Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta


Recent Submissions

  • Vesa, Juho (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    In the Finnish consensus democracy, public discussion has traditionally played a small role in policymaking. Consensus and compromises have been built within small circles of policymakers behind closed doors, and the strong position of civil servants, president and interest organizations has limited public discussion. Institutional and cultural changes have, however, created new pressures for policymakers to act in media publicity. The norm of openness has been strengthened in society (i.e. policymaking is expected to be more transparent than before); politics has been mediatized (i.e. the significance of media in politics seems to have increased); the role of committees has been reduced in policy preparation; and parliamentarism has been strengthened. This thesis examines how openly Finnish policymakers (i.e. politicians, civil servants and interest organizations) act towards public discussion. It studies how policymakers participate in discussions taking place in media publicity, what kind of rules on public communication policymaking institutions include and how institutions have reacted to the strengthening of the norm of openness. The study also asks how strongly policymaking is mediatized i.e. what is the significance of media publicity in policymaking and to what extent does the news media affect policymaking. The article-based thesis is based on two case studies and a survey of members of parliament (MPs). The case studies focus on a social security reform committee (2007 2009) and a government s programme to increase productivity in state administration (2002 2011). Case study data consists of interviews with policymakers and journalists, media articles, government information material and policy documents. MPs were surveyed on the news media s agenda-setting power (i.e. the media s influence on political institution agendas). The results show that the tradition of looking for a consensus constrains the openness of public discussion in Finland. Policymakers prefer not to talk about policy negotiations in detail in public because publicity can freeze negotiations. The way that members of the multi-party government manage the news can weaken accountability by reducing citizens possibilities to evaluate politicians behaviour. Policymakers manage publicity through common publicity rules. For instance, ministers are not usually expected to make public statements during tripartite policy preparation. Citizens and the media, however, presume openness. Thus, policymakers cannot withdraw completely from publicity. They have created public information practices that simultaneously meet the expectations of openness and secure working peace for policy preparation. For instance, policymakers can publish information regarding policy preparation actively but on such a general level that it does not lead to public discussion. Civil servants, who act in a neutral way regarding publicity, often have a central role in informing the public, which can narrow publicity and transparency. Moreover, the majority of MPs think that the news media s behaviour affects public discussions much more than policy processes and decisions made by the government and parliament. Results indicate that the core of policymaking is often still rather isolated from publicity. Media publicity affects symbolic politics (i.e. politicians competition for voters) more than actual decisions. Policymaking institutions have developed means to protect policy processes against media publicity and the demands for openness. Results support conclusions of earlier research, suggesting that mediatization is rather shallow: it has changed symbolic politics and public information activities more than policymaking.
  • Danielsbacka, Mirkka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Intergenerational relations have in recent decades become an integral part of both sociology and evolutionary research. These disciplines are, however, rarely in dialogue with each other. The present study is a social and public policy thesis, the main purpose of which is to combine theories from family sociology and evolutionary theory. Empirically, the study asks the following question: What factors are associated with the strengths and weaknesses of intergenerational relations, grandparental care and differences between types of grandparents? The thesis consists of five empirical articles and a summary chapter. The sub-studies were conducted with three large and representative surveys, which include respondents from 16 European countries. These datasets are the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, the Involved Grandparenting and Child Well-Being Survey, and the Generational Transmissions in Finland data. The Methods used in the empirical articles are quantitative. Article I tested and gained support for the existence of a biased grandparental investment pattern where the maternal grandmother invests the most, followed by the maternal grandfather, the paternal grandmother and finally by the paternal grandfather, who invests the least. In addition, the study showed that grandmothers as well as grandfathers invest preferentially in their daughters children compared to their sons if both options are available. Thus gender and lineage of a grandparent are important factors determining grandparental investment. Articles II and III examined family dynamics, especially between young couples and their parents-in-law, and detected a significant difference in emotional closeness as well as conflict proneness according to whether or not the couple had children. In general, women and men perceived their relationship with their own parents to be emotionally closer but also more conflict-prone than their relationship with their parents-in-law. Particularly for men, having children seemed to render the relationship with parents-in-law more similar to their relationship with their own parents. Article IV studied more closely the socio-ecological factors associated with grandparental investments, and showed that the effect of these factors tend to differ according to grandparents sex and lineage. Finally, in article V the marital status of grandparents was found to be strongly associated with their investments in their grandchildren. Living without a spouse appeared to be more detrimental to grandfathers than grandmothers relationships with their grandchildren. To conclude, intergenerational relations and grandparental investments are biased according to both gender and kin lineage and tend to favour maternal kin. This can ultimately be accounted for by evolutionary explanations, especially sex-specific reproductive strategies and paternity uncertainty. In certain situations, and especially when taking into account in-law relations between parental and grandparental generations, contextual factors may restrict the typical associations between gender, lineage and grandparental investment behaviour. At the end of the summary chapter policy and practical implications of the results are discussed.
