Faculty of Social Sciences


Recent Submissions

  • Savonen, Tuomas (The Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters, 2020)
    This study examines the life and political line of Gus Hall (1910-2000), the long-time general secretary of Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA). The first main part of the study examines Hall’s Finnish American background and his life until 1959 when he became the general secretary of the CPUSA. The second main part focuses on the 1960s and looks closely at Hall’s political line during the first decade of his general secretaryship. The study shows that Gus Hall’s political line went through several major changes over the decades. Young Arvo Halberg – as Gus Hall was then known – joined the Communist Party in 1927. His Stalinist upbringing was perfected in Moscow’s International Lenin School in which he studied in the early 1930s. In the 1930s, when he served as a leader in demonstrations and strikes in Minnesota and Ohio, Halberg/Hall was sometimes ready to resort to violence to improve the conditions of the working class. In the early 1940s Hall gave his support to the Americanized communism of the CPUSA’s general secretary Earl Browder. In the mid-1940s, as the party went through a dramatic leadership change, Hall re-invented himself as a supporter of the more Soviet-minded communism of the new party leadership. In the late 1950s Hall once again changed his political line as the party went through tumultuous change following Nikita Khrushchev’s revelations concerning Stalin. Hall now represented himself as a moderate centrist who was ready to reform the CPUSA. Reforms were few, however, during Hall’s first decade as general secretary. The party continued following closely the political line of the Soviet Union. As a consequence, the party was not seen as an interesting alternative by the young New Left radicals of the 1960s. Hall’s Soviet-minded line was best exemplified by the CPUSA’s reaction to the Warsaw Pact occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The CPUSA was one of the few Western Communist Parties which wholeheartedly accepted the Warsaw Pact measure. As Hall’s political line changed several times before the 1960s, he can be criticized of being an opportunist. In the 1960s, however, his line was consistent. It can be best described with the concept of proletarian internationalism. In the language of the international communist movement, proletarian internationalism self-evidently included the idea of Soviet Union’s unchallenged leadership.
  • Käkönen, Mira (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This is a study of expertise and power relations in riverine resourcification processes. With a focus on hydraulic infrastructuring and hydrosocial ordering efforts in the Mekong Region, I seek to contribute new perspectives to the analysis of water, energy and climate change governing. The central research question is how water resources are made and governed in the Mekong Region and with what effects, especially in terms of the consequent new power formations and implications for the lives of the Mekong’s riverine residents. This question is timely. Currently, the rivers in the region are being dammed and engineered at an accelerating pace, making the Mekong Basin a scene of one of the most intensive hydropower developments in the world. Around two hundred large dams are at different stages of development in the mainstream and tributaries of the Mekong. The study has global relevance because the actors, rationales and techniques involved epitomise those shaping the current resurgence of hydropower development and other large infrastructure projects in the global South. As I argue, the emergent governmental assemblages enabling the hydropower development are not only intensively present in the Mekong but also partially created there. The research is grounded in the interpretive research tradition of the social sciences and situated at the interface of environmental and development studies. It builds on Foucault-inspired research, especially in the field of political ecology. The analysis contributes to studies of hydrosocial relations and bridges the political-ecological research on water and on climate change. Moreover, it provides new insights on the co-constitutive relations between resources and power formations which have relevance for recent political ecology discussions on resource- and state-making. The constituent and constitutive power formations of resourcification include technoscientific, infrastructural, discursive, corporate and sovereign as well as territorial state powers. It also examines the socio-spatial configurations that emerge from resource-making processes. Analysis of the ways technoscience and technical infrastructures are implicated in the possibilities of hydrosocial ordering forges connections with science and technology studies. In the course of five published articles I examine a range of attempts to fix in place certain sets of biophysical, infrastructural, discursive and socio-political relations. I approach these fixing efforts as part of resource-making processes that seek to render the Mekong’s riverine flows and environments more ‘productive’, investable and exploitable, and governable and controllable. I begin the analysis with the Mekong Delta of Vietnam, the early colonial frontier for water resourcification that has since become the part of the Mekong Basin where the plans of ‘full control’ with aspirations of ‘acclimatisation’ have been materialised to the fullest extent. I sketch out the main continuities and ruptures in the Delta’s intensive hydrosocial and agro-hydraulic ordering efforts, and outline their major effects. I then shift my attention to the more recent hydropower boom in Laos and Cambodia, and the various elements enabling it in terms of knowledge production, the new sustainability standards of hydropower dams and climate change-related rationalisations and techniques. Finally, I bring to the fore how enclavistic, post-neoliberal hydropower projects in Cambodia get entangled with other processes of resource-making, with illiberal processes of state formation and the intensification of Chinese influence. The study shows how the past and current modes of fixing hydrosocial relations have been shaped by a complex interplay of different rationales and techniques of governing. It also highlights the importance of the legacies of past hydraulic endeavours, their infrastructural powers, and those of fluvial waters. I identify two waves of hydraulic infrastructuring with differing patterns of water resourcification. Characteristic of the first wave is that resourcification efforts tended towards uniform and centrally coordinated hydrosocial orderings while the resourcification efforts of the second wave exhibit more dispersed, corporate-led modes of hydrosocial orderings. A major change in hydraulic infrastructuring has been the increasing disjointedness between damming and river basin planning because of the proliferation of concessionary hydropower projects. The contradictory predicament of the current resurgence of hydropower is that while large dams are being justified on the basis of multiplying purposes – from poverty alleviation to the better governing of climate change – the concessionary dams are, in fact, geared almost solely towards optimising riverine affordances in terms of their hydroelectricity production. Thus, the concessionary governing mode through which the enclavistic, water-resourcification pattern of second-wave dams has evolved is shown to be animated by neoliberal governing rationales but also shaped by illiberal governing logics. While the enclavistic dams strengthen corporate powers over hydrosocial relations and may limit the development of state hydraulic powers, the study also highlights effects which overflow the enclave boundaries and strengthen other aspects of party-state rule in Laos and Cambodia. The resultant waterscapes of the various infrastructuring efforts analysed in this study are variegated: variously networked and with divergent power formations. There is also variation in the magnitude of the effects and in the mechanisms of how the benefits and adversities of the projects are distributed. Yet all of them, including the ‘sustainable’ dams with eco-modern safeguard policies, radically disrupt fluvial relationalities, diminish possibilities for diverse and decentralised river uses, tend toward more centralised control of hydrosocial relations, and make vulnerable those with the most intimate riverine connections. Despite these similar effects, a nuanced analysis of the ordering assemblages shaping each effort of fixing the fluid is relevant, as it enables more detailed reflection on the distributed responsibilities. Overall, the analysis illustrates how large-scale hydraulic infrastructures built and planned in the Mekong Region entail drastic alterations in hydrosocial relations. Keywords: Cambodia, Clean Development Mechanism, climate change, fluvial relationalities, frontiers, hydraulic infrastructuring, hydrosocial ordering, Laos, large dams, Mekong Region, political ecology, power formations, resourcification, rivers, Vietnam
