Faculty of Social Sciences

 

Recent Submissions

  • Tapper, Helena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The focus of this thesis is the study of the Knowledge Society discourse and policies of international development organisations (the UN, AU, IADB, ITU, UNESCO) and two national governments (South Africa and Finland). The research question is “Why and how the policies of national and international organizations have promoted and developed Knowledge Society policies generally and for development in the Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular?” The data for the thesis traces its origins to the author being immersed for 15 years in Knowledge Society policy implementation and study, in and across five regions (Central America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, and Africa). This thesis involves an introductory essay, four articles and one book chapter. The author’s framework in this study blends earlier research on the historical progression of scholarly thought on Knowledge Society discourse and policies with public discourse on the content and new directions of what defines Knowledge Society policy. The author has engaged in participant observation and many rounds of analysis, iteration, reflection, and interpretation as it pertains to the subject matter. Since 2015, she has carried out further data collection, analysis and interpretation for purposes of theory building . The data collected, analysed and interpreted in this study thus pertain to the history and evolution of Information and Knowledge Society and its manifestation in national policies of governments and the development policies of international development organisations globally, and more specifically in the context of Africa. Following the methodology of Gioia, Corley and Hamilton (2013), the author categorized her foregoing data on Knowledge Society discourse and policies into 21 first-order codes or policy themes. The identified themes are each contextually embedded in the time of their publication. Some of the policy themes in the essay and publications have remained the same from 2000 to 2015. Other policy themes, like gender and local economy, have only appeared on the agenda more recently. The three developmental ‘waves’, ‘phases’ or ‘dimensions’ of Knowledge Society are: An efficiency-and economically oriented wave starting as discourse in the 1970s, an information and communication technology wave starting in the 1980s and globalization and development wave starting in the 1990s. Within each of these waves and across them, Knowledge Society has either contributed to development of national economies and societies in the Global North (such as those of Europe or the United States) or in the Global South (such as those in Sub-Saharan Africa). Calls for further research include the study of the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on development in selected countries in the Global North and the Global South.
  • Celikkol, Göksu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This study investigates reactions to increasing cultural diversity in receiving societies, with a special focus on intergroup relations between the Finnish majority group and Russian-speaking immigrants in Finland. Additionally, this study also utilizes data from multiple immigrant-receiving societies around the world. While, for the most part, the study takes the perspective of national majority groups, it also looks at the experiences of Russian-speaking minority group members in Finland, Estonia and Norway. The study focuses on subjective experiences and perceptions of increasing cultural diversity, intergroup threats, and discrimination, and how these are related to intergroup attitudes and willingness to promote societal equality. These topics are addressed through the Social Identity Theory (SIT; Tajfel & Turner, 1979), Realistic Conflict Theory (RCT; Campbell, 1965; LeVine & Campbell, 1972; Sherif, 1966), and Group Threat theories (Blalock, 1967; Blumer, 1958; Schlueter & Scheepers, 2010), as well as related models such as the Rejection-Disidentification Model (Jasinskaja-Lahti et al., 2009) and Social Identity Model of Collective Action (SIMCA; van Zomeren et al., 2008). The study utilizes two cross-sectional survey datasets. The first includes data from Finland, Estonia, and Norway (N = 2296), gathered within the Determinants of an inclusive integration context (MIRIPS-FI) project and the collaborative DIMA project. This data allowed us to examine and compare intergroup relations between the national majority and Russian-speaking minority groups in these three countries. The second data set consists of university student samples representing national majority groups from 28 countries, including Finland. This international comparative data set was gathered to examine the relationship between perceived economic circumstances and reactions to immigration. Four sub-studies were designed to answer several research questions: how do national majority and minority group members perceive and react to increasing cultural diversity, and perceived disadvantage and the unequal treatment associated with it in receiving societies? How do their reactions explain and how may they be used to promote actions that support immigrants’ equal social standing in society, among both national majority and minority groups? First, the results of this study showed the interactive effects of actual and perceived cultural diversity on intergroup outcomes among national majority group members in Finland. Participants who lived in moderately diverse regions, but perceived high levels of cultural diversity in their neighborhood, reported higher levels of group discrimination and lower levels of trust towards the Russian-speaking immigrants than participants who lived in high and low cultural diversity regions. Regarding the moderating role of objectively assessed context, the home country’s objective wealth was found to moderate the relationship between subjectively perceived personal wealth and intergroup outcomes in 28 countries. Namely, in countries with low Human Development Index (HDI) scores, the more majority group members anticipated their personal wealth to decline in the future, the more they perceived immigration to pose a realistic threat, compared to majority group members who lived in moderate or high HDI countries with relatively more secure economies. Second, this study obtained evidence that among majority and minority group members, perceived consequences of ethnic diversity and intergroup interactions, such as perceived threats, insecurities, and discrimination, are critical determinants of willingness to support immigrants' equal social standing. The majority group members' perceptions of realistic threat regarding immigration and cultural diversity (i.e., perceived discrimination and economic insecurity) were associated with their unwillingness to confront injustice on behalf of the Russian minorities in Finland, Estonia, and Norway – especially when they perceived the threats to be targeted more at their national ingroups than at themselves personally. Perceived ethnic discrimination also had consequences on the attitudes of Russian speakers towards the national majority groups in these three countries. Namely, perceived discrimination was related to greater hostility towards the national majority groups and less willingness to confront injustice through national disidentification and outgroup mistrust that has resulted from perceived disadvantage. The current study contributes to the existing research in several ways. First, it mostly focuses on contexts that do not have a long history of immigration nor host large groups of immigrants, but have relatively recently become receiving societies with the prospect of an increasing immigration rate (Studies I-III). Second, the study acknowledges both objective contextual factors and individuals' subjective perceptions of diversity, wealth, and social disadvantage that jointly modify the outcomes of intergroup encounters (Studies I and IV). Third, this study looks at intergroup attitudes and behavioral intentions among both majority and minority groups (Studies II and III). Specifically, it demonstrates the detrimental effect of perceived discrimination, which increases intergroup hostility and demobilizes both majority and minority group members from engaging in actions to confront inequality. And lastly, this research distinguishes group-level evaluations of perceived disadvantage and intergroup threats from the personal-level evaluations, and investigates their joint impact on the intergroup outcomes of increasing cultural diversity (Studies I, III, and IV). The role of future anticipations, a relatively understudied perspective in intergroup relations research, is also acknowledged in this research (Study IV). Altogether, the results of this study show the importance of recognizing the reciprocal processes that underlie intergroup relations in societies that are on the verge of becoming highly diverse. By obtaining evidence on how contextual and psychological factors can jointly determine the intergroup consequences of increasing cultural diversity, this study highlights the need to incorporate macro-level factors into mainstream social psychological research, which often focuses on the individual-level analysis of intergroup relations.
