Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta


Recent Submissions

  • Pyrhönen, Niko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    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 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.
  • Ketola, Tarja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    ABSTRACT Western democracy is based on civil society and on the non-governmental organizations and social movements that operate at its core, offering opportunities for people to act, influence and network. Although interest in civil society has increased of late and research on the topic has become more active, the management and communications of non-governmental organizations remains a scantily researched area. This study examines the strategic management and related communications of a non-governmental organization from the point of view of management, members and clerical workers. Strategy, vision and other strategic management concepts and planning models have spread from companies to non-governmental organizations. Transferring the concepts and schemes of thought developed for companies to a non-governmental organization without alteration is, however, problematic, because of the different context and the related differences in values and ideologies. The premises of operation for a non-governmental organization are the pursuit of common good, volunteer agents, democratic decision making and administrative independence from external parties. The research data were generated in different phases of The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation s strategic working process during 1998 2010. The study is ethnographic and combines case study and (participative) action research methods. The method of analysis is content analysis. The theoretical background is formed of the theories related to organizations social, cultural and political reality, different models and theories of communication and the theory of communicative action. Of the various schools of strategic management studies, the framework especially leans toward examining culture, incremental learning, power and politics, and discursive and social practices. The study also contributes in part to critical management studies by offering a critical point of view on conceptions about organizations and management that have been considered self-evident. Citizenship and non-governmental organizations are examined especially through the concept of identity. The results of the study challenge the transfer of corporate language, concepts and planning models as such into non-governmental organizations and clearly highlight the meaning of context in an organization s strategy work and its success. The results are crystallized as a model of the future work and communications of a proactively operating non-governmental organization, taking into account the characteristics of such an organization as a social and administrative unit. The model is based on openness, extensive participation and equal treatment of the organization s members, and on dialogic communications. The model pays special attention to concepts; for instance, it proposes the concepts of future work, a dynamic view of the future and dreams as replacements for the corporate concepts of strategy and vision. The ritual and community-creating functions of communication and its facility to produce common meanings are emphasized in a non-governmental organization and ascend to greater import than formal structures and processes. Common discussions and negotiations about the direction and content of operations and emotional commitment enable the strengthening of collective identity and thus maintain the motivation of volunteers and other agents. As a practical contribution, the study also brings out factors that should be taken into account when constructing future work processes at non-governmental organizations. Keywords: community communications, non-governmental organization, strategy, future work
  • Buchert, Ulla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    In Finland the work that public welfare service professionals do with immigrants is being studied increasingly. In these studies, it is common to first define on what basis people are categorized as immigrants, and subsequently to analyze professionals work with this group of people. However, I have chosen to take a different approach in this study. In my study I aim to find out what kind of divisions of work professionals currently carry out and have earlier carried out in the public welfare services by means of institutional categories of immigrancy as well as what kind of implications these divisions of work produce for clients, professional work and service system. My research questions are: What kind of definitions are constructed on immigrancy in the institutional categories established by professionals? What kind of professional meanings are constructed on immigrancy in these categories? How have the definitions and professional meanings associated with immigrancy in these categories changed? With regard to previous research, my study is related to that dealing with states as categorizers of ethnicity, race and nationalities, professional work done with clients categorized as immigrants, as well as the relationship between professionals and the Finnish welfare state. The theoretical framework of my study deals with institutional categories, professional work and the relationship between professions and the welfare state. The source data of this study consists of thematic interviews of professionals who work in public welfare services and some third sector organizations (n=56). The professionals work within the fields of integration, vocational rehabilitation and mental health rehabilitation in social work, health care and employment services. In the analysis of the data, I use theory-oriented content analysis based on conceptualizations of categories and categorization. The results of my study demonstrate that definitions and professional meanings constructed on immigrancy vary within the institutional categories established to it. In addition, the results demonstrate that these definitions and meanings have changed in numerous ways. According to my interpretation, professionals working in the public welfare services perform constant border work with regard to definitions and professional meanings of immigrancy. Moreover, I interpret that the institutional categories of immigrancy function in the welfare service professionals work as border objects, which help professionals to bring atypically constructed clienthood and professional work to the services. My study demonstrates that by using the institutional categories of immigrancy professionals currently carry out and have earlier carried out various divisions of work. By the help of these categories professionals are able to integrate into the public welfare services clients who are otherwise in danger of being excluded. Additionally, professionals use categories to develop their work and to specialize. On the other hand, by using these categories, professionals end up dividing the public welfare service system into two immigrancy- and non-immigrancy-related parts. The division in a way liberates the latter from the need to adjust to a multiplicity increased by immigration, produces clients related to immigrancy stigmas and otherness, as well as creates dead-ends in the service system. Based on the results of my study, I recommend that the institutional categories of immigrancy should be deconstructed by separating from each other the immigrancy-related names of the categories, and their contents i.e. clienthood and professional work defined as untypical within the Finnish public welfare services. It is unnecessary to name clients, professional work and services as related to immigrancy, even though the public welfare services are obliged to better adjust to the increased diversity due to immigration, and to treat all clients equally. Keywords: immigrant, immigrancy, immigration, institutional category, professional, professional work, public welfare services, universal welfare state.