  • Mäntyneva, Päivi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This dissertation is an institutionally oriented ethnographic study of rehabilitative work. Rehabilitative work was established and institutionalized in the early 2000s as part of the welfare state and service system. It brings together people from a wide range of life situations and authorities from various branches of government in a multidisciplinary manner. The research explores, broadens, and brings new social scientific knowledge on rehabilitation work from the perspectives of inclusion, human agency, and capabilities. The study opens up new possibilities on how social policy is pursued and implemented and not separated from the everyday lives of people. Active social policy has had tangible impacts on people’s lives in situations of extended and even chronic unemployment. Data were collected as a multi-location ethnography in three work units during 2015–2016. The fieldwork lasted eight months and was preceded by approximately six months of planning and practical preparatory work. The research material included interview materials for participants in rehabilitation work (37 in total) and fieldnotes of three units of work activities. A total of 25 interviews were conducted with participants in social rehabilitation, work placements (internships), work trials (job test participants), and employees. In addition, empirical research compiled written documents on work activities and its practices in different units. This research challenges the myth that everyone involved in rehabilitative work is in need of rehabilitation. According to the study, there are many people for whom the primary reason for participation was the lack of paid employment. Thus, the way in which rehabilitative work activities is used as part of ocial policy has changed. From the perspective of inclusion, the existence of rehabilitative work activities is unclear. Meaningful action, cohesion, and the experience of autonomy strengthened inclusion. Rehabilitative work also proved to be a part of the negative cycle of unemployment, creating a deadlock that weakened participants’ expectations for the future. The consequences of rehabilitative work activities for inclusion, human agency, and opportunities for action had been differentiated. In addition, there were differences in operating practices between work units. Without positive transitions and future horizons, the promising opportunities for rehabilitative work to promote inclusion and strengthen engagement remained temporary and interrupted, or even sudden erupted. In spite of good intentions, rehabilitative work and the capabilities it offers can strengthen social distances and exclusion rather than favourable capabilities. Theoretical concepts of this research, inclusion, human agency, and capabilities, unite all people. The strength of the policy supporting capabilities can be that it can make the direction of social policy and welfare services more sustainable. Key concepts: rehabilitative work activities, institutional ethnography, inclusion, capabilities, human agency
  • Aniluoto, Arto (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This is a comparative study of the formal organisational structures of well-established European universities. The intense contemporary scholarly discussion on the convergence versus divergence claims of universities has so far mostly not reached the actual empirical change dynamics of the universities’ organisational structures at their population level. This research contributes to that discussion by comparing the long-term development in the organisational structures of a large group of well-established European universities, and clarifies the evolution of historical university models (from their medieval beginnings, through strong 19th century national influences, to their 20th century national Higher Education System adaptations), through which both the organisational structures of universities and the higher education systems of European countries have been born, developed and replicated. The research belongs to the field of higher education research, with certain reliance also on university history. The study utilises Henry Mintzberg’s ‘structures in fives’ theory, and organisational ecology on the population level, within the framework of structural contingency theory. The research problem is to chart how the organisational structures of well-established European universities have developed since the Second World War and in relation to the convergence and divergence claims. This is achieved by comparing the universities’ organisational structures, their units and organisation levels, configuration sizes, shapes, dispersal, differentiation, attributes and affiliations with both the historical university models, and the universities as organisational populations of the higher education systems level. International longitudinal series and database data of 106 European universities are used to cover a 50-year study period from 1962 to 2013. The results demonstrate how the European universities have within the study period differentiated and multiplied many times over, both as institutions and within their internal organisational structures. In the 21st century, the changes have accelerated and their effects have differentiated, leading to new types of above-faculty layers and organisational reforms. The convergence versus divergence discussion of universities is clarified by parsing the exhibited phenomena to the three organisational levels of higher education: the local higher education institutions (HEIs), the mostly national higher education systems (HESs) and the global higher education network (GHEN). The results of the research presented can be utilised in designing university reforms and university organisations of the future, by consciously choosing from a greater set of compared structural alternatives.
  • Boonjubun, Chaitawat (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Urban poverty remains persistent. Both the housing and employment needs of the urban poor remain key features of this social problem. Existing research has tended to explain these conditions as a function of the concentration of capital and the exploitation of labour. These are necessary, but they leave out a crucial element: urban land. The aim of this doctoral dissertation is to close this loop. Drawing on the urban land approach pioneered by Anne Haila (1988; 2016), this dissertation provides a discussion about land, not only as an explanation but also as a contributory current to ameliorating urban poverty. To do so, the dissertation examines three types of urban land—public land, private land, and religious land—and attempts to answer the following research questions: what are the urban problems concerning the uses of each land type by the poor?; why do these problems persist?; and how can they be addressed? To answer these questions, empirical materials were collected through interviewing diverse local actors; observing land use practices; and analysing official documents including laws, regulations, policies, and plans. This dissertation focuses on the interrelated notions of the right to land, the regulatory and licensing systems of public land, urban informality, gated communities, and the urban commons. Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, provides the context for the empirical part of this research. In addition, this dissertation includes an analysis of the uses of Buddhist temple land in other Thai cities to show different characteristics of the Thai urban land system and how it can instantiate one way of enhancing the livelihoods of the urban poor. The main body of the dissertation consists of three articles. Each article investigates the uses of each land type—and the findings in these three articles flesh out the arguments, making up the substance of this dissertation. The first article analyses the goals, practices, and effects of a street clearance plan by the city government of Bangkok. Published in Cities, the article discusses street vendors' rights, property claims, conflicting interests, and varied survival strategies for coping with the eviction that affected the vendors’ lives and livelihood. The second article concerns gated communities in Bangkok. This article, published in Social Sciences, develops a context-specific conceptualisation of gating. In contrast to the prototypical Western concept of gated communities—which holds that gated communities are enclosed private residential space built exclusively for the middle class, while the poor are found in ‘informal’ settlements—the article shows the diversification of gated communities. It points out that gated communities are not only spatially constructed but also socially constructed. That is also the aim of the third article of this dissertation, accepted for publication by The American Journal of Economics and Sociology. Buddhist temples are built on a type of land where the property relations are quite distinct from both private and public land systems. Do such alternative systems of urban land tenure produce different urban forms from those of private and public tenure systems? Drawing on original data collected from Thai cities, this appears to be the case. Thai Sangha law prohibits temples from selling their land. This religious land, then, is inalienable, acting as ‘urban commons’. The results of this dissertation are summarised as follows. Firstly, the study of a city government’s plan to reorganise public land aimed at removing street vending activities from streets and using these socially ‘purified’ streets as a magnet for attracting investors and tourists unmasks the harmful effects of implementing spatial