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  • Saarentalo-Vuorimäki, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Finnish expatriates' adaptation to a multicultural environment This study addresses Finnish expatriates adaptation to a multicultural environment. The study focuses on the role of individual values and empathy in adaptation, using Van Oudenhoven and Van der Zee s (e.g., 2000) work on the multicultural personality as the frame of interpretation. The target group were Finnish expatriates and expatriate spouses (N=52) in Brussels. The method used was conversion mixed data analysis. Adaptation was studied with a semi-structured interview, where the respondents were also encouraged to talk freely about any issues that they felt were important concerning living abroad. The goal was to bring out the conceptions and understanding of the participants of the study themselves. This data was analysed mainly with grounded theory methods, applying also some techniques of interpretative phenomenological analysis. In this first phase the major interests were: 1) to find dimensions and other components of adaptation, and 2) to form types of adaptation. Dimensions refer to qualities and attributes the individuals either possess before moving or learn and gain while living abroad. In addition, any additional components affecting adaptation were searched. The types of adaptation were formed by examining main commonalities and differences between the respondents answers. By classifying the respondents into different types I attempted to find out how individuals differed in their adaptation. The data in the second phase of the study was collected by means of Schwartz s Portrait Value Questionnaire (PVQ) (Schwartz et al., 1999) and Davis s (1994) Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI). This data was related to the results of the first phase converted into numerical form by examining correlations between converted variables, values and empathy. The value rank order was compared to studies conducted in Finland with persons of similar education. In the first phase five dimensions of adaptation were found: broadmindedness, flexibility, extroversion, self-efficacy and adventurousness. The dimensions were closely connected to each other. In addition, such competencies and concepts as fluency in the language of the country and social networks, and time spent abroad, were associated with certain dimensions. Based on two major axes, motivation and competencies, four types of adaptation were established: ideally adapted, positively adapting, ambiguously adapting, and not adapted. In the second phase the five dimensions were converted into numerical form, each dimension forming a bipolar category, following the initial continuums found in text analysis. Broadmindedness was divided into growing and extensive broadmindedness, flexibility into evolving and inclusive poles, and extroversion into striving and natural extrovert. Self-efficacy and adventurousness were coded as dummy variables as a function whether they were mentioned of not. The not adapted group was discussed separately in the analysis, since it could not be included into the statistical analysis due to its small size. Among the expatriates, universalism was the most important value, followed by self-direction. Conformity and security ranked lower than in the Finnish samples with a university-level education. Self-direction values were related to several dimensions of adaptation. Self-direction correlated with extensive broadmindedness, inclusive flexibility, natural extrovert, and adventurousness. Those categorized as ideally adapted also scored significantly higher on self-direction than the positively adapting or ambiguously adapting group. Universalism was related to inclusive flexibility, and the natural extrovert group had significantly lower scores on conformity than the striving extrovert group. Regarding empathy, the extensive broadmindedness group scored higher than the growing broadmindedness group on perspective taking. The natural extrovert group and the ideally adapted type had lower scores on personal distress. Combining the results of both phases of the study, what stood out were the relevance of high priority for universalism and self-direction values, and low priority for conformity, as well as the significance of perspective taking and low personal distress in adaptation. The qualitative analysis was also consistent with the assumption that these values and aspects of empathy could change in the process of adaptation.
  • Godenhielm, Mats (2012)
    In this thesis I analyze the role of firm size in a decentralized economy with search frictions. The frictions are modeled using a directed search framework as it captures a sensible tradeoff: sellers who try to ask a high price attract fewer buyers and trade more slowly. This tradeoff describes many markets, such as labor markets, housing markets or commodities markets. I focus on commodities markets with buyers and sellers, but the results easily translate to other markets as well. The reason for the search frictions is that buyers cannot coordinate on which seller to visit and as a result some sellers receive too many buyers and some receive too few buyers. The severity of the coordination frictions depends on the distribution of items for sale across sellers. Coordination frictions are much more severe when each seller has only a single unit for sale, as opposed to when each has many units. This is intuitively understood in the search literature but the result has not yet been formalized. The main contribution of this thesis is to formalize this intuition. The thesis is structured as follows. In Chapter 2 I present a tractable setup for understanding trade in directed search markets and show that the case of finite capacity can be handled in a straightforward way as long as there is an increasing per unit cost of holding inventory. I allow firms to choose their capacity and whether to be active on the market. I show that the ensuing equilibrium is constrained efficient, a planner constrained by the same search frictions would choose the same capacities and the same number of active sellers. In addition, I show that posted prices and auctions lead to the same expected payoffs for all market participants. I also demonstrate how firm size affects the economic activity and welfare. In an extension I show how the equilibrium size of the firms affects wages, unemployment, and the expected duration of an unemployment spell. The results can be used to evaluate the expected effectiveness of job creation policies. In Chapter 3 I attempt to replicate the results when capacity is perfectly divisible. One unexpected result is that when buyers are interested in at most one unit of a good the equivalence between posted prices and auctions no longer holds. In Chapter 4 I show that the pricing strategies of capacity constrained sellers and the buyers beliefs about the level of demand in a finite model of a centralized economy converge to those of the limit economy. These results, together with the known results establishing the finite economy foundations of directed search, allow me to simplify the setup by starting directly with a limit economy in Chapter 5, where I compare three common market structures in terms of price and expected utilities when there is a large firm and a fringe of small capacity constrained firms.