  • Lehtimäki, Tomi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    As societies are facing increasing pressures set by environmental problems, the need to find alternative solutions has become more urgent. In this context, agriculture and food have been identified as one central sector, where change is needed. In the search for alternatives, organic agriculture has emerged as a central option to transform agricultural systems to more sustainable ways of operating. Additionally, organic agriculture aims to address other problems associated with the industrialization of agriculture and food, such as those related to food quality. Organic agriculture offers an alternative way to understand what agriculture and food are about, bringing in other values than those of efficiency and profit. At the same time, organic agriculture has been a heavily contested issue, as some have questioned its capability to actually address the problems that food systems currently face. By using an analytical framework based on pragmatic sociology (or conventions theory), developed originally by Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot, this dissertation examines the development of organic agriculture in Finland. The thesis is situated into the discussion concerning the values of organic agriculture. Previous discussions, most notably those rooted in political economy, have conceptualized the development and institutionalization of organic agriculture as a process where values are gradually replaced by economic incentives. Instead of being able to bring in alternative values, such as ecology, care or fairness, organic agriculture is seen as becoming increasingly market-driven. Not only is this development seen to make organic agriculture similar to conventional production in terms of principles and values, but also in its material composition, as organic products, for example, become only slightly different from their conventional counterparts. The approach applied in this thesis challenges this view and aims to reverse this setting. Instead of taking organic agriculture as the value-driven alternative (and examining how it either loses or maintains these values), the various analyses examine how the value(s) of organic agriculture is constructed. From this perspective, the debate concerns whether organic agriculture offers a meaningfully different alternative, through which the sustainability of food systems can be achieved. Therefore, using the pragmatic sociological approach, the development of organic agriculture is not examined only as economization, but as shaping it according to various forms of worth. The thesis examines various conflict situations, where organic and conventional agriculture are set against each other, and where actors need to justify either alternative. The construction of these justifications is then analyzed as processes of sense-making, where actors shape organic agriculture according to different “orders of worth.” The thesis is based on four research articles. Article I examines debates about organic agriculture in news media. Focusing on three different periods (1982-88, 1995-2000, and 2008-2012) in two newspapers, Helsingin Sanomat and Maaseudun Tulevaisuus, the article examines the development of justifications for and against organic agriculture. Article II examines the early period of organic agriculture in Finland. Focusing on the years between 1980 and 1991, the article shows how the difference between organic and conventional agriculture was already then a contested topic. The article examines how the difference between the two agricultural systems and their products was constructed through various forms of worth. Article III continues this discussion and applies the analytical approach of the thesis to the institutionalization of organic agriculture. The article analyzes various policy papers, strategies and studies on organic agriculture, asking, how the inclusion of organic agriculture was justified in them. Article IV then reverses this setting, using the case of organic agriculture to develop pragmatic sociology. By using the three empirical studies, the article focuses on developing the perspective green or ecological justification. The findings of these individual articles are then elaborated into four central ways according to which the difference between organic and conventional agriculture has been constructed. First, the green difference describes how organic agriculture has been established as an ecological alternative that has the capacity to address environmental problems. Second, what is termed as the problematic difference addresses the economization of organic agriculture and the construction of the difference based on economic valuations. Third, the contested difference describes how the existence of a meaningful difference has been questioned, especially by those drawing from a natural scientific point of view. And, fourth, the contextualized difference examines how a national framework of reference has also questioned the existence of a difference, here with reference to the qualities of Finnish production and food. Together these form of constructing the difference between organic and conventional agriculture have influenced both the development of organic agriculture and Finnish agricultural production.
  • Karjalainen, Anne-Maria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The aim of this doctoral thesis is to examine how the four biggest parties in Finland define their opinion on welfare, citizenship, children, young people, and the elderly in their parliamentary election programs. The dissertation brings about new information concerning how the political parties define welfare and citizenship among their parliamentary election programs. In addition, the thesis sheds light on how welfare, citizenship and the different age groups are being politicised in the context of parliamentary elections. The material of the thesis consists of the programs written for parliamentary elections by the four biggest parties in Finland between 1991—2019. These four parties have gained the most votes in the parliamentary elections during the 2010s (Finnish parliamentary elections in 2011, 2015 and 2019): The Centre Party, The Finns Party, The National Coalition Party and The Social Democratic Party of Finland. The research method used in this thesis is critical discourse analysis. The dissertation focuses on three questions: 1. How do the political parties define welfare responsibility within the debate on social policy in Finland? 2. How are the needs and abilities of the citizens being described in the framework of the welfare state debate? 3. What are the roles of children, young people and the elderly, and what kind of policy making is being pursued with them? The study shows that the parties clearly place the responsibility of people’s welfare in Finland on the state and on public welfare services. All four parties strongly underscore the notion of public welfare services being citizens’ universal rights in Finland. They also stress the role of the government in what comes to ensuring the welfare of its citizens. This is evident in both the discourse on welfare state citizenship and in how the different age groups are discussed. On the one hand, children and the elderly are being defined as passive targets of public welfare services, measures and protection, but on the other hand also as active agents, although only within the sector of public services in a very time-limited scale. Young people were mostly defined through worries and risks in the parliamentary election programs. It seems that separate, self-evident discursive practises have evolved within the parliamentary election programs, through which it is possible to talk about welfare and citizenship: the discourse takes place mainly in the framework of public welfare services. The programs’ talk about welfare and citizenship is narrow: the discussion stems from the points of view of the public welfare service system and the economy.
