Browsing by Subject "vulnerability"

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  • Heikkilä, Mikaela; Katsui, Hisayo; Mustaniemi-Laakso, Maija (2020)
    Universal human rights of all are complemented with particular, targeted protection of some, especially those that traditionally have been left behind. By juxtaposing the ideas of universality and particularity, the article studies vulnerability as a particularising tool within human rights with a comparative approach to the influential vulnerability theory by Martha Fineman. By outlining the similarities and the differences between the two approaches of vulnerability theory and human rights project, the article sheds light on how the particular protection needs of persons with disabilities play out in the universalistic logic of vulnerability. The article argues that both universal and particular obligations of responsive states – and responsive humans – are needed as a way of materialising substantive equality for persons with disabilities as vulnerable legal subjects. Such obligations cannot be codified in full detail, but the intrinsic essence of rights requires each right to be interpreted in context and with regard to the particular individual vulnerabilities and resilience of each person. In operationalising the obligations arising from such rights, the human rights project and the vulnerability theory complement and reinforce each other in terms of specifying the rationale and the detailed benchmarks for state action.
  • Jokinen, Toni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    In this thesis I focus on a novel disaster response and preparedness mechanism called forecast-based financing. The mechanism is linked to the changing paradigm of humanitarian response that calls for more localized and more resilience building solutions to addressing and preventing humanitarian crisis. It is also in the core of the anticipation agenda which argues that waiting for disasters to happen is not a sustainable option and that forecast data and pre-agreed triggers and actions should be used in order to prevent both loss of lives and mitigate the cost and impact of disasters. Main hypothesis is that climate related hazards to livelihoods and food security seems to be the sector where forecast-based financing could have most potential for increasing resilience and sustainability. Slow onset crises with long lead-time allow for better targeting and more variety of actions. As the lifetime of the action is longer, there is less chance of action which is in vain. Furthermore, the actions which are more localized, for example direct support to farmers, can decrease their vulnerabilities. I aim at taking a critical approach to assessing this potentiality associated with the forecast-based financing mechanism through case study. The three cases (Mongolia, Kenya, Zimbabwe) were selected from pilots implemented by the main actors: the Red Cross, World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Start Network. This thesis uses a combination of evaluative and heuristic approach to qualitative case study analysis. To answer the first research question, 1) is the forecast-based financing mechanism successful in prioritization of actions in a way that best address the needs and resources of vulnerable populations, I aim at finding out if mechanism is effective (or potentially effective) in delivering impact. For the second research question, 2) are the actions sustainable and do they bring socio-economic benefits that go beyond meeting acute humanitarian needs, I will see if new pathways are found for confirming the defined hypothesis. I am using heuristic approach in terms of finding new links e.g. between actions and needs of either donors, actors or beneficiaries. I asses and analyse available reports and evaluations (secondary data) of the selected operations. I conducted eleven (11) semi-structured key informant interviews (primary data) using practitioner’s perspective for retrieving qualitative data, for further understanding and for triangulation. All key informants were affiliated to the cases. My analysis show that the potentiality for development impacts and long-term transformation of the forecast-based financing is there but it is not utilized in the cases reviewed nor is it perceived in a same way across practitioners of different backgrounds. Currently the mechanism is used more for effective response, not for addressing the root causes of vulnerability. In general, the entitlement or empowering of a person who is affected by disaster currently does not go beyond securing bridge over lean season, avoiding negative coping mechanisms or e.g. better yield or survival of livestock. Sustainability potential of the forecast-based financing seems to be currently underutilized and international funding envelopes do not offer an alternative to the humanitarian funding launched case-by-case. Most of the practitioners interviewed were clearly in favour of linking and using forecast-based financing in some way to long-term programming, thinking outside of the framework of humanitarian response, extending lead time significantly and adding positive reinforcement inputs. I argue that with a lead time that goes long in advance, towards development actions, the mechanism needs to be reframed for the donors and the sources of funding might need to be reconsidered. To implement meaningful resilience actions in slow onset cases, triggers need to be early enough and actions in two phases: 1) anticipatory and benefiting from forecast and 2) early response. At beneficiary level the actions should be geared up to better address underlying socio-economic vulnerabilities and take advantage of the long lead time.
