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  • Uusihakala, Katja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    Memory Meanders is an ethnographic analysis of a postcolonial migrant community, white former Rhodesians, who have emigrated from Zimbabwe to South Africa after Zimbabwe s independence in 1980. An estimated 100 000 whites left the country during the first years of independence. Majority of these emigrants settled in South Africa. In recent years President Mugabe s land redistribution program has inflicted forced expulsions and violence against white farmers and black farm workers, and instigated a new wave of emigration. Concerning the study of Southern Africa, my research is therefore very topical. In recent years there has been a growing concern to study postcolonialism as it unfolds in the lived realities of actual postcolonies. A rising interest has also been cast on colonial cultures and white colonials within complex power relationships. My research offers insight to these discussions by investigating the ways in which the colonial past affects and effects in the present activities and ideas of former colonials. The study also takes part in discussing fundamental questions concerning how diaspora communities socially construct their place in the world in relation to the place left behind, to their current places of dwelling and to the community in dispersal. In spite of Rhodesia s incontestable ending, it is held close by social practices; by thoughts and talks, by material displays, and by webs of meaningful relationships. Such social memory practices, I suggest, are fundamental to how the community understands itself. The vantage points from which I examine how the ex-Rhodesians reminisce about Rhodesia concern ideas and practices related to place, home and commemoration. I first focus on the processes of symbolic investment that go into understanding place and landscape in Rhodesia and ask how the once dwelled-in places, iconic landscapes and experiences within places are reminisced about in diaspora. Secondly, I examine how home both as a mundanely organized sphere of everyday lives and as an idea of belonging is culturally configured, and analyze how and if homes travel in diaspora. In the final ethnographic section I focus on commemorative practices. I first analyze how food and culturally specific festive occasions of commensality are connected to social and sensual memory, considering the unique ways in which food acts as a mnemonic trigger in a diaspora community. The second example concerns the celebration of a centenary of Rhodesia in 1990. Through this case I describe how the mnemonic power of commemoration rests on the fact that culturally meaningful experiences are bodily re-enacted. I show how habitual memory connected to performance is one example of how memory gets passed-on in non-textual ways.
  • Sund, Reijo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    The resources of health systems are limited. There is a need for information concerning the performance of the health system for the purposes of decision-making. This study is about utilization of administrative registers in the context of health system performance evaluation. In order to address this issue, a multidisciplinary methodological framework for register-based data analysis is defined. Because the fixed structure of register-based data indirectly determines constraints on the theoretical constructs, it is essential to elaborate the whole analytic process with respect to the data. The fundamental methodological concepts and theories are synthesized into a data sensitive approach which helps to understand and overcome the problems that are likely to be encountered during a register-based data analyzing process. A pragmatically useful health system performance monitoring should produce valid information about the volume of the problems, about the use of services and about the effectiveness of provided services. A conceptual model for hip fracture performance assessment is constructed and the validity of Finnish registers as a data source for the purposes of performance assessment of hip fracture treatment is confirmed. Solutions to several pragmatic problems related to the development of a register-based hip fracture incidence surveillance system are proposed. The monitoring of effectiveness of treatment is shown to be possible in terms of care episodes. Finally, an example on the justification of a more detailed performance indicator to be used in the profiling of providers is given. In conclusion, it is possible to produce useful and valid information on health system performance by using Finnish register-based data. However, that seems to be far more complicated than is typically assumed. The perspectives given in this study introduce a necessary basis for further work and help in the routine implementation of a hip fracture monitoring system in Finland.
