Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta


Recent Submissions

  • Kyllönen, Simo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The thesis explores critically some of the theoretical suggestions offered in the literature of environmental political philosophy to overcome the ecological challenges and suggests some promising ways forward. According to the thesis, complexity of the ecological problems, uncertainty related to them, and vulnerability to disagreements because of this, speak in favour of democratic justification of the authority: no other way of resolving the disagreements in the uncertain and complex world can be claimed to be epistemically and morally superior to democracy. Moreover, because appropriately democratic processes are able to show publicly that the (possibly) disputing interests of people are treated in equal and fair manner, the democratic outcomes are able to gain more legitimacy than those resorting solely to the environmentally grounded epistemic (eco)-authority. While democratic processes remain an essential way to produce legitimately authoritative environmental outcomes, the global and intergenerational scope of the problems requires a justification that transcends the democratic processes themselves. Here the thesis defends a Rawlsian kind of contractualism as a way to justify the authority of some global and intergenerational principles and argues that even in the existing non-ideal circumstances the Rawlsian principle of fairness gives us some guidance about the limits within which our societal institutions, laws, and policies deserve our compliance. In addition, the thesis defends the common sense no-harm principle that holds irrespective of the institutional arrangements between people. ¬Due to vast dispersion of causes and effects, a growing number of environmental ethicists have doubted its applicability in the context of large-scale environmental problems at all. Some others have proposed its application at the collective level. Contrary to these authors, the thesis provides a defence of the individualistic no-harm principle as a common-sense way to justify individuals’ duties to change their environmentally harmful behaviour and to promote more effective collective and institutional ways to prevent environmental harm. Finally, the thesis defends a sufficientarian understanding of social justice as the most plausible and coherent way to connect local, global and intergenerational demands. It is also suggested that the sufficientarian approach is capable of overcoming some theoretical challenges that rise at the intergenerational context, in which our choices have an influence not only on how well- or badly-off people in the future are, but also on who those future people are.
  • Mayer, Minna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Finnish development cooperation in the field of meteorology has continued for nearly 50 years and over 100 countries have been beneficiaries of this aid. Cooperation in this field is complex, it brings together public and private sector actors and experts from different backgrounds. Projects have succeeded in capacity development, but have struggled with sustainability. Local capacity often lowers after projects ends. Data includes interviews (n=56) with experts from the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Vaisala, Ministry for Foreign Affairs and 8 recipient countries. Archive material and policy documents are also included in analysis. Exploratory case study method applying conventional content analysis is used. The objective of the study is to explore the underlying issues influencing the challenge of sustainability. Theoretical framework includes a combination of concepts and theories: governmentality (Foucault) and analytics of government (Dean), power theories (Lukes, Clegg and French & Raven) and approaches regarding patterns of aid behavior (Hydén and Mease, Gibson et al., Burnell and Mosse). Historical analysis shows the various phases of these projects, and reflects them to the history of Finnish aid from the late 1960s to the 2010s. Experts’ experiences from the grass-roots level form an important basis for the analysis. Policy analysis shows that projects have been well-fitting with development policies up until the 2000s, after which the gap between policy and practice has widened. Cooperation is focused more on technology and less to the societal aspects of meteorology. The Ministry is not involved in practice, allowing projects to be driven towards more technology-oriented goals by the experts of meteorology, many of which who have adopted an “apolitical” strategy. This weakens connections between projects and local people. Private sector experts have adopted an opposing strategy, and engage actively with politicians, who are able to make decisions regarding purchasing of meteorological equipment. Analysis shows that all important decisions within the aid system "come from above", bureaucracy is heavy and control is tight. Lack of flexibility and trust within the system lowers the influence of the projects. Differences between the donor stakeholders are found in general approaches to key issues. Power analysis shows that the Ministry holds the most influential forms of power, while FMI and Vaisala hold mainly dispositional power. Recipients of aid lack access to important forms of power, yet they are expected to sustain capacity after projects ends. Several “donor traps” are also found to actualize, which influence outcomes of aid. In order to make projects truly sustainable for the aid recipients, the donor would have to give up some power and through that, also some accountability. This is nearly an impossible choice, since both are highly important for the donor. This study finds that within the current system, there is no one actor who has both motive and power to change aid. For the sake of the future, this is a significant challenge to overcome regarding the role of the developing nations, as well as the renewal of the aid system.