  • Poutanen, Petro (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    In concert with the emergence of cross-disciplinary collaborative working practices, the demands of creativity and innovation in working life have increased. The problems of the 21st Century are inherently complex and require the creative contributions of multiple stakeholders to solve them. Furthermore, working life settings are often ad hoc and diverse in their nature, making collaboration challenging in terms of creative synergy. However, creativity has been predominantly studied from the individual perspective, meaning the research tradition is out of step with changes in working practices as it does not provide guidance for complex creative and interactional processes. Therefore, new approaches that account for the complexity of human interaction and collaboration need to be developed to better understand what creativity is and how it can emerge from synergy between people who are very different from each other. This is the focus of the dissertation. This dissertation argues that creative collaboration can be approached through the lens of the theories about complex systems. These theories conceptualize creative collaboration as an interactive and emergent phenomenon, in which creativity emerges continuously and unpredictably from the interactions of the actors and elements of the system. This argument is investigated in this study by developing a research framework based on the theories of complex systems and examining creative collaboration through empirical case studies that were conducted in the context of innovation camps. The proposed research framework emphasises three important points of attention when studying creative collaboration: temporal patterns, social mechanisms, and meanings and communication. The findings of the explorative research suggest several interesting research avenues. Firstly, the creative process seems to follow unanticipated temporal orders, including points of sudden discontinuities. This suggests that a creative process requires patience for an efficient working mode to emerge. Secondly, the mechanism of emergence describes how a system of contributors includes both individual and collective level knowledge, skills and memory. This suggests that the emergence of shared practices in a group setting requires a certain level of autonomy and self-direction. Thirdly, human creativity is a process of symbolic exchange and meaning-making. The acknowledgement of the constructive communicative nature of the creative process helps individuals involved in a creative collaborative process understand how different interpretative frames can contribute to a creative process, which stands in contrast to the information transmission-based understanding of communication and knowledge building. This dissertation incorporates two conceptual and three empirical articles that are further developed in the concluding article.
  • Kara, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Latin American women represent an emblematic group in contemporary South to North labour migration. The Spanish immigration boom from the 1990s up to the time of the economic crisis has also shown a high propensity of women migrants from this region. While it is important to recognise women migrants as economically active workers and breadwinners, paying attention only to the work that migrants do, excludes a vast diversity of desires and trajectories. Migrants are often granted positions not connected with full subjectivity. This study creates knowledge collaboratively with Latin American migrant women on their everyday lives in Barcelona and studies their subjectivities as transnational migrants. Subjectivity is understood as formed and exercised in relation to individual life course, generational attachments and the larger fabric of intersecting structural hierarchies in a certain time-space context. The empirical phase was conducted in Barcelona between March and May 2012 in a collaborative process with fifteen participants from nine different Latin American and Caribbean countries. The empirical method consisted of two loosely-structured thematic interviews with each participant, complemented by the participative use of creative research methods which offered the participants the possibility to explore the research topics through different creative means. The ontological and epistemological framework draws from critical realism and postcolonial feminism. The main theoretical tools are found in: 1) migration theorising, specifically transnational migration research, 2) the notion of time in migration, 3) an intersectional approach on migration. The experiences and consequences of migration and migration status are analysed inside intersecting social hierarchies, namely the ones referring to country or region of origin, ethnic origin, social class, age and life course and gender. The results shed light to the ways in which time-space autonomy , migrancy and belonging are conditioned and yet negotiable. Irregular migration status often represented restricted movement in the city, insecurity and lack of information. Migration regulations were linked with time experiences of suspension, uncontrollability and liminality . Yet migration may also stand for an increase in time-space autonomy, even in a situation of migration status irregularity, as the consequences of migration status are relational, contextual and intersectional. The (in)visibility of certain intersectional locations is turned into (in)visibility of migrancy. The idea of detached, planned and informed migration does not hold, but risk-taking, surprises and uncertainty prevail. Liminality and unpredictability may also be desired consequences of migration. This addresses the complex intersectional contexts of privilege and disadvantage in which people move. Belonging was also connected with (in)visibility. The results point to a nexus between origin, language and belonging and emphasise the intersectional and contextual nature of belonging. The results also challenge interpretations in which economic downturn is automatically considered to lead to return migration, and question the persistent image of the economic migrant reflected in them. Often neglected in previous research, women s transnational daughterhood became salient, highlighting the multiple intergenerational caring roles of migrant women. The quantity as well as the quality of transnational contacts varied, due, for instance, to economic resources. This shaped the ways transnational affective ties and support were lived. Migrancy became synonymous with not belonging here yet nor there anymore. Yet the accounts were not only of loss and yearning, but importantly also of adaptation, reformulation and creation of new rhythms, routines and ways to be . Keywords: transnational migration, Latin American women migrants, Spain s immigration boom, subjectivity, intersectionality, time, (in)visibility, critical realism, postcolonial feminism, creative research methods, collaborative research methods, multi-language research.