  • Vaara, Lauri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    The Land of Forester Corps. The Study on Corporatism in Finnish Forestry The study explains the control of forestry entrepreneurship by forest organizations. The study material consists of other related studies, statutes, articles and own observations. In the turn of the 19th and 20th century the state started to form the administration of forestry. This action complied the general attitudes related to forester culture at the era. These attitudes formed among state forest officials were anti-agriculture opinions, low competence in business economics and poor consideration of societal aspects. Forest Management Society Tapio was established in 1908 as a state-external central agency for the extension of private forest owners under a pressure the existing forester culture. Its position was strategic in order to steer the forestry extension towards the forms desired by the forester corps. The forester corps gained also a strategic position in the future enforcement of the forest laws, when superior enforcement of the Forest Act of 1917 was allocated to the State Forest Service. The goal of the forester corps has been an independent forestry within the public administration and in forestry as a business. This goal has been in conflict with prevailing landownership, industries and natural conditions in Finland. State governance of forestry was replaced by the corporative governance of Forestry Boards in 1928. They were given, in addition to law enforcement, also the extension of private forest owners. In 1950 the Forest Management Associations, which had also acted as the trustees of the private forest owners since 1942, were made the official local agencies of the Forestry Boards. In 1987 the Forestry Boards were given the entitlement to allocate state subsidies. This combination of remits fullfills the characteristics of a centralizet administrative authority where power of sanctioning and rewarding, attidute control and even the control of the trustee organizations is centralized to the same organization. At meanwhile the control of the administrative authority is eliminated. The afore mentioned arrangements have eliminated political surveillance, trusteeship of private forest owners, surveillance of judiciary and media as well as critical forest research. As a result is a system where there is almost no restrictions for the actions of the organizations controlling private forest owners. Also free markets are eliminated from forestry. Entrepreneurs and competition do not exist and efficiency ia measured according to quantity instead of costs. Forestry work services are produced by monopoly organizations. Forest Management Associations in wood production and forest industry entreprises in wood harvesting. The works of forestry have been arranged as a collective economy lead by these organizations. The end result of the arrangements is a totalitarian corporatism where governance resembles a centralized state administration and the economic system a centralized planned economy. The forestry practiced inside these frames is in a state of chaos what comes to production activity, livelihood-circumstances and also management of forest ecosystems. The chaos is hidden by massive PR-activities and demonstrations of technically effective harvesters.
  • Verho, Jouko (Helsingfors universitet, 2008)
    This dissertation consists of four essays studying topics in empirical labour economics. The first essay evaluates the impact of an unemployment benefit reform in Finland. In 2003, the benefit level was increased in Finland for workers with long employment histories. The average benefit increase was 15% for the first 150 days of the unemployment spell. This study evaluates the effect of the benefit increase on the duration of unemployment by comparing the changes in the re-employment hazard profiles among the unemployed who became eligible for the increased benefits to the changes in a comparison group whose benefit structure remained unchanged. According to the results benefit increase reduced the re-employment hazards by on average 16%. The effect is largest at the beginning of the unemployment spell and disappears after the eligibility period for the increased benefits expires. The second essay analyses the long-term costs of unemployment in Finland by focusing on the deep recession period of 1991 - 1993. The number of plant closures increased sharply during the recession and the unemployment rate rose by more than 13 percentage points. In the analysis, prime working-age men who face unemployment due to plant closure are matched to those who remained employed during the recession. The effect of being unemployed during the recession is estimated for a 6 year follow-up period. In 1999, the unemployed individuals suffer a 25% loss in annual earnings, 10% reduction in employment and 14% wage scar. The third essay focuses on the recession of the early 1990s that caused a serious unemployment problem in Finland. This study analyses the determinants of unemployment duration using individual data from 1987 to 2000. Duration until employment is modelled using a proportional hazard model with piecewise constant baseline hazard. The main focus is on the relative contribution of compositional variation and macroeconomic conditions to unemployment duration. According to the results, the aggregate outflow effect dominates and the observed compositional variation implies only a small increasing trend in the average duration during the recession period. The last essay studies the effect of business cycle on the incidence of workplace accidents. Individual data covering Swedish inhospital care 1997 - 2005 is linked to the population database. These data allow studying if changes in the composition of workers or strategic worker behaviour are driving the cyclicality of accidents. The results show that the incidence of workplace accidents increases during economic upturns but only in specific subgroups. Some evidence is found that compositional changes in labour force may contribute to cyclicality for women. In the male population, on the other hand, only the less severe accidents are cyclical which would be consistent with strategic worker behaviour.
