Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta


Recent Submissions

  • Metsä-Simola, Niina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Poor mental health is a major public health issue, and across societies, mental health problems and excess mortality are consistently linked to divorce. This thesis examines how poor mental health increases the risk of divorce, how divorce increases the risk of poor mental health and mortality, and what is the role of socio-demographic factors in these associations. It also compares marital and non-marital unions and union transitions. The study uses nationally representative longitudinal data that combine information from different administrative registers. Poor mental health is measured by psychotropic medication and psychiatric hospital care, reflecting clinical psychiatric morbidity. The risk of divorce was highest immediately after new incidence of psychiatric morbidity, but also remained elevated thereafter. The prevalence of psychotropic mediation clearly increased and peaked before the date of legal divorce, followed by an 18-month decline before settling to a persistently high level. Psychotropic medication prevalence was similar in continuous long-term non-marital and marital unions, and changes in prevalence before and after separation from long-term non-marital unions were quite similar to changes before and after divorce. In contrast, there were no major changes in prevalence before and after separation from short-term cohabitation, but the prevalence was higher than among those in long-term unions already five years before separation. The divorced had excess risk of all-cause mortality regardless of time since divorce. Mortality attributable to accidental, violent, and alcohol-related causes of death was particularly high, and most pronounced immediately after divorce. The association between divorce and mental health was largely independent of socio-demographic factors, but socioeconomic disadvantage explained about half of the excess post-divorce mortality. According to these results, mental health is more closely linked to union stability than to whether the union is marital or not. Poor mental health seems to put strain on unions and hinder the formation of long-term unions, suggesting mental healthcare should focus more on relationship dynamics. Psychological support during divorce is needed to avoid high-risk health behaviours, such as alcohol use as a coping mechanism. Furthermore, preventing prolongation of socio-economic disadvantage is important in reducing post-divorce excess mortality.
  • Cañada, Jose A. (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    In April 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared influenza A H1N1 a public-health emergency of international concern. This event was especially significant for marking the first pandemic outbreak to fall under 2005’s new International Health Regulations, an ambitious binding agreement to regulate international health. Since then, other communicable diseases have provoked similar international responses, with Ebola and Zika among the latest examples. Each of them has occasioned scrutiny of the ability of national and international health organisations – the WHO among them – to handle health threats and emergencies situated at global level. Among the issues recurrently rearing their head amid controversy are uniformity in enforcement of international regulations across contexts, promotion of specific lines of research, rapid development of new drugs, the management of local and international health-care workers’ activities, and engagement with local populations. One of the main ways in which health organisations respond to the uncertainty generally associated with pandemic threats is through biopreparedness policies – policies that articulate response and resource management mechanisms before a pandemic event is declared or even before its characteristics are known. The thesis examines the discourses and practices of institutional and scientific actors, for greater understanding of how knowledge is constructed and later carried into implementation in such conditions of uncertainty. The focus is placed on processes of boundary-making, categorisation, and identification. The analysis of how health and scientific institutions identify, categorise, and describe the various human and nonhuman actors involved in pandemic events employs theoretical tools from science and technology studies, Foucauldian approaches, and understandings of the more-than-human in the social sciences. These shed light on the boundaries, categories, and identities at play during pandemic processes as shared among the many humans, animals, and molecular forms of life involved in pandemic events. The approach of assemblage ethnography is engaged with as an aid to navigating digital and material networks of public health from an empirical perspective. Public documents, interviews with public-health professionals, and field visits linked with diverse international organisations are used in combination with items of scientific news and articles from various journals to illuminate how pandemic threats and emergencies unfold. The empirical work suggests that knowledge-making in institutional and scientific settings always involves notions of threat and protection. In the material analysed, there is a tendency to identify and categorise a given actor as threatening, vulnerable (in need of protection), or expert (able to protect). This argument is unfolded in tandem with discussion of three, interconnected areas of focus in pandemic preparedness and response wherein boundaries are made: 1) the establishment of governmental stand-by networks, 2) knowledge-making and knowledge distribution practices, and 3) the conceptualisation and governance of threatening life. Each of these areas connects with one of the three main lines of analytically grounded argument. Firstly, institutional boundaries are challenged in efforts to construct more prepared governmental networks that are able to protect societies from pandemic threats and emergencies. As these networks emerge mostly in a context of uncertain and virtual threats, they impose a need for threats’ identification and characterisation. Secondly, practices of making and distributing knowledge are productive in that they determine the boundaries between expert, vulnerable, and threatening assemblages, creating differentiated communities by regulating who can produce knowledge and who may access it. The third main area of discussion involves how, from a governmental perspective, certain life forms (both human and nonhuman) come to be identified as hybrid threats because of its sociotechnical interactions. Such hybridity is a key element for the design of pandemic governance and response measures. Accordingly, the way in which actors are categorised in terms of threat, vulnerability, and expertise is defined with regard to their engagement with elements such as space, technology, nationality, and gender. The thesis concludes with discussion of three ways in which boundary-making, categorisation, and identification processes interact with pandemic preparedness and response: 1) by shedding light on the establishment of more-than-human modes of pandemic governance; 2) by drawing attention to the need for portable, permeable, and flexible boundaries between threat and protection; and 3) by considering how boundary-making reinforces intersectional inequalities in international health. These conclusions point to a need to incorporate, from both an academic and a policy perspective, alternative pandemic narratives that pay heed to the intersectional, changing, and situated definitions of threat and protection.
