Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta


Recent Submissions

  • Lindblad, Annika (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    This dissertation examines how macroeconomic variables influence financial market volatility and correlations using mixed frequency time series methods. The modelling framework allows combining high-frequency and low-frequency data within the same model and thus allows directly relating the economic data to the low-frequency component of volatility or correlations. The dissertation sheds light on which economic variables influence the low-frequency component of volatilities and correlations, as well as examines various methods to improve long horizon forecasts for stock market volatility by utilising the information in macroeconomic variables. The first essay considers the relative and combined importance of macroeconomic fundamentals and survey-based sentiment data for modelling US equity market volatility in a GARCH-MIDAS framework. It uses a data set which accurately takes into account real-time data revisions to lags of the macroeconomic data and extends the analysis to include several new variables. Forward-looking macroeconomic data is important for forecasting volatility, even after the information in sentiment indicators is controlled for. On the other hand, for example, consumer confidence indicators contain information complementary to forward-looking macroeconomic variables. Overall, models combining macroeconomic and sentiment data tend to improve in-sample fit and in some cases also out-of-sample forecast accuracy compared to models only driven by one type of data. The improvements in forecasting performance are, however, not statistically significant, and therefore the results do not strongly advocate using several explanatory variables in the MIDAS polynomial. In the second essay I assess the time-variation in predictive ability arising from the inclusion of macroeconomic and financial data in a GARCH-MIDAS model for US stock market volatility. I compare forecasts from a GARCH-MIDAS model to forecasts from a nested GARCH model, and therefore the differences in forecasting performance directly reflect the impact of economic data. While forecasting performance between the two models is similar when considered over the full out-of-sample period, there is clear time-variation in relative forecasting performance over sub-samples. I suggest the variation could arise from the phase of the business cycle or the volatility environment and find particularly strong evidence in favour of economic variables being important for volatility forecasting during low-volatility periods. Forecast combination methods and a decision rule based on conditional predictive ability produce consistently better forecasts than the GARCH model, although statistical significance of the improvements depend on the loss function considered. The third essay considers the time-variation in the co-movement of equity returns and exchange rate returns in several markets using the DCC-MIDAS model. Determining the economic drivers of the low-frequency correlation aids in differentiating between the various theoretical explanations for the correlation, which predict both a positive and a negative relationship. The essay concentrates on the portfolio rebalancing channel and on two hypotheses suggested in the earlier literature, namely flight-to-quality and quantitative easing (QE) related search-for-yield, in addition to examining the sensitivity of the correlation to other economic variables related to portfolio rebalancing motives, such as the business cycle. Although there are common elements driving the return correlation in the different markets, for instance, interest rate differentials and quantitative easing measures, their impact on the correlation varies, suggesting the underlying theoretical explanation differs across markets. While the onset of US QE1 had a clear impact on the correlations, overall the results suggest that being in a QE regime is more important than announcement effects for the long-term correlation.
  • Nyholm, Juho (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The theory for conventional Gaussian, causal and invertible autoregressive moving average (ARMA) models has developed into a what can be considered as a basis of modern time series analysis. The concept of noninvertibility is plausible only under non-Gaussian processes because non-Gaussianity is a necessary condition for the statistical identification of the noninvertible ARMA model. Therefore, if the Gaussianity assumption is relaxed, we can study a richer class of models which are, unlike their invertible counterparts, capable of capturing nonlinear patterns in the data. The aim of this thesis is to consider some of the novel results in ARMA modeling of stationary time series data, and to expand these results to a particular case of noninvertibility and non-Gaussianity of the model. It also aims at providing insights on applicability of noninvertible ARMA models in financial time series analysis. The first essay proposes two residual-based diagnostic tests for noninvertible ARMA models. The tests are analogous to the portmanteau tests developed by Box and Pierce (1970) and McLeod and Li (1983) in the conventional invertible case. We derive the asymptotic chi-squared distribution for the tests under the null of correctly specified model, and study the size and power properties in a Monte Carlo simulation study. An empirical application employing financial time series data points out the usefulness of noninvertible ARMA model in analyzing stock returns and the use of the proposed test statistics. The second essay studies properties of the maximum likelihood estimator of a noninvertible ARMA model with errors that follow an alpha-stable distribution and have infinite variance. To ensure the identification of the noninvertible ARMA model considered, we restrict the analysis to non-Gaussian distributions. Estimators of the autoregressive and moving average parameters are shown to be square root of n consistent and to converge to a non-standard limiting distribution that is obtained as a maximizer of a certain random function. Estimators of the parameters in the alpha-stable distribution have the conventional square root of n rate of convergence. Finite sample properties of the estimators are studied in a simulation experiment, and an application to financial trading volume data illustrates the applicability of the model. The third and last essay looks for nonlinear predictability in stock returns. For many theoretical asset pricing models, predictability follows as an implication of risk aversion of agents. A closed form solutions for the next periods asset return depends on how the agents form their expectations about the future state of the world. By no means should this predictability be linear. First, we provide evidence of predictability of returns of U.S. stock portfolios and individual financial sector stocks using noninvertible ARMA(1,1) model and two-stage predictability testing procedure. Second, we provide a straightforward extensions to this procedure and allow for a larger model than the non-invertible ARMA(1,1).