  • Rankinen, Katri; Holmberg, Maria; Peltoniemi, Mikko; Akujärvi, Anu; Anttila, Kati; Manninen, Terhikki; Markkanen, Tiina (Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI), 2021)
    Water 13 (2021), 472
    Climate change may alter the services ecosystems provide by changing ecosystem functioning. As ecosystems can also resist environmental perturbations, it is crucial to consider the different processes that influence resilience. Our case study considered increased NO3− concentration in drinking water due to the climate change. We analyzed changes in ecosystem services connected to water purification at a catchment scale in southern Finland. We combined climate change scenarios with process-based forest growth (PREBAS) and eco-hydrological (PERSiST and INCA) models. We improved traditional model calibration by timing of forest phenology and snow-covered period from network of cameras and satellite data. We upscaled the combined modelling results with scenarios of population growth to form vulnerability maps. The boreal ecosystems seemed to be strongly buffered against NO3- leaching by increase in evapotranspiration and vegetation NO3- uptake. Societal vulnerability varied greatly between scenarios and municipalities. The most vulnerable were agricultural areas on permeable soil types.
  • Honkasalo, Marja-Liisa (2019)
    This introduction provides an analytical back ground for the notion of vulnerability as it is currently perceived mainly in social sciences, ethics, philosophy, queer studies and governmentality. Used both as descriptive and normative term, vulnerability, along with resilience and policy management, has acquired political dimensions, which are distant from those given by the philosophers Hannah Arendt and Emmanuel Levinas. In present day social and political discussions vulnerability has gained enormous popularity and seems to be a genuine 'sticky concept', an adhesive cluster of heterogeneous conceptual elements.
  • Heikkinen, Risto K.; Kartano, Linda; Leikola, Niko; Aalto, Juha; Aapala, Kaisu; Kuusela, Saija; Virkkala, Raimo (Elsevier, 2021)
    Global Ecology and Conservation 28, e01664
    The Habitats Directive of the European Union is a key legislative instrument in Europe, supporting the conservation of rare, threatened or endemic species. It aims at ensuring that the species listed in the Annexes of the Habitats Directive show a favourable conservation status, i.e., that they are able to maintain viable populations and that their natural range is sufficient and not decreasing currently, nor will in the future. However, climate change may hamper Habitats Directive species in achieving (or maintaining) a favourable conservation status, particularly when these impacts are amplified by adverse land use. Here, we studied Habitats Directive species in Finland for which ≥70% of the occurrences were recorded with the resolution of ≤100 m. The number of occurrence sites for the 52 species studied ranged from one site to 13,653 sites, summing up to 19,367 sites. For all these sites and their surroundings, we assessed the vulnerabilities caused by climate change and land use. The climate exposure of occurrence sites was measured based on the rapidity of climatic changes (i.e. climate velocity) in three climate variables (growing degree days, mean January air temperature, water balance) at each site. Risks caused by land use were assessed using two negative and four positive variables that respectively described the quantity of land cover and habitats that is either harmful (e.g. clear-cut forest and drained peatlands) or supportive (protected areas and suitable habitats) to species occurrences. To complement climate and land-use variables, three additional variables describing protection status of the sites and the number of occurrences of the same species in the landscape were examined. Comparison of the mean vulnerability values for each species showed that some of the species inhabit, on average, areas with high climate exposure. Moreover, in certain species climate change-induced vulnerabilities consistently coincide with negative land use. However, in many of the 52 species there was large variation in the vulnerability levels between individual occurrence sites, concerning both climate exposure and land-use variables. Considering the vulnerabilities due to climate change separately, 40–60% of the species occurrence sites are expected to face high exposure caused by rapid changes in summer or winter temperatures, which presents challenges in maintaining a favourable conservation status. Our results also revealed numerous species occurrences where high climate velocity coincided with a large amount of negative land use and low amount of suitable habitat, for which climate-wise conservation planning could be targeted.