order and discipline. Street vendors were evicted, tensions between the vendors and city authorities increased, and streets became unsafe. Secondly, in examining the uses of private land, the dissertation discusses residential segregation by income and the proliferation of gated communities in Bangkok. The findings illustrate that there exist gated communities in which the urban poor are the residents; amenities and club services in gated communities are available to non-residents as well; and, the residents of gated communities seek contact and socialise with outsiders. Thirdly, the results of the empirical study on the uses of religious land demonstrate a radically different urban form. While still maintaining their role as ‘landlords’, Thai Buddhist temple caretakers are not utility-maximising. Instead, they maintain their role as social and communal landlords by leasing their land for the urban poor to use for housing, vending, and farming with nominal rents being charged. In turn, in temple urban spaces, where the moral aspect of religious land and ethical considerations on land prevail, social marginalisation is minimal. Indeed, not only are residents decently housed, their livelihoods are far more certain and rewarding. This dissertation argues that how urban land in Bangkok is currently used is overbearingly based on exchange value rather than use value. Laws and regulations concerning land and real estate development have prioritised the development of private land over the uses of land for wealth and income redistribution and poverty eradication. Moreover, as this study shows, in managing the urban land, the city government of Bangkok has apparently failed to treat public land as a public good. These are forces that have led to the persistence of urban poverty, wealth and income inequalities, and marginalisation of the poor, which together represent the pressing urban problems concerning the uses of urban land by poor people. This dissertation calls for a type of urban policy that takes into consideration the rights, interests, and livelihoods of public land users and their contributions to the city. It also questions the usefulness of the Western gated community concept and points to the importance of emphasising local and historical conditions concerning land and housing development, highlighting social norms and practices, and zooming in on socio-spatial characteristics of the neighbourhood in which gated communities are situated when analysing enclosed residential spaces and the social relations in and around them. While clearly still problematic in the sense that gating creates a spatial tension between ‘modernity’ and ‘tradition’, a contrast which is often resolved by emphasising the former over the latter, appreciating local nuances within a wider global context can pave the way for alternatives. This dissertation encourages urban scholars to investigate further the existing types of urban land (non-private forms of urban land tenure such as communal land, collectively owned land, and other types of religious land) in other cities, which could be considered as alternatives to land commodification and financialisation.
  • Mykkänen, Marjaana (The Faculty of Social Sciences, 2020)
    This doctoral dissertation starts from the premise that the presence of and exposure to factual programming can have an indispensable effect on societies and individuals. The focus of the study is in the quality of and viewers’ engagement with small audience factual television programmes and programming in Finland. This dissertation explores the seemingly self-evident, quiet, uneventful television viewing, which, when examined more closely, is actually a multifaceted and rich part of factual audiences’ lives. It examines how factual programmes are experienced and connected with on an individual level and how both pleasure and public knowledge via public connection can be obtained. The vast empirical data stretches over two decades and is comprised of a large national media diary collection from 2001, a set of focus group discussions from 2006¬–2007 and social media comment samples from 2015, 2018 and 2019. The ontological focus is on the individual, private and cognitive aspects of the experiences of watching television. In this study, media ethnography and phenomenological-hermeneutic theory form a mindset for exploring and understanding the types of experiences the observed members of audiences have with factual television. When dealing with knowledge obtained through experience, the goal is not to generalise but to understand. The author of this study has pursued an understanding of audience needs and complacency from the professional position of a producer creating and transmitting media products to viewers. The study operates with the concepts of public connection, pleasure, quality, cultural property and cultivation. The analysis found that, although media penetrates all aspects of contemporary life and its use is often casual and mundane, much factual viewing can be conscious and attentive as well as selective and critical. The participants are aware and possessive of their media usage and its place in their lives. Factual viewing can be solitary, and audiences may value certain contents or genres more than those they pass more time with, since the reward for the time spent with the valued programmes can be worth more than the greater amounts of time spent with less appreciated but more popular programmes. The craving for content – for something to think about – often equals a craving for meaning and sense of coherence. An anticipated factual program can provide quality time and can be the highlight of the week. Being enlightened can also mean being delighted. Even if the media environments are dominated by change, factual reception is characterised by constancy. The findings from temporally and demographically varied datasets suggest that audiences’ core needs, expectations and engagement motives do not seem to have altered over the period examined. In search for a gratifying cultural or factual programme experience, viewers have turned to public service media where available. In Finland, Yleisradio (YLE) has been almost solely responsible for the factual supply and repertoire on television. The changes in legislation, the changes in research practices and approaches and the changes in strategic goals have resulted in significant changes in the amount and content of factual programming on YLE platforms. The volume and diversity of domestic factual production and programming have fallen significantly, and some genres have disappeared altogether. To ensure that the communication and cultural rights of all viewers are met with worthwhile choices and generic diversity, this study proposes a systematic and perpetual public consultation which offers audiences and stakeholders a layout for a television strategy and detailed program plans, including well founded factual program policies.
  • Valdur, Mari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis is an ethnographic study of how various insecurities and vulnerabilities are produced and maintained, such as the health risks of informal abortion in a context where abortion is legal. Throughout this thesis I suggest that the answer to this question has to do with particular and gendered forms of governance rather than individual experiences of the general stigmatisation of abortion. I first unfold this by taking up the concept of biopolitics and its prevalence in the anthropology of reproduction: in studying reproductive technologies, the subdiscipline has been shifting towards harvesting temporal and discursive ruptures, which is often paired with the framework of biopolitics. While biopolitics remains bound to the life of an individual, and through this to the governance of imagined wholes like populations, this study shows that when it comes to abortion and reproductive health in Ulaanbaatar, there are a number of competing conceptualisations of life at work, several of which surpass the individual lifespan. Therefore, the thesis provides a different perspective of governance as dependent on the time and place in which it occurs. I study six relevant and overlapping spaces in Ulaanbaatar: the nation state and macropolitics; religion, medicine and kinship; care and motherhood; sexuality and knowledge; biomedicine; and the medication market. Gender appears at the core of these forms of governance: for instance, through the establishment of biomedicine as a predominantly feminine sector, and reproductive healthcare as synonymous with women’s healthcare. Moving beyond ‘public’ and ‘private’, and ‘formal’ and ‘informal’, I propose that ‘doctor’ in the Mongolian reproductive healthcare system can be viewed as 'usufruct', as a type of temporary ownership: the credentials are provided by the state, but these can be used to seek profits and practice beyond what a doctor’s work involves on paper. Meanwhile, the informal abortion medication market reveals that the prevalence of informal abortion is shaped by a range of socioeconomic and healthcare system specific considerations. In this context, the seeking of trustworthy information and services draws on people as infrastructure rather than any ‘formal’ structures. This thesis is post-biopolitical in the sense that it recognises the core relevance of ethnography, gender and the need for more nuanced approaches to governance as directly and indirectly linked to reproductive health.