  • Kilpi, Fanny (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Social inequalities in coronary heart disease (CHD) are a notable feature of modern societies, and create a major population health burden. Though CHD incidence and mortality have been in decline in past decades, the absolute and relative inequalities by socioeconomic position (SEP) remain substantial. This thesis investigates the influence of different social determinants on MI incidence and fatality amongst ageing Finnish cohorts. The focus lies on the interdependent and independent effects of several dimensions of SEP (education, occupation, income and wealth), living arrangements and partner characteristics. The study used longitudinal study designs with large nationally representative samples derived from Finnish registers. Education, occupation, income and wealth may all serve as indicators of SEP, yet denote different types of resources with varying health consequences. The findings demonstrated that distinct relationships with MI incidence and survival were observed when comparing their independent effects. Education and occupation strongly predict MI incidence, in contrast to the more robust connection between material resources and MI fatality. Wealth, however, differed from income in that it appears to play a role at both stages of disease. In addition, the effects of education and income were observed as independent from early socioeconomic circumstances, while childhood factors such as parental education, occupation and household crowding showed modest persisting associations with MI incidence. The findings from this study support the notion that living arrangements are important factors for MI survival. Amongst men, cohabiting with a marital or non-marital partner was associated with better outcomes than living alone. Amongst women, however, marital benefits depended on material resources, while cohabiting with a non-marital partner was associated with an elevated fatality risk. The results also indicate that the partner’s education substantially impacted women in the long-term aftermath of MI, providing further evidence that the health benefits of relationships may be at least partly contingent upon the socioeconomic resources of one’s partner. For both men and women, the partner’s education appeared to serve as an additional socioeconomic resource influencing cardiac health outcomes. The findings underscore the importance of both individual and household-level socioeconomic resources for health and mortality, and demonstrate how the health consequences of social relationships and socioeconomic resources have significant overlap. In light of the attempts to reduce inequalities in CHD mortality, more attention needs to focus on the distinct influences operating at different stages of disease, using a life course perspective on the upstream determinants of risk factors in the CHD aetiology.
  • Puonti, Päivi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    This dissertation is a collection of three self-contained essays that analyse the effects of monetary and fiscal policy using novel time series econometric methods. The research questions become important both academically and for practical policy-making after the global financial crisis of the early 2000s. The main contribution of the dissertation is in applying recent time series econometric methods to highly topical policy questions. Structural vector autoregressive (SVAR) models are an important tool in the empirical analysis of monetary and fiscal policy. The difficulty with conventional SVARs is the identification of structural shocks of interest needed for meaningful impulse response analysis. In this thesis I opt for a fairly novel approach to identify economically interpretable shocks which are then used to assess the macroeconomic effects of various economic policies. The so-called statistical identification consists of exploiting the statistical properties of the error processes, such as non-normality, to identify the structural model. In the three research chapters statistical, data-based information is combined with information from other sources. The assessment of economic policy can then be based on impulse response functions that are both economically meaningful and compatible with the sample data. In Chapter 2 I study the macroeconomic effects of the risk taking channel of monetary policy. The methodological improvement makes previously used identifying restrictions statistically testable and confirms that the balance sheet management of financial intermediaries led to a lower price of risk and higher real activity in the US before the financial crisis. Chapter 3 addresses the question whether increasing government spending stimulates real activity in the US. Unlike previous empirical research using SVARs I estimate a vector error correction model (VEC) that takes into account cointegration between the variables and use non-normality of the error processes for identification. The results show that when the empirical literature does not seem to reach a conclusion – in this case with respect to the sign or size of the fiscal multiplier – the identification strategy could play a role. In Chapter 4 I analyse the macroeconomic effects of the Bank of Japan’s, the Federal Reserve’s and the European Central Bank’s unconventional monetary policies. The use of a novel Bayesian SVAR method allows basing the whole analysis on the data and provides a formal way to assess the plausibility of given sign restrictions against the data. The analysis reveals differences in the output and price effects of the three central banks’ balance sheet operations.