  • Ouma, Katono (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This is a study of the micropolitics of land and labour in the context of a wetland in western Kenya that has been subject to a long history of a development-endorsed agricultural scheme that was initiated by British colonial rulers, later by Kenya’s powerful state actors, and finally as part of the more recent food, fuel and finance-influenced global interest on land. In 2003, the Kenyan Government leased 6,900 hectares of land to an American-based investor for large-scale rice production. Drawing on eight months of ethnographic research, this study illustrates the significant transformation that accompanies large scale agricultural enterprises facilitated by land grabs. It resonates with the narrative that is often told about the differentiation of the peasantry, and the sharp inequalities that emerge from this process. While the forceful expulsion of peasant populations has received significant attention in the land grab literature, the labour dimension remains largely underexplored, with empirical studies on the subject scant. This study examines the experiences of local people who have been incorporated into the foreign-owned agricultural scheme in various capacities. Engaging labour as a central empirical category, it examines the labour regime and practices instituted in the enterprise, therefore bringing into focus a critical space for analysing workers’ everyday work lives. Borrowing from Michael Burawoy’s work on industrial labour regimes and processes, the thesis argues that struggles and conflicts between enterprise managers and workers are not just structural but are a result of a particular way in which labour processes at the site of production are organised. Hence, what requires analyses are the dynamics of the ‘relations in production’ which is distinct from the ‘relations of production’ and be defined as the social relations between and amongst workers. This study therefore elucidates some of the everyday labour struggles, conflicts, hierarchies and solidarities that emerge from the nature of the production of labour regimes instituted. This thesis also examines how seasonal/casual workers individually and collectively consolidate and negotiate their positions in the sphere of work. Using James Scott’s notion of ‘infrapolitics’ as real politics, the study analyses the covert and insidious avenues through which workers assert their claims and express their resistance. On this particular scheme, permanent recruits have established themselves as key figures with wide-ranging roles and responsibilities. They seemed to have monopolised significant portions of the ‘pie’ and have diminished the boundaries within which the casual workforce can survive and make a decent living as agricultural labourers. Routine covert resistance by casual recruits indicates a concerted effort to renegotiate the margins of existing labour relationships, to test what can be gotten away with, and to include these margins as a part of a tolerable claim. Resistance on this agricultural project resembles nothing that one would imagine in the typical history of rural politics. There are no riots, strikes or open violent conflict. The kind of resistance that occurs here is cautious. It seems to address workers’ immediate concerns without necessarily challenging and compromising the existence of the agricultural scheme in question. The infrapolitics that occurs on this enterprise is part of a more general desire by local residents who have been abandoned by the State and hope to be free of poverty, despite the limited opportunities that the agricultural scheme provides them. This thesis has relevance for scholars and policy makers that are keen on the transformations that occur in the wake of the more recent global revaluation of land, and more specifically, in the labour politics that play out within emergent agribusiness enterprises. KEY WORDS: Land grab, labour, land, ethnography, hierarchies, rivalries, differentiation, micropolitics, wetlands, resistance, infrapolitics, conflict.
