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  • Larjavaara, Ilmari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    Functional transition theory: administration, legal order and institutions in Russia This dissertation examines some of the salient characteristics of Russia that are deemed to have impeded the growth of its economy and investments in particular. These characteristics are the volatility of the administrative and legal systems, corruption, and the perceived irrationality and difference in the operating environment in comparison with European conditions. The dissertation is one of the first studies on Russia that approaches the subject from the perspective of comprehensive social scientific theories. The study is based on the structural functionalistic theory, which is widely used in the social sciences. Adopting a sufficiently ambitious theoretical examination will provide a systematic and logical explanation of the characteristics of Russian institutions and ways of operations, such as corruption, that are commonly perceived as inexplicable. The approach adopted in the dissertation sheds light on the history of Russia's development and provides a comparative view of other societies in transition. Furthermore, it suggests recommendations as to how the structures of Russian society could be comprehensively strengthened.
  • Kuparinen, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    The future use of genetically modified (GM) plants in food, feed and biomass production requires a careful consideration of possible risks related to the unintended spread of trangenes into new habitats. This may occur via introgression of the transgene to conventional genotypes, due to cross-pollination, and via the invasion of GM plants to new habitats. Assessment of possible environmental impacts of GM plants requires estimation of the level of gene flow from a GM population. Furthermore, management measures for reducing gene flow from GM populations are needed in order to prevent possible unwanted effects of transgenes on ecosystems. This work develops modeling tools for estimating gene flow from GM plant populations in boreal environments and for investigating the mechanisms of the gene flow process. To describe spatial dimensions of the gene flow, dispersal models are developed for the local and regional scale spread of pollen grains and seeds, with special emphasis on wind dispersal. This study provides tools for describing cross-pollination between GM and conventional populations and for estimating the levels of transgenic contamination of the conventional crops. For perennial populations, a modeling framework describing the dynamics of plants and genotypes is developed, in order to estimate the gene flow process over a sequence of years. The dispersal of airborne pollen and seeds cannot be easily controlled, and small amounts of these particles are likely to disperse over long distances. Wind dispersal processes are highly stochastic due to variation in atmospheric conditions, so that there may be considerable variation between individual dispersal patterns. This, in turn, is reflected to the large amount of variation in annual levels of cross-pollination between GM and conventional populations. Even though land-use practices have effects on the average levels of cross-pollination between GM and conventional fields, the level of transgenic contamination of a conventional crop remains highly stochastic. The demographic effects of a transgene have impacts on the establishment of trangenic plants amongst conventional genotypes of the same species. If the transgene gives a plant a considerable fitness advantage in comparison to conventional genotypes, the spread of transgenes to conventional population can be strongly increased. In such cases, dominance of the transgene considerably increases gene flow from GM to conventional populations, due to the enhanced fitness of heterozygous hybrids. The fitness of GM plants in conventional populations can be reduced by linking the selectively favoured primary transgene to a disfavoured mitigation transgene. Recombination between these transgenes is a major risk related to this technique, especially because it tends to take place amongst the conventional genotypes and thus promotes the establishment of invasive transgenic plants in conventional populations.
  • Myrskylä, Mikko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    This study examines the properties of Generalised Regression (GREG) estimators for domain class frequencies and proportions. The family of GREG estimators forms the class of design-based model-assisted estimators. All GREG estimators utilise auxiliary information via modelling. The classic GREG estimator with a linear fixed effects assisting model (GREG-lin) is one example. But when estimating class frequencies, the study variable is binary or polytomous. Therefore logistic-type assisting models (e.g. logistic or probit model) should be preferred over the linear one. However, other GREG estimators than GREG-lin are rarely used, and knowledge about their properties is limited. This study examines the properties of L-GREG estimators, which are GREG estimators with fixed-effects logistic-type models. Three research questions are addressed. First, I study whether and when L-GREG estimators are more accurate than GREG-lin. Theoretical results and Monte Carlo experiments which cover both equal and unequal probability sampling designs and a wide variety of model formulations show that in standard situations, the difference between L-GREG and GREG-lin is small. But in the case of a strong assisting model, two interesting situations arise: if the domain sample size is reasonably large, L-GREG is more accurate than GREG-lin, and if the domain sample size is very small, estimation of assisting model parameters may be inaccurate, resulting in bias for L-GREG. Second, I study variance estimation for the L-GREG estimators. The standard variance estimator (S) for all GREG estimators resembles the Sen-Yates-Grundy variance estimator, but it is a double sum of prediction errors, not of the observed values of the study variable. Monte Carlo experiments show that S underestimates the variance of L-GREG especially if the domain sample size is minor, or if the assisting model is strong. Third, since the standard variance estimator S often fails for the L-GREG estimators, I propose a new augmented variance estimator (A). The difference between S and the new estimator A is that the latter takes into account the difference between the sample fit model and the census fit model. In Monte Carlo experiments, the new estimator A outperformed the standard estimator S in terms of bias, root mean square error and coverage rate. Thus the new estimator provides a good alternative to the standard estimator.