  • Collavin, Elena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    This dissertation presents an analysis of the representations of food biotechnologies in Italy. The thesis uses the analysis of discourse to illustrate the articulated ways in which representations are instantiated in different contexts. The theoretical thrust of the work resides in its discussion of the basic tenets of both Social Representations Theory and Discursive Psychology. The thesis offers a detailed description of the two frameworks; affinities and difference are highlighted, and a serious effort is made to develop an integrated set of theoretical resources to answer the research questions. The thesis proposes to combine a discursive methodology with Social Representations Theory. After a description of the relevant legislative framework follows an illustration of the categories used for the textual analysis. The study proposes the textual analysis of the following data: the first declaration issued by a small Italian council rejecting biotechnologies; four texts which focus on positions taken by the Catholic Church in the matter of food biotechnologies; several transcripts from a public debate in a small community of the north west of Italy. The latter study, which included an ethnographic dimension, focuses on recordings from interviews, a focus group, a public meeting and newspaper articles. Particular attention is paid to ideological representations and to the relevance of citizenship and governance to debates about food biotechnologies.
  • Sottinen, Tommi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2003)
  • Krivy, Maros (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    The thesis analyses transformation of obsolete industrial space as a contested socio-spatial process of urban restructuring and examines the way 'culture' becomes a planning instrument of the transformation. The thesis studies social practices that have influenced the process and examines the main actors, conflicts, and perceptions of obsolete industrial space. The main argument is the following. Artistic practices challenged negative perceptions of obsolete industrial space and represented and practised it as a space of the everyday. The practices have recognized and defended obsolete space in its present reality of obsolescence and their success has influenced urban planning and policies. Artistic practices have been labelled as 'culture' and 'culture' has become a planning instrument of regenerating obsolete industrial spaces. Case studies of the Cable Factory and the Suvilahti in Helsinki and the influence of the former on the latter give empirical evidence to the argument. The main body of the thesis consists of four articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Drawing on discussions from critical economic geography, art history, and urban semiology, the first article analyses speculative redevelopment, conservation, and speculative conservation as ideal-typical practices of transforming obsolete industrial space. In these practices, obsolescence of industrial space is understood as a 'problem to be fixed'. The role of architecture as signifying a static notion of time is discussed. By representing architectural object as situated in the future or in the past, respectively, the analysed practices obscure social and political context of the architectural process. The second article presents a study of art works by Gordon Matta-Clark, Robert Smithson and Bernd and Hilla Becher and introduces the concept of negativity in industrial architecture. Rather than representing and practising obsolete industrial space as a 'problem to be fixed', these works acknowledge obsolete industrial space in its present reality of obsolescence. The notion of representing negativity in industrial space is theorized in contrast to representing obsolete space as 'negative'. The third article studies the Pro Kaapeli movement and its role in the transformation of the Cable Factory in Helsinki during the years 1989-1991. The conflict between the Helsinki city administration and the Pro Kaapeli is examined. Introducing the concept of empty space, the article studies how the Pro Kaapeli made use of the emptiness of obsolete industrial space. The Pro Kaapeli did not contest the perception of obsolete space as empty; rather, it contested the interpretation of emptiness as negative. The movement challenged the planned demolition and redevelopment of the factory by appealing to its emptiness, not to its use or function. For the Pro Kaapeli, the emptiness of space was not something to be 'fixed'. Empty space, in its emptiness, was accepted as the starting point in the spatial practice of continuous alterations. The fourth article is a case study of the ongoing transformation of Suvilahti in Helsinki. The transformation of the industrial premises of Suvilahti has been a planning project of the city of Helsinki and 'culture' has been the main instrument used. The article introduces the concepts of culture factory and cultural governmentality and examines the influence of the Cable Factory case on the planning of Suvilahti. The success of the Pro Kaapeli movement's defence of the Cable Factory contested negative perceptions of obsolete industrial spaces, but, unintentionally, it laid foundation for using 'culture' as an instrument of regenerating the obsolete spaces. Spontaneous practices of the Pro Kaapeli have been recognized as 'culture' and 'culture' has been employed as a planning instrument in the regeneration of the Suvilahti. The article discusses culture factory as a model of regenerated obsolete industrial space, which is the objective of planning in the Suvilahti. The planners encourage spontaneous 'cultural' practices for their perceived effects on regenerating obsolete industrial space. A form of planning practice that withdraws from planning the content of culture and instead plans or wishes for the social and urban effects of culture is conceptualized as cultural governmentality.