  • Silvo, Aino (Suomen Pankki, 2018)
    This thesis consists of an introductory chapter and three self-contained essays that apply insights from the microeconomic theory of corporate finance in a macroeconomic setting to explain and understand various market failures that were at the roots of the global financial crisis of 2007–2009. In particular, I study various forms of incomplete information in the credit market, and their implications on financial stability and on business cycles in the aggregate economy. I also seek to understand how monetary and macroprudential policies can be used to maintain financial stability, and how these two policies interact. In the first essay, I set up and analyse a New Keynesian dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model where the financing of investments is affected by a double moral hazard problem. I then solve for jointly Ramsey-optimal monetary and macroprudential policies. In the main contribution of this essay, I find that the optimal policy can achieve an efficient allocation if the social planner can conduct both monetary and macroprudential policy. Using monetary policy alone is not enough: a short-run policy trade-off between stabilising inflation and output gap emerges. The second contribution is a systematic assessment of the performance of simple policy rules in comparison with the optimal policy. When policy follows simple rules instead of the Ramsey-optimal policy, the source of fluctuations is relevant for the choice of the appropriate policy mix. In the second essay, I study the link between house prices, lending standards, and aggregate over-investment in housing. I develop an overlapping generations model where the market for housing loans is affected by asymmetric information. Selection is towards less creditworthy borrowers. As the main contribution, I show that lending standards are loose, first, when future house values are expected to be high; and second, when safe interest rates are low. However, there are strong non-linearities in the relationship between borrowing incentives and economic fundamentals. I also show that the model can generate endogenous boom-bust cycles in house prices. The results shed light on incentive mechanisms that can help explain the developments in the U.S. housing market in the early 2000’s that led to the subprime crisis. They also imply that monetary policy has a direct impact on the stability of the housing market and on default incentives through the cost of borrowing and the opportunity cost of housing investment. In the final essay, I estimate a conditional capital asset pricing model (CCAPM) with Bayesian learning on returns in the residential housing market in the U.S. in 1987–2016. In the model, I assume that the true systematic risk of the housing portfolio is unobservable, and the investors update their beliefs on the true risk based on observed returns. I show evidence in the data that financiers' perceptions about systematic risk in the housing market were relatively low in the 1990's and the early 2000's, in the period where house prices were increasing. At the onset of the subprime crisis, the beliefs about this risk were updated upward most swiftly in regions that had experienced the strongest house price appreciation.
  • Ylönen, Matti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The agency and governance of increasingly powerful Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) is a topical issue in social sciences. I tackle this theme by analyzing the challenges that corporate tax avoidance creates for global governance and for the ways in which MNEs are conceptualized within International Political Economy (IPE). The introductory chapter illustrates the complex and neglected transdisciplinary history of tax avoidance and corporate power. I demonstrate how this scholarship began with the birth of evolutionary economics, and how scholars such as Thorstein Veblen and John R. Commons discussed these issues already in the early 1900s. I trace the evolution of the transdisciplinary scholarship on corporate power and highlight the neglected role that policy-related research had in these analyses. By the end of the 1970s, a surprisingly mature understanding had emerged on international corporate tax avoidance and corporate power. Ultimately, these findings were forgotten in the 1980s. The first self-authored article analyses groundbreaking contributions within the United Nations on corporate tax avoidance and corporate power in the 1970s. The second co-authored article develops a new methodology, qualitative financial accounts research, to uncover international tax avoidance structures in intra-corporate wealth chains. The third co-authored article turns attention to the WTO. The article focuses on two tax-related cases brought to WTO’s dispute resolution system by Panama. It also suggests new ways for further developing the theory of new constitutionalism. The fourth co-authored brings a broader focus on the freedom enjoyed by large MNEs to determine where to book their profits. We argue that this creates grounds for addressing MNEs as political agents. Yale University granted this article the Amartya Sen prize in 2015. The penultimate, single-authored article examines the success of the IMF’s recent work against tax flight. I show how its efforts have focused on individuals rather than the MNEs. This forward-looking paper underlines the importance of in-depth case analysis – a recurrent theme of the dissertation. The final, single-authored article turns to a yet another set of institutions that could serve as potential regulators of MNEs. I examine the conditions for using city-level procurement policies in a push for fair taxation of MNEs.