  • Suuronen, Ville (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This study analyzes and compares the political thought of Carl Schmitt (1888–1985) and Hannah Arendt (1906–1975). Consisting of six peer-reviewed articles and of a broad introductory/summary chapter, the study provides a series of critical interventions that offer novel analyses and comparisons of the works of Schmitt and Arendt. The research utilizes a broad array of research materials that have remained underused or unacknowledged in previous studies on the subject. The basic methodological starting point of the dissertation is the conviction that one must approach the works of Schmitt and Arendt from a holistic perspective – from a point of view that considers the writings of these authors in a historically contextualized manner while also being aware of the contents of their works as broader totalities. In analyzing and comparing the works of Schmitt and Arendt from this holistic point of view, the study combines insights and approaches from different fields of research ranging from political theory and political science to intellectual history and philosophy. The first key contribution of the study is to re-examine Carl Schmitt’s Nazi engagement between the years 1933 and 1945. The great plurality of the previous studies that examine Schmitt’s thought and activities during the Nazi era have most often relied on a limited number of textual resources. Drawing on novel and recently published research materials – Schmitt’s rarer writings, journals, correspondence, and other contemporary materials – the study examines in detail how Schmitt’s thinking transforms after he joins the Nazi party in 1933. Through detailed readings of Schmitt’s Nazi era works, the study demonstrates how and why Schmitt transforms from an authoritarian and conservative thinker sympathetic to Italian Fascism into a convinced Nazi – a transformation that is reflected in Schmitt’s own concepts and terminology. The study illustrates how Schmitt’s Weimar era “decisionism” gradually transforms into what he himself called “concrete order thought.” This change is illustrated in two different ways: First, by examining the way Schmitt aims to develop a novel conceptual framework for Nazi legal science during and after 1933, and second, by exploring how Schmitt’s openly political use of the reception history of Roman law changes from the 1920s to the 1940s. In analyzing Schmitt’s Nazi engagement, the purpose of the study is to both to broaden our understanding of national socialism as a historical phenomenon and to make headway toward a more nuanced and holistic understanding of Schmitt’s political thought. The second main contribution of the dissertation is to offer a new interpretation of the intellectual relationship between Schmitt and Arendt. The basic starting point of virtually all existing comparative research on the topic has been the presumption that while Arendt both read and commented on Schmitt’s works, Schmitt neither knew nor expressed his opinions about Arendt’s political thought. The study demonstrates that the intellectual relationship of Schmitt and Arendt is, in fact, much more multifaceted than thus far presumed. By analyzing the contents of Schmitt’s and Arendt’s (reconstructed) personal libraries and the way both commented on each other’s works, the study demonstrates that Schmitt was not only familiar with many of Arendt’s central works, but that he also read and commented on them in his lesser-known writings, notebooks, and letters. Arguing against earlier studies on the subject and by relying on novel textual materials, the study reconstructs a discussion in absence between the political theories of Schmitt and Arendt, focusing on such topics as (Nazi) totalitarianism, political power, banality of evil and on such broader themes as the political meaning of language and race as a political concepts. Beyond theoretical comparisons, the study also draws novel biographical contrasts between the careers and lives of Schmitt and Arendt by utilizing their own autobiographical reflections and other relevant historical materials. In reconstructing this discussion in absence between Schmitt and Arendt, the study seeks to offer a historically nuanced and contextualized interpretation of the different ways in which these authors understand the central political problems and crises of the first part of the twentieth century. The third key contribution of the study is to analyze the question of technology in the postwar works of Schmitt and Arendt. The study argues that both thinkers came to develop an original narrative concerning the development of modern technology and its changing relationship to politics as a response to the major catastrophes of the twentieth century, Nazi totalitarianism in particular. In the case of Schmitt, the study examines in detail his prophetic and dystopic visions concerning the coming age of technological revolutions, whose nature Schmitt elaborates by drawing extensively on the canon of Western utopian and dystopian literature, ranging from Plato to Thomas More and Aldous Huxley. Bringing Schmitt’s ideas into a discussion with the contemporary debates on biopolitics and posthumanism, the study examines Schmitt’s dystopic claim that modern Western societies are standing at the threshold of a new era of technological totalitarianism defined by radical biomodification and the destruction of human nature itself. The study demonstrates that in distinction to Schmitt, Arendt argues that future technological development will eventually liberate human beings from the basic necessities of the realm of labor, thus laying the foundations for an entirely new kind of democratic politics. Arguing against much of the existing literature on Arendt and her much-debated analysis of the so called “social question,” the study demonstrates that Arendt was not only profoundly concerned with the question of poverty, but that her ideas can be fruitfully interpreted as an early vision of what is today called basic income. Contrasting Schmitt’s dystopic visions of the future with Arendt’s opposing ideas on technology, the study aims to both deepen our understanding of the role of technology in the late works of Schmitt and Arendt and to augment our comprehension concerning the relationship of technology and politics in postwar European political thought.
  • Suonpää, Karoliina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Criminal history and experiences of strain and disadvantage are well-documented correlates of violence, but little is known on whether such factors distinguish between homicide offenders and other (non-lethal) violent offenders, and whether those factors are associated with the severity of violent crime. Using three large offender samples from Finland, this study applied a variety of statistical methods to examine pathways to lethal and non-lethal violence, life-course outcomes of violent offenders following incarceration, and offender-victim interactions in situations resulting lethal violence. The first substudy is based on a representative sample of offenders suspected of violent crimes (N=26,303). The goal was to examine whether the offender’s criminal history or experiences of economic and social disadvantage were associated with the severity of subsequent offending. The results indicated that the offenders suspected of severe violence (aggravated assault, attempted homicide or completed homicide) were more likely to have a criminal history and experiences of strain and disadvantage compared to offenders of less severe violence (petty assault or assault). However, homicide offenders did not appear systematically different from those suspected of attempted homicide. The second substudy used the same sample as the first one and investigated whether the years preceding the act of homicide were characterized by a downward spiral of increasing violent crime and decreasing income, and whether the trajectories of lethal offenders were different from the pathways of non-lethal offenders. As in Substudy I, the completed homicide offenders differed from the suspects of the least severe forms of violence, but the trajectories of attempted and completed homicide offenders largely resembled one another. In the third substudy, the post-release recidivism and social marginalization of former prisoners convicted of aggravated assault, attempted homicide, or completed homicide (N=3,023) were compared with each other. At the end of a three-year follow-up, majority of the offenders in the sample had recidivated and were neither employed nor in school. Although the average prison sentences of completed homicide offenders were longer, as compared to non-lethal offenders, recidivism or social marginalization were not more common among lethal offenders. The results indicated that sentence length is not a likely explanation for the high rates of recidivism and marginalization among violent offenders. The fourth and final substudy differed from the prior three studies in that it examined a total population of homicide offenders and victims (N=1,494 homicides), with the focus on their social interaction before and during the lethal incident. In particular, the objective was to discover, whether intimate partner homicides committed by women are more likely to involve aggressive provocations by the victim. The results indicated that victim precipitation was particularly prevalent in situations where a female offender killed her male intimate partner. In sum, the results from the four substudies suggest that homicide offenders are not that unique compared to other violent offenders. Specifically, they are not necessarily the most crime-prone or disadvantaged individuals. Instead, the pathways to lethal violence are rather similar to pathways to severe non-lethal violence. As such, this research underscores the importance of situational factors that are likely to determine whether the violent encounter becomes lethal or not. In terms of public policy, it is important to understand that the pool of “potentially” lethal offenders is considerably larger than the number of people who actually kill. Accordingly, the interventions aimed at reducing lethal violence should focus on the entire population of violent repeat offenders.
