Browsing by Subject "welfare state"

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  • Lind, Kalle; Hellman, Matilda; Obstbaum, Yaira; Salonen, Anne H. (2021)
    This study addresses criminal convictions, social disadvantage and problem gambling as an interwoven set of problems. It makes use of data from a population-based gambling survey (n = 7,186) conducted in three Finnish regions. The survey data are combined with national registers to examine associations between sociodemographic factors and gambling severity, comparing persons with and without a criminal record. Gambling behavior included past-year (2016) gambling severity and perceived life-time problem gambling. Social disadvantage was assessed using sociodemographic factors such as education, employment status, level of income and receipt of basic social assistance. Logistic regression analysis showed that both past-year problem or pathological gambling (OR: 2.725) and perceived life-time gambling problems (OR: 2.363) were associated with having a conviction, compared to recreational gambling. Low education, unemployment, low income and receipt of basic social assistance were associated with receiving a conviction. When gender, age and sociodemographic factors were controlled for, odds ratios for both past-year gambling problems (OR: 1.223) and perceived life-time gambling problems (OR: 1.586) did not remain statistically significant. The current study suggests that preventive efforts against problem gambling and interventions in criminal justice systems should be expanded to incorporate the aim of reducing social disadvantage.
  • Kononen, Jukka (2018)
    The regulation of legal statuses and differentiation of non-citizens' rights within the states has become a significant site in the management of migration, yet the actual operations of differential inclusion remain an underexamined issue in the migration research. This article provides an empirically grounded analysis of the differential inclusion of non-citizens and demonstrates the legal hierarchies between non-citizens' entitlements using Finland as a case study. I argue that in addition to the regulation of residence and the access to labour markets, the unequal access to the welfare system represents a significant sphere of differentiation in the immigration process. Non-citizens' social entitlements differ depending on the nationality, the type of legal status and the form of employment, affecting their position in the labour markets and in the society. The article highlights the role of immigration law in manipulating the residence status of non-citizens, consequently invalidating the universalism of rights and a residence-based welfare system. Immigration controls, rather than representing a neutral framework of regulation of immigration, function as an institution, which produces conditional subjects and asymmetrical social relations in the sphere of universal citizenship.
  • Alho, Rolle Julius; Helander, Mika Juhani (2016)
    In this article, we analyse foreign seasonal berry and vegetable pickers’ strategies as regards securing their living and working conditions in Finland. Farmers are currently dependent on foreign seasonal workers. In spite of the potential gains working in Finland offers to foreign pickers, the risks associated with the work are diverted to the individual employee. The risks are not shared between the employee and the welfare state, which is regarded as a central feature of the Nordic welfare model. In this precarious situation, ‘weak ties’ become an important source of information and security for the pickers.
  • Hölttä, Heidi (Helsingfors universitet, 2010)
    This thesis examines the media debate on pensions. The case analysed in the thesis is the debate that sharpened after the Finnish government made the decision to raise the retirement age. The analysed data consists of articles published in the printed media during one month after the decision was made on 24th of February in 2009. The aim of the study is to describe how the decision is argued about by different positions of speakers and how retirement is justified from the perspective of the individual. Furthermore, the purpose is to discover different ways of discussing the pensioner. The theoretical frame for this study is social constructivism, which understands reality as socially constructed with language. From this perspective, media texts can be seen as one form of shaping reality. The data is analysed by using different methods. Thematisation is used to discover the key topics, and quantification is used to examine the prevalence of different arguments. The method in which the speaker’s ways of speaking is analysed in different participant categories I call “a speaker position analysis”. The debate around the decision to raise the retirement age highlight the power struggle both between the government and the opposition as well as the government and employee unions. One thing all discussants agree is the need to raise the retirement age. From the individual's perspective, retirement is justified mostly with hard working conditions and inadequacy of health. The pensioner's image is appearing gloomy in most discourses. Prevailing discourses are seeing a pensioner either sick and tired or someone who is not good for work and has lost his dignity. The debate around the decision is intertwined around the concepts of welfare state and individual's well-being. In the postmodern society, human preferences are individualised. Welfare state means different things to different people, as well as the individual's subjective perception of well-being is unique. These two aspects are the ones which raise the tension in the analysed media debate.