  • Levänen, Jarkko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The circular economy is a topical issue in public policy and environmental social science. This dissertation offers a critical study of operations intended to develop a circular economy and industrial recycling of materials. The study identifies obstacles that prevent or delay the development of industrial recycling and seeks new solutions for overcoming these obstacles. Institutional obstacles are at the core of this work. They can be identified either as formal obstacles, such as legal or administrative problems, or as informal obstacles, such as problems related to routines or established practices. Traditionally, institutional obstacles have been considered either formal or informal. This dissertation challenges that conception and claims that often the most difficult obstacles are those that operate between the formal and the informal. Operating in between disconnects formal (administrative) institutional reality from informal (operative) institutional reality. It is challenging, if not impossible, to develop formal rules or ways of doing things related to a particular issue once the connection related to that issue has been cut off, because formal and informal realities are structurally dependent on one another. At the same time the dissertation points out that once the disconnection has been identified, it is possible to reunite formal and informal realities. This can be done by means of an institutional feedback mechanism that fits the local circumstances. Institutional feedback means maintenance of knowledge exchange between actors and groups of actors operating in different realities. In an industrial context, institutional feedback may, for example, enable the development of new kinds of recycling opportunities and continuous intensification of the materials utilization. Novel institutional feedback mechanisms may also offer new possibilities for overcoming obstacles in the development of recycling and the promotion of the circular economy in different sectors of society. This dissertation consists of four case studies that investigate the management of materials and other resources in industrial units located in the Bothnian Arc region of northern Finland. The industrial units studied cover the fields of Finland s traditional basic industries: the metal, wood-processing, and chemical industries. The primary data for this study consist of interview materials, questionnaires, and documentary sources. The main points of interest are two types of recycling: 1) the utilization of different leftover materials as replacements for existing products or as raw materials, and 2) the development of completely new kinds of recycling products and innovative recycling processes. Both types are considered especially from the perspectives of institutional obstacles and feedback mechanisms aimed at overcoming the obstacles. The key result of this study is a theoretical presentation of the structure and functioning of an institutional feedback mechanism. To function in a complex operational environment, an institutional feedback mechanism should consist of two components: the production of the right kind of knowledge (knowledge networking) and the management and maintenance of a network of actors that are central to the specific aims (network governance). This dissertation shows different ways to identify, conceptualize, and study these two components of institutional feedback mechanisms. By means of an example, the study also demonstrates how an institutional feedback mechanism can be constructed and how it can be utilized to overcome practical problems and profound institutional obstacles. Policy recommendations for the management of complex operational environments and for the promotion of a circular economy and material efficiency are also presented.