  • Renko, Elina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Western society, and often governance of drinking is seen as limiting this freedom. From a general well-being perspective, however, it is important to intervene on alcohol-related problems as early as possible; the earlier these problems are identified and addressed, the smaller are the risks they bring. Alcohol screening and counselling, which takes place outside actual substance abuse practice settings, is a central tool for the early identification of alcohol-related problems. There have been numerous healthcare efforts to promote alcohol screening and counselling, but the task appears to be difficult. Reasons for this difficulty have been researched in the attitudes of both patients and professionals. In social work, alcohol screening and counselling has been less promoted and researched than in health care. However, social work professionals often encounter clients with alcohol-related problems and thus can play a central role in the early identification of problems. The present dissertation studies the attitudes toward alcohol screening and counselling in social work. Previous studies have commonly assumed that these attitudes are fairly stable internal dispositions that guide behaviour. This study, however, takes a different approach toward the attitudes toward alcohol screening and counselling; instead of internal dispositions, it approaches these attitudes as argumentative and socially embedded phenomena – attitudes that are both constructed and can be recognised during social interaction. The current data consist of the argumentative interviews produced by social work professionals and their clients. The dissertation includes four independent sub-studies that examine the same phenomenon – attitudes toward alcohol screening and counselling – but use different interpretative concepts. The methodological approach remains the same for all four of these studies. Each sub-study approaches the attitudes from the viewpoint of social constructionism and employs the qualitative attitude approach. In this dissertation, the analytical focus is on what kind of attitudes did the social work professionals and their clients express in their talk, and did professionals and clients express similar attitudes, or were there differences between them? Every sub-study offers its own answer to these questions. This chapter discusses the results of the independent sub-studies, approaches the plurality of attitudes from the viewpoints of agency and interaction, and forms a synthesis by applying the results of the sub-studies. I name this synthesis Attitude Space. This attitude space answers the offered research questions. It shows that the attitudes toward alcohol screening and counselling vary in the different areas of attitude space, depending on how the agency was constructed. I analyse the plurality of the attitude space, and separate the different forms, namely, stable, re-constructive and vulnerable agency. If the interviewees constructed agency as being stable, the attitudes they expressed were rather positive. If the interviewees constructed agency as being vulnerable, then the attitudes they expressed were more negative. Further, this attitude space provides an answer to the question of whether professionals and clients express similar attitudes. First, it is notable that both professionals and clients presented fairly similar arguments troughout the attitude space. Thus, the professionals and their clients were capable of expressing rather similar attitudes during the interviews and drew from common rhetorical resources. However, in addition to such similarities, there were also differences. The arguments presented by the clients were more on the one side of the attitude space, and the arguments presented by the professionals gathered more on the other side. In these attitudes, as expressed by the professionals, alcohol screening and counselling were often seen as a self-evident part of social work (stable agency). In the attitudes expressed by the clients, on the other hand, alcohol screening and counselling were often seen as sensitive topics of discussion (vulnerable agency). The middle part of the attitude space was a common field for both clients and professionals. It was there that the interviewees saw alcohol screening and counselling as useful tools for motivation (re-constructive agency). This dissertation offers a new perspective on the research of alcohol screening and counselling by focusing on agency and interaction. The viewpoints of agency and interaction are presented and intertwined in at least two ways. According to my interpretation, different versions of agency were constructed during the argumentative talk produced by the interviewees. On the other hand, the attitudes were expressed in an interview, which is an interactional relationship, where the agency of the interviewee and the agency of the interviewees were constructed. In this chapter, I make five conclusive suggestions. First, constructing alcohol screening and counselling as an interactional relationship is a common feature of the attitudes. Secondly, it is possible to analyse the plurality of these attitudes by approaching this relationship and its dynamics from the perspective of agency. The third and fourth suggestions are that interviewees construct agency differently in different parts of the attitude space, and behind the different constructions was an attempt to respect the sacred agency. Finally, I suggest that the aim of respecting sacred agency might well be a phenomenon that not only characterises attitudes toward alcohol screening and counselling, but also the social work interaction more broadly. The goal of respecting a sacred agency fits the framework of alcohol-political liberalism well, but it offers challenges for successful substance abuse prevention.
  • Pietilä, Maria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    In this dissertation I examine the transformation of Finnish university organisations. The global science policy emphasis on research excellence and the construction of universities as competitors in the higher education and research market have encouraged universities to coordinate their research activities and to develop career paths for academics. Globally-spread policy trends define what a successful research university should look like. By adopting the global policy trends, universities express themselves as progressive, modern research organisations with attractive career opportunities. In the study I focus on two administrative phenomena in Finnish academia: the establishment of so-called research profiles and tenure track career systems. The research problem is three-fold: How do the research profiles and tenure track systems demonstrate the change of Finnish universities into more coherent, complete organisations? What internal tensions do the changes produce at universities? How do academic leaders and academics in different academic fields respond to the establishment of research profiles and tenure track systems? The theoretical framework of the study combines organisation and management studies, and higher education research. The study draws on the observation that many traditional institutions, such as universities, are adopting management-oriented organisational forms and practices. Scholars, such as Nils Brunsson and Kerstin Sahlin-Andersson (2000), and Georg Krücken and Frank Meier (2006) have drawn such an inference. The dissertation comprises three refereed journal articles and a summary article. The main data consist of research interviews of academic leaders and academics working in tenure track positions at Finnish universities. The academic leader interviewees were rectors, deans and department heads, who worked in a range of academic fields. I argue that the establishment of both research profiles and tenure track career systems contributes to transforming Finnish universities into more uniform organisations. At universities, the reforms have been used as strategic instruments to pursue certain goals. The goals include the strengthening of universities’ position as research institutions and attracting academics from the international labour market. However, several things cause internal tensions, when universities position themselves as coherent entities. These include universities’ internal heterogeneity, and the dependence of academic career progression, and publication and funding processes on several actors, who have different goals. The findings also highlight the gap between the portrayed rational processes of tenure track and the everyday life experienced by academics who work in the career path. The work performance of academics was carefully monitored, but the evaluation criteria were often interpreted as being extensive and too ambiguous, and the evaluation processes were often interpreted as being unestablished. The dissertation contributes to discussion on how universities structurally and symbolically adapt when they face multiple pressures and opportunities. It also demonstrates how academic leaders and academics deal with globally diffusing policy ideas by reproducing and transforming them.