  • Alanko, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The study investigates policy level attempts to improve mental health care. It analyses the rationale of the proposals to improve Finnish mental health policy between 1964–2016. Such proposals have been presented in policy documents such as committee reports, working group memorandums, government bills and project reports. The most prominent examples of the improvement proposals are reducing psychiatric hospital care, increasing outpatient treatment, increasing the possibilities for mental health services users to work, emphasising the autonomy of the service users, and increasing the equal position of mental health care service users and other citizens. The study seeks to find out what has been in the focus in reforming mental health care, how the people using mental health services have been perceived, and finally, what has been left unproblematised. Since the late 1970s, Finnish mental health care has been subject to continuous reforms. A key feature of these reforms has been psychiatric dehospitalisation, i.e. reducing psychiatric hospital care. Dehospitalisation is a trend with complex origins, which became global after the Second World War and reached Finland by the mid-1970s. Dehospitalisation stems from various and conflicting origins, such as citizens’ rights movements, the development of the psychiatric profession, the economic interests of the state, as well as from pharmaceutical development. Dehospitalisation and mental health policy in general are deeply connected with welfare policy, but it the relationship is not straightforward. In Finland dehospitalisation was planned as part of an expansive welfare policy, but its’ implementation has sometimes recalled austerity politics. Another phenomenon that affects mental health policy is the expansion of mental health care: the simultaneous increase in the provision, demand, methods and areas of jurisdiction of mental health care. The dissertation shows that in the reform initiatives set forth in the policy documents, similar suggestions are given in different contexts. In the analysed policy documents, dehospitalisation has been proposed as a solution to almost any problems perceived in mental health care. Dehospitalisation also seems to have materialised, as the number of psychiatric hospital beds is now many times lower than it was in the beginning of the period. Along with the diminishing number of hospital beds, new residential care facilities have been established which seem to be as institutionalising as the previous psychiatric hospitals. Also increasing the amount of outpatient treatment has materialised, but it seems that the services are used by a new group of citizens with milder problems. During the period between the 1960s and the early 1990s, those with a serious mental health problem were considered the core focus group of mental health policy, independently of whether they were within the labour market. Moreover, providing sheltered work for those with serious problems was considered a method of rehabilitation. After the mid-1990s the emphasis on paid work has increased. Those who are able to work in the labour market are the new focus group the mental health policy. The pursuit of mental health care service users’ increased autonomy is ideologically connected to the aim of dehospitalisation. However in the latter phases of the period, after the mid-1990s, the improvement suggestions start to assume the autonomy of the service users instead of seeking ways of supporting it. The changing understanding of autonomy also reflects to the notion of ‘user expertise’. This recently emerged way of thinking lifts the expertise of people having experience with their own mental health problems. However the emphasis on ‘expertise with experience’ fails to take into account that there is a high demand for professional mental health services. In the conclusions I argue that as a whole the well-meaning improvement proposals fail to problematise many structural factors contributing to the unequal provision of mental health care. Instead of achieving the revolving goal of increasing the equality of mental health care service users, the rationale has left room for excluding even further those with the most serious problems.
  • Sirén, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    Pro graduni lähtökohtana on Wendy Holdenin romaani Bad Heir Day, jota käytän vertailevassa tutkimuksessani esimerkkiteoksena tarkastellessani englantilaisen ja suomalaisen kulttuurin ominaispiirteitä, huumoria ja kääntämistä monitieteisten lähteiden avulla. Pohdin myös tutkimusprosessin aikana esiin nousseita käännöstutkimukseen ja ylipäänsä tutkimukseen liittyviä aspekteja mahdollisia tulevia tutkimuksia tai muita soveltamiskohteita varten. Kappaleessa 2 käsittelen lähdetekstiä eli Bad Heir Day -romaania, minkä jälkeen siirryn tutkimaan vertailevasti englantilaista ja suomalaista kulttuuria, tärkeimpinä yhteiskunnallista ulottuvuutta käsittelevinä lähdeteoksina Anthony Giddensin Sociology (2006) ja Kimmo Jokisen & Kimmo Saariston Suomalainen yhteiskunta (2006). Kappaleissa 3 - 5 käsittelen Bad Heir Dayn kirjallisuusgenrejä ja huumoria. Kappaleessa 6 tarkastelen sekä kääntämistä että kulttuurienvälistä kommunikaatiota, lähteinä mm. Andrew Chesterman (1997), Fons Trompenaars (Charles 2003, HSE) ja Edward T. Hall (Varner & Beamer 1995). Kappale 7 taas käsittelee omaa tutkimuskohdettani kvalitatiivisen tutkimuksen keinoin. Käytän käännösnäytteiden luokittelussa Chestermanin (1997) kategorioita. Kappaleen 7 loppuosa keskittyy käännöksen lukijoihin, sisältäen mm. kolmen lukijan palautetta. Lopulta kappaleessa 8 käsittelen gradunteon aikana kiinnostukseni herättänyttä tutkimus- ja käännösprosessitutkimusta sekä käytän lähteitä tutkimusprosessin reflektointiin, painottaen eri metodien harjoittelemisen tärkeyttä. Tämän kappaleen lähteinä ovat mm. Riitta Jääskeläisen väitöskirja (1993), Juha Varron online-luento (2004) ja Mika Elon artikkeli (2007) taiteellisesta tutkimuksesta sekä Jussi Pakkasvirran Monitiede vai monta tiedettä (2003).