  • Vauhkonen, Jussi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The Finnish old-age security system is based on a combination of a universal flat-rate pension (since 1939) and an earnings-related pension (since 1962) that covers all employees. Both are mandatory public pensions. Until the ear-ly 1980s, however, there was also a law dating from the early 18th century obliging employers to support workers who had served more than 20 years regardless of their ability to work. This statutory obligation could be referred to as employers poor relief duty. Earlier research has considered this statute to be obsolete, but this study shows that it was an actual part of policies advanced by Finnish employers organisations from the late 1920s until the 1960s. The employers organisa-tions integrated the ancient paragraph into their policies regarding both pub-lic pension programmes and employment relations. The present study argues that this was mainly done by modernising the paternalistically motivated employer policy known as welfare work. The employers sought to frame any public social provision with the employer-led welfare work. After the Second World War, this mode of thought and action lived alongside the newly estab-lished collective bargaining system. With an historical institutionalist approach and based on the theory of gradual institutional change by James Mahoney and Kathleen Thelen, the study finds that old-age security in Finland has been formed through a process of layering. There is only one deviation from this path, namely the 1956 basic pension reform in which a previous institution was displaced. The evidence from this study shows that the layering was a result of a political system in which veto possibilities were abundant. In particular, the minority protection rule established in the 1906 parliamentary reform proved to be effective in maintaining the status quo. The findings of this study are largely consistent with the Mahoney and Thelen theory. The study, titled Elatuksesta eläkkeeseen (From employers poor relief duty to workers pension rights), sheds new light on the process of modernisation and informs the reader of employers policies and pensions in Finland. Keywords: employers, historical institutionalism, labour market organisations, pensions, retirement, welfare work
  • Pellander, Saara (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This thesis explores the normative underpinnings of family migration in public discourses, in policies and their implementation. At the same time, it investigates the normative frameworks that regulations on family migration create. The relationship between family norms and immigration control is mutually co-constitutive: while policymakers and bureaucrats rely on publicly accepted and common-sense understandings of acceptable family life, at the same time they themselves contribute to constructing these norms. The study builds on interviews with immigration bureaucrats, analyzes parliamentary plenary debates, Helsingin Sanomat newspaper editorials, as well as court cases from the Helsinki Administrative Court. Methodologically, it develops the notion problem frames by combining frame analysis with the Foucauldian notion of problematization. The analysis is based on the understanding that public debates are socially constitutive speech acts that shape our understanding of family migration and eventually contribute to the policy agenda and policy framing Intersectionality works as analytical tool to examine how constructed categories mutually reinforce each other and create axes of inclusion and exclusion. There are certain conditions in which some family ties grant people the right to belong, while other people are excluded and positioned as unwanted. The study conceptualizes struggles over the right to belong as gatekeeping and bordering processes, in which the nation-state is reinscribed and defined through exclusionary discourses and problem frames. The thesis arrives at three main conclusions. First, the analysis shows that migration regulations cause, prevent, and require dependence: dependence on the sponsor/spouse, dependence on the welfare state, and dependence on a caring family member. Each of these dependencies has different implications and effects for different, intersectionally positioned groups of migrants. Second, this thesis shows that the way in which migrant families are evaluated is part of s dual process of moral gatekeeping. On the one hand, moral justifications are used to argue for the inclusion or exclusion of certain families, while on the other hand, the gatekeeping of morals works to portray certain families as a threat to Finnish family norms. Third, this thesis shows that gendered assumptions about care relations influence whether or not family ties qualify a person for a residence permit in Finland. Furthermore, he right to care for elderly parents is connected with questions of cultural citizenship. Overall, the key finding is that in the regulation of family migration, formal and informal axes of exclusion are part of one and the same continuum. They are based on a set of shared assumptions, discourses, and modes of thought that categorize and label migrants.