  • Hakoköngäs, Eemeli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Collective memory refers to a practice in which social conceptions about a common past are used to build and maintain togetherness and group identity in the present and for the future. Social representations of history describe the contents of collective memory. The present dissertation focuses on social representations of history and collective memory from the perspective of their visual forms. Visual images are important modes for communicating and creating conceptions of the past. Previous research has suggested that visual images have a strong mnemonic capacity due to their specific characteristics, including persuasion through realistic semblance, evoking emotions, creating a sense of identification, and their ability to tell narratives in a compact form. The dissertation consists of four original studies that examine visual collective memory. The material, Finnish history textbooks and advertisements, illustrates two different contexts of collective memory construction: institutional (textbooks) and informal (advertisements). Visual semiotics, as a methodological approach, is used to explain how the visual meaning system is constructed and maintained in social interactions. In this dissertation visual images are seen as giving social representations of history concrete and visible form and as activating culturally- and socially-bound meanings. The dissertation argues for the importance of analysing naturalized representations – social knowledge that has become taken for granted. The analysis of visual images of Finnish national history in textbooks shows that politics, war, and historic figures important to Finns – President Urho Kekkonen, Carl Gustaf Mannerheim and the mythical sorcerer Väinämöinen – are characteristic themes of Finnish visual collective memory. The images create a homogeneous picture of Finnishness as ethnic and religious minority groups are almost completely missing. Also, the country outside the urban areas is marginalized. The color blue, which objectifies the Finnish flag and anchors it to the idea of Finnishness, is the most widely shared element in the visualizations. Frequent yet subtle use of the color demonstrates the process of naturalization by which social knowledge acquires a firm position in the minds of group members. The analysis of Finnish advertisements shows how individual and group-level nostalgia intertwine whenever references to common conceptions invite an audience to reflect on their personal memories. The study suggests that it is possible to approach nostalgia as socially constructed and shared meaning that reflects present values, needs and desires. Advertisements construct everyday myths that serve the ideological function of representing the past as an object of desire. In the context of marketing, nostalgia is motivated by a shared concern that life today has lost some of the positive elements it once had. A combination of visual rhetoric and social representations theory help to demonstrate how commercials are used to affect not only consumer behaviour, but also broader everyday conceptions, such as the value of domestic production. In the campaigns analysed here, social representation anchored to the idea of tradition and emphasis on connections between generations serve to project a sense of continuity between the past, present and future. The results show how processes of anchoring, objectification and naturalization serve as tools of visual collective memory. The studies develop the use of visual semiotic analysis in social representations research for different types of visual material. Finally, the present dissertation suggests that analysing visual images complements our understanding of the characteristics of collective memory, and more generally, of the nature and processes of socially-constructed everyday knowledge.
  • Karimi, Farid (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    A consensus exists that the current trend of energy consumption growth and CO2 emissions cannot continue if global warming is to be tackled. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has been considered in many countries for addressing climate change. CCS is a technology that curbs CO2 emission by removing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it in carbon sinks, such as depleted oil and gas fields. CCS is a controversial technology. Notable opposition to and different perceptions of the technology exist among stakeholders, including experts, politicians and laypeople. Therefore, it is important to understand these diverse perceptions and their roots. I have developed a means towards such an understanding. I show that national culture influences both laypeople and expert perceptions. Moreover, it seems likely that cultural orientation affects some of the other factors, such as trust. In addition, I show that although mainstream research and literature consider experts as unbiased and rational stakeholders, both laypeople and experts have similar underlying cultural features and thus their models of perception follow a similar trend in a society. I specify how cultural orientations and their characteristics shape the perception of CCS technology and influence the reactions of people. For instance, hierarchical nations with high uncertainty avoidance have a tendency towards a higher level of risk perception. In contrast, nations that are characterised by social harmony might have a lower level of risk perception of a technology that could increase the long-term quality of life. This research is a comparative study; comparisons were performed between countries and between laypeople and experts. I used mixed methods to address the research questions. The quantitative part of the study is based on survey data analysis and the qualitative part involves both discourse analysis of interviews and Function of Innovations Systems (FIS) analysis. This research contributes to risk governance of CCS by developing a new framework that policymakers and authorities can use as a tool to consider the unheeded issue of culture in their planning. I demonstrate who is concerned with what and why with respect to the technology. Finally, I discuss the implications of this study, including policy recommendations. For instance, the European Commission might plausibly benefit from the framework when considering its budget allocation and communication with member states to study CCS projects and to estimate the failure or success of a project.