  • Wass, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    The relationship between age and turnout has been curve-linear as electoral participation first increases with age, remains relatively stable throughout middle-age and then gradually declines as certain physical infirmities set in (see e.g. Milbrath 1965). Alongside this life-cycle effect in voting, recent pooled cross-sectional analyses (see e.g. Blais et al. 2004; Lyons and Alexander 2000) have shown that there is also a generational effect, referring to lasting differences in turnout between various age groups. This study firstly examines the extent to which the generational effect applies in the Finnish context. Secondly, it investigates the factors accounting for that effect. The first article, based on individual-level register data from the parliamentary elections of 1999, shows that turnout differences between the different age groups would be even larger if there were no differences in social class and education. The second article examines simultaneously the effects of age, generation and period in the Finnish parliamentary elections of 1975-2003 based on pooled data from Finnish voter barometers (N = 8,634). The results show that there is a clear life cycle, generational and period effect. The third article examines the role of political socialisation in accounting for generational differences in electoral participation. Political socialisation is defined as the learning process in which an individual adopts various values, political attitudes, and patterns of actions from his or her environment. The multivariate analysis, based on the Finnish national election study 2003 (N=1,270), indicated that if there were no differences in socialisation between the youngest and the older generations, the difference in turnout would be much larger than if only sex and socioeconomic factors are controlled for. The fourth article examines other possible factors related to generational effect in voting. The results mainly apply to the Finnish parliamentary elections of 2003 in which we have data available. The results show that the sense of duty by far accounts for the generational effect in voting. Political interest, political knowledge and non-parliamentary participation also narrowed the differences in electoral participation between the youngest and the second youngest generations. The implication of the findings is that the lower turnout among the current youth is not a passing phenomenon that will diminish with age. Considering voting a civic duty and understanding the meaning of collective action are both associated with the process of political socialisation which therefore has an important role concerning the generational effect in turnout.
  • Onkamo, Päivi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2002)
  • Jallinoja, Piia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2002)
  • Laako, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    This study explores the meaning, content and significance of the political as manifest in the Mexican Zapatista movement as historically and geopolitically situated struggle. The case study undertakes a critical analysis of the development, organization, practice and discourse of the movement by drawing on fieldwork experiences, interviews, discussions, documents, films and other material produced by the movement, and the critical engagement with the research of others, especially in Latin America and Mexico. The dissertation poses the need to reconsider what constitutes and what we understand by the political , related particularly to the challenges provided by the critical globalization literature, decolonization and the study of social movements. The analysis encompasses several inter-related levels: the theoretical knowledge regarding the conceptualization of the political; the methodological level, regarding how such research can and should be conducted and knowledge claims formulated given the inescapable context and effects of global power relations; and the substantive level of adding specific information and analytical insights to existing knowledge of the Zapatista movement. As a result of conceptualization of a range of practices and processes, distinct understandings of the political can be underlined. Firstly, the conception of the indigenous and the struggles as indigenous movements as specifically political, not just a cultural or ethnic identity or a static quality but rather, an active consciousness integrally linked both to a longer history of oppression and as political articulation in the concrete context and lived experience of contemporary struggle. Secondly, the practice of autonomy as central to an understanding of the political in the context of the Zapatista struggle as a practical response to the situation of oppression, counter-insurgency, siege and conflict in Chiapas, as well as a positively informed mode of political self-understanding, expression and practice in its own right. Thirdly, the notion of geopolitical positioning as important to understanding of the political that encompasses the historicity of specific context and the power relations which shape that context, developed in two different ways: in regard to the positioning of the researcher and knowledge production with and about the Zapatistas, and in regard to the practice and knowledge of the Zapatistas as a decolonizing force in their encounters, interaction and relations with others, especially the global civil society. Finally, the role of silence, absence, invisibility, revelation and hiding in political practice as a deliberate strategy in response to oppressive power. -