  • Rolando, Sara (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The aim in this study is to narrow the gap in knowledge about how young people understand their direct (personal) and indirect (others ) drinking experiences by investigating images of alcohol (Sulkunen, 2007) among Italian and Finnish adolescents and young people on the threshold of adulthood. Italy and Finland are considered examples of geographies (Sulkunen, 2013) characterised by different social values and socialisation practices, but also facing common global challenges (Beck, 2005). The concept of individualistic and collectivistic cultures is used as a framework to describe the variations observed in young people s images of the risks related to alcohol consumption and responsible drinking. Individualistic cultures represent a socio-cultural system in which individuals are expected to develop an independent personality, and autonomy and self-maximisation are the prominent values, whereas collectivistic cultures encourage adherence to norms, values, roles and familial authority (Dwairy 2002). Within this framework, Finnish and Italian cultures are perceived as exemplifying individualism and family-oriented collectivism, respectively. The six published research articles, which together with this summary comprise the whole work, were co-authored by various Italian and Finnish researchers and are based on three main sets of data collected in focus-group (FG) interviews: 1) 32 FGs involving 191 participants from four different cohorts organised in Helsinki (FI) and Turin (IT); 2) 40 mixed-gender FGs involving 220 pupils aged 15-16 organised in Turin and Cosenza (IT) and Helsinki, and 10 FGs involving 30 parents and 32 teachers organised in Italy; 3) 32 FGs including 105 male and female pupils aged 13-14 and 15-16 and living in urban (Milan and Helsinki) and rural areas (Ciriè and Orivesi). The Reception Analytical Group Interview (RAGI) technique was used for collecting most of the data (sets 2 and 3), with visual images as stimuli, the aim being to enhance comparability in qualitative research (Sulkunen and Egerer 2009). Data set 1) was collected by means of verbal questioning and photographic stimuli. The results indicate that collectivistic, and particularly family-oriented cultures have thus far contributed to shaping less risky drinking patterns among young people. There are many reasons for this, including the more coherent and active role of parents in the socialisation process, the presence of shared social norms, and a greater awareness of the risks of drinking that are beyond the individual s control. Conversely, a parenting model that places more emphasis on independence and self-efficacy, which is typical of the more individualistic geographies, conveys trust in an individual s own competence to handle drinking, which in turn leads to a lack of attention to risks that are beyond the individual s control, in other words risks that are contextual, social and inherent in the substance. However, the global trend towards individualisation and the complex nature of the transition to adulthood could soon undermine the more protective collectivist images of alcohol.
  • Marionneau, Virve (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Public and academic discussion of gambling has been characterised by numerous contradictions. Although definitions of gambling as a sinful activity or even as a crime are now things of the past, the contemporary debate on whether gamblinkö-g is actually a social problem, an individual problem, a socially beneficial activity or perhaps just another form of consumption has been heated. This study maintains that no such conclusive definition of the social role of gambling can be found because societies discuss gambling differently based on contextual conditions. The research question asks whether the understandings of gambling differ between two European societies, Finland and France, and if so, how these differences are manifested. To answer this question a comparative study has been conducted. The research data consist of group interviews conducted among gamblers in Finland and in France, along with legal texts that regulate gambling in each country. Finland and France were chosen for this study owing to practical constraints but also to represent two European countries with differing gambling traditions but with similar overall availability of gambling opportunities. This made it possible to analyse institutional differences related to provision and legislation, as well as to compare cultural differences related to habits of thought and deep cultural structures. The study argues that social contexts influence not only the kind of gambling offers made available, but also how gambling is discussed, how it is justified, how it is understood and even how ensuing problems are conceptualised. Sociological theory is used to show that the way we understand social concepts such as gambling is specific to a particular cultural and institutional context. The results show that Finland and France differ in terms of how their gambling legislation has been justified and in how gamblers themselves discuss the activity. Differences were found in relation to what was considered an acceptable reason to gamble, what was considered the cause of problem gambling and how well the gambling offers of their respective countries were accepted. It is argued here that these differences reflect separate historical traditions of gambling, varying institutional organisations providing gambling opportunities, cultural differences in how blame is assigned, and varying conceptualisations of individuality in Finland and France. The analysis supports the hypothesis, showing that the way gambling is understood depends on the social context. The comparative analysis also demonstrates that gambling is a social issue and should be treated as such when its consequences, its availability or its importance to societies are discussed.