  • Perälä, Jussi-Pekka (Terveyden ja Hyvinvoinnin laitos, 2011)
    The present study focuses on the drug market in Helsinki in the early 2000s, mainly on the dealing in and use of amphetamines, cannabis and the pharmaceutical Subutex. The drug market is usually analysed into upper, middle and lower level markets. These levels are very different in terms of their operating practices, although there may be some mingling. The present study is mainly concerned with drug dealers and users in the lower and middle level markets. Operations also differ depending on whether the dealing involves just one drug or several. Dealing in and using Subutex is a very different business from dealing and using home grown cannabis, for instance: both the customers and the dealers are mostly quite different. The study material was mostly collected through ethnographical field work, including observations and interviews. Interviews with officials and minutes of pre-trial investigations concerning aggravated drug crimes are also included. The study discusses the roles of dealers on the various levels of the drug market in Helsinki and traces activities at various levels. Ethnographical methods are employed to observe day-to-day drug dealing and use and leisure pursuits in private homes and in public premises. The study takes note of the risks inherent in drug dealing and estimates what kind of drug dealers can last the longest on the market without the authorities intervening. At the same time, the study discusses how small groups on the middle and lower levels of the drug market avoid control measures undertaken by the authorities and how the authorities address these groups. Moreover, the study discusses what the drug market is like in prison from the perspective of a drug dealer sent to prison, what their everyday lives are like after release, and how much money dealers on various levels of the drug market make. The study demonstrates that drug dealing in Helsinki, whether we consider the very top or the very bottom of the pyramid, is a far from rational pursuit. The undertakings are not very systematic; they are more a reaction to intoxicant addiction( s) and other problems caused by other dealers, the dealers own actions and the actions of the police. The everyday lives of drug dealers are often chaos only alleviated by drug use in the company of buyers or alone. If a drug dealer uses drugs himself/herself, things become even more complicated and a vicious circle develops. At the same time, everyday life is certainly exciting, and a drug dealer often has a highly eventful if brief life. Drug dealing is a very masculine pursuit, and there is a sort of macho code governing it, although this does not nearly always work as it should. This macho code, typically for illegal activities, involves the threat of violence as a control measure. Hence the untranslatable slang expression Kill the cows : the Finnish word for calf has the slang meaning snitch or police informant . No more cows, no more calves. But informing on others to the authorities is a fact of life in the drug-dealing world. Contributing factors to being reported to the authorities are the dealer s own mistakes and the actions of other dealers and the police. A determined drug dealer will not be deterred from drug dealing by a prison sentence. However, following time in prison only few dealers manage to gain an income from drug dealing commensurate with its risks.
  • Tiili, Minna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    This study explores strategic political steering after the New Public Management (NPM) reforms, with emphasis on the new role assigned to Government ministers in Finland. In the NPM model, politicians concentrate on broad, principal issues, while agencies have discretion within the limits set by politicians. In Finland, strategic steering was introduced with Management by Results (MBR), but the actual tools for strategic political steering have been the Government Programme, the Government Strategy Portfolio (GSP) and Frame Budgeting. This study addresses these tools as means of strategic steering conducted by the Cabinet and individual ministers within their respective ministries. The time frame of the study includes the two Lipponen Cabinets between 1995 and 2003. Interviews with fourteen ministers as well as with fourteen top officials were conducted. In addition, administrative reform documents and documents related to strategic steering tools were analysed. The empirical conclusions of the study can be summarised as follows: There were few signs of strategic political steering in the Lipponen Cabinets. Although the Government Programmes of both Cabinets introduced strategic thinking, the strategic guidelines set forth at the beginning of the Programme were not linked to the GSP or to Frame Budgeting. The GSP could be characterised as the collected strategic agendas of each ministry, while there was neither the will nor the courage among Cabinet members to prioritise the projects and to make selections. The Cabinet used Frame Budgeting mainly in the sense of spending limits, not in making strategic allocation decisions. As for the GSP at the departmental level, projects were suggested by top officials, and ministers only approved the suggested list. Frame Budgeting at the departmental level proved to be the most interesting strategic steering tool from ministers viewpoint: they actively participated in defining which issues would need extra financing. Because the chances for extra financing were minimal, ministers had an effect only on a marginal share of the budget. At the departmental level, the study shows that strategic plans were considered the domain of officials. As for strategies concerning specific substances, there was variation in the interest shown by the ministers. A few ministers emphasised the importance of strategic work and led strategy processes. In most cases, however, officials led the process while ministers offered comments on the drafts of strategy documents. The results of this study together with experiences reported in other countries and local politics show that political decision-makers have difficulty operating at the strategic level. The conclusion is that politicians do not have sufficient incentive to perform the strategic role implied by the NPM type of reforms. Overall, the empirical results of the study indicate the power of politics over management reforms.