  • Bankovska, Agnese (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This study explores the everyday work, ideals and values of the Latvian organic food movement known as tiešā pirkšana (TP, meaning ‘direct purchasing’), an initiative which aims to shorten the physical and symbolic distance between producers and consumers; producers, market and regulating policies; and consumers and food. Drawing on the empirical material obtained through long-term ethnographic fieldwork, and theoretical discussions in social and food research, the concept of ‘reconnection’ was chosen to analyse the process of shortening the distance between the different actors involved in one small-scale food provisioning system. By focusing on the notion that there is a link between the reconnection process and the ethics and practice of care, the thesis analyses different forms of care in the various stages of food provisioning in the TP movement. Special attention in the dissertation is paid to care acts that are performed to keep the TP movement running on different levels. By suggesting that care acts in food provisioning, such as dishwashing and cooking, are ‘care not-work’, the study engages with the discussion about the relationship between recognition, acknowledgement and care acts, critically contributing to the wider debate about invisible, routine care work. Furthermore, it is proposed that care acts in the course of farm production that depend on the management of time through tempos and rhythms involve a tinkering between creativity, embodied skills and routinised repetition. The care acts on farms, households and onsite in TP’s branches are performed by and exchanged between care actors that are not just producers and consumers, but also non-human actors as well as the materialities and environments that are involved in performing the care acts. The study is based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in 2015 and 2016 during which the different stages of organic food provisioning in Latvia were examined. In the multi-sited fieldwork (farms, TP distribution locations, consumer households, educational seminars) methods of participant observation, semistructured interviews, conversations and photo diaries were applied. Research from the Global North provides well-explored claims that reconnection through care in alternative food provisioning implies a combination of nostalgia and constant adaptation to the present and future. This thesis builds on and revisits these implications by particularising the reconnection through care within the contextual specifics of Latvia as a country with a rather patchworked historical provenance.
  • Stenroos, Marko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    “Social orders, tensions and saviourism” represents an ethnography on the implementation of Finnish national policy on Roma. It draws upon two and half years of fieldwork working in a Roma project. The project aimed to tackle the poverty, exclusion, unemployment and low level of education among Roma. The project budget was three million euros and thus can be categorized as a large-scale attempt to improve Roma conditions in a country of approximately 10,000–12,000 Roma. All the activities during the project were bolstered by the European Union’s National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS), which was active during the years 2009–2017. The name of the study, “Social orders, tensions and saviourism,” reflects the core findings of the study. It argues that the neoliberal policy-making applied to Roma people have an ideological premise that is incongruous with their social realities. The policy does not recognize the history, culture, tastes, desires or human conditions of the people it is targeting. While the social realities of Roma are incompatible with the neoliberal ideologies, such ideologies are forcefully implemented, with a combination of Roma participation and bureaucratic power, causing tension in the arena. The study identifies and elaborates three different ontological social domains which Roma are involved with during their life courses: the traditional power system, Pentecostal networks, and state order and bureaucratic power. These domains are categorical abstractions with embedded social orders and power relations. Consequently, the study argues, Roma deal with the three different forms of social orders and power relations; to characterize Roma solely as powerless people stems from the fact that commonly only one social domain – that of the state order and bureaucratic power – is elaborated. Identifying and analysing the other ontological social domains will provide a different, more holistic picture of Roma experiences. What is happening with Roma policies in Europe, including Finland, is not a new phenomenon. Similar paths are recorded and studied in development projects around the world. The theoretical framing of the study springs from the anthropology of development and anthropology of the state. The theoretical frame brings the “Roma issue” into wider developmental discourses and demonstrates how the development projects of Roma in Europe are actually backwards and not even as sophisticated as many development practices in Asia and in Africa. The neoliberal policy-making is not Roma-specific; nevertheless, that development projects inside Europe are targeting a specific ethnic group is what makes Roma development special. The theoretical frame in this study forces analysis of the Roma issue outside the Roma bubble, making it a wider issue, not a Roma issue. Each ethnographic chapter in this study introduces elements that together construct a Roma social ontology. To answer the question what social ontology means in respect to Finnish Roma is to elaborate on education, employment and Roma economy in the realm of the state and bureaucratic powers.
  • Tarkiainen, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis summarises three original peer-reviewed articles and a concluding section from individual sub-studies. In general, this thesis focuses on the discursive constructions of prolonged unemployment in Finland drawing from interview data collected amongst 70 long-term unemployed individuals and 34 frontline workers, as well as the discourse from MPs during Finnish parliamentary discussions. Thus, this study analyses the talk from three actors vis-à-vis Finnish activation policy—that is, policymakers, those who implement the policy (frontline workers) and those who are the targets of activation (unemployed persons). The three sub-studies focus on the analysis of: (I) different resistance strategies adopted by long-term unemployed Finns as a means to address their deservingness in interview settings. (II) positions frontline workers construct for their unemployed clients as a means to situate their responsibilities related to enhancing employability and activation. (III) different constructions and factuality-enhancement strategies through which Finnish MPs construct the deservingness and undeservingness of unemployed individuals as a means to legitimise or object to policy addressing activation. The synthesis of these three sub-studies sets out to understand how different actors involved in Finnish activation policy present unemployed people’s agency in their discourse. In particular, the analysis focuses on how unemployed subjects are held as morally responsible as well as how freeing them from responsibility is enacted through talk. Methodologically, this thesis adheres to discursive and narrative methods, which can be placed under the rubrics of social constructionist ‘discourse analysis’ and ‘discursive psychology’. The synthesis presented here is contextualised within the discursively oriented literature on deservingness and responsibilisation, as well as within research on policy developments aimed at promoting the employability of those individuals experiencing prolonged unemployment. This synthesis reveals three key ways in which unemployed people’s agency is presented across all actors’ talk. These three key agential constructs are labelled othered, victimised and entrepreneurial agency, all of which influence the ways in which the responsibilities and deservingness of unemployed people is negotiated when talking about prolonged unemployment. In general, the findings presented here indicate that a deserving long-term unemployed subject is constructed either as exercising entrepreneurial or victimised agency and not held responsible due to the demonstration of effort-making or genuine need. Othered agency, by contrast, associates with irresponsibility and morally unacceptable behaviour and a strong personal responsibility. Similarities across all actors’ talk reveal the culturally dominant ways in which prolonged unemployment are constructed around age-old ideas of deservingness as well as contemporary ideals of personal responsibility related to ‘active citizenship’. Keywords: deservingness, responsibilities, prolonged unemployment, employability, activation, discursive methods.