  • Kazlauskaitė, Rūta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    A complex shared Polish-Lithuanian past raises historical as well as political controversy. The tensions emerge in the divergent narratives, maintained by the two nations, of their shared past, in school-history education. This research examines the conceptual roots for how the past – that is shared, but remembered differently – has been taught in school-history education in Poland and Lithuania. For this task, I study the metaphorical models that shape textbook presentation of the past. The embodied, conceptual metaphor theory of Lakoff and Johnson provides the framework for examining the metaphors that shape an understanding of both cognition and the past on a meta-theoretical level. I focus on visual metaphors, which structure the textbook presentation of the past, because such metaphors participate in conceptualizing cognition as making representations by a disembodied mind, distanced from the world. My theoretical approach, enactive embodiment, posits a radically different understanding of cognition. Even though evidence for the embodiment of mind abounds, the implications of this research have not yet entered the public consciousness. There remains a lack of understanding of the practical implications of research on embodied cognition, which forms the gap this project aims to address. The research materials – Polish and Lithuanian school-history textbooks and interviews with their authors – serve as a “laboratory” for application and further development of these insights from cognitive science. The thesis investigates the use of metaphors in school-history textbooks and interview materials aiming to identify the metaphorical models, which shape ways of thinking about and engagement with the past. Finally, the 5 features of school-history textbooks that I focus on in this work address issues of: 1) truth in the light of 2) competing accounts of history that 3) sharply distinguish fact from fiction; moreover, in concentrating on: 4) narratives of the nation-state and 5) the arrangement of narrative in a linear sequence of static states, what is left out is the lived, experiential past of embodied persons of past times and places. The contribution this dissertation thus offers is to show how the rethinking of the truth of the past – in embodied terms – opens up potential new avenues for conceiving of historical truth and for teaching it in school-history.
  • Saikku, Peppi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Active inclusion – employment and social inclusion – of hard-to-employ people presents a wicked problem for society and social policy. Hard-to-employ people include the long-term unemployed and people who have social or health problems that affect their employment possibilities. The welfare state can enhance their well-being and capabilities by better coordination between different policies, administrations and services. In the doctoral dissertation, the research problem is how public administration coordinates active inclusion of hard-to-employ people between activation and disability policies, administrations and services in Finland. This multifaceted coordination is studied as vertical (multi-level) and horizontal (multi-sectoral, multi-actor and multi-professional) governance. The structural ideal types of governance (hierarchical, market-based, network-like and self-governance) are also studied to examine accountability relations. The research problem is answered by four empirical articles. The research combines quantitative and qualitative research methods and data. The research data consists of a survey, political documents, evaluation research reports and interviews. The quantitative research methods are frequency distribution and logistic regression analysis. The qualitative research methods are content analysis and qualitative meta-analysis. According to the results, unemployed people, and especially the long-term unemployed, experience less subjective well-being than employed people. Thus, multifaceted coordination must coordinate policies, administrations and services that cover different areas from health to subsistence. Multifaceted coordination is predominantly horizontal: multi-sectoral and multi-professional. Multi-sectoral programs and cooperation structures are used, which promotes multi-professional coordination. Multi-level coordination is less obvious, as coordination occurs mainly at the local level. From the viewpoint of public administration, multi-actor coordination stresses clients’ individual needs as well as their active participation. Hierarchical and network-like governance structures are most common. Both structures can promote coordination between different policies, administrations and services as well as hinder it. The results of the research reflect the progression of coordination between activation policy and disability policy for hard-to-employ people in Finland. Network-like structures have promoted multi-sectoral and multi-professional coordination. Consequently, the accountability relations are unclear, and no one has responsibility for the group. Activation policy has integrated social and employment policies, but not disability policy. Forthcoming changes in public administration stress multi-level and multi-actor coordination, as well as market-based governance and self-governance.