  • Mattila, Vesa Mikko; Rapeli, Lauri (2018)
    This article explores two theoretical possibilities for why personal health may affect political trust: the psychological-democratic contract theory, and the role of personal experience in opinion formation. It argues that citizens with health impairments are more likely to experience the direct effects of political decisions as they are more dependent on public health services. Negative subjective evaluations of public services can lower trust levels, especially if people's expectations are high. Using European Social Survey data, the association between health and trust in 19 Western European states is analysed. The results indicate that people in poor health exhibit lower levels of trust towards the political system than people in good health. The differences in trust between those in good and poor health are accentuated among citizens with left-leaning ideological values. The results suggest that welfare issues may constitute a rare context in which personal, rather than collective, experiences affect opinion formation.
  • Lindblom, Seppo (2002)
    The method of the present study has been influenced by 'Zeitdiagnose', which can be considered as a special genre of modern sociological research. The starting points of this study are the great Finnish depression, the turning point in the 20th century, and the anxiety and uncertainty concerning future adjustment of the welfare state which followed. The need of a new analysis becomes clear when uncertainty is confronted with certainty, and traditional ways of thinking do not any more offer relevant questions and answers in the field of welfare policy. The antagonism between left and right is loosing its relevance. Therefore, alternative co-ordinates must be built. The welfare state has not faced ideological enemies but instead a more and more complex world and the era of uncertainty. The welfare state is seen as a receipt of certainty characterised by a wide political consensus. This study examines what happens when the receipt of certainty confronts with the era of uncertainty. Political confidence is in danger. The main claim is that the welfare state has to be undressed of excessive demands and of expectations it cannot fulfil. This research is guided by society-policy themes in which the uncertainty is accepted and the limits and content of the reflexive accountability of the welfare state is being analysed. The concept of reflexive accountability is considered as one welfare-policy way of thinking. The research searches for an active intervention policy which could create confidence in the era of uncertainty. The study introduces three alternative concepts of policy: reflexive accountability, expansive and frustrated politics. Reflexive accountability refers to a restricted political responsibility in which global distribution of income, democratic dialogue, pragmatic creativity and contingency are emphasised. The expansive concept of policy, on the other hand, searches for solutions from rapid economic growth and expansive welfare state and social policies. Opposite to the latter is reaction of frustration and disappointment which arises when expansion reaches its conceptual and material limits. Uncertainty and contingence are the basic concepts of this research. Uncertainty refers to a mental ambivalence on choosing the right policies. It is characterised by the volatility of global know-how intensive economy, difficulties in choosing between right and wrong and by the tendency to question the legitimacy of science. Contingency refers to a possibility to choose and to act differently. It means carefulness and deliberation in order to recognise unknown possibilities. As a room of manoeuvre in the welfare policy, contingency can be understood as unexhausted mental and material resources to stand the test of unexpected trials as well as to take benefit from new opening opportunities.