  • Grigor, Irina (Unigrafia, 2020)
    Russia has been involved in two major geopolitical conflicts in recent years: the Ukraine crisis and the civil war in Syria. Since Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis in 2013-2014, many commentators have pointed to the effectiveness of the Russian strategic narratives to explain the support the Kremlin enjoys at home and abroad. Although Russia's use of information as a weapon is not new, in the light of the limited transparency of Russian strategic thinking, studying Russia’s discursive environment and, in particular, strategic narratives becomes critical. Therefore, the concept of strategic narrative plays a central role in assembling the main argument for this doctoral thesis. The concept provides a foundation for the analytical framework to explore a set of media frames purposefully embedded into television news to reinforce, subvert, undermine, overwhelm or replace a pre-existing discourse on a subject significant to both the audience and the ‘speaker’ that is often a political elite. The main focus of the dissertation is on the visuals employed in the Russian television news, which have received surprisingly little scholarly attention to date. A starting point is the desire to obtain a deeper understanding of how the Russian government’s complex and controversial political decisions are legitimized on television, and also, and most importantly, to determine what role images play in advancing the strategic narratives that justify violence, human costs and engagement in military conflicts. For that, I adopt three distinct perspectives. First is a comparative perspective, which contrasts the narratives produced for two different audiences — domestic and foreign. It also compares the strategic narratives constructed around two different conflicts — the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine and the civil war in Syria. Second is a retrospective perspective, which explores the narratives not only in terms of their current application but also as a process that has been evolving over a two-year period of time. Third, the dissertation employs a hybrid media perspective to explore the interactions between mainstream media and social media. These three perspectives, in combination, encompass a comprehensive and longitudinal investigation of Russian strategic narratives as a representation of the weaponized information. The combination of qualitative and quantitative methods adds ‘depth’ and ‘breadth’ dimensions to the dissertation’s analytical spectrum. The thesis represents a compilation of four articles. Each article illuminates one of three perspectives adopted in the dissertation. The articles highlight the results which demonstrate that the approach adopted in this dissertation is important for several reasons. First, while much of the media and international relations literature focuses on projection or reception of strategic narratives, there is almost no research which offers deep insights into strategic narrative as a process that can develop or be modified over the course of time to account for changes in political goals or target audiences. What happens to a dominant, established strategic narrative when the context changes? This dissertation aims to fill this gap by studying Russia’s dominant strategic narratives in television news from comparative, retrospective and hybrid media perspectives. Second, this dissertation argues that strategic narratives gain their power through images that invoke collective emotions and ideas, like sympathy or aversion while reinforcing existing political myths, cultural stereotypes and historical memory. Thus, the thesis conceptualises visual images as affective anchors that can be used to reactivate collective memory and dominant discourses and construct emotional relationships between the audiences and mediated events. Finally, wartime images studies anticipate, but rarely empirically examine the television images that are employed to mediate the contemporary conflicts. This dissertation extends the understanding of how the Russian television visually mediates the conflicts to advance the state’s interpretation of the events and justify the country’s involvement in the international conflicts to domestic and global audiences.
  • Helmisaari, Vappu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The thesis examines how Thomas Hobbes’s (1588–1679) political thinking is present in three Italian philosophers’ work: Giorgio Agamben (born 1942), Roberto Esposito (born 1950) and Antonio Negri (born 1933). In this sense, it is a reception study of Hobbes’s work in contemporary Italy, more specifically among the Italian biopolitical school. The thesis is in the field of political theory. Quentin Skinner’s work on Hobbes is briefly presented to add a point of comparison to the Italians’ view on Hobbes and to their methodology. The focus of the study is on the Italians’ and Hobbes’s differences in regard to war. The three Italians see war as contrary to how Hobbes saw it: for Hobbes, the sovereign was the one who ended the state of nature which is a state of war, and for the Italians, the sovereign order means a state of war, although this is not always visible. The perspective and method of this enterprise is to look for references of Thomas Hobbes, and more largely, of Hobbesian themes in the writings of Agamben, Esposito and Negri, and to see how they relate to the question of war. Agamben and Negri believe we live in a permanent state of civil war – a civil war, because we live in a world which has no outside. Esposito criticizes Hobbes’s use of the state of nature as an artificial threat to keep the people in a state of fear. All these three Italians come to a different conclusion from Hobbes about the nature of war, as they claim that war does not end by handing power over to the sovereign, but that sovereignty is the prerequisite for waging war in different forms. The three philosophers present alternatives to the sovereignty-based organization of politics. For Agamben, one solution is withdrawal from activity, “inoperativity”. For Esposito, the solution is a community based on non-reciprocal gifts, which he claims is the opposite of Hobbes’s state, based on contract. He wants to enable new spaces of the common and sees hope in recent theoretical discussions on the common good. Negri differs from the two others since he, together with Michael Hardt, explores sovereignty, which is extended to the global level instead of nation-states. However, Hardt and Negri also outline a Multitude which fights the global sovereignty of Empire and rules itself autonomously. All three Italians have an idea of a community that is different from the state sovereignty of nation-states.
  • Seikkula, Minna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis explores antiracism by activists and professionalized civil society in mid-2010s Finland. It develops and diversifies an established but less elaborated notion that antiracism is not merely opposition to racism. As such, the thesis provides analytical interpretations of antiracism’s variations and the scope and limits of different antiracist approaches and the related definitions of racism. The analysis is situated in a period when several discussions on antiracism were evolving. The study builds on interviews with activists engaged in grassroots antiracist initiatives; texts produced by antiracist bloggers; non-governmental organizations’ antiracist campaigns; and a complementary set of participatory observation in antiracist events. The different antiracist initiatives observed in the study could be described in generalizing terms as association-driven antiracism; antiracist self-representation by people of colour; antiracism against the far and extreme right; and antiracist activism for migrants’ rights. The analysis of the data is based on an understanding that the observed antiracisms both reproduce and, at least locally, reshape the existing discussions on race and racialization. The dissertation is situated in the field of critical race and whiteness studies. The key concepts derive from critical analyses of race, racism and antiracism. More specifically, the thesis draws on a set of concepts that have been used to explicate the ways in which race and racism or normative whiteness are systematically dismissed as a part of social reality. At the same time, the thesis strives to show the ways in which the hegemonic order is challenged in the context of the data. The thesis arrives at four main conclusions. First, it addresses differences between conceptions of racism as an exception, a singular, event-bound phenomenon and a part of a structure. While exceptionalist views on racism and discussion on events are common in the data, there are efforts to address racism as structural phenomenon. Relatedly, as the second main finding, the thesis shows how exceptionalist understandings of racism are produced through intersectional categorizations other than those constituting racialization. This means that the societal significance of racism is diminished through connecting racism to societal margins or connecting it to a specific age group. The third main finding suggests that antiracisms differ from each other significantly according to the ways they (do not) address racialization and whiteness. Finally, a majority of the antiracist initiatives explored focus on different types of exclusions as opposed to understandings of racism as exploitation. In brief, the thesis discusses the distinct uses of the label antiracism, and antiracist conceptions of racism in civil society in Finland and it provides analytical understandings of similarities and differences between distinct antiracist approaches, strategies, and ways of conceiving racism.