  • Ådahl, Susanne (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    This is an ethnographic study, in the field of medical anthropology, of village life among farmers in southwest Finland. It is based on 12 months of field work conducted 2002-2003 in a coastal village. The study discusses how social and cultural change affects the life of farmers, how they experience it and how they act in order to deal with the it. Using social suffering as a methodological approach the study seeks to investigate how change is related to lived experiences, idioms of distress, and narratives. Its aim has been to draw a locally specific picture of what matters are at stake in the local moral world that these farmers inhabit, and how they emerge as creative actors within it. A central assumption made about change is that it is two-fold; both a constructive force which gives birth to something new, and also a process that brings about uncertainty regarding the future. Uncertainty is understood as an existential condition of human life that demands a response, both causing suffering and transforming it. The possibility for positive outcomes in the future enables one to understand this small suffering of everyday life both as a consequence of social change, which fragments and destroys, and as an answer to it - as something that is positively meaningful. Suffering is seen to engage individuals to ensure continuity, in spite of the odds, and to sustain hope regarding the future. When the fieldwork was initiated Finland had been a member of the European Union for seven years and farmers felt it had substantially impacted on their working conditions. They complained about the restrictions placed on their autonomy and that their knowledge was neither recognised, nor respected by the bureaucrats of the EU system. New regulations require them to work in a manner that is morally unacceptable to them and financial insecurity has become more prominent. All these changes indicate the potential loss of the home and of the ability to ensure continuity of the family farm. Although the study initially focused on getting a general picture of working conditions and the nature of farming life, during the course of the fieldwork there was repeated mention of a perceived high prevalence of cancer in the area. This cancer talk is replete with metaphors that reveal cultural meanings tied to the farming life and the core values of autonomy, endurance and permanence. It also forms the basis of a shared identity and a means of delivering a moral message about the fragmentation of the good life; the loss of control; and the invasion of the foreign. This thesis formed part of the research project Expressions of Suffering. Ethnographies of Illness Experiences in Contemporary Finnish Contexts funded by the Academy of Finland. It opens up a vital perspective on the multiplicity and variety of the experience of suffering and that it is particularly through the use of the ethnographic method that these experiences can be brought to light. Keywords: suffering, uncertainty, phenomenology, habitus, agency, cancer, farming
  • Toikka, Arho (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Governance has been one of the most popular buzzwords in recent political science. As with any term shared by numerous fields of research, as well as everyday language, governance is encumbered by a jungle of definitions and applications. This work elaborates on the concept of network governance. Network governance refers to complex policy-making situations, where a variety of public and private actors collaborate in order to produce and define policy. Governance is processes of autonomous, self-organizing networks of organizations exchanging information and deliberating. Network governance is a theoretical concept that corresponds to an empirical phenomenon. Often, this phenomenon is used to descirbe a historical development: governance is often used to describe changes in political processes of Western societies since the 1980s. In this work, empirical governance networks are used as an organizing framework, and the concepts of autonomy, self-organization and network structure are developed as tools for empirical analysis of any complex decision-making process. This work develops this framework and explores the governance networks in the case of environmental policy-making in the City of Helsinki, Finland. The crafting of a local ecological sustainability programme required support and knowledge from all sectors of administration, a number of entrepreneurs and companies and the inhabitants of Helsinki. The policy process relied explicitly on networking, with public and private actors collaborating to design policy instruments. Communication between individual organizations led to the development of network structures and patterns. This research analyses these patterns and their effects on policy choice, by applying the methods of social network analysis. A variety of social network analysis methods are used to uncover different features of the networked process. Links between individual network positions, network subgroup structures and macro-level network patterns are compared to the types of organizations involved and final policy instruments chosen. By using governance concepts to depict a policy process, the work aims to assess whether they contribute to models of policy-making. The conclusion is that the governance literature sheds light on events that would otherwise go unnoticed, or whose conceptualization would remain atheoretical. The framework of network governance should be in the toolkit of the policy analyst.