  • Kananen, Johannes (2004)
    This Thesis examines the extent to which labour market deregulation can provide a viable solution for problems associated with European labour markets. Compared to the US, Europe is said to have opted for equity instead of efficiency. Seemingly rigid labour markets have resulted in high and persistent levels of unemployment in times of post-industrialisation and globalisation. Labour market regulation is here understood in a wide sense, comprising employment protection legislation, but also wage setting, minimum wages and mandatory social security contributions. The Scandinavian regime would arguably have to make the greatest changes if all aspects of deregulation were implemented. Thus, the Thesis takes a closer at Finnish, Swedish and Danish employment policies. The Scandinavian model is contrasted with the liberal model of the UK. Data in the empirical section comes from OECD public databases. It is argued that recent changes in economic theory have influenced policy suggestions aiming at more flexible labour markets. The theory of the Natural Rate of Unemployment is associated with a different role of the state compared to traditional Keynesian theories. During the post-war period of stable economic growth and welfare state expansion, the state adopted in many countries an active role in the economy, and full employment was maintained by counter-cyclical demand management. Now the state has a much more limited role with regards to macroeconomic policy, and the idea of an undisturbed market is back in policy making. A trend towards the recommodification of labour is identified in the Thesis. It is argued that recent reductions in social security are an indication of this trend, and that labour market deregulation would strengthen it further. It will be concluded that Europe does not form a uniform area and that simple policy suggestions are therefore hard to find. Labour market deregulation is not an inevitable solution of European labour markets, and the social goals associated with employment policy are subject to political debate and not economic facts.
  • Kurki, Niklas (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Previous research in political economy has emphasized corporate lobbying as a pathway through which businesses influence government policy. This thesis examines a less-studied mode of influence: private regulation, defined as voluntary efforts by firms to restrain their own business, in the context of Finnish private elderly care. The thesis suggests that profits in elderly care is a particularly controversial policy issue that suffers from market repugnance, defined as a situation where there might be willing suppliers and demanders of certain transactions, but an aversion to those transactions by others restrain or even stop the transactions. Now, this thesis assert that elderly care firms can use modest private regulation as a political strategy to decrease market repugnance and in so doing preempt more stringent government regulations that could hinder profit making. To test this hypothesis, this thesis organized a survey experiment, where university students and young professionals participated. The survey experiment revealed that the subjects reacted to a private regulation initiative (PRI) by firms. When subjects were asked whether profits should be allowed in elderly care, they held more positive views towards profits after exposed to the PRI. The same dynamic also materialized when subjects evaluated whether firms should be allowed to independently determine minimum staffing requirement per elderly. Furthermore, subjects were also more trustful in the prospect that elderly care firms prioritize the health of elderly before profits, after informed with the PRI. The findings in this thesis have potentially significant societal implications particularly in the domain of private sector influence on social- and healthcare policy. Private regulation is a political strategy that firms can use to decrease demand for stringent government regulation. In addition, the results suggest that firms needn’t use a lot of resources to decrease demand for regulation. However, the results also suggest that there is a demand among the public for more socially responsible firms. Even those on the Left are ready to reward firms that display a tangible commitment to responsible conduct with greater freedoms and increased legitimacy. This could ideally nudge firms towards a more responsible and a more societally embedded conduct.
  • Isola, Anna-Maria; Virrankari, Lotta; Hiilamo, Heikki (2021)
    By means of qualitative longitudinal material, this article explores meaningfulness during persistent monetary poverty through an integrative framework, which builds upon conceptualisations of meaning in life (coherence, significance, and purpose) and modes of being (labour, work, action). The material consists of 36 autobiographical accounts and their follow-up accounts from 2006 and 2012. The analysis reveals that in the developed welfare state of Finland, prolonged monetary poverty is connected with the propensity for incoherence and a feeling of insignificance, particularly if life is governed by a vicious cycle of scarcity. Prolonged poverty 1) turns aspirations from long-term to short-term goals and frames life as something characterised by negative anticipation and a circular sense of time. Life primarily takes place in private space. It also 2) weakens the sense of belonging and 3) reduces public participation. These are the domains where the meaning in life is constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed. In a developed welfare state, the comprehensive and manageable social security scheme maintains coherence, yet universal social policy actions that enable participation in public activities nourish a sense of significance.