  • Portman, Anneli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    This study looked at the values expressed in rulers’ (Czars and Presidents) public speeches in Finland from 1809-2000. Society’s values are manifested and upheld also through rituals and ceremonies, e.g. recurring public speeches. These speeches are most often held by the head of state, acting as a spokesperson for the entire society. Three types of written collections of speeches (N=355) directed to the entire population were used: Parliament Opening Speeches (1809-2000), Prayer Day Declarations (1812-1999) and New Year’s Speeches (1935-2000). The texts were analyzed using qualitative theory-driven content analysis. For the analysis a coding manual was created, which was based on Schwartz’ Theory of Basic Human Values and on previous Finnish value research. The results show that rulers present themselves as promoters of the society’s goals; they also act as creators and protectors of societal cohesion, which results in the emphasis on Self-transcendence and Conservation values. Towards the end of the time included in this study there is a marked rise in Universalism values, as questions of nature conservation and maintenance of global peace come to the forefront of the larger political agenda. Overall changes of values in the data follow the predicted pattern of societal pluralization, but not of secularization. The findings confirm the applicability of the survey-based Schwartz Value Theory also for archival value research. However, the findings also demonstrate that the two value types found in previous Finnish studies (Spirituality, Work-related values) are also necessary to depict the promoted values. Contrary to the theory-based expectations, Self-enhancement values and Self-direction values are only presented as values for the collective, not the individual. The Czars and Presidents mostly differ on the scope of their value emphasis. In their speeches the Czars emphasize values relating to spirituality, and to the in-group and its welfare. The Presidents, appeal to a wider variety of values, reflecting more the contemporary political situations, e.g. Work-related values are accentuated especially in the times of crisis (e.g. war, recession). The results of this study underline the importance of the context in value research, and contribute to the widening of value research into political and archival data. This study adds to the research of how societal cohesion is rhetorically maintained. This thesis bridges social psychology and political history, thus also adding to historical research, but results can also be applied in larger societal context to better understand the links between leaders and their followers, be they democratic rulers or not.
  • Konkka, Jyrki (Helsingin yliopisto, 2000)
  • 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.
  • Vähämaa, Miika (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This dissertation conceptualizes social groups as epistemic communities that is, as communities that circulate and regard some things as credible knowledge based on its own idiosyncratic criteria. An epistemic community sets social standards or, group epistemologies for what is understood to be knowledge. The philosophical and social psychological underpinnings of an epistemic community are reviewed considering, inter alia, theories by Aristotle, Jan Smedslund, Steve Fuller, Alvin Goldman, Jürgen Habermas, Arie Kruglanski, Henri Tajfel, Anna Wierzbicka and Julia Annas. The literature on social knowledge is used to initiate a synthesis conceptualized as the epistemic calculus of groups. Theory is substantiated with empirical studies. One study shows that university students define even universal topics such as mathematics differently based primarily on whether they live in Finland or Norway, suggesting culturally different group epistemologies about math. Another survey from the United States shows that even socio-economic group variables can be powerful predictors of how people view science and its relevance to society at large. Socio-economic variables together with media exposure cultivate these large groups to hold similarity of thought and therefore to become epistemic communities. Even more surprisingly, the pan-European data shows that occupational groups of politicians and political journalists in diverse countries Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Slovenia, Austria and Switzerland may transcend national boundaries to develop a set of goals. These goals of political communication provide the rules of thumb for reasonable political knowledge for the professional. These rules appear so strong and so well developed across nations that they are likely to cause epistemic struggle and disagreement between the professionals. In the final analysis, then, it is discussed who gets to define what we pass as knowledge?