  • Kemppainen, Teemu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    Insecure and restless neighbourhood conditions lower the quality of life, imply health risks and may accelerate segregation through selective migration. This study examined subjective insecurity and perceptions of social disorder—including public drunkenness, vandalism, threatening behaviour and the like—in different residential contexts. The focus was on Finnish post-WWII housing estates built in the 1960s and 1970s. Compared to other kinds of neighbourhoods, these areas often suffer from a negative reputation related to poverty, insecurity and disorder. However, the residents’ views are often at odds with the negative public image. There is a lack of reliable evidence on where estates stand in comparison to other kinds of neighbourhoods. Furthermore, the full diversity of estates has typically not been addressed in prior studies. Empirically, the study relied on three sets of survey data that were combined with contextual register data. The covered area varies from Helsinki to the entire country while the contextual units range from statistical grids to city districts. The key findings were the following: 1) The level of perceived social disorder was only slightly higher in the estates built in the 1960s and 1970s than in other multi-storey neighbourhoods. This small difference was due to socio-economic disadvantage. As expected, the low-rise neighbourhoods were considerably more peaceful than the multi-storey ones. 2) Rental-dominated tenure structure exposed the estate residents to higher levels of perceived disorder because rental estates are typically more disadvantaged. Social integration of the estate community played no role in terms of disorder. In contrast, the level of normative regulation partly explained why disadvantage is related to disorder. 3) At the district level, disadvantage, disorder (from police registers), residing in proximity to a metro or train station and living in a social housing flat exposed residents to subjective insecurity. Victimisation partly mediated the association between disadvantage and insecurity. The study shed light on the diversity of estates. From the point of view of social life, estates markedly differ from each other. Tenure structure has a decisive influence on the socio-economic structure, which implies differences in normative regulation and social order. This is an important finding in terms of tenure-mix policies. Compared to rental-dominated neighbourhoods, a more mixed tenure structure implies a less disadvantaged and more regulated local community, which paves way for a more peaceful local social life.
  • Laaksonen, Salla-Maaria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    This doctoral thesis investigates how the reputations of organizations are narrated in the hybrid media system, characterized by different media logics and technological principles, and the affective attunement of storytelling stakeholders. The research problem is two-fold: first, to study how the new communication landscape affects the formation of organizational reputation, and second, to investigate the cognitive and emotional influences of reputation in the hybrid media system. The dissertation sees organizational reputation as a communicative phenomenon, which exists both as individual beliefs and socially constructed narratives that are born and circulated in the hybrid media system. Hybrid stands for a combination of older and newer media forms, which are intertwined in complex and dynamic assemblages, formed by individuals, affects, social contexts, organizations, and technological platforms, who all mutually influence the process of storytelling. The dissertation is a compilation of five articles. It employs a parallel mixed methods approach by using four different data sets: interviews with communication professionals in organizations; social media discussions; Wikipedia data; and psychophysiological measurements. With a multimethodological approach the study builds a bridge between the different schools of reputation studies: reputations are constructed as narratives that also have measurable effects on the people who consume them. In light of the results, a hybrid reputation narrative is polyphonic, emotional, and is formed in a context characterized by relative power structures between human and non-human actors. It is a form of narrative, in which the story elements can be stored in databases, searched, and hyperlinked by various, interacting actors, who through their use of the technical platforms generate the reputation narrative from fragmentary story pieces by merging opinions and facts. This dissertation highlights two aspects: the interplay between the social and the technological, and the importance of affect. First, the technological affordances and the social practices together form the settings in which the narrating takes place in the hybrid media system. Second, affect emerges as an inherent property of reputation, as an important characteristic of the reputation narratives, and as a feature to evaluate different platforms.