  • Leppänen, Joonas (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The main idea that is advocated in this thesis is that a radical democratic theory needs a theory of dissent as one of its core concepts. The argument is made in favour of the view that a radical democratic theory requires a conception of justice as participatory parity and an account that makes change intelligible. The thesis defends the claim that Nancy Fraser s concept of justice as participatory parity combined with Ernesto Laclau s insights on populist democracy and hegemony best suits this requirement. The thesis is done within the framework of radical democracy. It is argued that by radical democracy is meant a form of democracy that is more democratic than liberal democracy. The connection between radical and liberal democracy lies in the fact that radical democratic theories are usually based on a critique of liberal institutionalism. Framed like this, there is an opposition between liberal and radical democracy. In the thesis it is claimed that a political theory of dissent should be positioned within the framework of radical democracy for a couple of overarching reasons. The first one is that the liberal democratic framework internalizes and domesticates dissent. This leads to the conclusion that the liberal democratic framework cannot treat dissent as a separate concept. Radical democracy, hence, is a view of democracy that is radical in relation to liberal democracy. It can be said to be radical towards democracy itself. To be radical towards democracy implies that radical democracy always stretches the boundaries of democracy. A separate political theory of dissent is important for the sake of showing that dissent can and should be viewed as a positive and constructive feature in society. Dissent is positive and constructive for many reasons: it fosters democratic citizenship, it aims to remove injustices, and it may improve the institutional framework and strengthens participatory parity in society. Even though dissent, as a form of participation, is a positive feature in society it cannot be completely institutionalized. On the other hand, a democratic society is required to uphold dissent as a feature in a manner that is similar to a right. It is argued that dissent should be viewed as a political conception that attempts to encompass actually occurring dissent. This is in contrast to dissent only as the idea of dissenting or fostering dissenting thoughts. It is proposed that dissent should be viewed as a conception that requires a divergent opinion to be articulated. The idea of articulated dissent ties the conception to social movements. Dissent, as portrayed in this thesis, ties radical democratic theory to institutional reality. The main idea is that dissent stems from disagreement with society s institutional arrangements and hence, it will also target those institutions. Hence, I propose that a theory of radical democratic dissent should be viewed as a theory that is positioned within the context of society s institutional framework.
  • Tuominen, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This dissertation studies the EU's normative power role at the Human Rights Council (HRC), which is the key UN body in the field of human rights. The EU has proclaimed an active and visible role in the HRC as an important part of its external human rights agenda. However, the EU's normative ambitions face challenges; other actors are not necessarily willing to accept the EU's role claims and deliver competing human right positions. In this respect, the HRC provides an interesting case for studying the recognition of the EU's normative power role in practice. The first two chapters present the theoretical, conceptual and methodological background of this dissertation. In particular, the EU role as a normative power is examined by combining it with role theory. As a consequence, the normative power role is seen as being closely related to the EU's own role conception or self-image. According to this self-perception, the EU claims to act as a force for good in global politics by promoting universal norms and standards through non-coercive measures. The EU is also seen to differ from other actors. However, as the EU's ambitious role claims do not necessarily correspond with its actual behaviour, the normative power role is better understood as an ideal-type. The EU's acts can more or less approximate this ideal in external human rights promotion. Because the normative power role is a highly Eurocentric notion and the debate is conducted mainly by European scholars, the alter side of this role is needed. Role theory enables a more critical approach to the normative power role by also directing attention to the EU's role performance and external perceptions of this role among different others. The EU's normative power role claims are especially evident in its external human rights promotion. Hence, this dissertation concentrates on examining the EU's role in global human rights governance. Chapter 3 demonstrates how domestic, regional and international factors have facilitated the development of the EU's role in this field. The normative power role draws attention to the EU definition of human rights and to the instruments it uses in human rights promotion. In order to be a normative power, the EU should also be able to achieve normative changes in others. In this respect the EU faces challenges, which become evident in the UN human rights machinery. Chapter 4 presents the UN Human Rights Council and the legal-institutional and political preconditions for EU participation therein. It demonstrates how the HRC is a case of inconvenient multilateralism for the EU, as the EU needs to balance between its normative commitments and multilateral preferences. The EU's normative power self-image and the coherence of this role are often taken for granted. However, an actor s role conceptions are rarely homogenous. Chapter 5 examines the self-perception of the EU at the HRC through official EU documents and statements. Furthermore, 23 theme interviews were conducted in 2013-2014 with the EEAS and EU member state human rights experts in Geneva and Brussels to reveal a more unofficial EU self-perception. The findings demonstrate that the official image underlines the EU role as a defender of universal human rights principles, a supporter and contributor to the UN, and a partner for others. Furthermore, the EU' s role has remained rather unchanged since the establishment