  • Nikkilä, Miia (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    This master’s thesis study examines the new type of public management in Finland brought about by the introduction of the ideals of new public management internationally.Specifically, the ideal of self-responsibility was examined in the Finnish context by focusing on the aftercare of short-term prisoners. The study focused on the question of how does the prevailing public management in Finland effect the situation of released short-term prisoners, and specifically, how does it affect their aftercare measures? In order to provide an answer to this, the study sought answers to three questions: 1) what problems are there in the aftercare of short-term prisoners in Finland and what are the consequences of these problems; 2) how is the aftercare of short-term prisoners divided between the government, the municipality, and the third sector and who is responsible for providing aftercare services; 3) how does the public sector responsibilitize released short-term prisoners and, if so, what kind of problems does this cause them in relation to their aftercare? This study was conducted by using a qualitative multi-sited ethnographic approach that consisted of using different sets of data. First, governmental laws and policies regarding imprisonment and social welfare were used as secondary or background data. Second, ethnographic fieldwork was undertaken at a non-profit organisation along with ethnographic interviews in order to collect valuable insight into the topic along with some first-hand experience. Third, thematic interviews with short-term prisoners, the staff of the non-profit organization, and with governmental social workers were conducted. Lastly, ethnographic observations during the thematic interviews were undertaken. The findings of this study suggest that the influences of new public management and its ideal of responsibilitization are visible in the aftercare of short-term prisoners. There seems to be a move towards necessitating short-term prisoners to take responsibility for their own matters already during their time in prison, but specifically after their release. On top of this, these individuals are expected to actively demonstrate a motivation for change in order to be entitled to receive services due to the lack of resources and a move away from a needs-based service provision. Problems to do with a decentralised service provision and the way in which short-term prisoners are not viewed as a group necessitating specialised services also lead towards the above stated situation. Crucially, the responsibility of the government or the municipality to provide services for this group of individuals is being shifted towards the third sector in a way that the third sector has become the ‘problem solver’ of the Finnish society. The lack of resources, however, that is also prevalent within the third sector has an influence on individuals in that they are expected to take on increasing amounts of responsibilities for their own aftercare. The study concludes that further research is needed in relation to the situation of the aftercare of short-term prisoners – and prisoners in general – to fully understand the way in which new public management and its ideals affect this issue and how the welfare renewals recently suggested by the government influence the situation of this marginal and problematic group of the population.
  • 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.
  • Strang, Johan (2018)
    Scandinavian Legal Realism occupies a controversial space in Nordic historiography. Some celebrate it as the legal philosophy of the democratic and egalitarian Nordic welfare state; others scorn it for having contributed to a state-apologetic and rights-sceptical Nordic political culture that prioritised the common good over individual human rights. This article is motivated by an impression that a certain historical sensitivity is lacking from this discussion. Focusing on the Swedish philosopher Axel Hägerström and the Danish legal theorist Alf Ross, the article explores what the legal realists actually said about human rights and reconstructs the context and purpose of their criticism. How did they envision international law, democracy or the welfare state without human rights? How was it possible to continue the crusade against natural law after the Second World War? And is there anything to be learned from their criticism at a time when we in the Nordic countries, as elsewhere, are asking ourselves many of the same fundamental questions regarding the relation between law and politics as well as the universality of human rights?