  • Trifuljesko, Sonja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This dissertation investigates the repercussions of contemporary higher education reforms in Finland on daily university life. More precisely, it examines how ‘global knowledge economy’ policies affect the dynamics of social relations at the University of Helsinki. These policies, I argue, enact an ideological model that combines the neoliberal emphasis on the ‘enterprise form’ with the older principles of the ‘scalability design’ that lies at the heart of capitalism. Fusing the two, the enterprise-cum-scalability model entails reducing the totality of social life to first-hand, market-oriented exchanges of knowledge assets, which are now understood to happen on a ‘global scale’. Its enactment in the landscape of Finnish higher education in general and doctoral education in particular creates a friction that could clearly be observed in daily university life. This is a typical outcome of the encounter between universal aspirations and the specificities of a particular social and cultural setting. Such frictions inevitably disturb the old forms of social life, but they also tend to trigger new social formations, designated here as ‘weeds’, which I have followed through the mobilisation endeavours of doctoral candidates. Finally, these new forms of university sociality are a product of disjunctures in both exceptional and mundane circumstances, as the experiences of international doctoral candidates distinctly show. My thesis draws on several years of ethnographic fieldwork, which I have conducted at Finland’s oldest and largest higher education institution. While my ethnography stretches between autumn 2013, when I began doctoral studies at the University of Helsinki, and spring 2021, when I completed the thesis manuscript, most of the observations presented in this thesis come from the period between September 2014 and January 2016, when ethnographic fieldwork was my primary activity. My material is highly heterogeneous, covering the circumstances of higher education in general and developments particular to doctoral education that come together in the everyday lives of doctoral candidates, which serve as a vantage point for studying university sociality as a whole. The thesis makes two key contributions. First, I aim to broaden anthropological understandings of contemporary higher education reform by not only paying close attention to the enactment of the enterprise-cum-scalability model but also going beyond it in my granular explorations and nuanced explanations of daily university life. Second, by focusing on the dynamics of social relations, I seek to highlight the particular value of the anthropological contribution to critical higher education studies.
  • Pierzyńska, Justyna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This thesis investigates the creation of geopolitical knowledge in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). In particular, it focuses on the discourses of international brotherhood and friendship and the emergence of often unexpected ideas of ”geopolitical closeness” between nations in this region. The dissertation zooms in on ways in which the Caucasus region is incorporated into Polish and Serbian readings of both countries’ geopolitical position, historical memory and their self-understanding as actors in the world of states. The five articles comprising the thesis discuss the Polish-Georgian, Serbian-Armenian, Serbian-Ossetian and Serbian-Abkhazian ”friendships”, tracing their rationales and ideational components. Special attention is paid to the role of a third actor – Russia and the Russians – in relation to which the analysed brotherhoods take on clear political vectors (pro- and anti-Russian). Critical geopolitics, a sub-discipline of political geography interested in the operations of geopolitical knowledge and power on various levels in contemporary societies, combined with the sociology of knowledge perspectives on discourse studies are two main theoretical lenses that inform this thesis. Additionally, in individual articles concepts from other strands of discourse studies, memory studies, history are utilized. I apply these perspectives to the problem of brotherhood discourses connecting Poles and Serbs with selected Caucasian nations in order to contribute to discourse-oriented research of geopolitics in Central and Eastern Europe. The articles of this thesis argue for a deeper engagement with geopolitical imaginations formed at the intersection of the most mundane levels of audience interventions (e.g. user-generated content) and expert commentariat active in the media realm. Another argument advanced in this thesis is the usefulness of online comments as a source for critical geopolitical analyses, especially those interested in the actual formation of knowledge claims within geopolitical narratives. Although online comments have nowadays been ”forgotten” in favour of social media analyses, they represent one of the clearest sources for understanding the actual unfolding of geopolitical arguments in real time. Central to this dissertation is the attention given to analogy as tool of knowledge formation. My analysis suggests that the power of historical and geographical analogies in geopolitical discourses is key to forming ideas on international brotherhood, friendship and connections. Re-discovering the potential of analogies on various levels of geopolitical agency helps understand the power of not only intellectual, but also emotional attachments between nations that appear ”exotic” on first examination. Finally, the thesis points to the need to shift the research focus from discursive operations of ”othering” and enmity, which have formed the core of discourse research interested in nation- and geopolitics-related issues in CEE, to ”brothering” and friendship, which has so far been neglected. By doing this, I hope to open a discussion about the role that the ideas of brotherhood between nations have in shaping people’s ideas on geopolitics in general, challenging or accepting official foreign policy narratives, creating knowledge about other nations and positioning oneself towards them.
  • Shin, Bokyong (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Many municipal governments today experiment with participatory initiatives to develop better governance and planning practices. They call for public, private, and civil society actors to engage in complex decision-making processes by integrating offline and online elements. While these inclusive practices, such as participatory budgeting, are becoming widespread, the processes themselves have often remained obscure. This introduces the risk that even good intentions of having more communicative and democratic planning turn into bad planning habits, which renew or introduce political biases and limit communications to those already most capable of expressing and carrying out their interests. Against this backdrop, this thesis critically examines urban planning processes by applying social network analysis (SNA). The thesis has both societal and theoretical ambitions. By scrutinising participatory cases, the thesis contributes to more elaborated planning practices. As for its theoretical ambition, the thesis contributes to the discussion on democratic deliberation and social capital, two essential elements in urban planning, by blending SNA with communicative planning theory. On the one hand, communicative planning theory is an influential research strain that provides a critical framework for examining communicative processes. On the other hand, SNA is a long-standing field concerning the study of relational patterns, recently popularised in many disciplines. The thesis examines the critical roles of social capital and democratic deliberation and how they can be studied more systematically. The thesis is composed of three peer-reviewed articles. Article 1 combined SNA with time-series analysis to make a novel contribution for assessing dynamic online deliberation processes. Article 2 is a comprehensive literature review to map the landscape of SNA in social capital research. Article 3 used a network model, called the exponential random graph model, to examine social capital determinants in an urban regeneration project. As argued in the synthesis of this dissertation, the results show that SNA helps communicative planning research in terms of 1) network visualisation, 2) descriptive statistics, and 3) new network models. Empirical results of SNA also exemplify how practitioners can identify and better address ongoing problems during the planning processes. However, the thesis found critical limitations of SNA, restricting its use as a stand-alone method in planning research. SNA is well combined with other quantitative and qualitative methods in a mixed research design; thus, it could become an influential node in a network of planning research methods.