of the HRC (2006). The policy practitioners views also supported the EU's normative power self-image; the EU was perceived, for example, as a promoter and defender of universal norms, a leader through its own example, and different from other actors. As a conclusion, the EU's self-perception at the HRC confirms the normative power role image, even if the limitations for practicing such a role at the HRC are acknowledged. This normative power self-perception is also shared among different EU actors. The EU's performance at the HRC has a key role in legitimizing its role claims as a normative power. Role performance refers to the actual behaviour of the EU, and it often differs from both ego and alter role expectations. Evaluating EU performance in different international organizations is important, but a demanding task because of its complex actorness. Chapter 6 examines EU performance along the lines of relevance, effectiveness, resource viability, and efficiency. These elements are able to capture the EU's success in relation to both HRC processes and outcomes. According to HRC participants, the EU has high relevance internally and externally, which provides legitimacy for EU participation. Effectiveness reflects the outcomes the EU has been able to achieve and can be studied through different measures. According to the data, the EU has succeeded in being internally effective and coherent, and has shown considerable external effectiveness through delivering statements and adopted resolutions. In this respect, EU records match well with its ambitious role claims. However, the EU's ability to contribute to the effectiveness of the HRC, as well as its efficiency, remains only moderate. With its enormous resources, the EU would have the potential for much more. The EU's inefficiency is related to its heavy internal dynamics, but also largely on external conditions. Chapter seven studies the external perceptions of the EU role at the HRC through 40 semi-structured interviews conducted in 2013-2014. The views of external others are able to outline the alter side of the EU's role. Studied external others include other UN member states, human rights organizations, and HRC Secretary Staff. States are classified into groups, such as EU allies, Moderates, Developing states, and EU opponents by taking into account their norm consistency with the EU and voting behaviour at the UN. The findings point to variable recognition of the EU's normative power role. The EU is seen as an important example that supports universal principles and the UN. The EU is also seen to prefer non-coercive measures against other actors. However, the EU's leadership is considered to be only issue-specific and the normative power image generally suffers from several inconsistencies. The EU's different approach is especially apparent when it is compared with the US. As a conclusion, the EU's normative power role is only partly recognized among its others, which gives reasons to reconsider the legitimacy of the normative power role. This dissertation provides an alternative approach to the EU's role as a normative power. The theoretical framework underlines how the EU's roles in the world should be studied by taking into account not only the EU s own role aspirations, but also its role performance and the alter side of these roles. The most valuable and interesting contribution of this thesis is the research interviews concerning internal and external perception of the EU role as a normative power. In general, the empirical chapters provide a comprehensive and detailed picture of the EU role in one particular institutional context, the UN Human Rights Council.
  • Mäkiniemi, Jaana-Piia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Ethical food choice is a concrete everyday action to promote sustainability in term of supporting workers rights, animal welfare and environmental food production, and the local economy. The aim of the dissertation is to enhance understanding of the dimensions of ethical food choice in general, and specifically with regard to climate-friendly choices. It is assumed that at least two theoretical perspectives, namely moral decision-making and food-choice behaviour are necessary for an understanding of the phenomenon. The data for the dissertation was collected in two time phases from two different questionnaires. The participants in both phases were university students. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used. The following research questions were addressed in the sub-studies: What kind of everyday ideas and lay views about ethical and unethical food do young adults from Finland, Denmark and Italy have?; How and to what extent do the five moral foundations emerge in food-related moral thinking?; How is the perceived moral intensity of climate change related to young adults climate-friendly food choices in Finland?; and What barriers to choosing climate-friendly food do young adults in Finland perceive? The findings of Sub-study I indicate that various dimensions are associated with the ethicality of food. Ethical foods were seen, for instance, as natural, healthy and local, produced in ways that support equality and animal welfare, whereas unethical foods were perceived as unnatural, unhealthy and global, produced without attention to equality and animal welfare. The main results of Sub-study II concerned the emergence of five moral foundations in the word association data, which indicates that foundations are also relevant dimensions in food-related moral thinking. Of these, Harm/Care, Purity/Sanctity and Fairness/Reciprocity were the most relevant. The findings of Sub-study III imply that moral intention and perceived moral intensity, namely perceiving climate change as probable and serious, are the most important factors associated with climate-friendly food choice. According to the results of Sub-study IV, the most relevant barriers perceived by the respondents to hinder climate-friendly food choice were a high price, poor supply, lack of knowledge and perceived difficulty in making such choices. As the further analysis revealed, the barriers that had the strongest inhibiting effect were disbelief in any such effects, the desire to maintain the same eating habits, lack of time and difficulty. The current dissertation enhances understanding of ethical-food-choice behaviour in bringing to light new findings, and in presenting new measurements. The main limitations include social-desirability bias, and the use of student samples.