  • Niska, Miira (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Entrepreneurship is expected to serve a multitude of societal interests. It is assumed to enhance competitiveness, create jobs and services, and contribute to social and ecological development. As such, enterprise promotion has become an integral part of Finnish policymaking. In the rural context, enterprise promotion is an essential part of regional, agricultural and rural policies. Considering the governmental interests in entrepreneurship, a problem noted by both scholars and policy actors is that business owners do not make the most of public enterprise promotion. The present dissertation studies enterprise promotion in rural Finland from a relational social psychological perspective, by focusing on agency and interests. Previous studies have commonly assumed that interest conceptualised as goals, values or motives are internal and fairly stable dispositions which, at least partly, guide peoples agency. It is commonly assumed that business owners agency needs to be driven by economic interests in order to serve society. Public enterprise promotion, thus, aims at encouraging small business owners and potential business owners to adopt an entrepreneurial mind-set and work towards business growth. Recently, however, policy actors have also noted the importance of social entrepreneurs, whose agency is driven by societal common good not economic profit. Although commercial, growth entrepreneurs serve their own self-interests and social entrepreneurs serve the common good, both entrepreneur types are considered to serve society, with the former type contributing to economic development and the latter to social and ecological development. One problem recognised by scholars and policy actors is that business owners interests in doing business do not necessarily align with the interests of policy actors. For example, in the rural context, empirical studies have demonstrated that small business owners agency is driven by interests such as personal autonomy, modest upkeep and the continuation of the family farm. Furthermore, studies have suggested that small business owners internal dispositions especially an interest in personal autonomy make them withdraw from public enterprise promotion. The present dissertation takes a different approach on business owners agency and interests, and studies them from a relational social psychological perspective, drawing on Goffmanian frame analysis and social constructionism. Instead of individual dispositions, business owners agency and interests are approached as situated and embedded phenomena. Social scientific research on agency has mainly focused on the issue of how agents make things happen, while the question for whom do agents make things happen has been largely ignored. Unlike social scientists, economists have widely discussed the agency relationships between agents and their principals. This dissertation adopts a relational social psychological perspective to elaborate economists ideas of agency relationships and the concept of agency-for. The dissertation consists of four independent sub-studies that examine rural business owners agency-for with a special focus on its relation to societal interests and public enterprise promotion. Both quantitative survey data as well as qualitative interview and group discussion data are analysed. The empirical results demonstrate that rural business owners, as modern agents, are both capable and willing to adopt a multitude of principals. Besides their self-interest in personal autonomy and (modest) upkeep, rural business owners seem keen on framing their business actions as agency for various local principals, such as their employees, nature and rural vitality. However, they do not seem keen on the growth entrepreneurship framing. Regarding public enterprise promotion when viewed as an interaction process business owners principals may pose a problem. The functional interaction between policy actors and business owners requires a mutual understanding of the principal that is being served. However, public enterprise promotion is legitimate only when it serves the interests of society, be they economic, social or ecological development. Since rural business owners seem eager to frame their business actions as agency for self but not in the sense of business growth it might be difficult for policy actors to serve business owners self-interests without losing the legitimacy of public enterprise promotion. Furthermore, when adopting external principals, rural business owners seem to prefer local over national ones. Unless policy actors are authorised to serve local sustainable development, it may be difficult to negotiate over a shared principal. The dissertation suggests that rural business owners agency-for aligns better with public enterprise promotion conducted within rural policy (with an emphasis on rural vitality) and multifunctional agricultural policy (with an emphasis on environmental and rural wellbeing), than within new regional policy or neoliberal agricultural policy which both emphasise competitiveness.
  • Yliruka, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This doctoral dissertation focuses on practices that support working and learning and that target knowledge creation in social work as a means to enhance the flexible, open and critical expertise of social workers and to promote their efforts to assist their clients practices known here as reflective structures. This dissertation explores the topic by studying the introduction, feasibility and development of the reflective Kuvastin ( Mirror ) method of self- and peer-evaluation. This doctoral dissertation 1) explores and expands the role of individual reflection and self-evaluation, and connects it to the organisation of reflection and evaluation as well as to the creation of reflective structures as part of practice-based innovation activities and competence management, 2) presents a research-based method of reflective self- and peer-evaluation of social work which members of an organisation can use together to examine and develop their work as well as to create practice-oriented organisational innovations, and 3) analyses the feasibility of the model, particularly the conditions required in a public sector organisation. The dissertation is based on five previously published empirical articles and investigates the Kuvastin method by incorporating both a case study and an action research study. The dissertation has both adopted this method and used a theoretical approach to study how and under which conditions self-evaluation can create approaches and meeting spaces that generate, analyse and enrich reflection to support not only ethically sensitive social work with clients, but also innovation activities, in addition to promoting reforms in social work. This dissertation uses qualitative analysis to identify themes and types in the empirical data, and utilises the methodological tools of actor network theory. The dissertation highlights how processes of reflection, the construction of operational knowledge and the development of tools for personal reflection can at best strengthen employees expertise, workplace wellbeing and sense of meaningful work, thereby promoting the potential of social work to respond to clients needs. The study also shows that the achievement of good results in implementing and maintaining the Kuvastin method requires certain elements, such as transformational leadership, a shared concept of knowledge, dialogic interaction and shared object-oriented work. The method helps superiors, together with the employees, create a permanent learning community, a reflective structure in which employees jointly explore their and their peers experiences, challenge their beliefs and develop new artefacts that support their learning and working as well as the supervision of their work. Thus, this dissertation promotes a new approach to learning, enhancing workplace wellbeing and creating knowledge in social work communities. These activities are important not only for the services provided to clients, but also for the viability of the public sector.