  • Grip, Lina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The thesis explores African small arms control practices and how these have emerged and changed over time. The thesis traces the origin of small arms control practices in Africa by using a historical narrative methodology. It then categorizes and interprets the findings using a critical theory, historical-relationalism , and identifies five different small arms control practices embedded in different historical periods: the pre-colonial, the imperial, the colonial, the decolonial and the neoliberal governance system. These systems are described, compared and situated in their historical contexts. The neoliberal governance system is specifically explored through an in-depth case study of the Nairobi Protocol. The Nairobi Protocol is an intergovernmental convention adopted by states in East and Central Africa to address proliferation of small arms and light weapons. Based on the institutional design and implementation record of the Nairobi Protocol, as well as evidence of simultaneous ongoing militarism in member states, the author draws conclusions about neoliberal governance as small arms control practice. She finds that neoliberal governance of small arms is associated with technical-, administrative- and legal reforms, aimed at protecting state and market interests, by, for example, enhancing controls of weapon flows not sanctioned by the state, while enabling state sanctioned proliferation.
  • Muszynski, Lisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    This dissertation examines the deeply hidden metaphysical presuppositions from traditional philosophy of language that are built into the theoretical construct history-as-fiction. This construct is Hayden White's main contribution to the linguistic turn in the study of history-writing, or historiography, and is framed here from roughly the early 1970s to the early 2000s. History-as-fiction posits the figural nature of historical consciousness in terms of the master tropes of rhetoric (i.e., metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony). This figural analysis, which White developed on the basis of Giambattista Vico's 18th-century metaphor (tropic) theory of language, hypothesizes the unconscious linguistic strategies as structuring elements in historians writings. White is unaware, however, that this tropic theory unmakes history-as-fiction by sidelining the very framework it was meant to fulfill. Classical literary theory, which White employed as his framework in developing his tropic analysis, emerged from structural linguistics as developed in the early 20th century by linguist Ferdinand de Saussure. Saussure's key principle of language is the arbitrariness of the binary linguistic sign (i.e., the random pairing of the sound of a word with its meaning). This binary arbitrariness separated mind from body and was the cornerstone upon which Saussure constructed the science of modern linguistics as a system of linguistic value. By contrast, Vico's key principle of language was the necessary dependence of language on the human body acting in the world. The strategy of this thesis is to separate White's figural, tropological (Vichian) analysis from his (post)structuralist (Saussurean) framework, within which he analyzed history-as-fiction. From my methodological standpoint of autopoietic enactive embodiment (AE), I examine tropology and (post)structuralism within their own philosophical contexts and logics. My examination reveals a hidden tension between the two principles of language underpinning each theoretical strand of White s construct history-as-fiction. By decoupling the two strands, I explore the source of the tension at the core of history-as-fiction in its unmaking.