  • Lehtinen, Aki Petteri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Journalistic knowledge and its epistemological key concepts such as objectivity, truth and truthfulness have been widely criticized during the last decades. The main challenges posed to journalism as an epistemic practice and to journalism studies as an academic discipline have come from schools of thought emphasizing the post linguistic turn constructionism and the consequent relativism of all knowledge. In a pluralistic world of different conceptual schemes and conflicting values, the temptation to succumb to relativism has lead to some strong arguments supporting constructionism at the expense of the key concepts. Conceptual clarification of them is needed. Journalism has been particularly vulnerable to these philosophical and practical critiques due to its focus on topical events, actions and phenomena, and to its lack of epistemic methodology and ethically justifiable norms. This trend threatens journalism s epistemological and ethical autonomy as well as its identity in competition with several disinformative and downright propagandist media practicies also dealing with current affairs. However, the renunciation or replacement of the epistemological concepts in favour of alternative more constructionism-friendly concepts can lead to radical epistemological and ethical relativism that compromises the very idea of communication and mutual understanding of basic facts and values in pluralistic communities. It is equivocal how liberal democracies could function without a reference to a tribe-independent reality, social or material. Concurrently, the Finnish audiences (citizens) wish journalism to provide critical, analytical and thoughtful knowledge, according to recent surveys. Epistemic credibility and trustworthiness as the social cornerstones of journalism, hence, seem to require an anti-relativist account of journalistic knowledge that recognizes the undeniable constructionist features of all epistemic activity while argumentatively denouncing their socially untenable relativistic consequences that also menace academic journalism studies. In this dissertation, the challeges of relativism to journalism are addressed by developing a new comprehensive account of journalistic objectivity as a practical and norm-governed processual method of knowledge acquisition and representation. The concept of pragmatic objectivity offered includes the guiding norms, and sets truthfulness as its measurable aim in the context of liberal democracy. This project is based on philosophical pragmatism. The research questions critically examined and pragmatically answered in the dissertation are 1) how can journalism as an epistemic practice remain epistemically and ethically autonomous in relation to its relativistic rivals in pluralistic liberal democracies, 2) how to improve and strengthen the professional self-understanding and epistemic action of journalists in an anti-relativist vein, and 3) how to overcome the articifial demarcation between journalism and its academic study that predisposes both to relativism. Pragmatic objectivity and aspiration to measurable truthfulness will provide solutions.
  • Tarkiainen, Lasse (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Disparity in longevity by income level has been reported in numerous studies. However, few studies have focused on the possible changes over time in the association between income and mortality. The main aim in this thesis was to describe mortality trends in Finland by income quintiles, and to investigate the age- and cause-of-death structure of any changes among these groups in 1988-2012. A further aim was to investigate the income-mortality association independently of the individual socio-demographic factors that are present in childhood and adulthood, and how this association has changed over time in all-cause and cause-specific mortality. The data originated from administrative registers containing individual-level annual information on socio-demographic characteristics linked to cause-specific mortality records in 1971-2012, and also included data linking these registers to 1950 census. Disparities in mortality among those aged over 35 were analysed by calculating life expectancies and their decomposition, and fitting survival regression models to the data. Life expectancy among the highest four income quintiles increased substantially in 1988-2007, but stagnation among men and minor increase among women caused the disparity with other quintiles to increase markedly in the lowest quintile. Mortality relative to the highest quintile among 35-64-year-olds increased between 1988-91 and 2004-07 in all other quintiles even following adjustment for individual socio-demographic characteristics including education, occupation, economic activity, and living alone. Changes in the socio-demographic composition of the income quintiles did not explain the increasing or stagnating mortality level in the lowest quintile among men and women. The disparity in mortality by income in 1971-2007 also persisted following adjustment for observed and unobserved factors of childhood family background shared by siblings. The disparity in mortality remained even when adult socio-demographic factors were controlled for. This observation was consistent over cause-of-death groups. Alcohol-related causes of death were the main drivers of the adverse mortality trend in the lowest quintile because of substantial rise in mortality to these causes among those with low income. Disparities in cancer mortality and ischaemic heart diseases among men also widened the gap in life expectancy. Socio-demographic characteristics explained 50-60 per cent of the excess alcohol-related mortality in the lowest quintile among men. Among women the proportion explained by these factors declined over the study period, from roughly 70 to 30 per cent. The change in the cause-of-death composition of the disparity in mortality towards alcohol-related causes emphasizes addressing mental and behavioural problems such as alcohol abuse in tackling increasing disparity in mortality.