  • Laine, Veera (Suomen Tiedeseura, 2021)
    This dissertation analyses the uses of the concept of nationalism in Russia from a historical perspective. It is based on four empirical studies examining textual material produced between the years 2000 and 2020. During this time, and after the so-called “conservative turn” in particular, the state leadership in Russia adopted increasingly authoritarian policies vis-à-vis society, and started to portray Russia as being under an external threat. The annexation of Crimea and the onset of the war in Ukraine in 2014 solidified the way in which recent political changes in Russia were characterised as “growing nationalism”. In this temporal context, the study suggests that nationalist discourses are currently shifting, and traces these shifts in scholarly and everyday language. The negative connotations of nationalism in everyday language affect its scholarly use, which is why the aspects of nationalism as an analytical concept, as well as the complex relationship between the concept and the term itself, are expounded in the study. Following the tradition of critical nationalism studies, the dissertation approaches the ‘nation’ as a political claim that results from a constructive process in language. The dissertation draws on the rhetorical tradition of conceptual history in analysing specific concepts, metaphors and narratives within nationalist discourses as a means of framing politics. The way language is used simultaneously defines the boundaries of actual policies. More specifically, the rhetorical choices of politicians map the conditions of belonging to a nation, duly having real implications for people’s lives. The study contributes to the literature that challenges the view of nationalism as an instrument at the disposal of state leaders for the purpose of enhancing their legitimacy. To this end, the dissertation treats nationalism as a contested and continuously changing argument in the sphere of politics, showing that the state interpretation of the nationalist argument is not necessarily shared among the wider public. The publications that make up the dissertation contend that the state leadership produces a narrative of a holistic and homogeneous nation, unified by a shared victorious past, distinctive moral-traditional values, and historical multinationality, reinforced with a specific role for ethnic Russians. In this sense, the state authorities maintain a nationalist argument that depicts the “proper” borders of the nation as being simultaneously wider and more restricted than the state borders, based on the acceptance of traditional Russian values. The state leadership’s aim to dominate the social process of constructing a nation cannot be interpreted as having become “common sense”, and thus the nationalist contestation prevails.
  • Koivisto, Aliisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    In this dissertation, I look into three different tax policies aimed at spurring business activity. Using rich Finnish microdata and state-of-the-art econometric tools, I study how firms respond to a dividend tax, corporate tax, and a household tax credit. In the first essay, I study how business owners of privately held corporations respond to dividend taxes. The dividend tax schedule in Finland includes deduction thresholds, effectively creating clearly lower marginal tax rates for certain amounts of dividend income in comparison to labor income. These thresholds create exceptionally large incentives for firm owners to respond by e.g. adjusting their income or changing their investment choices. By using bunching method developed by Saez (2010), I find exceptionally clear dividend payment responses to tax rates, with elasticities ranging from 0.5 to 3.6 in different thresholds. I examine the potential mechanisms driving the bunching using changes in the dividend tax thresholds. I find no statistically significant responses in investment or output. Further descriptive analysis on the asset structures of the firms suggests that most of the payment response may be due to inter-temporal income-smoothing, as the balance sheets reveal firms at the tax thresholds accumulating financial assets in the firm. The second essay is about the impact of corporate taxes on small firms. We look at how small firms and their investment and production choices respond to a 4.5 percentage-point reduction in the corporate tax rate in 2014 in Finland. This corporate tax cut was combined with a dividend tax increase that left the effective shareholder-level tax rate mostly unchanged. Thus, this exceptional tax cut allows us to focus solely on the effects of firm level tax. Using difference-in-differences method, we find no significant investment responses in the stock of productive capital after the tax cut. However, we observe an increase in sales and input usage of the treated firms, implying a higher growth rate after the tax cut. Dividing the corporations between two groups based on the ownership type reveals that this positive impact on sales is fully driven by entrepreneurs who actively work and manage their firms. The third essay is about the household tax credit (HTC) which is a tax credit for consumers using household services with the aim of increasing employment in the service sector and curbing tax evasion. We use difference-in-differences method with reforms in the HTC system together with data from Finland and Sweden to study how the HTC reaches these aims. First, we use the adoption of the current HTC system for cleaning services in Sweden in July 2007 as variation, and Finland as a control group. We find no increase in the reported value of sales among cleaning firms in Sweden relative to the Finnish firms after the introduction of HTC. In our second setting, we study the increase of maximum credit from 1150 to 3000 euros for the renovation industry in Finland in 2009 using a matched control group. We do not find any response in sales of renovation services after the increase relative to the control group, suggesting negligible demand elasticity with respect to the size of HTC. Finally, a descriptive analysis with the data shows that a relatively large share of individuals claiming HTC make costly mistakes in their reports to the tax authority. This shows as a large excess mass of taxpayers bunching in a "wrong" threshold, without any other reason than their misunderstanding of the claiming system.
  • Helosvuori, Elina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This study examines what it means to be (in)fertile in a relatively affluent northern European country such as Finland. I focus on everyday endeavours to conduct and live through the clinical practices of fertility treatments. I explore childlessness among (mainly but not exclusively) heterosexual couples and people who identify as, are presumed by others to be, and are regarded by the medical gaze as women. The focus is on cases where there are medical indications of fertility disruptors that explain challenges experienced in getting pregnant. The study is based on multi-sited ethnography conducted in Finland. The fieldwork consists of participant observation and interviews with staff members in private fertility clinics. The data also includes participant observation of face-to-face peer support groups organised by a Finnish infertility association for people experiencing involuntary childlessness, and interviews conducted with such women. I also attended expert and/or lay conferences and other events on infertility and childlessness, and followed blog posts and online patient education on the topic. I gathered the data during 2010–2015. To analyse the assemblage of clinical practices, laboratory labour and patient experience, I develop the notion of procreative entanglements. With this notion, I elaborate the materiality of assisted reproduction and outline what it means to reproduce or experience childlessness while trying to conceive with the help of ARTs. In addition, I analyse how biological reproductive matter is enacted and known through technology – that is, inseparable from it. I argue that through the procreative entanglements of ARTs, the meanings of both childlessness and reproduction are redefined in the medicalised, affluent and privileged setting of the resolution of reproductive problems through fertility treatments. By implication, having a child and reproducing are separated from one another. I show that the lingering technological entanglements of living through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and other fertility treatments begin to determine how childlessness is experienced and enacted, including after the cessation of such technologies. Paradoxically, ARTs generate experiences of childlessness that may endure even after one has had as many children as one had hoped. With a special focus on embryos, I argue that the viability of biological matter in IVF is an achievement that emerges from the entanglement of human and non-human actors. Taken together, my analysis of how people are brought into being as involuntarily childless in a technoscientific manner, and how biological matter operates in assisted reproduction, ultimately enables us to account for the emergence of an ‘apparatus of IVF’ as more or less stable over time in Finland.