  • Seppo, Antti (Unigrafia, 2017)
    This study focuses on aspects of change in German strategic culture, i.e. on the changes in ways of thinking about and pursuing security and defence policy and the views on the questions of peace, war and the use of military force, in particular after the end of the Cold War. The overarching aim of the study is to provide a novel reading on German strategic culture, and this has been done by shifting the focus of research on strategic culture from the study of continuity to the study of change. This enables us to tell better stories about strategic cultures both in terms of how internal and external challenges leading to questions about the continuity of strategic cultural patterns and how strategic culture is shaped by the social and political reality of the strategic actors. The first main contribution of the study is to question the mantra of continuity that has been the primary object of study in the existing strategic culture research. This mantra has ultimately led to a rather stale and static state of affairs in terms of the contributions that strategic culture research is able to make in the field of International Relations. Instead, the study argues for a research agenda that identifies the nature, mechanisms and outcomes of strategic cultural change. The study achieves this by critically assessing the existing accounts of strategic cultural change and creating an analytical framework that stresses both the processes and outcomes of strategic cultural change. This framework is informed by critical realist metatheory since it enables us to move ahead of the epistemological impasse of the existing studies by focusing on the ontological aspects of strategic culture. This framework identifies the experience of warfare as the primary mechanism of change in strategic cultures. The second key contribution of the study is to apply this analytical framework in the study of German strategic culture. The empirical case studies cover the German strategic cultural track record since the end of World War II, with a clear focus on the developments after the end of the Cold War. These case studies show, firstly, how shifts within the normative structure of German strategic culture have shaped German views on the use of military force, and, subsequently, how they led to shifts and changes in German strategic practices. Secondly, the case studies underline the role of external shocks (e.g. the massacre at Srebrenica) in triggering change within German strategic culture. Thirdly, the case studies also provide a basis for a critique of some of the more widely accepted claims regarding German security and defence policy, such as the notion of normalisation or Sonderweg (special path). Finally, the analysis also suggests that counterfactual argumentation can be a useful analytical tool in assessing the importance of some of these developments in the evolution of German strategic culture. The third primary contribution of the study is a critical assessment of the process of coming to terms with the German past and how this affects German strategic culture. The study stresses the importance of socio-cognitive factors in the evolution of strategic cultures and identifies the shift from guilt to responsibility as one of the key changes in post-Cold War German strategic culture. Furthermore, the study recognizes the continuing impact and relevance of the German past on the further development of German strategic culture, even though the focus of the German debate has partly shifted from whether Germany can use military force to a discussion on the means and ends of the use of military force.
  • Kochetkova, Elena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    This study is devoted to technology transfer from the West (primarily from Finland) to the Soviet forestry industry during a period of rapid modernization under the rule of Nikita Khrushchev during the 1950s and 1960s. Under Khrushchev, the USSR sought to catch up and overtake America . However, in the post-war period the Soviet Union suffered from a dearth of technology and expertise, and technology transfer from more developed foreign industries became a crucial aspect of modernization. Despite geopolitical competition and a vast ideological divide, Khrushchev aimed to transfer updated Western technologies to the USSR in different forms and practices. The Soviet Union established scientific-technical connections with several countries. The main source of modern technologies and machinery needed for paper and pulp production in particular was neutral Finland, which could be considered as a window to Western technological achievements for the Soviet Union. Exemplifying unique relations of West and East in the Cold War, Finland sold many techniques and provided expertise within the framework of scientific-technical cooperation. This dissertation examines the role that technology transfer from the other side of the Iron Curtain played in Soviet modernization from 1955 to 1964. How did technical cooperation with a Western country develop in the context of the Cold War? How and in what forms did Soviet institutions and engineers transfer technologies? How did they deal with more advanced machinery and new expertise? How did they apply the new technologies and how did Soviet domestic research develop? Did these technologies help renew machinery, launch new production and enhance the development of the industry, as expected? If not, why? And, in general, did these foreign technologies lead to technological modernization? In answering these questions, the dissertation sometimes refers to previous periods in order to trace continuities and change. Examining a vast collection of archival and published sources and using methods of the history of technology, the dissertation is focused on the forestry industry, which was one of key fields for expected positive changes in Khrushchev`s modernization. Its technological improvement was necessary not only for the increase of pulp and paper production to meet expanding consumption demands; the forestry industry was also a supplier for a large number of other both civilian and military industries, the latter of which received particular importance during the Cold War. Several plants and factories annexed after the Second Would War (in particular from Finland and the Baltic states) provided for the production of new sorts of pulp needed for military use, and technological modernization of these factories as well as launching new production in other Soviet enterprises was seen as a crucial action for the development of many other industries. Cold War forestry technologies, thus, exemplified their capacity to be a site of exchange , enabling cooperation among different industries, engineers, scientists and institutions. The dissertation illustrates that technologies from Finland and from the West via Finland played a significant role in the Soviet economy while creating a need for continuing transfer. The Soviet leadership aimed to create its own innovations to launch domestic production of the newest technologies. While Soviet engineers succeeded in implementing some technologies, they failed to develop Soviet ones. The Soviet industry remained dependent on cooperation with countries with more advanced industry. The main reasons for this were shortages of raw materials. In addition, technical expertise in industrial enterprises contributed to this dependence. Additionally, within the USSR, there were barriers to technology transfer between institutions. Generally, the successful implementation of Western technologies was possible only when all the details, machinery and expertise, needed for the technology were transferred. At the same time, as a framework for cultural encounters, transfer entailed cultural impacts on Soviet engineers which helped them become more reflexive about work conditions and management practices at Soviet enterprises.