  • Anyan, James (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This study explores how opportunities for higher education (HE) are distributed in Ghana's public universities to students; and particularly, how those from the disadvantaged sections of the Ghanaian society fare in that regard. It was approached as a multi-level (integrating elements of micro, meso and macro) and multi-perspective dual transformative case study. Drawing mainly upon data collected from semi-structured interviews with students, graduates, university officials and policy-makers, as well as secondary data archived by the relevant institutions; it examines the processes and patterns in the distribution of admission slots to students. It engages with the tensions and dilemmas confronting the universities in such allocations, and debates same, in the context of procedural justice and meritocracy on the one hand, and distributive justice and affirmative action on the other. The interactions and intersections of socio-economic and other significant variables parental education, family income, geographical location, gender and disability are discussed, principally, in the framework of effectively maintained inequality (EMI), to understand the factors influencing the patterns of distribution observed. The data were thematically analysed using both sensitising concepts from the literature review, the conceptual frameworks as well as the indigenous concepts that emerged from the data. The findings indicate that the distribution of HE seats in the two public universities selected for the study is highly inequitable with students who graduated from the few urban-based and elite upper secondary schools overrepresented while graduates from the majority rural-based and resource-poor schools are underrepresented. Although there was unanimity among the different groups of participants about the existence and persistence of the problem, their approaches to dealing with the problem proved dichotomous. While students from the rural schools, for instance, exposed their status frustration and assumed a reformist stance on the issue of remodelling the current grade-based admission system to one cognisant of the difficult circumstances under which rural students pursue their upper secondary education, their counterparts from the elite schools essentially defended the maintenance of the status quo. The majority of female participants, contrary to the views of policy-makers, strongly objected to affirmative action for the admission of females; arguing that the policy reinforces the notion that they are inferior to their male counterparts. The results further reveal a multi-layered social stratification in access to, and equity in HE in Ghana. Almost all the students and graduates who were admitted into the universities on affirmative action basis identified themselves as rural people from low-income families, with little or no parental education, and poor parental occupations. Such students, though in dire financial straits, were contrary to expectations, found to be very resilient and highly motivated to complete their studies; posting excellent academic performance. Students with disabilities were also found to be internally excluded, facing life and academic threatening challenges, whereas female students reported entrenched socio-cultural norms impeding the education and aspirations of women in the Ghanaian society. Against these backdrops, the study calls for a rethink of the current overly meritocratic admission procedures in Ghana's public universities that do harm to access and equity for the majority rural students. It further recommends financial support from government to support the affirmative action initiatives of the public universities; an improvement in the conditions of students with disability, and multi-sectoral interventions to ameliorate the barriers impeding the education of females. The successful completion of HE holding all things constant by these disadvantaged groups, with its attendant better educated citizenry, enhanced civic consciousness, empowerment and participation, in addition to other socio-economic benefits, make such investments worthwhile. Keywords: distributive justice, procedural justice, affirmative action, gender, disability, stratification.
  • Godenhjelm, Sebastian (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Over the past few decades, contemporary public policy and governance systems have been transformed in response to both local and supra-national societal problems and demands. Clear-cut means of tackling these problems and demands are rare. Public policy problems seldom fall neatly within specific jurisdictions or agencies. The state has become increasingly dependent on a wide range of policies and arrangements that produce public services, provide rapid results and facilitate timely interventions. As a response, the choice of governance mechanisms and organizational forms that enable collaborative, dynamic and flexible arrangements in the implementation of public policy becomes highly relevant. This study analyses the increasing use of temporary project organisations as new governance mechanisms in contemporary policy implementation and the prospects for action that this entails. The main argument is that project organisations could yield significant benefits and can play a vital role as horizontal as well as vertical interlinking mechanisms between various administrative levels. They could also include challenges that have not yet been fully understood. The overarching aim of the study is to conceptualise and understand the benefits and challenges related to the increasing number of temporary governance mechanisms in the form of project organisations in the public sector context. The study analyses the potential consequences and advantages of public sector projectification in four research articles and this summary article, focusing on how projectification is driven forward, as well as what the consequences of projectification are in the European Union (EU) context and the public sector in general. It considers the long-term effects of project organisations and the extent to which the added value they produce can be utilized. Who are the beneficial social partners and what types of collaborative procedures and actions are needed to achieve innovation in EU structural fund projects? The multifaceted and ambiguous nature of public sector project research, the uniqueness associated with the various actor objectives, interests and participatory procedures regarding projects, as well as their management requires a broad theoretical view and a variety of methods. Three interrelated strands of research in this respect are particularly relevant: the New Public Management (NPM) discourse, theories of Governance, and project management ideals and Governance of Projects (GoP). They represent a mixture of old and