  • Vähämaa, Miika (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This dissertation conceptualizes social groups as epistemic communities that is, as communities that circulate and regard some things as credible knowledge based on its own idiosyncratic criteria. An epistemic community sets social standards or, group epistemologies for what is understood to be knowledge. The philosophical and social psychological underpinnings of an epistemic community are reviewed considering, inter alia, theories by Aristotle, Jan Smedslund, Steve Fuller, Alvin Goldman, Jürgen Habermas, Arie Kruglanski, Henri Tajfel, Anna Wierzbicka and Julia Annas. The literature on social knowledge is used to initiate a synthesis conceptualized as the epistemic calculus of groups. Theory is substantiated with empirical studies. One study shows that university students define even universal topics such as mathematics differently based primarily on whether they live in Finland or Norway, suggesting culturally different group epistemologies about math. Another survey from the United States shows that even socio-economic group variables can be powerful predictors of how people view science and its relevance to society at large. Socio-economic variables together with media exposure cultivate these large groups to hold similarity of thought and therefore to become epistemic communities. Even more surprisingly, the pan-European data shows that occupational groups of politicians and political journalists in diverse countries Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Slovenia, Austria and Switzerland may transcend national boundaries to develop a set of goals. These goals of political communication provide the rules of thumb for reasonable political knowledge for the professional. These rules appear so strong and so well developed across nations that they are likely to cause epistemic struggle and disagreement between the professionals. In the final analysis, then, it is discussed who gets to define what we pass as knowledge?
  • Onodera, Henri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This is an ethnographic study of the lived experiences of young activists during the last years of Mubarak s presidency in Egypt. Its general aim is to provide an understanding of what it was like to be involved in opposition politics during a period when the eventual end of Mubarak s rule in 2011 was little more than a collective aspiration. Drawing on different strands of qualitative social science, including anthropology, sociology and youth research, the study is based on 12 months of fieldwork in Cairo, conducted between 2007 and 2011. It makes use of political engagement as an open analytic that enables the examination of different activities that were oriented towards, but not exclusive to, public political processes and formal avenues to political participation. In this vein, the study explores the activities that the young activists regarded as meaningful in terms of challenging the status quo, and how being young in itself shaped their ways of participating in public political life. While it focuses on the experiences of young Cairenes who were predominantly male and aged in their 20s, it is acknowledged that important differences existed among them that conditioned their efforts to acquire new visibilities and political roles, including social differences such as class, gender and global connectedness. In order to explore the diversity of their political experiences, the study discusses four principal areas of analysis and related topics: namely, generational consciousness, tactical practice, friendship relations and ethical reflections. It is demonstrated that, firstly, the new forms of youth activism in the 2000s promoted a critical generational consciousness as a disenfranchised social location in the intergenerational order, while also providing reinvigorated meanings to youth as a subversive political category, and in some ways a privileged experiential realm, ready to conduct public political dissent on its own terms. The new youth movements, such as Youth for Change and April 6 Youth that emerged on the fringes of larger processes of contentious politics, assumed new roles in public political life and merged, at least temporarily, young Egyptians from different backgrounds and affiliations into collective actions: forging alliances, largely beyond the formal political institutions. Secondly, the young activists resorted to a number of tactical practices in order to reach out to wider publics via both offline and online avenues. Their operating preferences lay in organizing unlicensed street protests in the popular, lower-class residential areas and tapping into the subversive potential of the new information and communication technologies, including blogs and social media. Although these forms of public dissent expanded their otherwise narrow political opportunities, their adoption was not, however, equally available to everyone. Some either had the necessary social networks in place, including family support, or the available time and the economic means to do so, while those, who were less equipped for public dissent, could nonetheless acquire new combinations of practical skills, knowledge and social connections that enabled them to enact their sense of meaningful political action. At the same time, the efforts to build youth coalitions faced a number of challenges, one of which was internal factionalism, which, coupled with the growing use of social media, diversified the scope of youth activism in the run-up period to the 2011 uprisings. Thirdly, being a young activist in the late 2000s provided much more varied everyday experiences than merely the acts of public political dissent. It also involved absorbing