  • Saikkonen, Sampsa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    This article-based dissertation investigates the constructedness and expansion of expertise in the contemporary public sphere. The dissertation is motivated by the phenomenon of salient public perplexity and competing claims to expertise in the contemporary public sphere around science-related public issues where expertise has relevance to the practice and actions of people. As this phenomenon has been notably salient regarding healthy eating as a public issue, empirically the dissertation especially deals with the constructedness of public expertise around this issue. The dissertation especially makes explicit the ways in which new types of social actors claiming expertise, as well as established, credentialed experts, construct their authority in the contemporary public sphere in the context of issues where expertise touches upon everyday life. The results of the dissertation also illuminate visible scientists and scientifically trained practitioners’ different role identities as public experts, and the relational nature and constructedness of these role identities. Furthermore, the dissertation provides new perspective on the way in which journalism and public engagement with science activities, as cultural practices that centrally mediate expertise in the contemporary public sphere, come to construct public expertise. The theoretical framework of the dissertation is grounded in the relational perspective on expertise as developed within a constellation of social studies of science literature. From this perspective, expertise and its recognition are approached as constituted by, and constructed in, social relations. This dissertation also further contributes to this theoretical perspective by developing some novel concepts and typologies that can be utilised in the empirical study of public expertise. The four original, empirical articles analyse and illuminate the constructedness and expansion of expertise in the contemporary public sphere by focusing on the different, central arenas and social actors involved in claiming and mediating expertise in public. The materials collected and analysed in the four articles consist of observational materials and a questionnaire collected from a public engagement with science event, blog posts by popular nutrition counselling bloggers and academic experts, and in-depth interviews with journalists and visible experts on healthy eating. The concluding chapter of the dissertation highlights how expertise in the contemporary public sphere is centrally tied to the establishment and recognition of expert authority, and not just to displaying and assessing technical expertise. It is argued that central to how expertise in the contemporary public sphere is relationally constructed is how knowledge drawn upon and advice provided are made tangible and considered to bear relevance in relation to the everyday experience and considerations of the intended public. The ways in which the related issues of individualisation and consumerism, as well as rationality and interests, relate to the constructedness of expertise in the contemporary public sphere are also highlighted. However, it is emphasised in the concluding discussion, based on the empirical findings, that there is not just one way, but a variety of ways, in which social actors actively establish expert authority by navigating these socio-cultural dynamics and positioning themselves as public experts.
  • Hildén, Jockum (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    This study explores how one of the most talked about regulations in the internet policy domain was drafted. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been widely regarded as one of the most lobbied pieces of legislation in the history of the European Union (EU). This raises two questions: What policy alternatives were put forth by the EU institutions in the course of the GDPR’s legislative process, and how did they correspond to the ideas, issues and frames promoted by interest representatives? What does the influence of organized interests and stakeholders in GDPR decision-making reveal about the democratic legitimacy of the process? Drawing on new institutionalism, this research traces the evolution of the GDPR, comparing the different EU institutions’ iterations of the new law with the positions of interest representatives, and simultaneously situating the GDPR in the history of data protection policy. The results reveal that business groups dominated the public consultations prior to the Commission’s draft proposal, but the Commission’s approach was more closely aligned with the positions of civil society. Members of the European Parliament were, on the contrary, highly susceptible to the influence of business interests, until public salience of information privacy increased owing to Edward Snowden’s revelations of governmental mass surveillance by the National Security Agency. These revelations made it possible for policy entrepreneurs to push for stronger rules on data protection. However, public salience would not have a significant impact on the Council, which was mostly aligned with the interests of businesses and concerned with maintaining public interest exceptions. The final GDPR was more reminiscent of the Council’s position than the Parliament’s first reading, demonstrating that in many instances, business interests prevailed. This result should not be understood as mere resistance to policy change, but rather that a big data paradigm, which encourages the collection, processing and exchange of personal data in the name of progress, security and innovation, structured and constrained the available policy options. Therefore, the answer to the second question is that the institutionalized inclusion of stakeholders in the early stages of the process did not negatively impact its legitimacy, but the opaqueness and overall tendency to support business interests in the Council critically challenge the democratic legitimacy of the GDPR’s legislative process.
  • Bärlund, Katariina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Katariina Bärlund: Homicides, attempted homicides and violence by mothers of under one-year-olds’ as portrayed in forensic psychiatric examinations. A narrative study. Filicides (child killing by parents) have decreased remarkably in Finland during the past decades. Despite the decrease in numbers, Finnish children still end up as victims of filicides and violent abuse by parents. The present research investigated forensic psychiatric examinations of mothers who targeted their children with filicide, attempted filicide or violence during the child’s first year of life. The research approached this phenomenon by asking what kind of narratives the events in the examinations gave rise to. The theoretical foundations of the research focused on motherhood, evil, violence, and homicides. Motherhood was seen as part of a cultural understanding of motherhood and evil was considered as a human dimension. The mission of the research was to investigate filicides, attempted filicides and violent acts of mothers towards their children from the point of view of social science, to form a picture of the events that includes the circumstances, and to illuminate the events narratively. The research approached the uncovered areas of social work research: filicide by mothers and the thematic of evil. The research material included 13 forensic psychiatric examinations and the sample narratives written on the basis of these cases. Reading these narratives, it must be noted that they do not concern individual cases but are a mixture of different cases within the material and include only rough descriptions as interpreted by the researcher. The research was based on documents and thus does not reach the authentic viewpoint of mothers or their inner social circle. The research produced two sample narratives, the story of a mother who killed her newborn baby (neonaticide) and the story of a mother who killed her under one year old baby (infanticide). Comparing these narratives produced a clear result as the narratives differed from each other. The first narrative was named as “Concealed Story “ and the second as “Fractured Story”. The present research reinforced the view of filicide and violence towards children as complex event where the parents’ differing degrees of inability in responding to life’s challenges can be seen. The research produced a need to research the subject further, especially from the viewpoints of loneliness and multiprofessional co-operation. Keywords: motherhood, homicides, violence, evil, evilness, narrative research