new, which is necessary in order to understand the functioning of projects and projectification as well as their embeddedness in the public sector environment. The study follows an empirically informed interpretive approach, which emphasises the intentionality of actions, practices, and social life. It uses a mixed-methods approach and advocates multi-perspectivism and paradigm interplay. It also combines different interpretations of the existing governance frameworks and public sector projects, thus acknowledging that alternative views might exist. The methods used in the individual articles represent metaevaluation, qualitative content analysis, logistic regression analysis and social network analysis (SNA). The findings highlight the lack of conceptualizations concerning the relationship between temporary and permanent structures, and suggest that an increasing temporality in public decision-making may challenge fundamental administrative values such as transparency and democratic accountability. The findings question the often over-emphasised value of using projects as opposed to other more permanent mechanisms in the public sector environment and suggest that there is a potential mismatch between the operational logic of projects and the prevailing project and program evaluation system in the public sector. Projects can act as hubs where valuable information is produced, and project stakeholder networks and various collaborative efforts can play a role in predicting project innovations. There is, however, an overly optimistic view of collaborative efforts in achieving project innovations, calling collaboration in projects into question as a direct remedy for a lack of innovation. The study concludes that an increasing use of project organisations in the public sector may have significant consequences, as well as showing that the expected advantages of project organisations are related to the rationalistic ideals, but also that temporality as such poses challenges to permanent administrative structures. Although projects might be superior to permanent structures in producing quick outputs, too much focus on the rational logic of project organisations means that their added value remains underutilized in a public sector context. The study contributes to a theoretical understanding of projectification, what the key drivers of projectification are, as well as specific public sector features that need to be accounted for in a projectified public sector. The study concludes that contextually sensitive interlinking mechanisms between temporary and permanent organizations are vital in explaining the outcome of temporary organizations in a politico-administrative context.
  • Hart, Linda (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This study is a sociological analysis of the establishment and recognition of family relations in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. How are close personal relations between adult couples and children and their parents recognised in the case law of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)? What kinds of combinations of biological, legal, social and gendered personal relations are regarded as family life in legal disputes between individual applicants and Member States of the Council of Europe? Following Nicola Lacey, the analysis develops a notion of relational subjects framed by perspectives from feminist legal theory, relational sociology and contemporary debates on the law and politics of family formation. It also offers a sociological reading of relevant ECHR case law. Relevant judgements from 1979 2014 act as primary data, supported by relevant inadmissibility decisions and reports from 1960 onwards (90 cases in total). In the data, a historical shift from emphasising status (married/unmarried, male/female) towards identity (sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic origins, genealogy) in recent case law may be identified. The notion of individual rights holders is examined from a relational perspective inspired by sociological and anthropological theory and gender studies in law, emphasising the importance of life-sustaining relations of care and dependency in the spirit of feminist relational (legal and political) theory that do not always follow preconceived structures of kinship recognition. Furthermore, it is enquired whether relations between legal subjects are more fruitfully viewed as transactional or transcendental from the point of view of two differing academic schools in the field of relational sociology, one among many other general theories on the constitution of society. It is argued that a process of divergence between alliance (marriage, civil unions, cohabitation) and filiation (legally recognised parent-child relations) has been intensified with the emergence of same-sex marriage and civil unions in the European legal arena in recent years. Politically and legally, alliance is simpler to transform into a gender-neutral legal relation than filiation. Both gender and physical sex, as social and biologico-legal dimensions of the dichotomy of masculine/feminine, provide critical perspectives to the establishment of relations of filiation. It is argued that from a human rights perspective, a gender-sensitive approach is required in relation to questions of corporeal maternity and paternity, as complex issues such as access to knowledge of one s genetic origins and the inalienability of the human body in processes of assisted reproduction crop up in many contexts of which ECHR case law is just one arena.
  • Fornaro, Paolo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    In the last couple of decades, advances in information technology have led to a dramatic increase in the availability of economic data. This doctoral dissertation consists of a collection of articles aimed at the study of various econometric methodologies that allow for the use of large datasets in macroeconomic applications. Chapters 2 and 5 present large dimensional models to nowcast and forecast macroeconomic variables of interests, such as Finnish real output and the binary recession indicator. In particular, in Chapter 2 I use microeconomic data to create timely estimates of the aggregate output indicator of the Finnish economy. In Chapter 5, I use a large dimensional probit model to compute short and long-term forecasts of the United States recession indicator. Chapters 3 and 4 consist of studies related to Finnish enteprises. Specifically, in Chapter 3 I examine the employment behavior of small and large Finnish firms and analyze how their job creation and cyclicality has differed over the last 16 years. In Chapter 4, I analyze the effect of shocks to large Finnish corporations onto the aggregate business cycle, finding that the shocks to a small number of companies are able to explain a substantial share of the fluctuations in aggregate output.