  • Kosonen, Liisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    This study was a longitudinal quantitative study of the acculturation, psychological well-being and sociocultural adaptation of Vietnamese arriving in Finland in 1979 to 1991 as children and adolescents. The first phase was carried out in 1992 on a random nation-wide sample of 97 Vietnamese comprehensive school students, matched with Finnish classmates and a follow-up of 59 of the original Vietnamese participants, now aged 20 – 31, took place in 2004. The aim of this study was to establish the causal effects of important predictors of acculturation outcomes, while duly acknowledging the impact of age and context on psychological well-being and sociocultural adaptation. Individual acculturation dimensions (language, values and identity) were found to be more significant for psychological well-being and sociocultural adaptation than ethnic, national, or bicultural profiles that were composites of the relevant languages, values and identities. Identity change occurred in the (ethnic) Vietnamese direction over time, while value change occurred in the (national) Finnish direction. Language proficiency in both Finnish and Vietnamese increased over time with favorable impacts on both psychological well-being and sociocultural adaptation. Initial psychological well-being predicted well-being (depression and self-esteem) as an adult, but sociocultural adaptation (school achievement) as a child or adolescent did not predict educational attainment as an adult. The greater Finnish proficiency as an adult, not having been depressed in childhood or adolescence, perceiving less discrimination as a child or adolescent, and identifying less as Finnish as an adult distinguished those with better psychological well-being (not depressed) in adulthood from those who were depressed. In predicting greater educational attainment in adulthood, perceiving less discrimination as a child or adolescent, on the one hand, and better Finnish language proficiency as an adult, more adherence to national (Finnish) independence values as an adult, but less of a Finnish identity as an adult, on the other hand, were the most important factors. The significance of perceived discrimination, especially in childhood and adolescence, for psychological well-being, as well as for long-term effects on both psychological well-being and sociocultural adaptation as an adult, shows the need for early psychological intervention and for policies focusing on improving inter-group relations. Key words: acculturation, psychological well-being, sociocultural adaptation, language, values, identity, Vietnamese, Finland, children, adolescents, young adults
  • Perälä, Riikka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    The implementation of a drug policy based on the harm reduction ideology was started in Finland at the turn of the millennium, in addition to the restrictive drug policy implemented traditionally. The first health conseling service for injecting drug users, based on the harm reduction approach, was opened in the capital region in 1997. The start of the activities was a response to the social and health authorities' concern in Finland in the 1990s, especially about the spread of bloodborne contagious diseases, HIV and hepatitis, related to injecting drug use. What was new and exceptional about the activities of the health counseling services was that they were particularly aimed at active drug users. In order to come and receive services there, the users did not have to commit themselves to stopping drug use, nor even to present any plans on those lines. Currently, the harm reduction policy has been carried out in Finnish health counseling services for almost fifteen years. The activity has become a central part of Finnish social and health services, but simultaneously various stereotypical notions, e.g. of approving of drug use and maintaining the drug problem, are still related to the activity. So far it has not been clear what type of help the drug users actually receive at the services and what significance the activity has generally had in trying to control problems related to drug use. In this research, the work done in health counseling services and the practices of the harm reducing policy generally have been approached by participating in the activities within the policy and studying them from a close distance. Thus, the idea has been to diversify the conceptions of the significance of the harm reduction policy as a control strategy directed on drug users. The qualitative research material consisting of client and employee interviews and observational notes was gathered in 2003-2007 at a health counseling service in Southern Finland and around the activities by using the etnographic research method. The results of the research show that health counseling services and the harm reduction policy implemented in them have become a significant part of the everyday lives of many problem drug users. At the services, the users receive help and support that is not available elsewhere in society. Both the employees and the visiting clients consider the work in the services more extensive than the agenda of the traditional harm reduction policy: for instance, elements of social and healthcare work play an essential part in the work done at the service, and the services also have a clear connection to the activities elsewhere in the service system. The services have also managed to create new kinds of ways to deal with the drug problem which the clients as well as the employees endorse. The harm reduction policy implemented in Finland is therefore a positive example of significantly increasing the social confidence of a population group that is socially quite excluded, and often even "demonized", by working methods that listen to them and activate them. This should also be considered in future when planning similar interventions. However, the relationship of the health counseling activities to their environment has tensions, and the authorities, for example, often have a narrow perception of the activity as the exchange of syringes and needles. This, in turn, complicates the successful inclusion of the innovative procedures dominant in the policy into practices of the Finnish drug policy and treatment. On a theoretical level, the research goes over a research discourse on the forms of social governance typical today. In this respect, the research enriches the recent analyses of governing by highlighting examples of the possibilites of opposition to governance as well as of the new forms of collective action and solidarity available in the prevalent ways of governance.