  • Polynczuk-Alenius, Kinga (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    At its broadest, this dissertation asks how ethical trade is communicated in Poland and Finland. Ethical trade encases a wide set of initiatives concerned with terms of exchange and conditions of production, but also with other issues surrounding global trade, such as tax justice and environmental sustainability. To clip these diverse projects together, ethical trade is theorised here as a communication problem in that its success hinges on constructing among consumers a moral disposition that recognises distant producers and their predicament as being worthy of attention, emotion and action. This disposition is construed through mediation, that is, an ethically charged process of communication in which social reality is constructed, negotiated and circulated. This study distinguishes between two modes of mediation. The first mode, mediated familiarity, establishes a representation-anchored cognitive connection between consumers and producers on the basis of factual knowledge and a degree of affinity. The second mode, moral education, is geared towards constructing consumers who independently consider the impact of their everyday consumption choices on faraway producers and workers. Theorised in this way, moral education is then operationalised through three analytical concepts: (1) solidarity, understood as a morality of cooperation; (2) care, approached as a dialectic between care for oneself and close ones, and care for Southern producers as distant strangers; and (3) responsibility, conceptualised as a collective moral and political obligation to alter the unjust structures of global trade. Methodologically, this study employed the approach to discourse analysis inspired by the work of Foucault. Within this framework, ethical trade communication was a discourse generated by specific ethical trade organisations through retrieving elements from a global discursive repertoire of ethical trade and adjusting them to the circumstances of local consumers. As such, ethical trade communication aimed to furnish for its recipients a desired subject position. Empirically, the research zoomed in on two cases: (1) Pizca del Mundo, the first fair trade brand in Poland, and (2) Eetti (Pro Ethical Trade Finland), the main non-governmental organisation dealing with ethical trade in Finland. The two organisations were investigated in separate case studies with divergent research designs. The case study of Pizca del Mundo relied primarily on the analysis of Facebook content, whereas the case study of Eetti was based on a yearlong ethnographic-style fieldwork. The empirical analysis revealed that Pizca del Mundo’s communication focused on establishing mediated familiarity between consumers and producers. At the same time, the moral dispositions of solidarity and care characterised the relationship between producers and the firm themselves, relegating the public to their role as rational consumers. Meanwhile, Eetti were engaged in moral education geared towards activating individuals as responsible citizen-consumers, that is, independent agents entitled to demand change, capable of moral reflection and decision-making, and ready to participate in collective political action. Keeping in mind the interplay between global discourses and local conditions, this dissertation anchors the communication approaches of Pizca del Mundo and Eetti in the material conditions of consumers and the local discourses that give meaning to these conditions. The discussion on local histories of consumption, situated economies and discursive geographies in Poland and Finland reveals a disjuncture between the unproblematised and universalistic moral discourses that permeate the scholarly literature on ethical trade, and the situated moralities that the localised consumers draw on in making moral decisions, such as consumption choices. Thus, this study argues for the importance of studying communication and mediation in context.
  • Björkenheim, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    In aiming to help service users cope with a major life change imposed by, for example, a serious chronic illness or a severe impairment, social workers in health and mental health often, although not always explicitly, take a biographical perspective. Biography, shaped over time through the interplay between human agency and social structure, seems a relevant concept for social work, which focuses on the relationship between the individual and society. The aim of my research was to make the biographical perspective in health social work more explicit and to suggest ways in which practitioners can take into account their clients’ past without sliding into the field of psychotherapy. The questions set for the summary article ask what applying the biographical perspective in health social work could imply, and whether this perspective is compatible with social work practice theory. The study positions itself within the field of research on theoretical frameworks and knowledge production for health social work practice. Six papers, published during the years 2007–2016, form the base for this thesis. The first sub-study was based on a survey exploring issues of knowledge and competence in health social work, and laid out the context for the biographical perspective in social work practice as presented in the other five sub-studies. Three of the sub-studies were conceptual and published within an educational curriculum in the EU research project INVITE. The last two sub-studies were empirical and use qualitative content analysis; one analyses a biographical research interview from a social work perspective, and the other presents an analysis of 16 social workers’ views on biographical approaches as expressed in their final essays of a course on the biographical perspective in social work practice. Drawing on the sub-studies and on additional literature, the summary article takes the conceptual analysis further by outlining biographically informed health social work practice using ideas, concepts and methods developed in biographical research. My research maintains that the biographical perspective in health social work practice can be expressed by the notion of supporting clients’ biographical agency. This idea provides a general perspective for viewing clients as not totally determined by their past but as biographical actors in their social world, with a future they can influence. It is argued that the general concept of supporting biographical agency can be used with most clients. In cases when biographical interviewing is indicated, it implies listening to clients’ life stories, encouraging their biographical work, and helping them reconstruct their biographical identity in the midst of a major life change. In this type of work, building trustful relationships is essential. I found the biographical perspective in social work practice to be compatible with several social work practice theories. The ethical issues in biographical approaches concern the interpretation of clients’ life stories and the risk of clients becoming stuck in their past. The conclusion of my research was that the biographical perspective, defined in terms of supporting clients’ biographical agency, can provide a useful framework for health social workers in a multidisciplinary environment. Further research is needed to examine the benefits and possible risks of biographical approaches and to explore, in particular, clients’ own experiences of such approaches.