  • van Gerven, Minna (Kela, 2008)
    Sosiaali- ja terveysturvan tutkimuksia 100
    Tämä tutkimus tarkastelee hyvinvointivaltion muutosta vertailevasta näkökulmasta analysoimalla sosiaaliturvaetuuksien (työttömyysturvan, sairauspäivärahan ja työkyvyttömyyseläkkeen sekä toimeentulotuen) saajien oikeuksien ja saamisehtojen muutoksia Isossa-Britanniassa, Alankomaissa ja Suomessa vuosien 1980 ja 2006 välisenä aikana. Tutkimuksessa tarkastellaan, 1) miten etuuksien saantiehtoja ja oikeuksia on näissä kolmessa eurooppalaisessa maassa muutettu vuodesta 1980 lähtien, 2) onko yhtäläisiä trendejä muutoksen suunnasta löydettävissä eri maiden ja järjestelmien väliltä sekä 3) mitä nämä muutokset kertovat hyvinvointivaltion muutoksen suunnasta sekä sen laajuudesta Euroopassa. Aineistona käytetään kansallisia sosiaaliturvalainsäädäntöjä ja muita kansallisia primäärilähteitä. Aineistosta löytyy neljä eurooppalaista trendiä: muutokset ovat 1) korostaneet työn merkitystä, 2) lisänneet etuudensaajien aktivointia, 3) kohdentaneet etuuksia tarkemmin tietyille tuensaajille sekä 4) heikentäneet etuuksien tasoa. Nämä yhdensuuntaiset trendit antavat syyn olettaa, että reformien tavoitteet ovat lähentyneet toisiaan Euroopassa. Toisaalta mitä yksityiskohtaisemmin aineistoa tarkastellaan, sitä enemmän eroavuuksia löytyy. Yksityiskohtainen analyysi osoittaa, että maat seuraavat kohtalaisen hyvin ennalta määrättyjä kehityspolkuja siinä, miten uusiin haasteisiin vastataan: brittiläisessä sosiaalipolitiikassa on ensisijaisesti palattu vähimmäisturvan tarjontaan, Alankomaiden järjestelmä pyrkii yhä säilyttämään työväestön sosiaalivakuutukset ja Suomessa perusturva on pyritty pitämään suurimpien muutosten ulkopuolella. Tutkimus osoittaa myös, että eräät maat ja niiden järjestelmät ovat käyneet läpi merkittävämpiä muutoksia kuin toiset. Merkittävimmät yksittäiset muutokset on toteutettu Isossa-Britanniassa maatasolla sekä työkyvyttömyys(eläke)järjestelmässä järjestelmätasolla. Lähempi tarkastelu osoittaa myös, että muutoksen koko vaihtelee eri etuudensaajaryhmien välillä. Varsinkin nuoret ja pitkäaikaistyöttömät sekä osittain työkyvyttömät ovat kokeneet viime vuosikymmenten aikana ehtojen tiukentumisen, ja heidän oikeuksiaan on rajoitettu. Tutkimuksen johtopäätös on, että toteutetut sosiaaliturvan muutokset viime vuosikymmeninä seuraavat kansallisia ratkaisumalleja. Kuitenkin muutoksen mahdollisuus on olemassa, sillä näillä polkuriippuvaisilla sosiaaliturvaetuuksien muutoksilla on leveämmät urat kuin usein kirjallisuudessa esitetään. – Suomenkielinen yhteenveto s. 290–293.
  • Wuokko, Maiju Marjaana (2021)
    This article addresses the apparent paradox of simultaneous neoliberal change and welfare-statist, corporatist continuity by presenting an empirical case study of the advent of neoliberal ideas in Finland in the 1970s and 1980s. The article focuses on the attempts of a free-market think tank, EVA, and the employers’ association, STK, to advance policies such as economic deregulation, international competitiveness, welfare retrenchment, and active social and labour market policies through the neoliberal retasking of the corporatist Finnish welfare state. EVA and the STK utilised seemingly non-neoliberal means, that is an economic policy consensus and tripartite corporatist arrangements, and reformulated their content to better correspond with business interests. Instead of demolition, the outcome has been the redefinition and incremental transformation of the state from a provider of welfare to a promoter of competitiveness, productivity, and employment.