  • Autio, Petra (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Hard Custom, Hard Dance: Social Organisation, (Un)Differentiation and Notions of Power in a Tabiteuean Community, Southern Kiribati is an ethnographic study of a village community. This work analyses social organisation on the island of Tabiteuea in the Micronesian state of Kiribati, examining the intertwining of hierarchical and egalitarian traits, meanwhile bringing a new perspective to scholarly discussions of social differentiation by introducing the concept of undifferentiation to describe non-hierarchical social forms and practices. Particular attention is paid to local ideas concerning symbolic power, abstractly understood as the potency for social reproduction, but also examined in one of its forms; authority understood as the right to speak. The workings of social differentiation and undifferentiation in the village are specifically studied in two contexts connected by local notions of power: the meetinghouse institution (te maneaba) and traditional dancing (te mwaie). This dissertation is based on 11 months of anthropological fieldwork in 1999‒2000 in Kiribati and Fiji, with an emphasis on participant observation and the collection of oral tradition (narratives and songs). The questions are approached through three distinct but interrelated topics: (i) A key narrative of the community ‒ the story of an ancestor without descendants ‒ is presented and discussed, along with other narratives. (ii) The Kiribati meetinghouse institution, te maneaba, is considered in terms of oral tradition as well as present-day practices and customs. (iii) Kiribati dancing (te mwaie) is examined through a discussion of competing dance groups, followed by an extended case study of four dance events. In the course of this work the community of close to four hundred inhabitants is depicted as constructed primarily of clans and households, but also of churches, work co-operatives and dance groups, but also as a significant and valued social unit in itself, and a part of the wider island district. In these partly cross-cutting and overlapping social matrices, people are alternatingly organised by the distinct values and logic of differentiation and undifferentiation. At different levels of social integration and in different modes of social and discursive practice, there are heightened moments of differentiation, followed by active undifferentiation. The central notions concerning power and authority to emerge are, firstly, that in order to be valued and utilised, power needs to be controlled. Secondly, power is not allowed to centralize in the hands of one person or group for any long period of time. Thirdly, out of the permanent reach of people, power/authority is always, on the one hand, left outside the factual community and, on the other, vested in community, the social whole. Several forms of differentiation and undifferentiation emerge, but these appear to be systematically related. Social differentiation building on typically Austronesian complementary differences (such as male:female, elder:younger, autochtonous:allotochtonous) is valued, even if eventually restricted, whereas differentiation based on non-complementary differences (such as monetary wealth or level of education) is generally resisted, and/or is subsumed by the complementary distinctions. The concomitant forms of undifferentiation are likewise hierarchically organised. On the level of the society as a whole, undifferentiation means circumscribing and ultimately withholding social hierarchy. Potential hierarchy is both based on a combination of valued complementary differences between social groups and individuals, but also limited by virtue of the undoing of these differences; for example, in the dissolution of seniority (elder-younger) and gender (male-female) into sameness. Like the suspension of hierarchy, undifferentiation as transformation requires the recognition of pre-existing difference and does not mean devaluing the difference. This form of undifferentiation is ultimately encompassed by the first one, as the processes of the differentiation, whether transformed or not, are always halted. Finally, undifferentiation can mean the prevention of non-complementary differences between social groups or individuals. This form of undifferentiation, like the differentiation it works on, takes place on a lower level of societal ideology, as both the differences and their prevention are always encompassed by the complementary differences and their undoing. It is concluded that Southern Kiribati society be seen as a combination of a severely limited and decentralised hierarchy (differentiation) and of a tightly conditional and contextual (intra-category) equality (undifferentiation), and that it is distinctly characterised by an enduring tension between these contradicting social forms and cultural notions. With reference to the local notion of hardness used to characterise custom on this particular island as well as dance in general, it is argued in this work that in this Tabiteuean community some forms of differentiation are valued though strictly delimited or even undone, whereas other forms of differentiation are a perceived as a threat to community, necessitating pre-emptive imposition of undifferentiation. Power, though sought after and displayed - particularly in dancing - must always remain controlled.