  • Diatlova, Anastasia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    This dissertation examines the life and work experience of Russian-speaking women engaged in commercial sex in Finland. It explores the ways in which commercial sex is conceptualised within the Finnish national project and the ways this affects the everyday lives of migrant women who engage in commercial sex. The contemporary relationship between commercial sex, understood as a form of intimate labour (Boris & Parreñas, 2010), and the Finnish nation is predicated on the abrupt appearance of particular visible bodies associated with mercantile sexuality. Though the visibility of sexual commerce in public spaces in Finland is limited, it is present in political discussions, the media, and the public imagination that connect particular bodies with sexual commerce, regardless of whether any sexual acts take place. I argue that migrant women who engage in commercial sex are perceived to be space invaders (Puwar, 2004), as their presence exposes the limits of Finnish national values, in particular, gender equality and social equality. Analysing commercial sex through the lens of everyday as problematic (Smith, 1987), I argue that the national anxieties over the intersection of sexuality, gender, labour, and migration shape the day-to-day lives of Russian-speaking women engaged in commercial sex in Finland. The discursive externalisation of commercial sex creates a moral system in which surveillance and control is primarily directed at migrant women (or those perceived to be migrant), forcing them to structure their everyday lives in such a way as to be invisible to state agents and society at large, but visible to their potential clients. The thesis consists of peer-reviewed articles and the summary chapter. The data collected for this multi-sited ethnographic research includes observations conducted in clubs, privates, and an NGO that provides services for sex workers in Southern Finland; semi-structured interviews with key actors in the field of commercial sex, such as policymakers, police, NGO representatives, healthcare providers, experts on issues of trafficking, and migration officials (N=18); and semi-structured interviews with Russian-speaking women engaged in commercial sex in Finland (N=41). Article I explores the relationship between commercial sex and the nation, focusing on the ways the nation is imagined vis-a-vis commercial sex, particularly when migrants engage in it. Article II examines the various ways in which Russian-speaking women engaged in commercial sex in Finland experience bordering and the consequences it has for their daily lives. In Article III, conceptualisation of home and belonging is discussed in the context of transnational commercial sex. Article IV focuses on various skills necessary in commercial sex and posits that a particular worker emerges from the discourses of the interviewees, characterised by an aptitude for commercial sex. The study shows how commercial sex is conceptualised within the Finnish national project, the effect it has on the lives of migrant women who engage in commercial sex, and the various strategies they use to cope with it in their everyday lives.
  • Muurinen, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    This study investigates the application of an experimental approach to social work knowledge production related to developing and researching practices. The empirical sub-studies concern developing social services for adults and using an experiment-driven design approach. In the concluding chapter, the analysis of the experimental approach moves from the level of developing practices to the philosophy of science. The experimental approach is founded in pragmatism in which knowledge production is based on the consideration of practical consequences and on fallibilistic instrumentalism. This study proposes pragmatism as a potential foundation for social work knowledge production. The research questions addressed are 1) what are the possibilities, obstacles and preconditions for an experiment-driven design approach in social work and 2) how does reasoning relate to a reflected experiment and how can it enhance knowledge production? To address the first research question, a case study approach is applied to the synthesis analysis of three separate, qualitative sub-studies. To address the second question, reasoning in an experimenting process is analysed conceptually by drawing on the author’s experiences of the research and pragmatist philosophy. This study argues that experiments can be conducted in hectic the day-to-day practice of social work. The experiments support multifaceted knowledge production and enable the participation of human and non-human actors in the process. The experiments allow service users to influence practice. In co-designing the services, the recognition of service users and their expertise supports knowledge production. However, service users’ participation is dependent on the professionals. In addition, small experiments do not necessarily reveal all of the practical consequences. A high turnover rate of practitioners can challenge the continuity of knowledge production, and the organizational supportive structures for experimenting can be insufficient. Experimenting requires a pragmatist attitude, dialogical discussions, mutual recognition, agreement regarding leadership, consideration of participants’ responsibilities and taking into account non-human agency. Applying abductive, deductive and inductive reasoning is a prerequisite for the experimental approach. Thorough reasoning turns an experiment into a reflective experiment and creates the conditions for evaluating situational consequences and doing practice-based research. Taking advantage of different strategies that support reasoning enables considering the perspectives of the different parties and creates better prospects for learning. An analysis of the reasoning and different strategies used contributes to the discussion on the culture of experimentation. Key words: Social work, pragmatism, abduction, experiments, developing, knowledge production
  • Lahtinen, Hannu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Those with advantaged socioeconomic positions – that is, individuals with high educational qualifications, professional or managerial occupations and a high level of income – are the most likely to vote in elections. Finland provides researchers with the rare privilege of studying individual-level determinants of voter turnout in an exceptionally reliable manner by utilizing register-based data. This dissertation includes four studies on socioeconomic differences in voter turnout, primarily from the 1999, 2012 and 2015 elections, conducted by exploiting this great resource. Despite socioeconomic differences in voter turnout being a classical topic in electoral studies, recent decades have seen frequent claims of the political decline, or even death, of social class. This dissertation joins the studies demonstrating that this is not the case regarding electoral participation. On the contrary, a polarization of socioeconomic differences in turnout has occurred during the last few decades. Moreover, linking survey data to registers revealed that, due to social desirability bias and the self-selection of survey respondents, true socioeconomic differences are even larger than those suggested by survey estimates. These results imply that socioeconomic inequality in electoral participation is a more pressing social problem than conventionally acknowledged, even among experts on the subject. The empirical analyses also assess some of the mechanisms contributing to the socioeconomic gap in turnout. Income explained a substantial part of the occupational social-class differences in electoral participation whereas the health differences contributed only weakly to this gap. However, among those with most serious health problems, no social class gradient in turnout was observed. The role of intergenerational transmission was of particular importance in explaining electoral participation. Among the observed parental factors, parental education social class and income were together roughly as important as parental voting in a single election in explaining this intergenerational association. Mother’s and father’s contributions were roughly equal, mother’s factors perhaps slightly more pronounced. Furthermore, in addition to studying the factors that create differences, it is also important to identify the factors that suppress them. Social mobility during an individual’s life-course was identified as one mechanism that constrains turnout inequality between socioeconomic groups. The dissertation concludes by discussing the implications of the results at a more theoretical level through four themes. The first theme is the importance of accurate descriptive research, which is necessary and also often sufficient to answer many important questions regarding the topic. The second is the significance socioeconomic position as a conceptual tool. It is a multi-dimensional construct, but at the same time constitutes a coherent unit that is a central component in the social structure of modern societies. The third is the continued relevance of occupational social class, which should be maintained (or re-adopted) in basic analytical repertoire also when explaining electoral participation. The fourth theme is that voting in elections is simultaneously both a poignantly individualistic and social act. These properties, in addition to its concreteness, measurability, and practical social relevance, make electoral participation a particularly thrilling sociological topic.