  • Autio, Jaakko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The study examines the changing, shaping and emergence of the Oy Arabia Ab strategy at the end of the 1960s towards the end of the 1980s, i.e., after the golden age of Finnish design. This period is characterised by the opening up of the international economy and the tightening of the competition due to increasing imports. I study how the company strives strategically to solve the challenges of productivity and internationalisation and how decision-making related to organisation, management and ownership is linked to strategic planning. In addition, I examine how Arabia integrates design management and leadership into its strategy thus responding to the new requirements of consumers and the challenges of the business environment. During the research period, the relationship with the parent company Oy Wärtsilä Ab frames Arabia's strategy. I approach strategic management and planning in the context of business history, which focuses on the long-term strategic planning, change, and construction of a new strategy. I use ambidexterity as an analytical tool. Thus, the research focuses on the company's ability to utilise existing resources (exploitation) and to innovate new strategic objectives and practices (exploration). The research material consists of three datasets related to the strategic management and planning of the studied company: 1) archive material, 2) customer, personnel and other stakeholder magazines, and 3) other printed sources (e.g. annual reports, articles in the press). I approach the company’s strategy narratively, on the basis of which I create three strategic narratives: ownership and organisation, productivity and internationalisation. The narrative of ownership and organisation frames the construction of the company’s strategy in terms of the need to create a strong internationalising Nordic design company, the need to modernise the organisational structure, as well as the tensions ensuing from the parent company Wärtsilä, which simultaneously provides opportunities for innovation. The productivity-strategic narrative is structured as a transition from technical quality to designed overall quality, and from trademark policy to brand management. In order to meet customer needs, the sales policy transforms towards the development of the product range, product innovations and business networks. The narrative of internationalisation is based on the expansion of the domestic market to the Nordic countries, the pursuit of new markets in countries appreciating the Scandinavian design taste, and the creation of sales channels, ownership, forms of cooperation and networks. During the research period, Oy Arabia Ab develops into a company that strengthens systematic strategic management under the protection of the parent company. The company transforms from a manufacturing and selling strategy towards design management, combining aesthetic product design, innovativeness, brand construction and market dynamics. This strategic change enables Arabia to rely ambidextrously on existing strengths and skills and at the same time seek a new, innovative direction for business. The ambidextrous strategy based on exploitation and exploration is path-dependent. I suggest that the company’s strategy also leans on path-creativity instead of mere path-dependency. I argue that the design management approach strengthens the organisation's ambidextrous capabilities together with the simultaneity of exploitation and exploration. This lays the foundation for path-creativity.
  • Hirvonen, Juha (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The member states are challenged to restructure their welfare policies within the European Union's (EU) employment strategy. Inclusion policy, which is also central to the employment strategy, is driven on the Union's side primarily by the objectives of economic growth and high employment. Based on these starting points, opportunities policy and social investments have become key factors in building inclusion. Previous relevant research has also shown how the emphasis on active employment policies has led to a partial dismantling of the value base of the welfare state and social policy. Accordingly, the inclusion to social benefits and public services has become a tool for employment and economic growth. Marshall’s citizenship theory and Esping-Andersen’s theory of regimes serve as the basic theories for this research, because they still frame the current debate on inclusion. Based on current inclusion discussion, this study creates theoretical models that, as guiding trajectories, rebuild, challenge, and guide the inclusion policies of the basic theories. In the reconstruction of social citizenship, I seek to complement the empirical, categorical, and definitional shortcomings of Marshall’s theory. The neoliberal model emphasising individual responsibility forms a position that challenges the traditional welfare state. The European social model and the associated moderate modernisation, as well as the employment strategy process working on it, stimulate the ideological struggle for meaning in the context of the inclusion debate. In this research, I examine from a comparative perspective how the Union and its two member states, Finland and the United Kingdom, construct inclusion in the context of the European Employment Strategy process. An examination of these member states representing a common welfare state tradition, but two different welfare regimes, provides a comparative research with two turning points in the strategy process. The 1998 strategy after the recession of the 1990s formed the first step in the common employment strategy with the Treaty of Amsterdam. The Europe 2020 strategy, which continues this employment strategy, is the second turn phase after the European economic crisis at the end of the first decade of the 21st century. The strategy is based on so-called open method of coordination, which is a dialogue between the Union's strategic proposals and the national programs that implement them. By the research set-up, I examine how Finland and the United Kingdom respond to the meaning impulses of the Union's inclusion concepts from their own regimes. First, I study the formation of inclusion as thematic constructs guided by theoretical thought patterns. Next, I utilise the division of functional structures included in Ricoeur’s narrative analysis, which forms an orientation for narratives constructing inclusion. By structural analysis, I evaluate how the importance of the welfare state and the market economy as political traditions shapes the narratives of the EU and the two member states on their own employment policies and, more broadly, on their welfare state thinking. Finally, the narrative analysis forms a synthesis for the totality of political thought. It is therefore a question of how the welfare state is modelled after the recessions of the 1990s and 2000s. The study shows how the view of the welfare state in the EU, Finland, and the United Kingdom has been moving during the strategy process. In the context of the employment process, there has been both narrowing and widening in terms of the meaning and tasks of the welfare society. This research supports to direct inclusion policies for the reconciliation of the pillars of welfare state, family, education and work, and the cleavages which associate with them. Finding solutions for the implementation of such a multilateral policy will require further development of interdisciplinary research and cross-administrative cooperation.