  • Hai, Md. Abdul (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    As the world transitions from fossil-based energy to more environmentally friendly, sustainable, and decentralised energy sources, cries of ‘non-acceptance’ give way to ‘acceptance and adoption’ as part of the process of social acceptance. This multidimensional concept is interpreted differently across various disciplines. Still, its core and general conceptualisation remain vague, and no Finnish studies have thoroughly addressed social acceptance in solar energy adoption behaviour among Finnish households. This dissertation addresses how the social acceptance of renewable energies such as solar energy can be conceptualised comprehensively as an aggregate of various acceptance and non-acceptance responses or reactions that pass-through intention, willingness, and the readiness of Finns. Based on semi-structured interviews with 17 Finnish energy experts (especially the fields in solar and other renewable energies) and 25 Finnish laypersons (living in the Eko-Viikki residential area in Helsinki, where there are ten solar-integrated buildings, among other dwellings), this dissertation includes three articles on the intention-behaviour gap, willingness to adopt (WTA), and readiness to adopt solar energy in response to respondents’ personal experiences (primarily those of laypersons) and their perceptions about others. Finally, based on those empirical results, this dissertation presents a conceptual framework. It establishes the key themes – intention (including intention-behaviour gap), willingness, and readiness to adopt – as pre-behavioural mental states that create preferences among actors to express certain behavioural responses. It explains such responses as patterns of social acceptance and clarifies the conceptual and empirical status in terms of adoption, acceptance in principle, rejection, and opposition. My empirical results, as explained in Article I and summarised in Section 4.2 of this dissertation, focus on understanding and explaining the intention-behaviour gap to adopt solar energy as an output of personal and contextual factors, the justification behind the intention-behaviour gap, and the suppressed structure of social acceptance based on three forms of the intention-behaviour gap: (a) ‘impression in principle’ intention-related, (b) ‘‘Impression in practical [practice]’ intention-related, and (c) ‘actual intention’-related. The ‘totality’ of intention can be understood through the third form of the intention-behaviour gap. Without viewing this gap merely as a deviation between intention and behaviour, the empirical investigation suggests using the ‘actual intention’ to understand the intention-behaviour gap. Article II (see also Section 4.3 of this dissertation) discloses the presence of activated, unconditional, conditional and unwillingness as states of WTA. Actors fall into five categories of ‘customer segments’ based on WTA states. The first category, ‘activated WTA adopters’, represents the adoption pattern of social acceptance. The second (‘unconditional WTA would-be adopters’), third (‘conditional WTA would-be adopters’), and fourth (‘conditional WTA non-adopters’) categories represent acceptance in principle in the pattern of social acceptance. The fifth category, ‘non-WTA non-adopters’, represents rejection and opposition patterns of social acceptance. Currently, customer acquisition often tends to approach only the unconditional WTA without regard for filling the pipeline by moving people into the next adopter group. By identifying different customer segments and showing how they represent various patterns of social acceptance under multiple pre- and post-adoption conditions, the empirical results emphasised this matter in a Finnish context. The way prepared actors in a given society adopt new technologies can determine the level of change to occur in their everyday life. Article III assesses public readiness to adopt solar energy in a Finnish context (see also Section 4.4 of this dissertation). The empirical results present public readiness to adopt solar energy in terms of existing routes of adoption and customer preferences, those who choose different routes, the links between readiness and patterns of social acceptance, and how respondents envision the future of solar energy in Finland (see Article II and Section 4.3 of this dissertation). Article III emphasises that it is crucial to consider different routes of adoption (including business models, facilities, and support structures) and the preferences of different customer segments to address solar energy acceptance behaviour of multiple actors. This dissertation joins the empirical results discussed in articles (summarised in Section 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4) that demonstrate that the intention-behaviour gap, WTA, and readiness to adopt form the conceptual framework of social acceptance of solar energy. This framework could be practically assessed to obtain a comprehensive understanding and findings with regard to filling the pipeline by moving actors into the next adopter group without focusing solely on unconditional would-be adopters. By compiling the empirical results, this dissertation concludes by discussing key factors in terms of personal and contextual situations the respondents mentioned so that adequate attention can be given while addressing the diffusion of solar energy among individual households in Finland. It also explains some lessons in Finnish contexts in terms of community networks, giving adequate and unruffled information, sharing feedback, mobilising community members, etc., which are expected to influence the adoption of solar energy in the country. The study then discusses how social acceptance should be approached, along with directions for future research. Although this dissertation presents the conceptual framework of social acceptance considering intention, willingness, and readiness to adopt solar energy-related data, it is open to addressing other technology acceptance issues for which individual adoption is a vital concern.
  • 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.
  • Salovaara, Veronica (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This study examines students’ scope of action in the transition phase from basic education to further education and training. The focus in this research is on how inequality is reproduced in the transition phase from basic education to upper secondary education, as well as the role of family, school and other social networks in contesting inequality. The analysis shows the complexity on how students navigate in the transition phase from basic education to further education and training. A student’s scope of action in this study is understood as the scope in which students make their decisions and reflect on their options, whether it is a more agency reflected process, or a process steered by the capitalistic power mechanisms or habitus. Young peoples’ agency is therefore understood as structured by the interplay between students own choices and wishes, social background and habitus, situated in a sociopolitical and education policy context. The data set has been derived from the three-year (2010–2012) comparative European project GOETE - Governance of Educational Trajectories in Europe. The data set is a multifaceted qualitative data set comprehending interviews and focus groups with 101 people from three local schools in Finland, social and youth work as well as education policy; students, parents, teachers, guidance counselors, principals and other experts at school, such as school social workers, school nurses and school psychologists. In addition, the data consists of interviews with experts in education and social work, e.g., education policy experts, social and youth workers and guidance counselors from the upper secondary level as well as relevant policy documents. The results showed a paradox in the discourses: students are responsible for their own educational trajectory, however the trajectory is predetermined. Throughout the analysis, there is a discourse emphasizing students’ agency, or a discourse emphasizing responsibility, that students should choose their educational trajectory by themselves without interference from others. Students used various modes of reflectivity when choosing their educational trajectory. A discourse on accepting predetermined educational trajectories was present among school professionals, either by accepting predetermined educational trajectories as something static that is difficult to change, or by fighting against these predetermined educational trajectories. Family background shapes the student’s decision-making process and therefore when students are using agency in the decision-making process, the agency is merely a reflection of the social structure as the social structure and the structural position of the individual is generating the individual’s agency. The responsibility that students are demanded to take, while making the decision within a certain context, or within ‘predetermined limits’, gives the students an illusion of choice. Structures of inequality and class casts a long shadow in education and is reproduced through the practices of accepting educational inequality by not contesting the role of the gatekeepers of equality and equity. At the national level, education is regarded as one of the more effective means to prevent the marginalization and social exclusion of young people.