  • Kaalikoski, Katri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2002)
  • Heinävaara, Sirpa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2003)
  • Ekholm, Elina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    The purpose of this study is to analyse education, employment, and work-life experiences of visually impaired persons in expert jobs. The empirical data consists of 30 thematic interviews (24 visually impaired persons, 1 family-member of a visually impaired person, 5 persons working with diversity issues), of supplementary articles, and of statistics on the socio-economic status of the visually impaired. The interviewees experiences of education and employment have been analysed by a qualitative method. The analysis has been deepened by reflecting it against the recent discussion on the concept of diversity. The author s methodological choice as a disability researcher has been to treat the interviewees as co-researchers rather than objects of research. Accessibility in its different forms is a prerequisite of diversity in the workplace, and this study examines what kind of accessibility is required by visually impaired professionals. Access to working life depends on the attitudes prejudices and expectations that society has towards a minority group. Social accessibility is connected with internal relationships in the workplace, and achieving social accessibility is a bilateral process. Information technology has revolutionised the visually impaired people s possibilities of accessing information and performing expert tasks. Accessible environment, good mobility skills, and transportation services enable visually impaired employees to get to their workplaces and to navigate there with ease. Integration has raised the level of education and widened the selection of career options for the visually impaired. However, even visually impaired people with academic degrees often need employment support services. Visually impaired professionals are mainly employed in the public and third sector. Achieving diversity in the labour market is a multiactor process. Social support services are needed, as well as courage and readiness from employers to hire people with disabilities. The organisations of the visually impaired play an important role in affecting the attitudes and providing peer support. Visually impaired employees need good professional skills, blindness skills, and social courage, and they need to be comfortable with their disability. In the workplace, diversity may actualise as diverse ways of working: the work is done by using technical aids or other means of compensating for the lack of eyesight. When an employee must find compensatory solutions for disability-related limitations at work, this will also develop his/her problem-solving abilities. Key words: visually impaired, diversity, accessibility, working life
  • Haikkola, Lotta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    The study examines second generation young people s transnationalism and identity negotiations in the intersection of the transnational family networks, Finnish ethnic hierarchies and the constructed category of immigrant and local multi-ethnicity. The study asks how second generation young people build transnational ties and how the transnational context affects local identity negotiations. The study focuses on young people with diverse backgrounds in the multi-ethnic local contexts in Helsinki. Theoretically and methodologically the study builds on three approaches. Network analysis and mobilities-perspective (Mayer 1962, Olwig 2007, Sheller ET Urry 2006) are used to examine transnationalism. Childhood studies (James et al. 1998) is used to examining children s and young people s actions and perspectives. Identities are examined from an interactional boundary-making paradigm (Jenkins 2008, Wimmer 2009). The data consists of interviews with 29 young people aged 12 to 16. The twofold data comprises of personal networks and a thematic interview. First, the study examines the reproduction of the transnational relations. It shows that second generation does not straightforwardly reproduce their parents transnational ties, but have to build them from their own starting points. Return visits, in particular, are a means to negotiate transnationalism: reproduce social relations, feel belonging in the family and create a bond with the place of origin. Transnational networks can also shift geographically from the place of origin towards other destination countries where family or friends are based. Instead of measuring second generation young people s activities (e.g. Kasinitz 