pre-existing oppositional culture and adopting dissident lifestyles that were filled with shared moments of being and doing things with others on a daily basis. In the absence of representative political institutions, the experiences of having friends and being a friend to others offered intimate avenues to public political life that stretched beyond kin ties and formal organizations. Although oppositional youth activism was divided along lines of class, gender and political affiliation, the young could forge mutual grounds for friendship relations on the basis of their shared experiences and stories of contention, while frequenting downtown Cairo as the main hub of their everyday trajectories. Although friendship relations were at times volatile in the contested field of politics, safeguarding the bonds of trust, belonging and everyday solidarity represented highly relevant everyday activities. Fourthly, the young Cairenes were faced with a number of ethical reflections on the meaningfulness of their own dissent practices, not the least due to the personals risks that opposition politics involved in authoritarian settings. While the prospect of impoverishment did not generally motivate their political engagements, they shared a sense of injured patriotism that prevailed in the wider prodemocracy movement, and aspired to greater recognition as rightful citizens. At the same time, they operated on an ambivalent moral terrain that required positioning one s self and others in relation to normative claims to the common good; furthermore, they had to contend with popular suspicion about the impact of their public political dissent and about possible motives for their activism, such as the pursuit of social status and personal wellbeing. Despite the differences that existed among the activist youth in terms of class and gender, however, they could in part challenge these types of speculations by enacting the prevailing ideals of personhood in terms of bravery, righteousness and self-sacrifice. Meanwhile, although the young Cairenes were embedded in the moral worlds of prodemocracy mobilization, they were also compelled to balance their political engagements in terms of multiple life transitions, especially in terms of balancing their activism with the requirements of gaining a livelihood. While there were multiple ways of being or becoming an activist in the late Mubarak era, the young Cairenes political engagements were connected to their collective pursuit of playing a meaningful role in what happened in the present, while acknowledging that Egypt s future was intimately tied to their own life trajectories.
  • Kaukomaa, Timo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This study examines facial expressions in naturally occurring face-to-face interaction. The focus is on how facial expressions (e.g., smiles and frowns) are part of the collaborative construction and modification of shared emotional stances between speakers and hearers. The data corpus of this study consists of five recorded dyadic Finnish conversations over lunch between individuals who were familiar with each other. The conversations were recorded with three video cameras: two cameras recorded the participants facial expressions and upper bodies and one camera the overall situation. The method of this study is conversation analysis, which makes it possible to examine how participants use their facial expression, move-by-move or turn-by-turn, in the joint negotiation processes of shared emotional stances. The dissertation consists of three original articles and an introduction. In the introduction, I lay out the central concepts and the perspective of the study, describe the data and method, and provide an overview and short examples of the results of the study. I also discuss at a more general level the ways in which my study contributes to earlier studies on embodied socio-emotional communication, and to our understanding of social interaction and social life. The analysis highlights the important role facial expressions have in construction and modification of the public emotional sphere of conversation. The emotional sphere is in continuous transformation, as the participants collaboratively negotiate their situational relationship and interpersonal (in)congruence with regard to the activity at hand. The articles 1 and 2 examine how speakers turn initial facial expression (a smile or a frown) contributes to the action of the utterance it foreshadows and to the larger sequential environment. The results show that the interactional trajectories of these turn-opening facial expressions vary substantially: smiles are first steps to a shared moment of positive or humorous stance, whereas frowns initiate a problem turn that creates momentary distance between participants. The article 3 demonstrates the ways in which recipients facial expression may shift the emotional stance of the speaker s utterance. The recipient s facial expressions play a major role in the collaborative modification of shared emotional stance. They do not simply mirror the speaker s stance or display understanding of the speaker s talk; rather, they perform well-timed systematic operations on the projected course of the talk. The contribution of the article is to show how speakers and hearers work in collaboration using subtle and well-timed facial (and other) expressions of emotion in order to negotiate, move-by-move, the emotional stance(s) that they will share. This study reveals the significance of facial expressions in communicative actions and in the regulation of situational affective relationship between speakers and hearers in mundane interactions. These processes resonate with the larger social structures and the reproduction of micro-social order.