  • Brunila, Kristiina; Rossi, Leena-Maija (2018)
    In this article, identity politics is understood as a form of politics stressing collective but malleable group identities as the basis of political action. This notion of identity politics also allows thinking of identity as intersectional. The focus of this article, and a problem related to identity politics, is that when discussed in the context of the neoliberal order, identity politics has a tendency to become harnessed by the ethos of vulnerability. Some implications of the 'vulnerabilizisation' are considered in the field of education, which is a field currently thoroughly affected by neoliberalism. Therefore, it is also important to look closer at the relationship between identity politics and the ethos of vulnerability. In addition, we re-consider poststructuralist thinking as a theoretical and political approach to see what it can offer in terms of re-thinking identity politics and in analyzing the ethos of vulnerability. When categories of vulnerability keep expanding into various psycho-emotional vulnerabilities defining subjects that can be known and spoken about, it is crucial to ask whether we regard these changes as educationally and politically progressive. The article discusses some problematic policies in educational environments and the phenomenon of trigger warnings.
  • Nevalainen, Maisa Katariina; Vanhatalo, Jarno; Helle, Inari (2019)
    Risk of an Arctic oil spill has become a global matter of concern. Climate change induced opening of shipping routes increases the Arctic maritime traffic which exposes the area to negative impacts of potential maritime accidents. Still, quantitative analyses of the likely environmental impacts of such accidents are scarce, and our understanding of the uncertainties related to both accidents and their consequences is poor. There is an obvious need for analysis tools that allow us to systematically analyze the impacts of oil spills on Arctic species, so the risks can be taken into account when new sea routes or previously unexploited oil reserves are utilized. In this paper, an index‐based approach is developed to study exposure potential (described via probability of becoming exposed to spilled oil) and sensitivity (described via oil‐induced mortality and recovery) of Arctic biota in the face of an oil spill. First, a conceptual model presenting the relevant variables that contribute to exposure potential and sensitivity of key Arctic marine functional groups was built. Second, based on an extensive literature review, a probabilistic estimate was assigned for each variable, and the variables were combined to an index representing the overall vulnerability of Arctic biota. The resulting index can be used to compare the relative risk between functional groups and accident scenarios. Results indicate that birds have the highest vulnerability to spilled oil, and seals and whales the lowest. Polar bears’ vulnerability varies greatly between seasons, while ice seals’ vulnerability remains the same in every accident scenario. Exposure potential of most groups depends strongly on type of oil, whereas their sensitivity contains less variation.
  • Garcia, Raquel A.; Araujo, Miguel B.; Burgess, Neil D.; Foden, Wendy B.; Gutsche, Alexander; Rahbek, Carsten; Cabeza, Mar (2014)
  • Sillfors, Pauliina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Human trafficking is a fast growing crime and a fundamental offense against human rights. Human trafficking is linked, inter alia, to social, economic and cultural factors; and the impact on individuals, societies and nations is destructive. Trafficking has been studied increasingly in the recent years. Though only few primary research has been conducted of human trafficking in Kenya, where trafficking is a widely spread problem. Furthermore, vulnerability towards human trafficking and reintegration of its victims has been studied more extensively on international level, but the research done on Kenyan context is very limited and the main focus stays on economical factors. Only a few studies have focused on experiences of vulnerability and reintegration of trafficking victims. Therefore, the objective of this research is to provide more information and study the complexity of victims’ experiences by the following research question: What factors former victims of trafficking have experienced as causes to their vulnerability towards trafficking and what difficulties former victims of traf- ficking have faced during their reintegration process after trafficking in Kenya? The aim of this research is to provide information that can be utilized in the development of contra human trafficking programmes in Kenya. This study is a qualitative research. The research material, 12 semi-structured interviews with former victims of human trafficking, was collected during a six-month period in 2015- 2016 in Kenya. The method used for analysing the data was qualitative content analysis. In- tersectionality was also used as an analytical tool. The experiences of vulnerability towards trafficking were mainly in relation to social problems within families, financial difficulties and obligations towards family members. The experiences of reintegration were also hampered by financial difficulties, obligations towards family members and social problems; stigmatization, blame and discrimination. This study suggests dynamics within families and communities, when allied with other factors, may become significant intersectional factors, for individuals, of vulnerability and reintegration. The findings were consistent with previous research, even though the findings cannot be generalized to larger populations. However, this research provides important pieces of information that can be utilized in relating research and in the development of contra trafficking programmes in Kenya.