  • Hokkanen, Olli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    English Olli Hokkanen Finnish Urban Policy – its makers and interpreters As confusing as it sounds, there is no one answer to the question of what Finnish urban policy is. This has led to a controversy about the content and means of urban policy, as well as to belittling of the significance of urban policy, even to its denial. This study aims to answer the question of what Finnish urban policy is. This question is answered by examining how Finnish urban policy has been understood and by investigating who has supported and opposed it. The study seeks out a reason for why the government of Prime Minister Lipponen appointed the Urban Policy Committee. Urban policy started since 1995 is called the ‘new Finnish urban policy’. An overview of the urban policy of the kings of Sweden-Finland and the history of Finnish regional policy clarifies how the new Finnish urban policy differs from the urban policy pursued by kings and from Finnish regional policy. The study examines development phases, goals, instruments and external examples of the new Finnish urban policy. Furthermore, urban policy makers, opponents and supporters are identified, not to mention different definitions of urban policy. The ‘new Finnish urban policy’ was mainly cooperation between cities and the state, and it can therefore be called a ‘state urban policy’. Cooperation between the state and cities was burdened by several conflicts and tensions, which made it difficult to define and achieve urban policy goals. Gradually, belief in the possibilities of urban policy faded away, and the only legacy of the new state urban policy was the ‘agreement-based urban policy’ and ‘metropolitan policy’. The main data of the study consists of 69 expert interviews. In addition to interviews with state and municipal officials and researchers, government and other programmes, agreements, strategies, and various memos and reports are also part of the data. The theoretical and methodological starting points of the study are the theories of urban studies of the internationalizing city, scale levels and European cities. The study shows how the new Finnish urban policy responded to the challenge of globalization, balanced between the local, regional and state levels, and needed support from the charismatic leaders of the European urban tradition. In addition to urban studies, the study utilizes the idea of Bourdieu’s field, which allows opponents and supporters of urban policy to be placed in the field of Finnish urban policy.
  • Jyrkiäinen, Senni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Through a focus on the usage of smartphones and other digital communication tools amongst young people in Alexandria, this research examines the technologically mediated navigation of desires for love and marriage in post-2011 Egypt. Based on long-term ethnography, the thesis analyses how university students and graduates managed their intimate relationships and marital futures both online and within city gathering places in Alexandria, Egypt’s second biggest city. Focusing on relations between young, relatively well-off, socially progressive yet not subversive Alexandrians and new technologies, it explores their aspirations for, and negotiations with, modernity, particularly in relation to emotional expectations and gender roles in intimate relationships, but also in relation to class-specific ideas of ‘modern’ urban life. The thesis extends existing anthropological accounts of Egypt that explore intimacy, desiring selves and ‘modern’ aspirations among this particular demographic of urban youth. Whereas other studies might be looking for alternative or radical departures from dominant norms, this thesis concentrates squarely on those caught between wanting to comply with what is expected from them while simultaneously finding it constraining. In particular, the thesis describes how a shift from shared computers at home to smartphones, which provide more private and mobile communication for these young people, has had two significant effects. While the change has enabled secret romances and autonomous searches for a spouse, at the same time, it has also resulted in new forms of surveillance and control. The analysis of youthful online interaction revealed skilful alternation between compliant, playful and sarcastic tones. As such, it shows how users performed their compliance with prevailing gender norms in some social contexts, while playfully challenging them in others. With regard to the shaping of the self, digital communication platforms were a versatile instrument. On the one hand, these socially progressive yet compliant young Alexandrians used Facebook for reinforcing the ties of kinship and for performing as connected, family-oriented people. On the other, they used private digital communication channels and young people’s social spaces in the city in ways that helped them perform more individualistic interests and give a sense of individual agency; this included showing at least temporary indifference towards dominant gender and age expectations, and escaping what they imagined to be the public moral gaze. By using various communication tools, they engaged in flirtation and romance that sometimes extended beyond what they understood to be the limits set by norms of religion and ethnicity, as well as the barriers created by physical distance. The study is based on ethnographic research in Alexandria and in virtual environments. I conducted nearly ten months of ethnographic fieldwork among young people, mostly in the coastal city of Alexandria between the years of 2011 and 2014. The research was at times cut short because of the unstable political situation in Egypt at the time, particularly in 2013. In addition to ethnographic work, which involved participating in people’s everyday lives, I interviewed young Alexandrians and their mothers as well as some experts on youth issues. I also conducted online ethnography throughout the research project from 2011 to 2018, focusing mainly on Facebook and some blogs. Overall, the ethnography provided me with insights into the ways ICTs can be used as agency-providing navigation tools and turned into intimate technologies in the hands of young people. Perhaps most importantly, my focus on intimacy, and the techniques these young Alexandrians developed to explore that aspect of their lives online, revealed a complex blurring of boundaries between public and private. This took place within a social context in which these young people were aware that they were supposed to strongly maintain such boundaries, yet in a digital environment in which the most intimate moments were sometimes shared with large audiences at the push of a button. The thesis explores how these young people worked towards navigating this relatively new, and at times quite socially dangerous, social space of intimate practices, and how they acted to maintain a separation between that intimate space and their offline social world, or at least the parts of it that they imagined must be kept separate.