  • Simola, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This dissertation is an investigation of young European Union (EU) citizens’ experiences of free mobility in precarious labour conditions. It seeks to understand situations in which young, university-educated Europeans move in search of work opportunities that would allow them to exploit their education, their skills and their passions, but who end up experiencing precarity. The research is located in a context in which young, educated workers across Europe face persistent difficulties in the labour markets and are disproportionately exposed to unemployment and precarious types of work. Meanwhile, various EU Member States have adopted policies that render EU migrants’ access to rights associated with EU citizenship increasingly conditional on their ability to demonstrate employment, self- sufficiency or ‘genuine’ employability. These policies resonate with workfarist welfare policies that stress the responsibility of individuals in managing the social and economic risks they confront in the labour market. However, they are in sharp conflict with the EU’s official discourse and policies, which seek to encourage mobility among young people by depicting it as a means to enhance their ‘employability’, while primarily focusing on unpaid labour options, such as internships and volunteering. The three articles that form the empirical foundation of the dissertation build on data obtained through narrative interviews in 2014-2015. Additionally, one of the articles also draws on a complimentary dataset based on answers to written questions the same participants were asked to respond to in 2018. The study is qualitatively comparative in a multi-contextual setting that includes one country of destination (Belgium) and four countries of origin, in which the institutional and economic conditions vary significantly. The empirical sample consists of 27 university-educated young adults originating from Italy (10), Spain (eight), Finland (seven) and Denmark (two). In order to maximise the study’s capacity to capture the effects of labour market precarity on mobility, the study focuses on the experiences of persons who had moved to Brussels to work but had subsequently experienced unemployment and worked under precarious arrangements. In the study, I adopt a cross-disciplinary approach in order to capture different dimensions of precarity in this specific context. The study combines theoretical insights from the fields of sociology of work, critical migration research, comparative welfare state research and governmentality studies, while also contributing to these fields of research. Whilst the articles draw on different theoretical discussions, they are interconnected, and all address the influence of neoliberal governance on precarity as experienced by young EU migrants. All three articles aim, from their distinct perspectives, to understand: (1) The reasons for which highly educated young EU migrants accept their precarious working and living conditions, and the implications of this acceptance. (2) The role of institutions in conditioning young EU migrants’ autonomy, independence and room for manoeuvre in precarious labour market conditions, and the possible inequalities emerging in this respect. A thorough contextualisation (i.e. a parallel reading of the legal and policy documents and the existing research addressing the legal-institutional environment etc.) formed an integral part of the analysis of the participants’ personal narratives. In Article I, I analyse the interplay of precarious employment, social and legal norms regulating EU citizens’ free movement, and the local bureaucratic implementation of these norms. The results point to a consequential role for administrations in producing precarious citizenship status for EU migrants in precarious work arrangements. Furthermore, in Article II, written jointly with Sirpa Wrede, we show how migration puts young EU citizens under the influence of several welfare models at the same time, making their access to social entitlements contingent not only on the conditionality of welfare and residence rights in their destination country, but also on the policies in their country of origin. Together, Articles I and II demonstrate how institutionally enforced barriers to rights and the uncertainty and temporariness of status often negatively impacted the participants’ room for manoeuvre in the labour market, thus further exposing them to precarious work. Finally, in Article III, I analyse the participants’ migration as an expression of self-developing, self- entrepreneurial subjectivity, showing how this neoliberal mode is encouraged by EU mobility policies. In this context, the article demonstrates that, while young migrants very often perceived their migration as a means to, or even as the prerequisite for, finding work corresponding to their passion, they could be compelled to tolerate highly precarious and even injurious working and living conditions. All in all, the dissertation is an illustration of the ambivalence of autonomy and compulsion in the context of presumably ‘free’ mobility. It shows how the participants’ room for making choices regarding mobility and for acting upon their precarious conditions is bound to hegemonic discourses and policies informed by neoliberalism. The study also identifies institutional drivers of inequality emerging between young EU migrants from different national and social origins, affecting their financial security and access to independence, their exposure to precarity, and their ability to use mobility to pursue their passion. By acknowledging the implications of precarity in this context, the study advances new conceptual tools and approaches for future critical research on EU migration.
  • Karhunmaa, Kamilla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    In this dissertation, I examine how societal debates on energy policy and the necessity of energy transitions unfold in Finland. Transforming energy systems is acknowledged as one of the most important areas for action on climate change and numerous voices across the globe have called for radical shifts in current energy policies and practices. Simultaneously, discussions on energy policy revolve around futures – both expected and feared – and the measures required to attain them. Finland is an interesting context to study claims about change and transitions as it has both commitments to action on climate change as well as stable institutional structures that have been described as resistant to change. My perspective on energy policy and governance is broad and I analyse various arenas where energy issues are debated. These include the Finnish Parliament and Helsinki City Council, the media and discussions amongst various actors attempting to influence energy policy and working at the science-policy interface. In my analysis, I show how Finnish energy policy actors are broadly committed to a sociotechnical imaginary of carbon neutrality, or a collectively held and publicly performed vision of a desirable future. In the imaginary, Finland is envisioned as a prosperous welfare society that has addressed climate change by attaining a balance between greenhouse gas emissions and removals. The imaginary of carbon neutrality is broad and interpretatively flexible, thus accommodating diverse views on what carbon neutrality can entail. In the articles that comprise this dissertation, I engage with a wide range of literature from science and technology studies, sociotechnical transitions studies, social scientific studies on energy, institutional theory and analyses on science-society relations. Specifically in the thesis summary, I address a research gap within the literature on sociotechnical imaginaries, by examining how questions regarding scale, heterogeneity and mobility shape the co-production of imaginaries as well as enable and curtail the scope of agency. I build on a constructivist and interpretative approach to research and use a range of materials, such as interviews, documents, news articles, Parliamentary and City Council transcripts, press releases and participant observation. Empirically, I focus on the 2010s as the decade when a sociotechnical imaginary of carbon neutrality emerged and became consolidated in Finland. In this thesis, I argue that sociotechnical imaginaries, in this case carbon neutrality, form the imaginative foundations of national policy debates that motivate and justify action, while simultaneously retaining space for negotiation on how to attain those futures. The empirical analysis demonstrates that there is no overarching consensus in Finland over what carbon neutrality means and what practices it allows for. I demonstrate that the context where an imaginary is co-produced both enables and constrains the scope of possible political debate and action by requiring actors to formulate their views through interpretations of desirable pathways towards carbon neutrality. I conclude that carbon neutrality is likely to persist as a widely shared sociotechnical imaginary in Finland due to the political possibilities for debate and compromise that it offers. At the same time, I propose that the concept of carbon neutrality will be increasingly challenged by questioning whose imaginary is it, what type of practices does it enable and how are different actions evaluated as carbon neutral. Likewise new concepts, such as climate emergency, are likely to challenge the imaginary of carbon neutrality. I conclude that such debates are both necessary and desirable as we collectively face, address and learn to live with climate change.