  • Steiler, Ilona (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis is concerned with the content, context and consequences of conceptions and representations of the ‘informal economy’. The central argument is that the ‘informal economy’ presents a political and social, normative and essentially contested concept that has real (discursive, material, social) effects on current transformations of the world of work and of social order. ‘Informal economy’, as concept and imaginary, is central to formalization and informalization which are here primarily understood as discursive and political processes. The discussion engages with the perennial dispute in academia and policy-making over whether the ‘informal economy’ presents a relic of underdevelopment, a paragon of ingenious economic activity, the last resort for survival amidst capitalist accumulation processes or a community-based alternative to capitalist economic organization. At their fundament, these competing perspectives are divided over the appropriate role of the state in governing the economy. Political discourses along these lines, in turn, impact on the configuration of state governance and societal organization. The analysis builds on insights from interviews and participant observation from six months of research work in 2014-2016 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and on a review of the research literature. It presents a multidisciplinary effort, bringing together development studies, political economy and labour law to discuss the use(s) of the concept in the two dissimilar sectors of street trade and domestic work. Drawing on the discursive analytical strategies of Reinhart Koselleck and the Cultural Political Economy perspective as well as the framework of intersectionality, the study illustrates how, in Tanzania, ‘informal’ work is legally, socially and discursively constituted in dissimilar ways in small-scale trade and domestic work. Rather than a clearly definable or fixed category, informality of work is relative and relational; it intersects with post-colonial trajectories, class, gender, race and ethnicity, age, family status, income and education levels, as well as workers’ visibility in public and private workplaces. Competing conceptions of the ‘informal economy’ steer transformations in three interrelated thematic fields: labour power and organization, the promotion of rights and responsibilities, and relations between the state, market and society. Legislation and policies concerning the two sectors exemplify neoliberal and structuralist-oriented approaches. In each sector, legislation, rights discourses and state policies follow specific agendas, thereby not only influencing the dividing line between ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ economic activities, but also shaping societal organization across the formal-informal divide. Legislation enables and disables labour struggles in the respective sectors; rights discourses promote access to different kinds of rights for different groups; urban and formalization policies determine which groups have access to public space, formal frameworks and legal protection. While the findings of this study confirm the structuralist perspective on the ‘informal economy’ as primarily a domain of survivalist struggles, in recent decades, neoliberal conceptions have been influential, particularly with regard to street trade. This has had harmful consequences for the most disadvantaged groups among street traders. However, the neoliberal discourse is challenged in the sector of domestic work as well as at the nodes between global discourses and the particularities of everyday Tanzanian labour relations.
  • Aulbach, Matthias (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Unhealthy foods are often appetizing and thus hard to resist, despite knowledge about their detrimental effects on health. The psychological processes underlying choices between immediately rewarding but health-harming and potentially less rewarding but health-promoting options have been described in dual-process models such as the Reflective-Impulsive Model. These models assume two interacting kinds of processes: one impulsive, association-based, fast, and effortless; the other reflective, based on syllogistic reasoning, slow, and dependent on cognitive resources. While most interventions on eating behavior aim to alter reflective reasoning and increase its influence on behavior, some relatively new computer-based interventions aim to directly change impulsive aspects of food intake. They do so by presenting users images of unhealthy food while asking them to show a behavior that is inconsistent with their impulse to approach, i.e. inhibit a response or show an avoidance reaction. This way, the association between unhealthy foods and approach behavior is broken up, reducing the strength of elicited impulses in the future. Evidence has mounted that particularly the Go/No-Go task can reduce intake of unhealthy foods. In this task, participants need to inhibit their impulse to react when seeing unhealthy food images, creating an “unhealthy-stop” association. Two important questions have remained unanswered in this research line: (1) What are the psychological mechanisms of behavioral effects in these interventions? (2) How well do laboratory-based demonstrations of efficacy translate to real-world behavior change? This thesis aims to produce evidence that helps answer those questions and enhance understanding of impulsive process interventions by (1) meta-analyzing the scientific literature with a specific focus on implicit bias change as a potential psychological mechanism (Study I), (2) examining a potential neural marker of the psychological mechanisms involved (Study II), and (3) investigating relevant aspects of such an intervention in the field (Study III). Study I thereby lays the foundation for the main research questions and study design in Studies II and III. The specific aims of Study I were to provide an overview of the literature on different kinds of computer-based impulsive process interventions by meta-analyzing their effects on eating behavior. In addition, it aimed to identify study-level moderators of effects, to investigate implicit bias change in the included studies as a potential mechanism of behavioral effects, and thus to identify ways forward for the research area. Study II followed up on the results of Study I and aimed to identify the role of a neural marker of the involved psychological processes, the N2 event-related potential (ERP), by measuring neural activity during the performance of an impulsive process intervention. Study III then used data from a field trial to investigate dose-response relationships in an impulsive process intervention in order to provide best-practice guidance for future intervention users. The studies in this thesis used a range of methods to answer the specific research questions. In Study I, I conducted a systematic literature review with meta-analysis. Meta-regressions with categorical and continuous predictors tested potential moderating variables and the relationship between behavioral effects and a hypothesized psychological mechanism of effects. In Study II, a specific neural marker, the N2 ERP , was analyzed during food Go/No-Go training and related to food intake both within and outside the laboratory. Study III used data from a pragmatic open trial in which participants used smartphone-based Go/No-Go training at their own discretion to determine dose-response relationships for intake of different food categories. Study I identified 30 randomized controlled trials with 47 effect sizes, delivering at least one of four computer-based impulsive process interventions, for inclusion in the analyses. The overall effect size for eating behavior was small (g = −0.17, CI95 = [−0.29; −0.05], p = .01) with only the Go/No-Go task showing significant effects (g = −0.39, CI95= [−0.57; −0.22], p < .001). The effects on implicit biases were also significantly different from zero (g = −0.46, CI95= [−0.68; −0.25], p < .001) and the effects on bias change and eating behavior were significantly related (B = .42, CI95= [.02; .81], z = 2.07, p = .04, k = 21). Against preregistered hypotheses, analyses in Study II showed no significant differences between healthy and unhealthy foods in N2 ERP strength (p = .18, ηp2 = 0.04), no effect of Go/No-Go training on immediate food intake (p = .50) or N2 amplitudes (p = .57, ηp2 = 0.0004), and no relationship between N2 and food intake both inside (B = -0.41, p = .82) and outside (B = 166.21, p = .53) the laboratory. In Study 3, analyses revealed significant relationships between the self-administered amount of conducted Go/No-Go training and self-reported food intake, such that conducting more blocks of training led to decreased unhealthy (β = -0.004, CI95 = [-0.006; -0.002]) and increased healthy food intake (b = 0.003, CI95 = [0; 0.005]). Separate analyses for different food types indicated variations between food categories in their dose-response relationship, indicating that completing about 8 to 24 4-minute sessions of Go/No-Go training over the course of one month leads to changes in intake by one point. The scientific contribution of this work is thus threefold. Firstly, it provides an overview of the research field, providing a clear recommendation for the precise task to use for intervention delivery, and indicates future directions for the field (Study I). Secondly, it contributes to the ongoing debate about psychological and neural mechanisms of impulsive process interventions in eating behavior and indicates changes in impulsive processes to be one driver of behavioral effects (Studies I and II). Lastly, it provides estimates for necessary dosage and usage recommendations based on real-world data from smartphone-delivered training (Study III), a promising future avenue for large-scale, self-administered training. Based on this thesis, future research should aim to further clarify psychological training mechanisms, establish ideal training design and training schedules, identify groups for whom training is most beneficial, and seek synergistic effects with other interventions targeting eating behavior.