  • Janusz, Bernadetta; Bergmann, Jörg R.; Matusiak, Feliks; Perakyla, Anssi (2021)
    Four couple therapy first consultations involving clients with diagnosed narcissistic problems were examined. A sociologically enriched and broadened concept of narcissistic disorder was worked out based on Goffman's micro-sociology of the self. Conversation analytic methods were used to study in detail episodes in which clients resist to answer a therapist's question, block or dominate the development of the conversation's topic, or conspicuously display their interactional independence. These activities are interpreted as a pattern of controlling practices that were prompted by threats that the first couple therapy consultation imposes upon the clients' self-image. The results were discussed in the light of contemporary psychiatric discussions of narcissism; the authors suggest that beyond its conceptualization as a personality disorder, narcissism should be understood as a pattern of interactional practices.
  • Liposits, G; Eshoj, HR; Moller, S; Winther, SB; Skuladottir, H; Ryg, J; Hofsli, E; Shah, CH; Poulsen, LO; Berglund, A; Qvortrup, C; Osterlund, P; Glimelius, B; Sorbye, H; Pfeiffer, P (2021)
    Simple Summary Bowel cancer is one of the leading cancer-types in both sexes worldwide. Despite that most new cases and deaths occur in people aged 70 years or older, few clinical trials have investigated the best way to administer chemotherapy in older or frail patients. The NORDIC9-study established that moderately dose-reduced combination chemotherapy improved survival without extra side-effects compared to full dose single drug therapy. However, many older patients with incurable cancer seem to prefer preserved quality of life rather than longer survival. Therefore, our aim with the current quality of life analysis of the NORDIC9-study was to assess that the more effective chemotherapy was not at the expense of decreased quality of life. Our analyses showed that moderately dose-reduced combination chemotherapy-maintained quality of life, physical functioning, and resulted in less symptoms than treatment with full dose single drug in older patients not tolerating standard combination chemotherapy usually provided to young and fit patients. Quality of life data from randomized trials are lacking in older patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). In the randomized NORDIC9-study, reduced-dose S1+oxaliplatin (SOx) showed superior efficacy compared to full-dose S1 monotherapy. We hypothesized that treatment with SOx does not result in inferior quality of life. Patients with mCRC aged >= 70 years and that were not a candidate for standard combination chemotherapy were included and randomly assigned to receive either S1 or SOx. The EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire was completed at baseline, after 9, and 18 weeks. The primary endpoint was global Quality of Life (QoL) at 9 weeks. For statistical analysis, a non-inferiority design was chosen applying linear mixed effects models for repeated measurements. The results were interpreted according to statistical significance and anchor-based, clinically relevant between-group minimally important differences (MID). A total of 160 patients aged (median (Interquartile range (IQR))) 78 years (76-81) were included. The QLQ-C30 questionnaire was completed by 150, 100, and 60 patients at baseline, at 9, and 18 weeks, respectively. The difference at 9 weeks in global QoL was 6.85 (95%CI-1.94; 15.65) and 7.37 (0.70; 14.05) in the physical functioning domain in favor of SOx exceeding the threshold for MID. At 18 weeks, the between-group MID in physical functioning was preserved. Dose-reduced combination chemotherapy may be recommended in vulnerable older patients with mCRC, rather than full-dose monotherapy.
  • Takala, Tuija; Hayry, Matti (2019)
    This paper explores how Finnish research ethics deals with matters of justice on the levels of practical regulation, political morality, and theoretical studies. The bioethical sets of principles introduced by Tom Beauchamp and James Childress in the United States and Jacob Dahl Rendtorff and Peter Kemp in Europe provide the conceptual background, together with a recently introduced conceptual map of theories of justice and their dimensions. The most striking finding is that the internationally recognized requirement of informed consent for research on humans can be ideologically tricky in a Scandinavian welfare state setting.