  • Gripenberg, Lidia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    This is an account of the interaction of Finnish Roma with East European Roma in Finland. I will argue that this interaction is strongly influenced by these peoples’ engagement with Pentecostalism and Charismatic Christianity and nationality. Within the frame of this study, Finnish Roma refers to Finnish Kale, a distinctive group somewhat similar to the sinti, a branch of the European Roma population who live mostly in German-speaking countries. Finnish Kale have settled in Finland for more than 500 years: they are Finnish citizens and speak Finnish in addition to a local dialect of Romani. The East European Roma in Finland include representatives of different Roma groups, with different self-appellations, who have recently migrated to Finland from former socialist states of Europe, mostly Bulgaria and Romania, or who repeatedly visit Finland from those former socialist states. Pentecostal Finnish Kale have been in contact with East European Roma since the historic fall of the “Iron Curtain” in 1989 and the opening of the borders of the former Socialist European bloc countries to those European countries considered to be in the ‘Western’ bloc. The nature of that relationship changed at the beginning of 2007, when Bulgaria and Romania entered the EU and their citizens were able to visit and look for employment in Finland. This is the first extensive anthropological study on the interaction of different Roma groups in Finland and in general. The subject is interesting because it provides an opportunity to examine the interplay of different forms of identity – ethnic, religious and national. The research is based on an ethnographic description of encounters between Finnish and Eastern European Roma in Finland that took place over a period of 14 months of intensive fieldwork (2014-2015), supported by the insights and understanding gained through more than 20 years of personal friendship with Finnish and Bulgarian Roma, as well as one and a half years of social work amongst Finnish Kale. The theoretical frame is provided by research literature on Roma in the fields of anthropology and ethnology as well as anthropological studies on ethnicity, ethnic identity, Pentecostalism and Charismatic Christianity as well as nationality. My argument is that the social dynamics between nationality, ethnicity and religious identification determines the particular kind of sense of belonging that Roma in Helsinki have, which in turn affects the type of relation members of different Roma groups feel towards one another. Through exploring multiple everyday interactions between this groups, I have been able to show that religious belonging is the key factor that draws different groups together, due to the mutual trust and obligation that such belonging entails. The research contributes to the understanding of identity as a constantly ongoing process of identification as well as to the understanding of the role of spirituality in shaping people’s course of life.
  • Köhler, Harry (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Healing communication. Effective communication by physicians at patient encounters The primary task of health care is to promote health and treat illness. When the patient and physician meet, the primary goal of communication by the physician is to support this primary task. There is a wealth of research on patient-physician communication, but often this research is unsystematic. Also, the criteria for high-quality communication are diffuse and seem often to rely on the subjective experiences of the patient. This study has been conducted to examine the effect of communication from the point of view of treatment and health promotion of the patient. The study material for this study is used to examine the communication of the physician from the points of view of management communication and learning. Thus, the physician’s aim and responsibility are to induce the patient to benefit his/her own treatment and rehabilitation or cure by the patient’s own actions. The goal is to identify the factors related to the efficacy of communication with the help of the concepts of managerial communication and constructive learning. The study material for this thesis is twofold. The observational material generated at patient visits is analyzed qualitatively. This will identify a therapeutic method of communication which will be tested with the help of feedback material obtained at patient inquiries related to office visits to physicians. For the implementation of the test, 12 physicians were trained in the method of therapeutic communication, which was simplified into a set of two questions and a summary. The first set of data consists of 36 office visits (patient-physician encounters), the second of 59 replies to inquiries of patients by 12 physicians. The result will identify the reflection-construction process of the patient. In other words: each patient reflects upon the physician’s communication in his/her own way and constructs an action model according to which he/she will act during the treatment period. This action model may promote health, but it may also impair health, e.g., if it makes it possible for the patient to neglect treatment instructions. Another observation is that the physician’s attention to the patient’s entire sphere if experiences and values – rather than focusing purely on medical matters – seems to support the patient’s reliance on the treatment, the patient’s reflection and his/her construction of an action model that supports treatment. The third observation is that the learning process of the patient leading to changes in the patient’s attitudes and actions does not have to require excessive time. Indeed, the change process may start rapidly. These observations form the base of a communication model in three stages. The present study shows that as few as only two well-formulated questions may change the patient’s desire and capability to promote his/her health. Technological development will give the physician a new means to make clinical work and treatment more effective. The personal encounter between patient and physician will nevertheless be valuable. There are legitimate reasons to state that communication by a physician that support the rehabilitation of patients is good and responsible.