  • Pettersson, Katarina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    This doctoral dissertation explores how populist radical right politicians in Finland and Sweden use political blogs for the purpose of nationalist political communication and persuasion. The study builds upon research that has highlighted the growing importance of social media in the transmission of radical right, nationalist and anti-immigration political discourse, and to the central role of these media in the gradual normalisation of such discourse. Moreover, the study acknowledges the potential indicated by previous research of political blogs to function as tools for voter persuasion and mobilisation. The study aims to contribute with insights on how social psychological dynamics such as self-presentation, identity-constructions, discursive divisions between ingroups and outgroups , strategies of persuasion, and appeals to emotions and nostalgic memories are involved in these processes. The dissertation examines blog-entries by members of the populist radical right parties the Finns Party (Perussuomalaiset) in Finland and the Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna) in Sweden during 2007-2015. The bloggers who are the focus of the study represent, first, the parties extreme anti-immigration factions, comprised first and foremost of white men (Studies I and IV); second, the parties women s leagues (Study II); and third, politicians with immigrant or other ethnic minority background who have chosen to join a populist radical right party (Study III). The critical discursive and rhetorical psychological study explores the nationalist political blog discourse at three levels: it investigates the arguments it contains; by what verbal, visual and digital means these arguments are presented in order to seem convincing; and what implications these formulations might have in a social and political sense. In so doing, the study approaches the political blog-discourse as part and parcel of its broader argumentative context. This dissertation contributes to social psychological research on nationalist political communication and persuasion in three central ways. First, by delving into the discourse of both white men, women and ethnic minority members in populist radical right parties, it provides an understanding of the diversity of voices within such parties. Women and immigrants within these parties seem to be faced with particular dilemmas: the former ones with that between societal norms of gender equality and the patriarchal politics of the populist radical right; and the latter ones with that of being an immigrant in an anti-immigration political party. The critical discursive and rhetorical analyses of this study are able to show how these politicians strive to reconcile such dilemmas in their blog-discourse in ways that nevertheless remain faithful to the promotion of patriarchal and nationalist political causes. Second, this dissertation extends the critical discursive and rhetorical approach with analytical tools from narrative psychology, social semiotic studies of images and studies of online political communication. Thus moving beyond the text in its analytical approach, the study is able to explore the multitude of (audio-)visual, digital and communicative features contained in political blogs, and how these interact with classical rhetorical strategies, narrative structures, and socially and culturally rooted discursive resources in the construction of nationalist political arguments. Third, the study shows that the (audio-)visual, digital and communicative features of the blogs allow for the presentation of socially sensitive and even racist political views without the individual blogger having to express an explicit personal opinion on the matter at hand. Because of these features political blogs seem to constitute an optimal sphere for nationalist political communication and persuasion: they enable the conveying of powerful, credible and emotion-provoking messages, yet they concomitantly protect the blogger from charges of holding racist views. Discourse contained in political blogs does not remain in the blogosphere, but becomes circulated in mainstream media and thus influences the broader societal and political debate. In order to grasp the character and societal implications of contemporary political communication and persuasion, this dissertation thus encourages social psychological research to develop its tools for critically studying discourse contained in political blogs.