  • Vihavainen, Rosa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    The thesis examines homeowners associations as a part of the large-scale housing reform, implemented in Russia since 2005. The reform transferred housing management from the public sector to the private sector and to the citizens responsibility. The reform is a continuation to the privatisation of the housing stock that was started in Russia in the beginning of the 1990s, aiming to build a market-oriented housing sector in the country. The reform makes a fundamental change to the Soviet system, in which ownership along with management and maintenance of housing were monopolised by the state. Homeowners are now responsible for the management of the common areas in privatised houses, which is often realised by establishing a homeowners association. Homeowners associations are examined by using the so-called common-pool resource regime approach, with the main question being the ways in which taking care of common property collectively succeeds in practice. The study is based on interview data of St. Petersburg s homeowners associations. Using the common-pool resource theory the study demonstrates why implementation of the housing reform has not succeeded as expected. Certain elements that characterise a successful common-pool resource regime do not fulfill sufficiently in St. Petersburg s homeowners associations. Firstly, free-riding, that is, withdrawal from the association s joint decision-making and not making the housing payments is common, as effective sanctions to prevent it are missing in the legislation. That is, eviction or expelling a non-paying member from the association is not possible. Secondly, ownership of the land plot and common areas of the house, such as basements and attics, are often disputed between the associations and authorities. In the Soviet era, these common areas were public property along with the apartments, but in privatised houses they should, according to the legislation, belong to the associations property. Thirdly, solution of disputes between the associations and authorities and within the associations is difficult, as the court system tends to be bureaucratic and inefficient. In addition to the common-pool resource approach, the study also examines how social capital contributes to the associations effectiveness and democratic governance. The study finds that although homeowners associations have increased cooperation and tightened social relations between neighbours, social capital has not been able to prevent free-riding. The study shows that unlike it is often claimed, the so-called Soviet mentality , that is, residents passiveness and unwillingness to participate, is not the most important obstacle to the reform. Instead, the reform is impeded most of all by imperfect institutional arrangements and local authorities that prevent the associations from working as independent, self-governing associations.
  • Stenlund, Mikko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    We study a Hamiltonian describing a pendulum coupled with several anisochronous oscillators, giving a simple construction of unstable KAM tori and their stable and unstable manifolds for analytic perturbations. When the coupling takes place through an even trigonometric polynomial in the angle variables, we extend analytically the solutions of the equations of motion, order by order in the perturbation parameter, to a large neighbourhood of the real line representing time. Subsequently, we devise an asymptotic expansion for the splitting (matrix) associated with a homoclinic point. This expansion consists of contributions that are manifestly exponentially small in the limit of vanishing gravity, by a shift-of-countour argument. Hence, we infer a similar upper bound for the splitting itself. In particular, the derivation of the result does not call for a tree expansion with explicit cancellation mechanisms.
  • Borch, Anita (2013)
    Problem-oriented studies of gambling have been dominated by psychological and increasingly neuroscientific approaches. Less attention has been paid to the social surroundings that influence and are influenced by problem gambling. To help fill this gap in research, this thesis focuses on what Sulkunen and Rantala (Rantala and Sulkunen, 2011, Sulkunen 2007, 2012) call cultural images of gambling and problem gambling. Cultural images refer to shared thoughts, which main function is to create a common reality of meanings, and hence enable people to orientate in the world and to communicate with others. Inspired by Sulkunen and Rantala s theories, it can be argued that problem gamblers undergo a process with three partially overlapping and mutually influencing stages of image-making: semiosis, de-semiosis and re-semiosis. In the process of semiosis, gambling is perceived, interpreted and given meaning. In the processes of de-semiosis and re-semiosis this meaning is changed and new images are born. So far the hypothesis of Sulkunen and Rantala has been analyzed in two particular settings: the fictional context of Western films dealing with different kinds of addiction, and the virtual context of a Finnish web forum discussing gambling and gambling problems. The aim of the thesis is to explore the hypothesis in the context of the household. Studying cultural images in the context of the household is an important supplement to dominant psychological and neuroscientific approaches on gambling, and hence contributes to preventing and reducing the harm of problem gambling in society. Based on qualitative studies of households with and without reported gambling problems, the analysis supports the hypothesis suggesting that problem gamblers undergo a process of semiosis, de-semiosis and re-semiosis. Interestingly, the research also indicates that other household members, in this case the spouse, seem to undergo a similar process. Consequently, significant members of the immediate family should to a larger extent be included in prevention and harm reduction work, both by virtue of being an affected part ( patient ), and in terms of representing a self-help resource ( therapist ).