  • Mattila, Anne (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    This study has been motivated by a specific characteristic of Finnish family policy: on one hand, the state supports relatively lengthy childcare at home and on the other hand, state-supported day care is available and guaranteed to all children under schooling age at a relatively low cost to families. These forms of support have been made available to give parents of children under three years of age the choice between paid employment and caring full-time at home. Regardless of the element of choice, Finnish childcare policies are still subject to ongoing criticism and debate. Some argue that the current system enhances a gendered division of labour, and others say it does not offer the possibility of free choice for parents either. In this study it is examined how mothers of young children justify their choices on whether to keep on caring for their child at home or to go to work after (the first year of) parental leave. Based on an analysis of these justifications, the question under scrutiny is how the financial situation of the family, mothers’ perceptions on the benefit of the child, the personal relations of the mothers and the significance they attach to paid employment affect this choice. In addition to the justifications given by the interviewees, secondary data on public discourse has been compiled to highlight specific characteristics of the interview data and to reflect its content in the framework of wider public debate of the same era. The primary data consists of the interviews of 35 mothers whose youngest child was two years of age at the time. The mothers were in spousal relationships, they possessed relatively high levels of education and they lived in the Greater Helsinki area or in its vicinity. The secondary data on public discourse consists of 101 articles and it has been compiled from the publications Helsingin Sanomat (a daily newspaper), Tulva and Meidän Perhe (periodicals). The data has been collected in 2009–2012. The justifications have been analysed with content analysis enhanced with concepts from Perelman’s argumentation theory. The theoretical framework of the study is a relational perspective that emphasises how the endeavours and actions of individuals are constructed within the preconditions of the relations they inhabit. In this study money, perceptions on the benefit of the child, personal relations and how interviewees related to work were essential factors in the choices the mothers made. In the analysis, the personal relations that figured the most in mothers’ choices were those to the child, spouse, the child’s grandparents and mothers in a similar situation. A mother’s relation to work is regarded here as one relation, even though it consists of various relations that tie her to collectively geared action. What is essential is that changes in one relation are reflected in other relations and they all are in constant flux. Mothers go back to work in order to contribute to the standard of living of the family, but also for the sake of financial independence and because they wish to share the responsibility of providing for the family with their spouse. On the other hand, the practice of shared family finances and a sufficiently high income of the spouse make it easier to choose between home and work. Mothers and their spouses might discuss these matters explicitly, but consensus is not always reached. A mother’s perception on the benefit of the child is almost always compatible with the choice she has made. The criteria presented for a choice are related to an affective attachment with the child, an environment that suits the age and developmental phase of the child and the possibility to receive good early education, the company of other children and time with parents. Some mothers highlight the practice of sharing parental leave between spouses as benefit for the child. In addition, a mother being content is seen to be reflected in the child. Also, a suitable phase for beginning day care is seen to be defined by the child’s personal characteristics and how suitable a mother thinks she is to care for her child full-time. The forms of distributing labour and financial resources that had developed within spousal relations and the possibility to change them make way to different solutions in different ways. To some mothers, a symmetrical distribution of responsibilities is important, whereas to others, a clear division of responsibilities and the possibility to take care of the child at home is important. Childcare from close relatives supports taking part in paid employment and the possibility to share everyday routines with other mothers in the same situation supports caring at home. The quality of the paid employment available, the terms of employment contracts, the individual employment trajectories of the mothers and the meanings the mothers gave to work all affected their justifications on when to return to work. Debates in the media concerning mothers at work or caring for their children polarise views on what kind of choices should be supported by family policy. Giving reasons for the benefits of one alternative contributes to criticising structures supporting the other alternative, which may be interpreted as criticising the other alternative as a choice. In interview-based articles, the polarisation is created by either interviewing public figures who have been successful in their work and invest a lot of time in it, or by interviewing women taking care of children at home whose profession is not always mentioned. As a conventional choice is not a piece of news, it is not usually presented in the media, which means the media tends to emphasise either a successful career or devoting oneself to one’s children. The conclusion reached by the study is, that by examining singular endeavours that guide choices as a whole, it is possible to find a common denominator linking the endeavours together. This common denominator and the goal guiding mothers’ choices can be called a life that feels meaningful and which draws together endeavours that are held important or valuable. One’s life and one’s everyday reality should feel suitable and meaningful in the present, but the choices made should also guide the life of the mothers and their families to a direction that seems to bring beneficial outcomes. In this endeavour, the choice made by a mother of a young child to go to work or to care at home is part of the ongoing process of ordering relations going on in her personal relations and working life, and ending up with a choice with either alternative is not self-evident.
  • Crescenzi, Michele (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    This dissertation consists of three essays on information and interactive knowledge in game theory. In the first essay, we study how a consensus emerges in a finite population of rational individuals who are asymmetrically informed. Agents observe a private signal about the true state of the world and then start exchanging messages. Generalizing previous models of rational dialogues, we dispense with the standard assumption that the state space is either finite or a probability space. We show that a class of rational dialogues can be found that always lead to consensus provided that three conditions are met. First, everybody must be able to send messages to everybody else, either directly or indirectly. Second, communication must be reciprocal. Finally, agents need to have the opportunity to participate in dialogues of transfinite length. In the second essay, we provide a syntactic construction of Correlated Equilibrium. For any finite game, we study how players coordinate their play on a signal by means of a public strategy whose instructions are expressed in some natural language. Language can be ambiguous in that different players may assign different truth values to the very same formula in the same state of the world. We show that, absent any ambiguity, self-enforcing coordination always induces a Correlated Equilibrium of the underlying game. When language ambiguity is allowed, self-enforcing coordination strategies induce Subjective Correlated Equilibria. In the final essay, we study the problem of a sender who wants to persuade a two-member committee to take a certain action. Contrary to previous models, we assume that the Sender is uncertain about the committee members' preferences. We provide a full characterization of the Sender's optimal persuasion strategy in two different contexts. In the first case, the Sender is allowed to elicit information by asking committee members to report their preference types. In the second, the Sender is not allow to do so. We show how the sender's optimal persuasion strategy depends on the prior probability distribution over preference types. If the prior is informative enough, the Sender may find it optimal to persuade only a strict subset of type profiles. Finally, we show that uncertainty always entails a loss to the Sender with respect to the benchmark case with commonly known preferences.