2008), the study proposes a contextual approach to second generation transnationalism. Regardless of youth s participation, transnationalism creates a multi-sited context, which structures second generation young people s identities and life chances. It can be ambiguous and provide conflicting frames and ideas. Not being able to connect tot the dispersed family can lead to feelings being an outsider in the family network and loss of support from the dispersed family. Secondly, the study examines identities within the context of the transnational family network, Finnish ethnic hierarchies, the constructed category of immigrant and local multi-ethnicity. In the local struggles young people either emphasize their ethnicity or create a collective identity of foreigner by distancing from Finnishness. Foreigness is not a marginalized identity, but rather a positive response to the categorizing power of the Finnish society. In the transnational context these struggles become more complicated. Young people either emphasize their ethnic minority identity in Finland, feel belonging both in Finland and the country of origin or create an identity connected to their transnational family network and the possibility to international travel inherent in the geographically dispersed family network. Transnational ties also provide both symbolic and discursive as well as concrete resources to combat the categorizing and marginalizing tendencies in Finland. Second generation new, hybrid ethnic identities are mostly considered empowering and combatting the local or national power structures as such. This study shows that they do reflect the more and more multicultural and diverse local world and their transnational context. However, they are created in response to the local hierarchies and ways of defining us and them . As such, they do not straightforwardly empower young people and challenge existing ethnic hierarchies. Identities emerge in an ongoing struggle for recognition and respect.
  • Näre, Lena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    This study examines the private employment of migrant workers for domestic and care work, or paid reproductive labour, in southern Italy. Italy is a country where there has been a significant increase in demand for privately employed domestic and care workers, especially in elder care work. This demand is analysed in the context of the Italian gender regime, familistic welfare regime, and a migration regime that contributes to the existence of a large number of irregular migrants. The thesis is based on ethnographic research conducted in Naples, Italy in 2004 2005. During the fieldwork, migrant domestic and care workers from Sri Lanka, Ukraine and Poland were interviewed (N=74), as well Neapolitan employers (N=15) and participant observation conducted in various public places among the migrant communities and in private households employing cleaners and carers. The thesis, based on five original articles and a synthesis chapter, explores paid reproductive labour from a moral economy perspective on two accounts. Firstly, the economic and employment aspects of the work are obscured by an implicit moral contract, i.e. the expectation that workers should perform their job out of gratitude rather than for pay. Workers dependence on their employers is enforced by Italian migration legislation, which ties the stay permit to a work contract. Secondly, in order to offer a critical perspective to the social construction of domestic and care work as unvalued, unskilled and dirty , the research examines the importance of this labour for the reproduction of home as a complex sensory space. Contradictory to the most celebratory accounts of transnationalism and cosmopolitanism, the study demonstrates the constitutive role played by persisting borders and associated legislative practices of exclusion. Accordingly, questions such as work and residence permits, right to family reunification and access to welfare and health services underpin the rise of migrancy as an important social category defining the status of paid reproductive labour in the society as well as framing the workers livelihoods in a comparable way to other social categories. The research findings, which point to the striking parallels in the organisation of paid reproductive labour across historical times and geographical places, call into question the evolutionary idea of a Western modernisation, suggesting the need for a radical rethinking of what is meant and understood by development and modernisation within social sciences, as well as a rethinking of the tenets of neoliberal global economics.