  • Søndergaard, Casper (2006)
    The aim of this thesis is to scrutinize the political discourses of the global economy and how different policies are legitimised by the discourse of the global economy. The thesis ponders whether different welfare state models and different perceptions of globalization influence the discursive constructions of legitimacy. Discourse analysis constitutes the methodological framework of the thesis. I propose a model distinguishing between different ways of constructing legitimacy. Based on this model, I isolate the legitimising discourses of the global economy in relation to other possible ways of constructing legitimacy of economic policies. This model and the general ‘discursive’ tools of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe are applied to analyse the discourses of the global economy in Britain, Germany and Finland. Based on recent theories on the relationship between globalization and the welfare state, I confront two conflicting approaches, the hyperglobalization approach and the contingent globalization approach, from which antagonistic hypotheses are deduced. The hyperglobalization approach (of which Kenichi Ohmae is the most important theorist) foresees that neo-liberal reform discourses - calling for reforms due to the global economy - should be more radical and salient in ‘expensive’ (by means of high levels of taxation, a large public sector and a generous welfare state) welfare regimes such as the Social Democratic (represented by Finland) welfare state and the Corporatist welfare state (represented by Germany) than in the Liberal welfare state (represented by Britain), which, in the optic of the hyperglobalization approach, is more ready and fit for the global economy. By contrast, the contingent globalization approach (of which Colin Hay, Ben Rosamond, Vivian Schmidt, Ronen Palan and Angus Cameron are the most important theorists) would expect that discourses concerning the effects of the global economy reflect context-dependent factors, actors’ perception of the nature of globalization, ideological orientation and cognitive filters. The analysis, using different sources including speeches in Parliament, party manifestos and key reports on globalization, finds that different discursive constructions of the global economy stress and focus on different factors (or moments as discourse analysis has it), but all actors seem to agree on the fact that a transformation of the global economy has taken place. Different external and internal policies are legitimised with reference to the global economy, but it is worth stressing that neo-liberal discourses are dominant. Most actors, however, also call for some sort of steering of globalization. In conclusion, I reject the hypotheses of the hyperglobalization approach, in that neo-liberal discourses referring to the global economy in fact are more radical and salient in Britain than in Finland – entirely contrary to the predictions of the hyperglobalization approach. The results are in general in conformity with the contingent globalization approach. Cognitive filters and ideology appear to be the most powerful determinants of how discourses of the global economy are constructed, by whom they are (most often) articulated and how they are used to justify certain policies.
  • Strang, Johan (2019)
    It is often argued that the Scandinavian post-war period was marked by a democratic optimism that contrasts with the deep concerns for the inherent dangers of popular sovereignty and the thorough moral reconsideration that took place on the European continent in the wake of World War II. This article seeks to balance this view by exploring what Scandinavian intellectuals believed had caused the collapse of democracy in Europe in the 1930s and what they saw as the main threats to democracy in the emerging post-war societies. Focusing on the fears of socialist planning, concerns about the position of individual rights and freedoms in modern societies, and the anxieties concerning the secular total state, the article suggests that the Scandinavian post-war democratic settlement was indeed built around a different set of ideas from those evident in many other places in Europe, but that it was no less informed by recent historical experiences or concerns for the fragility of democracy.
  • Pyrhönen, Niko Johannes (University of Helsinki, Swedish School of Social Science, 2015)
    SSKH skrifter
    At the beginning of the millennium, a concern for the future of the welfare state in the globalized era was widely shared across the Finnish political spectrum. Further politicizing the question of immigration, neo-populist advocates mobilized a markedly heterogeneous constituency to support the right-wing populist Perussuomalaiset party, establishing the previously minor party among the three largest ones in the parliament. Employing a wide range of narratives, specifically tailored to different arenas of public debate, neo-populism soon acquired a chameleonic character that allowed front-line politicians and grassroots level advocates to secure support from constituencies in the blue-collared working-class, the middle classes and the dot.net generation. Instrumental in the expansion of the Perussuomalaiset voter base was the neo-populists ability to consistently facilitate exposure in the media for a welfare nationalist political agenda that framed their exclusionary immigration critique as part of a mundane socio-political debate aimed at saving our welfare state. In order to examine the consolidation of neo-populism into a resonant collective identity, the present study operationalizes theoretical contributions from critical nationalism studies a compound body of literature in sociology, political science and media studies into three analytical lenses. Triangulating between these lenses, the empirical analysis focuses on the narrative agency of neo-populist advocates, uncovering how the seedbed of favorable political opportunity structures was harnessed in their political mobilization. The collection of narrative data from a variety of arenas of public debate, and its subsequent analysis, is structured by a historical reconstruction of three critical turning points taking place before, during and right after the electoral victory of the Perussuomalaiset in 2011. The results of this doctoral study point to a conclusion that neo-populist mobilization was first advanced through narratives of exclusionary boundary-work, employed for the purpose of justifying a welfare nationalist focus on immigration politics as the panacea for the ailing welfare state. Constructing an idealized legacy of an empowering welfare state and harmoniously homogeneous civil society, neo-populists proliferated public stories that place the blame for the welfare state s globalized challenges on immigration. Moreover, through strategic social action in various online arenas of contested media space, the neo-populists sought to further personalize and emotionalize the debate on immigration. This served to consolidate a collective identity based on victimized self-understanding, whereby their political opponents and public critics were positioned into distinct enemy categories, such as the elite controlled media, irresponsible Green Khmers and detached ladies with flowery hats.