  • Tervola, Jussi (Kela, 2018)
    Contemporary welfare states actively promote their key values and goals, such as gender equality and high employment. In family policy, these goals are pursued with allocated parental leave for both parents and subsidized day care services, for instance. However, it is known from previous research that parental leave is divided less equally between parents in immigrant families than in other families, and children with immigrant background participate less in centre-based day care despite the evidence that they would benefit from it the most. This study sets out to scrutinize immigrant families’ care choices and their determinants in Finland and Sweden. The study is based on comprehensive administrative register data, and the choices are observed from the take-up of different benefits. Economic and demographic factors are considered through regression analysis. Immigrant fathers in both Finland and Sweden show clearly lower take-up rates of paternity and parental leave than native-born fathers. Generally, though, the takeup rates of immigrant fathers are much higher in Sweden than in Finland, and the gap between the countries is largely traced back to differences in policy systems. However, the study also provides evidence that social norms play a role in fathers’ parental leave use, even between Finnish-born and Swedish-born fathers. Moreover, immigrant families’ choices between child home care and day care follow the pattern previously found in some European and US studies. In Finland, with strong policy support for both home and day care, immigrant families take care of their children at home longer than native-borns. However, after the child turns three, immigrants demonstrate an increasing preference for day care, even more so than native families. This may reflect immigrant-specific preferences for children’s integration and language acquisition. All in all, it seems that care choices in immigrant families have many distinct features compared to the majority families. Nevertheless, this study provides evidence that care choices can be steered and family policy goals approached through efficient and consistent policies also among immigrant populations.
  • Pedak, Maarit (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This research examines the role and tasks of the municipality that was hit by the crisis in connection to the school shootings in Jokela on 7.11.2007 and Kauhajoki on 23.9.2008. The research focuses specifically on internal crisis communication as a facilitator of multi-agency work.In the research, school shootings are seen as community crises, the consequences of which are strongly reflected on the local community. The leadership responsibility of community crises falls upon the local security authorities.The research material consists mainly of interviews with members of the crisis organization of the cities of Tuusula and Kauhajoki. The theoretical framework is composed of the theories of organizational communication and crisis study, particularly the notion of the various functions of communication in an organization, the complexity of a crisis and crisis resilience. As a result of the study, four theoretical concepts were obtained: the recurring complexity of crisis, the dominance of circumstances, the elements of strengthening of the crisis organization and the network of crisis organizations. Complexity recurred during school shootings, since in addition to the crisis, the ambiguity of management responsibility and division of labour produced surprises and demanded the organisation to adapt. Officials of community crisis were also members of the tragedy struck community, hence work and private loss were mixed. It was also discovered that pressure from the media influenced the schedule of the crisis organization work strongly.The lack of control related to complexity was largely due to the disappearance of predictability. The concatenation of communication issues caused accumulation of problems. In the absence of authoritative communication, the crisis organization was forced to begin operating based on unofficial information that was difficult to confirm. During burdensome tasks the crisis organization was supported by a strong leadership input combining symbolic and instrumental leadership as well as care of the members of the crisis organization. Working in pair provided the opportunity for professional peer support during crisis work. In the circumstances of surprise and disorder, the predictability of matters was enhanced by the application of known solutions in the new context. The evacuation center as well as support centers for the immediate and indirect victims of the crisis structured the entity of psychosocial support and services for traumatic situations. Additionally, places and occasions were indicated to support community grief and workspaces for media representatives. The network of crisis organizations was united by a governing body coordinating the support measures.