  • Rasila, Antti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2005)
  • Kalalahti, Mira (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Positioned between social and public policy, sociology of education and educational sciences, this doctoral thesis focuses on the boundaries and limits that society, families and schools set for educational achievements. The thesis consists of four scientific articles and a summary that also contains supplementary analysis. The following two research questions are examined: (1) How do definitions of equality of opportunities change with time? and (2) How are school achievements connected to social position and experiences of social security in homes and schools? The youth study dimension of the thesis relies on the Health and Well-being in Youth − Comparison of 15-year-olds in Helsinki and Glasgow (HelGla) research project and the data that has been collected during the years 1998, 2004 and 2010. The questionnaire-based survey was targeted at 9th grade pupils (n ~ 2500 / data). This data is the main empirical corpus, where social position, school achievements and school experiences were analysed with statistical methods. The thesis is also part of the research project Parents and School Choice. Family Strategies, Segregation and School Policies in Chilean and Finnish Basic Schooling (PASC). The sociology of education dimension is framed using documentary data collected for this project by analysing discourses and practices concerning equality of educational opportunities. Changes in the opportunity structures in the thesis were uncovered by analysing the empirical and conceptual changes in the possibilities to choose schools. The analysis comes to the conclusion that there are two distinctive liberal interpretations of individual freedom of choice. Viewed from the comprehensive school choice policies, the education systems simultaneously promote educational rights and equal possibilities within the welfare liberalism and neoliberalism traditions. The associations between school achievements and family background are examined through the lens of school achievement. School achievement is analysed as a unity of educational orientation and habits that are emergent in school grades and attitudes towards school, and is associated with social position. First, in Pierre Bourdieu s conceptual terms, the associations between cultural capital ‒ the educational level of the parents in the thesis ‒ and school achievements is analysed. Second, the social position is analysed as social capital, especially following James Coleman s theory of social trust. The thesis concludes that school achievements associate with social hierarchies in many ways. Good achievement at school intertwines with both forms of capital. The odds of a young person having good school grades is tightly linked to the education level of his/her family, but a positive attitude towards school requires or can be also explained by strong social resources; i.e., a socially safe position to grow and develop.
  • Lindén, Carl-Gustav (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    The late 1990s was a time of strong economic growth in Finland and Sweden where two large companies, Nokia and Ericsson, ruled the world of telecom and brought considerable tangible and intangible benefits to their home countries. For business journalists their expansion became a source of thousands of stories explaining and celebrating their international success. But when the burst in early 2000 it also became obvious that behind this boom was another story of inflated stock market values, over-optimism and imminent structural change in the telecom market. This research focuses on how business journalists in Finland and Sweden compared Nokia with Ericsson in the first decade of the 2000s as this change took place. The research perspective is social constructionism and the thesis includes interviews with actors business journalists and corporate communicators as well as analysts to understand how they made sense of this development. The articles selected are treated as products of social interaction and their content analyzed as the result of negotiation influenced by the organizing principles of that engagement and manifested in frames. These frames are dealt with as a frame package, a master frame of national champions, Nokia against Ericsson. Of special interest is the narrative value of Nokia and Ericsson as representatives of the other, in this case the neighbour nation. This research points to major differences within the Finnish and Swedish socio-economic and cultural context. Since Nokia had no competitors for the position as a national champion it could engage with the press on its own terms while Ericsson, though powerful, did not have the same influence over journalists. As background factors there were also differences in the economic strengths of the companies, which were reflected in mediated public opinion, as well as strategic failures in corporate communication.