  • Kurronen, Sanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    In countries highly dependent on their mineral resource sectors, the failure to diversify industrial activity is sometimes characterized as a resource curse. Several factors which are known to be harmful for economic development, such as a lower level of education and poor governance, have been shown to be present in resource-dependent countries. It is not clear, however, whether a resource curse is merely the natural outcome of organizing an economy around its resource sector based on a country s factor endowments. If the resource industry does not need a particularly well educated labor force or a highly developed legal system, it is not surprising that those areas do not develop in countries with a large resource sector. This thesis focuses on unraveling the link between the resource curse and finance. All three articles take a different approach to the same question: does finance play a role in enhancing the resource curse? The first article, using cross-country panel data, presents evidence that domestic bank lending to the private sector is less common and the use of market-based finance more common in resource-dependent countries than in their resource-poor counterparts. That could create an environment difficult for small firms or emerging industries, which are known to rely on domestic bank lending. The second article enters more deeply into the reasons behind this first finding and, using firm-level data, presents evidence that resource firms use less debt and debt of longer maturity than other non-financial firms. Similarly, firms in other sectors in resource-dependent countries have less debt than firms with similar characteristics in other countries. The results suggest that resource firms have demand for a certain type of finance, which could steer the supply of financial services in resource-dependent countries. The third article shows empirical evidence that an oil price collapse adversely affects leverage of not only resource firms but also other firms in resource-dependent countries. In other countries, however, only the resource sector is harmed by the fall in oil price. This fact suggests that volatility is one channel through which the resources affect finance in resource-dependent countries. All in all, the results show that finance is a channel through which the resource curse operates. Resource firms have demand for a certain type of financial services, which could affect the supply of financial services in resource-dependent countries. The financial sector could be formed to serve the needs of large resource firms, and it perhaps leaves other types of firms with inadequate service. Moreover, external commodity price shocks adversely affect firm leverage growth in resource-dependent countries. Consequently, addressing the financial needs of non-resource firms in resource-dependent countries could help to mitigate the resource curse.
  • Yang, Lei (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    The association between socioeconomic status and health has been well studied. It has been found that people in higher social classes generally have better health and a lower mortality. However, it is still inconclusive whether the health advantage acquired by people with a higher socioeconomic status weakens in later life. Although empirical evidence in Western societies has revealed different age-related patterns of health inequality, little is known about the situation in China, which has the largest population of elderly people in the world. Recent studies in some industrialised societies also indicate that socioeconomic status is not only individual but also family level resource. In other words, the family s socioeconomic status affect the health of family members. However, few studies have been conducted in middle-income countries such as China. Unlike in Western societies, co-residence with children is still the main living arrangement among the Chinese elderly, and family members play a significant role in the provision of healthcare for them. Thus, it is reasonable to speculate that the socioeconomic status of family members is even more important in terms of maintaining the health of elderly people in China than it is in Western societies. The main objective of the present study was to investigate the trajectories of health in later life by means of different indicators of socioeconomic status, and to assess whether, and if so how the socioeconomic status of family members affects the health and mortality risk of elderly people in China. The specific aim was to find out whether elderly people with a higher socioeconomic status have better physical and cognitive functioning at baseline and a lower rate of decline with age. A further aim was to assess the extent to which higher educational levels among spouses and offspring are associated with self-rated good health and a lower mortality risk among elderly people. The data used in this study came from the Chinese Longitudinal Health and Longevity Survey (CLHLS) conducted in China in 2002-2011. The CLHLS produced the largest set of population-based survey data covering Chinese people aged 65 and over. It was based on internationally compatible questionnaires and yielded extensive information on socioeconomic status, family structure and background, living arrangements, daily activities, life styles, and health conditions. The results indicate that elderly people with a higher socioeconomic status have generally better physical and cognitive functioning at baseline, but the higher status did not protect against a decline in functioning with age. High education and household income predicted better cognitive functioning but were not associated with activities of daily living (ADL) functioning at baseline. High income was related to better instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) functioning but had no effect on the rate of change in IADL. Inadequate financial resources and unavailability of health services were mainly associated with poorer physical functioning at baseline. The findings also revealed an association between higher spousal education and a lower mortality risk among elderly people. Male elderly people living with a highly-educated child seem to have a lower mortality risk than those living with offspring educated to a low level. It was also found that elderly men and women with a low level of education but living with highly-educated adult children were more likely to report good health, although the interaction effect was only significant for females. Thus, the main effect of education on mortality among elderly males should be interpreted with caution because it may vary according to the education of co-resident children. The findings attest to the importance of socioeconomic status, in particular access to financial resources and health care services, in maintaining physical functioning among elderly people in China. Furthermore, living with a highly educated spouse or child also plays a significant role in reducing mortality risk.