  • Huotari, Antti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This dissertation focuses on stochastic and computational finance. It contains an introductory chapter and four essays. The first three of the essays are related to the optimal consumption and portfolio choice problem. The last essay deals with implied volatility modelling of swaptions. The first two essays are devoted to optimal portfolio and consumption when a consumer has habit preferences. The first essay focuses on finding an explicit solution when the underlying assets are allowed to follow non-Markovian dynamics and the preferences of the consumer are determined by the hyperbolic risk aversion utility function (HARA). The second essay presents a numerical method for solving the optimal portfolio in the habit case. By exploiting the Monte Carlo covariation method, it is possible to solve the optimal portfolio problem in the habit case. The approach is flexible in the sense that it is allows to make different kinds of assumptions about the behaviour of financial assets. The third essay considers the consumption-portfolio choice model when the stock prices follows a geometric Lévy process. Due to the lack of closed form solutions, numerical methods have been developed. In the case of the Lévy process, it is possible to form a so-called partial integro-differential equation (PIDE) and solve it by using a finite difference method. In the essay, an explicit-implicit option pricing method is utilized and a Markov chain approximation method is proposed for solving an optimal consumption and portfolio choice in the Lévy process case. The standard procedure for finding implied volatilities is based on Black's model which assumes a lognormal distribution of underlying prices and constant volatility. The last essay of this dissertation proposes pricing swaptions by assuming normally distributed swap rates with jumps rather than log-normally distributed rates. The pricing formula has been used to find implied volatility. The method is a combination of Bachelier's option pricing formula with normally distributed stock prices and a jump-diffusion formula for modelling variation which is based on swaption data. It is particularly useful in the case of a low interest rate and high volatility market.
  • Kaaronen, Roope Oskari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This transdisciplinary doctoral thesis presents various theoretical, methodological and empirical approaches that together form an ecological approach to the study of social sciences. The key argument follows: to understand how sustainable behaviours and cultures may emerge, and how their development can be facilitated, we must further learn how behaviours emerge as a function of the person and the material and social environment. Furthermore, in this thesis the sustainability crises are framed as sustain-ability crises. We must better equip our cultures with abilities to deal with the complexity and uncertainty of socio-ecological systems, and use these cultural skillsets to survive in and adapt to an increasingly unpredictable world. This thesis employs a plurality of ecological social sciences and related methodologies—such as ecological psychology, ecological rationality and agent-based modelling—to enlighten the question of how the collective adoption of sustainable behaviours can be leveraged, particularly by changing the affordances in the material environment. What is common to these ecological approaches is the appreciation of ‘processes’ over ‘products’: we must understand the various processes through which sustainable forms of behaviour or decision-making emerge to truly locate leverage points in social systems. Finally, this thesis deals extensively with uncertainty in complex systems. It proposes that we can look to local and traditional knowledge in learning how to deal adaptively with uncertainty.
  • White, Pamela (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Billions of Euros are spent each year on the highly contested subject of development cooperation. Is it the right thing to do, and is it doing any good? It is assumed that carefully crafted policies from donors will be implemented worldwide, regardless of the cultural setting. There is an assumed flow from rational aid policies, to financing aid practice, to aid consequences and impacts, yet none of these steps are certain and uncontested. Little attention is given to the go-betweens, the people and organisations responsible for the practice of development policy. The key question asked within this dissertation is what are the roles, motivations and contribution of individuals and organisations in development cooperation? The overall research questions are grouped into three parts: a) What are the roles and motivations of individuals and the consulting companies working in development cooperation?; b) What contribution can (or should?) these individuals and companies make to translating norms, regulatory frameworks and values into practice in complex operating environments?; and c) What is the role of technical assistance in achieving sustainable and equitable water governance in Nepal? My contention is that the development complex (and development interventions specifically) depends on human agency and capabilities in the form of individuals and organisations – rather than only the transfer of money or technology. This includes the attitudes and motivations of the beneficiaries themselves, the local governments, donor government staff, NGOs and researchers, and the persons involved in the provision of technical assistance. All these groups have the chance to contribute to, or to impede development. These articles drill down particularly to the role of the latter group. These individuals providing technical assistance need to operate within the norms and regulations of the donor and recipient governments, and the local cultures and realities of the countries, local governments and communities they work with. The individuals both influence the group they work with, and in turn are influenced by the group habitus. In this thesis I contend that people at all levels have an important role in the implementation of development cooperation. Staff working in donor and recipient governments, and community level actors are all critical for facilitating or blocking development activities; just as are the technical advisors themselves. All bring in their own motivations, values and incentives. However, I cannot rule out the role of modalities, institutions or cultures as well, as clearly in the case studies the local cultures and institutions (both project imposed and community-based) are constantly interacting with each other and with the individuals involved. In addition, evidence of a habitus among development workers suggests that there is also a significant role for the development ‘culture’. Hence, I operate between methodological individualism and collectivism, with a constructivist approach. In particular, my study is focused on Finnish development cooperation, including Finns working in a variety of roles and modalities, and Nepalese co-workers in my two case study projects. The major approaches and themes regarding technical assistance and development cooperation that emerged in my research included: motivations; habitus; brokerage, translation and bricolage; gender equality and human rights; and principal-agent theory. The research approaches different concepts of technical assistance from many directions. It covers the different individual motivations for working in development, from students of development studies, through people working in many types of role – what I have referred to as the spectrum of technical cooperation. It also analyses the role of consulting companies working in development – a topic rarely studied. Using two Finnish funded rural water management projects in Nepal as case studies, I considered the role of technical assistance in transferring the values and policies of donors and recipient governments into practice. I examine the way that the international and Nepali experts translate the policies into practice, and feed practices and learning back up to the policy setters and donors. This is supported with discussion on operationalising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and human rights in Nepal. And finally, I consider the role of the TA in supporting development of the nascent local governments in Nepal, building their capacities to secure safe water for all. The methodology includes questionnaires, interviews, and two case studies. Development cooperation does not function simply as a financial transfer mechanism. Yet the role of individuals to facilitate implementation is often ignored. Acknowledging the role of individuals in coordination with other stakeholders, in implementing policies and strategies, and adapting them to local realities, would be a critical step in development cooperation in general, and specifically, in water governance and human rights. This is important both for decision-makers and for researchers. Keywords: Technical assistance; development cooperation; water governance; Nepal; gender equality and social inclusion; human rights-based approach; motivations; translation; brokering

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