  • Mikkonen, Janne (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The impact of health problems on educational careers attracts multidisciplinary attention, but the overall significance of different types of adolescent health problems for educational stratification is still poorly understood. This study used longitudinal register data to estimate whether different types of somatic conditions and mental disorders at ages 10–16 predict the non-completion of upper-secondary and tertiary education as well as track choice in upper-secondary education. Impaired school performance was analyzed as a potential mechanism explaining health-related differences in upper-secondary outcomes, whereas upper-secondary track choice was hypothesized to explain differences in attaining tertiary education. Finally, the connection between parental education and health-related selection was examined from two perspectives: parental education as a moderator of the impact of health problems and early health as a mediator of the intergenerational transmission of education. The data set used in the study covered Finnish children born in 1986–1995 and living in mainland Finland at the end of 2000. Health problems were measured based on visits to inpatient and outpatient care and medication reimbursements. The longest follow-up of educational attainment extended until age 27. In addition to regression models adjusted for several sociodemographic confounders, the study used population-attributable fractions to evaluate the population-level contribution of health problems, g-computation to conduct mediation decompositions, and sibling fixed-effects models to adjust for all factors shared within biological sibships. Adolescents with health problems were less likely to complete upper-secondary education, more likely to choose the vocational track instead of the general track, and less likely to complete tertiary education even if they had previously completed upper-secondary education. One-fifth of dropout from upper-secondary education was attributable to early-adolescent health problems. Impaired school performance mediated a third of the differences in upper-secondary non-completion and half of the differences in track choice. Regardless of the studied educational outcome, mental disorders showed the strongest associations, less than half of which were explained by confounders shared within sibships. Only certain types of somatic conditions (e.g., epilepsy, heart disease, and spinal disease) predicted impaired educational outcomes, whereas mental disorders showed robust associations throughout their spectrum. High parental education protected against the impact of mental disorders on upper-secondary completion, and health problems explained up to 10% of the differences in upper-secondary education according to parental education. The results imply that severe health problems in early adolescence have a lasting impact on educational careers, entrenched in the transition to upper-secondary education. Impaired school performance contributes significantly to these associations, but adolescents with health problems also make educational decisions that ultimately lead to lower education. Nonetheless, adolescent health problems explain only a small part of the intergenerational transmission of educational attainment.
  • Koev, Evgenii (Eugen) (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The dissertation consists of an introduction and three esssays. Each essay focuses on certain specific empirical and methodological questions in the field of economics of gender and gender inequality. The first essay investigates the association between feminization and returns of Finnish master's degree-programs. Results from a panel data model show that, for graduates from master's degree programs in Finland, during the period between 1987 and 2017, a systematic positive association existed between the programs' female share changes and the income changes of its graduates. I discuss two mechanisms that could explain the result. On the other hand, repeated cross-section analysis suggests that the return on markedly feminine degree programs has further deteriorated. This finding requires further investigation but is likely to be linked to the role of public sector employment for graduates from these programs, public sector budget constraints, and the public sector's role in determining the supply of university education in Finland. The second essay is a methodological contribution to the so-called Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition, which is at the heart of empirical gender wage gap research. I show that part of the categorical variable's wage-structure difference effect in the detailed Oaxaca-Blinder gender wage gap decomposition is identified without coefficient restrictions or other additional assumptions. The finding means that the wage gap contribution of each categorical variable that affects wages can be evaluated more comprehensively than has been thought up to now. Empirical results showed that in the Finnish private sector, between 28 and 35 per cent of the gender wage gap in 1995 and between 15 and 25 per cent in 2013 is accounted for by wage-structure differences traceable to specific variables. In the third essay, I study the importance of the firm-specific wage components for the gender wage gap in private sector blue-collar occupations in Finland. It turned out that firm-specific wage premiums differ both by gender and by gender dominance of the occupation. Firm-specific factors account for 1/3 of the gender wage gap in female-dominated blue-collar occupations. For male-dominated blue-collar occupations, the results are somewhat inconclusive, but firm factors may be a much less important source of the gender wage gap in this group. I contribute to the method used in this type of study in two ways. Firstly, in the empirical analysis, I use the fact that the gender wage gap effect arising from within-firm differences in male and female wage premiums (the bargaining effect) is partly identified directly from the wage model. Under plausible assumptions, this effect is a lower bound of the full bargaining effect. Secondly, I also quantify the uncertainty associated with identifying the full bargaining effect. This uncertainty is high for male-dominated blue-collar occupations in the data.
  • Turkia, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    In this research, I examine the development of cooperation and case management between Kela and Eksote (the South Karelia Social and Health District) in the context of a social work development project from 1 January 2017 to 31 July 2019. The aim of this study was to create new information on issues affecting cooperation and to develop and study what kind of cooperation models can be used to support cooperation and case management between Kela and the municipalities, especially for the most vulnerable customers. A local working group was set up for the project in South Karelia, with a total of 21 employees. Employees were from Kela’s customer services and benefits services, from Eksote’s adult social work and immigration services and an employee from the Centre of Expertise on Social Welfare in SouthEast Finland (Socom). The study material included memos and project documents, questionnaire surveys, a group interview, an individual interview, a final survey conducted for the working group and a research diary. The theoretical framework consisted of professions, multidisciplinary collaboration, case management and social rights. The study explored what kind challenges were involved in cooperation and case management at the beginning of the project. Based on these were developed collaboration and case management models. Good models included getting to know the work of others, information for Kela employees, regular service at another organization’s premises, Kela information for immigrants, and case management service. The development of multidisciplinary cooperation and case management between Kela and the municipalities can increase the knowledge and appreciation of each other’s work. One of the most important goals of the cooperation is to ensure that customers who need social services are identified. For those who need special support, a targeted service can support the holistic perception of the customers’ situation and guide them toward the required services. Keywords: multisectorality, cooperation (general), income support, action research, social work, development projects, customers, direction (instruction and guidance), social rights, social services, professions, hospital districts, municipalities, Social Insurance Institution of Finland

View more