  • Salokoski, Märta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    This study discusses the legitimacy basis of political power and its changes in historical African societies. It starts from Luc de Heusch s tenet that political power required a legitimacy basis of a spiritual kind, often formulated as sacred kingship. In ancient and pre-literate societies such kings were held to be responsible for the fertility of man, land and cattle. The king was a paradoxical figure, symbolising society, but standing above it, while simultaneously being its victim by being ritually killed at old age. This was also how Owambo sacred kings were conceived. De Heusch suggested that African kings derived their power over fertility from having been made sacred monsters in the rituals of installation. With the example of Owambo kingship, this study argues that the transgressive and monstrous aspect is only one of several dimension of a king s sacredness and brings out the nurturing and symbolically female aspect, identified but not analysed further by de Heusch. In the Owambo kingly installation a king-elect was made sacred, and part of it was that a link was ritually created to the early owners of the land. Their consent made it possible for the king to promote fertility and to appropriate power emblems needed for ruling. In the kingdom of Ondonga the early owners of the land were the spirits of early Bushman inhabitants and those of an early kingly clan, both neglected in public memory. The sacred dimension of kingship was further augmented when kings manipulated and appropriated rain rituals and initiation rituals, both of which were related to fertility. The study argues that even though there were aspects of the sacred monster in Owambo kingship, its manifestation was, in part, a distortion of the reciprocal aspect of kingship that was expressed in the homage paid to various ancestor spirits. A change in succession practices from ritual regicide to political assassination took place concomitant with the introduction of firearms, and this broke the sacrificial aspect of sacred kingship paving the way for a more predatory form of kingship while the sacred status of the king was retained.
  • Halme, Miia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    In the post-World War II era human rights have emerged as an enormous global phenomenon. In Finland human rights have particularly in the 1990s moved from the periphery to the center of public policy making and political rhetoric. Human rights education is commonly viewed as the decisive vehicle for emancipating individuals of oppressive societal structures and rendering them conscious of the equal value of others; both core ideals of the abstract discourse. Yet little empirical research has been conducted on how these goals are realized in practice. These factors provide the background for the present study which, by combining anthropological insights with critical legal theory, has analyzed the educational activities of a Scandinavian and Nordic network of human rights experts and PhD students in 2002-2005. This material has been complemented by data from the proceedings of UN human rights treaty bodies, hearings organized by the Finnish Foreign Ministry, the analysis of different human rights documents as well as the manner human rights are talked of in the Finnish media. As the human rights phenomenon has expanded, human rights experts have acquired widespread societal influence. The content of human rights remains, nevertheless, ambiguous: on the one hand they are law, on the other, part of a moral discourse. By educating laymen on what human rights are, experts act both as intermediaries and activists who expand the scope of rights and simultaneously exert increasing political influence. In the educational activities of the analyzed network these roles were visible in the rhetorics of legality and legitimacy . Among experts both of these rhetorics are subject to ongoing professional controversy, yet in the network they are presented as undisputable facts. This contributes to the impression that human rights knowledge is uncontested. This study demonstrates how the network s activities embody and strengthen a conception of expertise as located in specific, structurally determined individuals. Simultaneously its conception of learning emphasizes the adoption of knowledge by students, emphasizing the power of experts over them. The majority of the network s experts are Nordic males, whereas its students are predominantly Nordic females and males from East-European and developing countries. Contrary to the ideals of the discourse the network s activities do not create dialogue, but instead repeat power structures which are themselves problematic.