  • Kuukkanen, Mari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This study examines the means and ends of the Finnish anarchist movement in the early 2010s. The data consists of ethnographic field notes on various anarchist events, 12 semi-structured interviews and published material from anarchist media outlets. The data is analyzed through three conceptual lenses. First, what kinds of cultural repertoires were available and preferable for the anarchists will be studied. Second, the role of the movement’s collective identity in the coordination of anarchist action is also scrutinized. Third, the study explores what kinds of strategic dilemmas emerged for anarchists and how they were solved. Thus, on one hand, the study aims to analyze movement culture by examining both ‘external’ (repertoires) and ‘internal’ (collective identity) culture and their interplay. On the other hand, cultural analysis is combined with a focus on strategy. The premise is that cultural factors always affect activists’ strategic reasoning. The analysis shows that during the research period, great emphasis was placed on forging a distinctive collective identity for anarchists. Through boundary drawing, central movement actors strived to disassociate anarchism from both leftism in general and the moderate, reform-oriented and expert-driven civic activism, which dominates Finnish civil society. The identity-building effort was mirrored in the preference for characteristically anarchist political practices: prefiguring alternatives to the current social order and rebelling, even with destructive means, against it. However, the embeddedness of the Finnish anarchist movement in the social movement field and the activist networks means that anarchists often act politically in a similar manner to other, less rebellious activists. The fear of being obscured in the midst of ‘regular’ activism fueled the aforementioned boundary drawing. This positioning in relation to other activists contributes to the movement’s relative moderateness as well: in Finland presenting itself as the radical alternative can be achieved by fairly modest means. In the given period, the main strategic dilemmas faced by the movement were so-called ‘resonance or radicalism’ and extension dilemmas. As for the first, although the preference was on radicalism, anarchists occasionally used their strategic capacity for intentionally choosing more culturally resonant means. However, this balancing act was strenuous, and it was reflected in the extension dilemma as well. The anarchists studied found it difficult to answer who constituted the movement’s constituency and for whom mobilization efforts were addressed. Although, in theory, anarchists pursue the self-rule of the ‘people’, in practice, the bond the anarchists in this study prefigured was predominantly that of the ‘chosen few’ whose solidarity was based on a common struggle and shared countercultural values and aesthetics.
  • Olakivi, Antero (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This dissertation employs a perspective of relational sociology on the occupational agency of employees in public sector elder care in Finland. The study is motivated by two socio-political developments: first, the ambition of public sector care work organizations to enhance their efficiency by implementing private sector management ideals and, second, these organizations’ increasing tendency to recruit migrant workers as a means to tackle shortages in workforce, partly caused by precarious conditions in elder care work. Both developments have raised socio-political controversies. According to critics, they decrease the quality of care, reduce care workers’ occupational agency, and create hierarchies between migrant and Finnish-born workers. According to proponents, the developments improve the quality of care, the livelihood of migrant workers and, finally, care workers’ occupational agency, autonomy, activity, and involvement in their work. These optimistic visions, I argue, draw on the liberal and enterprising ideals of providing welfare services through supporting all actors’ autonomy and proactive agency. Previous research has often aimed to solve the above controversies by empirically supporting one line of interpretation over others. In this study, I examine how the above controversies themselves are enacted in social care work. In particular, I examine how care work managers’ and migrant care workers’ interpretations of their own and each other’s occupational agency support and contest, first, each other and, second, the above political visions. My data consist of interviews conducted in 2011–2013. I analyze the interviews from a discursive and dramaturgical perspective and present the results in four articles and a dissertation summary. My results demonstrate how the liberal ideals of enterprising care work are both familiar and pragmatic to social care employees. By drawing on these ideals, care work managers can conceive themselves as modern coaches who can improve the quality of care by activating care workers’ occupational agency—and by recruiting agential migrants. These interpretations also shape the agency of care work managers: beyond experts in care, they need to become experts in activation and cultural diversity. Care workers, in turn, can draw on the enterprising ideals to perform active, responsible, and autonomous agency. These performances can be necessary for many migrants who, evidently, have an additional burden of demonstrating their worth in front of native audiences. The enterprising ideals also create conflicts in networks of care. To present themselves as modern coaches, managers need care workers who are routinized but willing to be activated. Care workers can question this image of themselves in different ways. First, care workers can present themselves as agents who are already active and, thus, do not need their superiors’ coaching. Second, they can frame problems in their environment as structural problems that cannot be solved by activation. Third, they can present themselves as actors who are forced to be enterprising; who are active and autonomous, but because they have no choice. In sum, my study demonstrates the moral and pragmatic appeal of the enterprising and liberal ideals—in the context of dwindling resources—but also a line of practices that contest their credibility in care work.