  • Krivonos, Daria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    This dissertation examines young Russian-speakers’ quest for ’Europeanness’ through migration to Helsinki, and their lives in pursuit of this dream. The promised ‘transition’ to capitalist modernity has not recognised them as fully modern subjects who still have to be assisted on their way to full-fledged Europeanness. Migration to the ‘West’, embodied by Finland and Helsinki, is seen by young Russian-speakers as an attempt to emancipate themselves as modern and cosmopolitan subjects, and dis-identify from failed socialist modernity that lacks the futures presumably achieved in the ‘West’. Within finely-graded, spatialised hierarchies of the modern world, Finland has become part of the global ‘West’, having a complex history of ‘Europeanness’ and an in-between position between the East and West, with its historically precarious relation to whiteness and the need to emphasise own belonging to the European cultural tradition vis-à-vis Russianness. Young Russian-speakers’ attempts to re-inscribe themselves into modern time and space, as well as their claims to whiteness following migration thus take place not in the heart of Western global modernity, but on its edge, and also on the edge of whiteness. This is a new context, wherein to analyse the production and racialisation of whiteness beyond the context of global metropoles, which nevertheless points to the very mode of connection to the global structures of race and whiteness in the geopolitical context that tends to escape post/decolonial critique. The thesis consists of four peer-reviewed articles and the summary chapter, and draws on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork done in Helsinki in 2014–2016. I conducted participant observation in integration, language and CV courses, and youth career counselling, and did interviews with 54 young people (aged 22 to 32), mainly from Russia and Estonia, the two largest migrant groups in Finland, but also other post-Soviet countries. Through the concept of connected sociologies (Bhambra, 2014), the thesis brings research on postcoloniality and postsocialism into conversation. The analysis departs from the analytical division of the world into either postcolonial or postsocialist and draws on the intertwined relations of the spatially constructed world with race and coloniality being foundational to modernity and capitalism. I demonstrate how Russian-speakers’ perception of their place in the global racial formation are constructed through the legacies of racial colonial projects that define the meaning of Europeanness itself. The analysis further argues that despite the persistence of whiteness and Europeanness in their claims to belonging to the ‘West’ after migration, these claims are continuously questioned through the relations of labour, challenged via the border regime, neoliberal workfare devices and day-to-day experiences of gendered racialisation. The study thus shows the workings of coloniality, labour and whiteness beyond North versus South constellations, and argues for thinking beyond the geographical boundaries of those places that are straightforwardly ‘post-colonial’.
  • Särkkä, Iro (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The objective of this study is to analyse NATO as portrayed in Finland’s foreign and security policy, by focusing on the study of policy discourses and rhetoric. The main research question is the following: how have conceptions of NATO changed in the Finnish foreign and security policy debate during the post-Cold War period? As a theoretical framework of the study, a constructivist approach to foreign policy analysis was applied, with the aim of accounting for the significance of political language, policy discourses and rhetoric in defining the Finnish security policy. Within this paradigmatic approach, my aim was to identify and explain for the long-term discursive changes in the Finnish foreign and security policy as well as the policy positions of the key foreign and security policy actors. Empirical and inductive qualitative content analysis (QCA) was applied as methodological approach in analysing the three primary research sources: 1) NATO’s official summit declarations (1990–2016), 2) Finnish foreign, security and defence policy reports (1995–2017) and 3) the corresponding speeches held by the members of the parliament addressing NATO (N=915 speeches addressing NATO). Within the constructivist approach of foreign policy analysis, dominant discourses play an important role in defining the foreign and security policy outcomes. Foreign policy discourses are used as means to legitimize foreign policy action and goal formation; however, they also direct foreign policy debates in domestic policy forums. In this study, my aim was to analyse, the extent to which government led foreign policy transmits to the corresponding foreign policy in the national parliament. I studied the speeches held by members of the Finnish Parliament in the corresponding timeframe in relation to four attributes: 1) the content of the speech and the policy discourses, 2) the rhetorical means employed by the speaker (Aristotles’s ethos, pathos and logos), 3) the formal roles that the speakers held (ministers, group leaders, members of the parliament) as well as 4) the NATO-related rhetorician types (pro-NATO, pragmatics, skeptics and anti-NATO -speakers). In addition to these four parameters, my aim was to synthetize the change in the foreign policy rhetoric of eight major political parties present at the Finnish parliament as well as the movement between the rhetorician types. This doctoral thesis has provided new, previously undiscovered empirical knowledge about the content and the use of different rhetorical means in relation to NATO in the post-Cold War Finnish foreign and security policy debate. Furthermore, it has sought to outline differences in the contextual interpretation of NATO, between the Finnish government and the parliament. Above all the study has shown, how complex foreign and security policy issue NATO is and how many different types of interpretations it may evoke in the Finnish security policy debate.
  • Vornanen, Marleena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Medical genetics and genetic technology have evolved rapidly during the past decades. Efficient use of genomic information requires understanding of how lay people perceive hereditary risks and how they interpret genomic risk information. This study explored lay perspectives on risks of common diseases and secondary findings of genome sequencing. The study consisted of two quantitative and two qualitative sub-studies. Quantitative sub-studies examined relationships between family history and perceived risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and depression, physiological risk indicators and health behaviour. Multivariate regression analyses and structural equation modelling were used to analyse cross-sectional FINRISK 2007 (N=6258) and longitudinal FINRISK 2002 (N=909) health examination and survey data, collected by the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare. The qualitative inquiry used a hypothetical scenario to examine lay people’s concerns and needs related to genetic secondary findings. Participants imagined themselves receiving, via letter, a secondary finding predisposing to heritable cancer (Lynch syndrome or Li–Fraumeni syndrome) or heart condition (long QT syndrome or familial hypercholesterolemia). Participants (N=29) wrote down their immediate reactions and discussed the topic later in focus groups. The data were analysed through inductive thematic analysis. Family history was related to perceived risk of common diseases independently of sociodemographics, health behaviour, body weight, and depressive symptoms. In the five-year follow-up, risk indicators predicted higher perceived risk, but high perceived risk did not predict changes in physical activity, body weight, or blood glucose. Qualitative results showed that despite a positive attitude towards receiving secondary findings, people worried whether relevant counselling and preventive care would be accessible for individuals and families. Secondary findings concerning heart related conditions were perceived as less threatening compared to cancer related findings, or genetic risks for psychiatric or neurological disorders. People tend to view their disease risks optimistically, but risk perceptions of common diseases reflect actual risk indicators. Perceived risk of disease or individualized biomarker feedback alone, however, are unlikely to result in sustained changes in daily health behaviour. Increasingly individualized risk communication practices need to also direct attention to counselling and supporting self-efficacy. Lay illness representations need to be taken into account in risk communication, as previous understandings of diseases shape how people process new risk information. When reporting genomic results, preventive treatment paths for individuals and families need to be planned and communicated appropriately.