  • Mäenpää, Elina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The tendency towards socio-economic homogamy - partner similarity in terms of socio-economic status - is of great interest to social scientists, for two reasons. First, socio-economic homogamy is an indicator of social closure between status groups in a society. Second, given that homogamy leads to the accumulation of advantageous and disadvantageous socio-economic conditions within couples, it also intensifies social and economic inequalities between families. The objective of this thesis is to enhance knowledge of socio-economic homogamy and its consequences for union stability in Finland. The first aim was to analyse the strength and patterns of socio-economic homogamy in partner choice. The second aim was to determine whether and, if so, how homogamy is associated with the likelihood of ending non-marital cohabitation - through separation on the one hand, or marriage on the other. In addition, two dimensions of socio-economic status, individual educational attainment and social class of the family of origin, were analysed to find out whether matching on individually achieved status or on the status of the parental family had a bigger effect on union dynamics. The analyses were based on sets of register data compiled at Statistics Finland. Log-linear models were applied to study homogamy tendencies and their changes in marriages and cohabitations of women born in 1957-1979 at the age of 30. The effects of homogamy and heterogamy on the likelihood of separation and marriage were analysed with Cox proportional hazards model in cohabitations formed in the period 1995-2002 by women born in 1960-1977. An elaborate approach was adopted: marriage and separation rates were examined in each possible combination of partner status. The results imply that people tend to choose partners who are similar to them in terms of educational attainment and class background. However, homogamy was stronger with regard to education than to social-class origins. This is line with the view that boundaries based on achieved status are more difficult to cross in modern, individualized societies than boundaries based on social origins. The most highly educated - those with a higher university degree - were particularly strongly inclined towards homogamy. The general strength of homogamy did not change much across the birth cohorts from the late 1950s to the 1970s, but the trends differed depending on the level of education: homogamy strengthened among those with a low level of education, and weakened among the highly educated. The results also indicate that in the absence of homogamy, women increasingly tend to have partners whose level of education is lower than theirs. Homogamy in class background had a relatively weak influence on the stability of cohabiting unions. Homogamy increased the marriage rate among the children of farmers, whereas heterogamy was associated with an increased separation risk when one partner came from a farmer family and the other from an upper-white-collar family. Educational differences played a somewhat more significant role in these transitions. Homogamy was associated with a reduced risk of separation among the most highly educated cohabitors in particular. The effects of educational homogamy on the marriage rate were less consistent: homogamy increased the marriage rate among cohabitors with a basic-level education, but reduced it among the most highly educated. The findings reveal that status barriers and cultural differences are of significance in partner choice and the stability of cohabiting unions in Finland, and that group boundaries based on achieved status are stronger than those based on ascribed status in terms of union dynamics.
  • Saikkonen, Paula (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    As a result of soil pollution, five hundred people had to move away from their homes in Alakiventie at the end of the 20th century. This area of Alakiventie had been built on an old waste dump in Myllypuro in the 1970s. Examination of the case showed that the area had been built according to the legislation and practices typical of that time. No mistakes had been made, and in consequence, the administration of the city interpreted the case as a rare single accident. This raised the question: when and how is polluted soil constructed as an environmental problem? In the doctoral dissertation, polluted soil is examined as a phenomenon that exists in a certain time span and space. The circumstances of society must be taken into account in order to understand polluted soil as an environmental problem. The definition of the environmental problem and its relation to risk management are in focus. The definition of the problem as well as the solution is dependent on knowledge. Knowledge is historically constructed, originating in action, and transformed from one actor to another. Furthermore, risk knowledge is related to the process in which an environmental problem and risk are defined. The research problem asks how knowledge production promotes or restricts the ability of local decision makers to remedy environmental problems. The problem is answered by the four articles and three sub-questions. The research is a case study. The practices of local governance are analysed over several decades. The studied case addresses local governance in a risk society. The interviews, the official documents of the city, the publications of the administrative bodies, and the minutes of the city board are combined as research material. Knowledge production about polluted soil seems to be disorganized and random. The knowledge produced does not accumulate, and the general view is invisible to decision makers. The silos in the administration, in legislation and in science hamper knowledge production in a way that hides solutions to wicked problems.
