitions between different forms of sense-making.
  • Kulmala, Meri (Deaprtment of Social Research, 2013)
    This study explores state-society interrelations in contemporary Russia through citizens involvement in civil society by asking: What kinds of organizational civic activities occur? How are these forms of civic activity interwoven with the state and public structures? Finally, why do particular forms occur? The state-society relationship is analyzed through the following concepts: 1) state-society patterns, 2) role of civil society organizations, 3) transnational interaction, and 4) gender. Instead of the conventional sectoral thinking, the society is treated as spaces interdependent of one another. Messy conceptions of civil society and the state are opened up empirically. The analysis is grounded on an extensive ethnographic investigation within the Sortavala district (incl. villages) in Russian Karelia. The data includes more than 150 interviews; participant observation in many events; over 500 pages of field notes; and documents. Sortavala s location on one hand in Russian Karelia, outside big Russian cities, and on the other hand on the border of Finland and the EU allows a fascinating view that is peripheral and transnational at the same time. By zooming in on a very local setting allows revealing what really goes on concerning the studied relationship in its daily practices. Nevertheless, the analysis is not restricted to this micro world but is extended to a larger macro-level environment. The study performed a thorough consideration of a wide set of citizens organizations, explored the understanding and disaggregation of the state, thus concentrated on both sides of the studied relationship, and focused on the boundaries and convergences of those two spheres. In doing so, it diversified the rather stereotypical picture of the weak and apolitical Russian civil society co-opted by the state. The research showed complexities of the Russian state-society relationship: perhaps the most compelling finding concerns the significant overlap and interdependence between the state structures and civil society organizations when it came to the social organizations in particular. Sometimes it is impossible to draw the line where the state ends and society begin. The study also illuminated the multiple parallel roles of Russian socially oriented civil society organizations, which were solely apolitical in their activities. It diversified also the picture in terms of gender: women dominated the sphere, but also men participated, in membership organizations in particular. Concerning the transnational (Finnish, in particular) impact, the study showed some benefits of foreign support. Through differentiation of the studied organizations into the categories of the social and membership organizations, the study showed the ignorance of such support for the Soviet-type membership organizations that have large constituencies and, consequently, potentially the ability to challenge state policies.
  • Zhen Jie, Im (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    In West European economies, there is growing concern about the extent to which workplace automation affects employment patterns, and thus the level of risk which workers may face from such labour market disruption. There are also worries that elevated automation risk may generate substantial political fallout, namely automation-driven grievances that feedback into the political process. In this regard, I ask: how does automation risk affect individual workers’ support for social policies and party choice? I focus particularly on its impact on workers’ support for benefit conditionality policies and radical right parties. I argue that the impact of automation risk on these two political outcomes may be traced to automation-vulnerable workers’ fear of status decline and concern about welfare competition. These worries may emanate from workers’ elevated automation risk, even if they do not actually become unemployed from automation. Benefit conditionality policies, which are increasingly prevalent, apply stringent obligations like accepting available albeit worse jobs, and sanctions like unemployment benefit cuts to pressure unemployed workers into reemployment. Automation-vulnerable workers may reject benefit conditionality because its stringent obligations and sanctions may exacerbate their economic vulnerabilities. However, they may yet support benefit conditionality if they consider their worries about status decline and welfare competition to be more salient than their worries about the economic costs of benefit conditionality. These worries may have electoral implications. If automation-vulnerable workers worry about status decline and welfare competition and support benefit conditionality, they may prefer parties that support such policies, like radical right parties whose appeals speak to these concerns. This study investigates these political implications of automation risk in West European countries by exploiting cross-national individual-level surveys from the European Social Survey. I find that automation-vulnerable workers support benefit conditionality policies that obligate unemployed workers to accept worse jobs, namely lower wage or educationally mismatched jobs. This finding may indicate that these workers find welfare competition and status decline worries more salient than potential economic costs which they may suffer from benefit conditionality. These worries may also explain their preference for radical right parties over other party families. These findings show that risk is an important determinant of support for benefit conditionality policies, and its impact should be disentangled from that of current employment status. However, and through the case of automation, I demonstrate that risk may manifest different worries and threats, even non-economic ones, which may likewise affect benefit conditionality support. I also echo recent studies which show that automation-vulnerable workers’ support for radical right parties may be traced to their status worries, but I add that their concerns about welfare competition and support for benefit conditionality may also be relevant explanations.