  • Rönkä, Anu-Liisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The current theoretical discussion on risk communication emphasizes a dialogic and participatory approach. In practice, however, risk communication proceedings are still characterized by the traditional deficit model. The aim of this study is to consid-er the conditions for implementing participatory formats and interaction in risk communication. The study focuses on analysing risk communication in the risk case characterized by high ambiguity (Renn 2015). In these cases, according to Ortwin Renn (2015), the process of evaluation needs to be open to public scrutiny and new forms of delibera-tion. High ambiguity would require the most inclusive strategy for involvement. The study will consider how interaction could be practiced in the case of controversy. A controversial public debate on the potential health risks connected to wireless communications technology is being analysed as a case example. The research mate-rial consists of newspaper material, webpage material and expert debate collected by the eDelphi method. In the case example, the expert contradiction is analysed exerting definitions for risk, ambiguity, uncertainty and ignorance (Stirling & Gee 2002). According to a formal definition, risk is a condition under which it is possible both to define a comprehensive set of all possible outcomes and to resolve a discrete set of probabili-ties across this array of outcomes (ibid.). In the case example, the ambiguity is con-nected to what extent areas of ambiguity, uncertainty and ignorance are taken into account when assessing the overall picture of the risk. The conclusion is that, in the case of risk as characterized by high ambiguity, risk communication should structure contradictory information in the frame of strong and weak information rather than in the frame of true and false information, as connected to traditional risk communication. Communication and interaction should be introduced as a force affecting the struc-ture of the conversation. Interactive risk communication should contribute to the discussion so that both strong and weak knowledge are involved in the discussion. Communication should structure and create more understanding concerning the discussion as a whole and the disagreement related to it. In terms of policy research, both conflicting and consensual policies should be avoided. As an alternative to these, a dialogic approach is presented to systematically address disagreements and increase understanding of controversy.
  • Martela, Frank (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    We are already engaged in a stream of experiencing in which we strive to navigate our way toward what we value. Taking this depiction of the human condition as the starting point, in this dissertation my aim is to embark on an inquiry that aims to identify a few reasonable tools of thinking that may help humans live more reflective and meaningful lives. The project builds strongly on the foundations laid out by pragmatist philosophy, especially the balanced, experiential, and inquiry-oriented style of pragmatism offered by John Dewey. The starting point for such a philosophy is the stream of experiencing we are already engaged in as active and caring beings. Within this unfolding life, we strive to grasp what is happening, we strive to realize what we value, and we strive to decide what is worth valuing. In other words, we engage in what Dewey calls an inquiry, through which we aim to increase our capability to navigate this stream of experiencing called life to better actualize what is valuable within this life. All we have at our disposal in this inquiry are the concepts, theories, values, and other tools of thinking that we have acquired from within this life. There is nothing external that can be used to justify certain theories or values; total certainty is unavailable for us fallible human beings. Yet certain tools of thinking are more warranted than others: Relying on them in past inquiries has tended to lead us to where we want to get. Instead of vainly yearning for truths, we can trust and utilize those tools of thinking that have proven themselves to be more reliable maps in helping us navigate our experiential realities. In the final analysis, even reflectively endorsed values are nothing more than tools of thinking subject to being re-designed in the future to better suit the wholeness of our lives. Philosophical inquiry grows out of actual living, and that’s where it ends too. Its ultimate value is in designing better working conceptual tools that can assist people in the real-life tasks of living good and worthy lives. This is also the task of the present dissertation, which consists of an introduction and six independent articles that all apply the same pragmatist point of view to different pertinent contemporary philosophical questions to illustrate what it means to approach philosophy and life as a pragmatist.
  • Erpyleva, Svetlana (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    In this monograph, the author analyzes a new type of politicized local activism that emerged as an outcome of the nationwide post-election 2011-12 protests in Russia, while these protests have been widely criticized for their political vagueness. Outwardly, new local groups resembled numerous activist groups that were active before the post-election mobilization. However, the pre-protest local activism was deliberately “apolitical” and focused on concrete and small problem-solving, while the post-protest local activism combined oppositional politics and “real deeds” tactics. This integration of opposite practices and meanings led to the emergence of the new politicized civic culture. The question the author answers is how the event of the protest mobilization could lead to the long-term changes in activist political culture. Considering this political evolution, she focuses on activists’ biographical trajectories. Basing on qualitative data (interviews, focus-groups, and observations of local activists groups organized in Moscow and St. Petersburg) and the existing theories of social movement studies, social events, and political socialization, the monograph proposes a new approach to the analysis of social and cultural changes through an event. The results show that patterns of activists’ socialization highly influenced the types of their future political involvement. Moreover, the post-election protest as an event (in terms of W. Sewell, 1996) helped people with different experiences who would never meet and act together before (e.g., apolitical volunteering and oppositional struggle) suddenly find themselves together and pushed them to continue their activity. Meanings and know-how that ordinarily are at odds (apolitical ideology of “helping people” and politics) met in post-protest local activism, thus creating new hybrid forms of civic participation and negotiating the opposition between the apolitical and the political. In the scholarly literature on an event and a biography, biographies are considered usually among the things an event can influence on, together with social structure, cultural meanings, etc. In the monograph, it is argued that the biography can be considered as an important tool, helping scholars to understand how exactly an event influence on structure or culture. The socialization taken in interactionist perspective, i.e., as the careers and not as the set of more or less stable dispositions, is a necessary tool to study how different experiences, visions, and know-how are accumulated, transferred from one place to another, find each others in the same groups or even the same lives, and how all these processes finally contribute to the creation of new elements of political culture. In this monograph thus, the author claims that in order to explain social movement transformations and changes produced by an event, people’s biographies should be brought back into the analysis.

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