  • Hakkarainen, Minna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Abstract The study draws on the findings of previous ethnographic studies that picture development practice as a space of contestation in which actors engage with cultural values, history and the socio-political context in ways that create deviations from the project script . The study adds to the debate by approaching the contestation as taking place in language that reflects both existing realities and the discourses in which the actors are positioned. The study conceptualizes development practice as a process of construction of, and negotiating over, meanings. The selected approach suggests that the ambiguity of words that manifests itself in development practice is necessarily a part of development practice as actors simultaneously belong to different and sometimes contradictory contexts in which words are given their meanings. Through case studies of two types of development interventions(a Savings and Credit Intervention and a Village Self-reliance and Development Intervention) by a Finnish NGO in Vietnam, the study drawing from a Bakhtinian reading of aid practice inquires how contestation over meanings of terms central to the NGO s development thinking contribute to changes in the NGO s aid practice in relation to the promotion of gender and democracy. The study argues that multiplicity of meanings has important implications for aid practice and for donors agenda of democracy promotion in aid recipient countries. Promotion of democracy necessarily calls for deep contextual understanding as meanings, manifested in concrete utterances, are also contextual and therefore,may vary in ways that hinder or slow down project implementation. Furthermore,the study argues that non-responsive behaviour to development interventions may reflect prior experiences of unsatisfactory state-led development projects and people s understanding of them. Moreover, the study highlights the role of gendered norms and gender roles in Vietnamese society from the perspective of grassroots democracy promotion by showing how they affect women s access to formal decision making forums in villages. Keywords: development thinking, development practice, NGOs in development, language in development, democracy promotion, grassroots democracy, gender, gendered norms, Vietnam, meaning construction, heteroglossia, monologism, dialogical relationship, Bakhtinian reading.
  • Leppänen, Antti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    This is an ethnographic study of the lived worlds of the keepers of small shops in a residential neighborhood in Seoul, South Korea. It outlines, discusses, and analyses the categories and conceptualizations of South Korean capitalism at the level of households, neighborhoods, and Korean society. These cultural categories were investigated through the neighborhood shopkeepers practices of work and reciprocal interaction as well as through the shopkeepers articulations of their lived experience. In South Korea, the keepers of small businesses have continued to be a large occupational category despite of societal and economic changes, occupying approximately one fourth of the population in active work force. In spite of that, these people, their livelihoods and their cultural and social worlds have rarely been in the focus of social science inquiry. The ethnographic field research for this study was conducted during a 14-month period between November 1998 and December 1999 and in three subsequent short visits to Korea and to the research neighborhood. The fieldwork was conducted during the aftermath of the Asian currency crisis, colloquially termed at the time as the IMF crisis, which highlighted the social and cultural circumstances of small businesskeeper in a specific way. The livelihoods of small-scale entrepreneurs became even more precarious than before; self-employment became an involuntary choice for many middle-class salaried employees who were laid off; and the cultural categories and concepts of society and economy South Korean capitalism were articulated more sharply than before. This study begins with an overview of the contemporary setting, the Korean society under the socially and economically painful outcomes of the economic crisis, and continues with an overview of relevant literature. After introducing the research area and the informants, I discuss the Korean notion of neighborhood, which incorporates both the notions of culturally valued Koreanness and deficiency in the sense of modernity and development. This study further analyses the ways in which the businesskeepers appropriate and reproduce the Korean ideas of men s and women s gender roles and spheres of work. As the appropriation of children s labor is conditional to intergenerational family trajectories which aim not to reproduce parents occupational status but to gain entry to salaried occupations via educational credentials, the work of a married couple is the most common organization of work in small businesses, to which the Korean ideas of family and kin continuity are not applied. While the lack of generational businesskeeping succession suggests that the proprietors mainly subscribe to the notions of familial status that emanate from the practices of the white-collar middle class, the cases of certain women shopkeepers show that their proprietorship and the ensuing economic standing in the family prompts and invites inversed interpretations and uses of common cultural notions of gender. After discussing and analyzing the concept of money and the cultural categorization of leisure and work, topics that emerged as very significant in the lived world of the shopkeepers, this study charts and analyses the categories of identification which the shopkeepers employ for their cultural and social locations and identities. Particular attention is paid to the idea of ordinary people (seomin), which shopkeepers are commonly considered to be most representative of, and which also sums up the ambivalence of neighborhood shopkeepers as a social category: they are not committed to familial reproduction and continuity of the business but aspire non-entrepreneurial careers for their children, while they occupy a significant position in the elaborations of culturally valued notions and ideologies defining Koreanness such as warmheartedness and sociability.