  • Venäläinen, Satu Maarit (2019)
    This paper focuses on ways in which vulnerability is given meaning and related to in narratives of women serving a prison sentence for violent crimes. These women can be seen as inhabiting specifically vulnerable social positions in many respects, while at the same time their vulnerability is often denied. In my analysis I view the past, present, and future vulnerabilities of these women in a dialectical relation with the narratives they tell and the identities they enact through these tellings. In their narratives, vulnerability entwines with agentic orientations towards violence in complex ways. While often figuring as part of the context of doing violence, vulnerability is also refuted, combated, and distanced from the selves constituted in the narratives. In my reading, these ambivalent relations to vulnerability reflect the gendered trouble it poses for being seen as a worthy subject in the context of Western valorization of autonomy and individual agency.
  • Zatina, Beate (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The impact of political strategies aimed to reduce and eradicate homelessness are shaped by the ways in which we conceptualise the problem itself. This study aims to analyse the framing in which the homeless are considered vulnerable in order to uncover possible ways in which this allows for gatekeeping of solutions for homelessness eradication. Building on existing research, the study aims to highlight the dominant problematisations of homelessness and the limitations that they pose on provision of services by local authorities in England. The study focuses on the changes between the newly introduced legislation of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2018 and the Housing Act of 1996 in order to highlight naturalised narratives on homelessness that have been reinforced, and possible shifts in framing that allow for possible change. Analysis of the accompanying code of guidance policy documents using the What is the problem represented to be? methodology allows to compare the framing of homelessness and the proposed solutions in order to better understand whether policy changes creating increasingly accessible service provision or remains selective in whom it helps. The results indicate that the legislative change has widened the parameters of who is to be considered vulnerable; and there is a shift in focus towards prevention allowing for more people to access services. However, the continued use of categorisation and assessment of the homeless on basis of vulnerability, localisation and focus on intentionality of homelessness ultimately maintains gatekeeping of resources. The results indicate possible narratives which may allow for shifts in problematisation of homelessness especially during the current COVID-19 crisis which has created unprecedented shift in homelessness strategies. Further research is necessary to understand better resilience of the legislation during crisis, and how to shift narratives on homelessness into empowering and inclusive instruments.
  • Nygren, Anja (2021)
    Water-related disasters have become more unpredictable amidst human-induced climatic and hydroecological changes, with profound effects on people inhabiting fragile river basins. In this article, I analyse drastic waterscape transformations and people's differentiated exposure to water-related vulnerabilities in the Grijalva River lower basin, southeastern Mexico, focusing on how state authority is reinforced through waterscape alterations and how altered waterscapes shape state-making and scalar politics. Examining interlinkages between 1) state-making and governance; 2) resource-making and politics of scale; and 3) hazard-making and the dynamics of socionature, the article contributes to scholarly and development practice discussions on environmental vulnerability. I argue that the goals of consolidating state power and promoting development through massive waterscape changes and resource extractions have provoked hazards that are difficult to control, resulting in differentiated distribution of environmental benefits and burdens. Drawing on archival research, documentary analysis, thematic interviews, and ethnographic fieldwork, the study illustrates the overlapping and cumulative effects of state-making, politics of scale, and the dynamics of socionature on socially differentiated vulnerability. Although the forms of governance shift over time, statecraft as a mode of consolidating state authority and controlling lower basin environments and residents persists. The government prevents social mobilisation through political persuasion and pressure, and disciplines residents to adapt to altered waterscapes, while allowing few changes in prevalent power structures. Simultaneously, the study demonstrates that water cannot be controlled by political rules and requisites, while local residents reinterpret dominant ways of governing through claim-making, negotiation, everyday resistance, and situational improvisation, albeit within unequal power relations. The study enhances understanding of water-related vulnerabilities resulting from recurrent, yet temporally remoulded agendas of state-making combined with socially differentiating politics of scaling and the dynamics of socionature, which altogether reformulate human-nonhuman interactions and make local smallholders and pen-urban poor increasingly vulnerable to floods. (c) 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).