  • Hämäläinen, Saara (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Our thesis has three individual papers and an introduction. It contributes to dynamic price and search theory. The first paper deals with the classic problem of trading under asymmetric information. The other two analyze retailing strategies that help lock in buyers by creating in-store frictions. In the first paper, we investigate welfare and equilibrium trading in a decentralized search market with asymmetric information and bilateral communication opportunities. Sellers and buyers meet randomly and pairwise and view a shared signal of the seller's quality. In the following signaling game, the sellers can either rely on this costless signal (pool) or costly signaling (separate). We observe that, although the average market quality is high, additional information is not generally welfare improving. All equilibria are inefficient. Contrary to the usual tradeoff between price and liquidity, we find that the signals can help sustaining stationary Markovian equilibria where higher quality is traded faster. In the second paper, we construct a novel search model that features in-store frictions and equilibrium price dispersion both within and across stores. The frictions originate from the gradual arrival of price information within stores and the existence of deadlines for buyers. We show that sellers have an incentive carry several similar items and generate price variation among these items to amplify the existing search frictions and create barriers to switching in an environment where none exist initially. It also helps them to discriminate better between buyers, who end with diverse degrees of price information. As the number of items in stock expands, sellers can extract more profits. In our third paper, we develop a price search model that features endogenous frictions in a duopolistic environment. These frictions originate from the gradual arrival or price information within stores and the existence of deadlines for buyers. We show that both sellers have a strategic incentive to generate frictions. There exists exactly two equilibria with a unique asymmetric pattern: a prominent seller, whose expected price is higher but the in-store frictions lower, and a non-prominent seller. The buyers are divided exactly equally into informed and uninformed consumers, and into those who fail to find anything. Under the Poisson process, this surplus loss is about 6 %.
  • Turunen, Harri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    I study the importance of variation in the higher moments of macroeconomic and financial quantities. The first essay considers the effects of uncertainty on the fiscal multiplier when the economy has hit the zero lower bound (ZLB) on the nominal rate in a relatively standard New Keynesian Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) model. As the ZLB is a very strong form of nonlinearity, the model is solved using a numerical method. Uncertainty in government spending and productivity are modeled as stochastic volatility. Confirming previous research (e.g. Christiano, Eichenbaum and Rebelo, 2011), the multiplier is found to be higher when at the bound, and the effects of volatility shocks are found to be noticeable (e.g. Basu and Bundick, 2015). Uncertainty is found to have an impact on the multiplier: when future spending is uncertain, the multiplier is high, but when future productivity is uncertain, the multiplier is low. The second essay studies whether or not DSGEs are able to generate simulated realizations with realistic third and fourth moments. Many time series in macroeconomics and finance exhibit either excess kurtosis or skewness or both. However, as was shown by Ascari et al (2013), standard DSGEs such as the neoclassical growth model or the model of Smets and Wouters (2007) are unable to produce realizations with reasonable moments, regardless of shock distribution or the order of the Taylor approximation applied. My results however indicate that this is mostly due to lack of nonlinearity in the models, since especially a model with a very strong form of nonlinearity, such as the ZLB, is able to generate non-Gaussian realizations. The third essay considers the pricing of macroeconomic risk. The theory of Merton (1973) implies that there can be other sources of priced risk than the risk associated with the return on the market portfolio and that an appropriate measure for sensitivity of a stock to this risk is the covariance of the return of that stock with the source of that risk. I apply the multivariate volatility model of Engle (2002) to estimate time-varying covariances of US stock portfolios with a variety of US macro time series. The finding is that inflation and unemployment are priced in the market and earn a negative premium, while the growth rate of industrial production and the Case-Shiller house price index are not priced.