Browsing by Title

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 240-259 of 378
  • Hankonen, Nelli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Background: The onset of many chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented by changes in diet, physical activity and obesity. Known predictors of successful behaviour change include psychosocial factors such as selfefficacy, action and coping planning, and social support. However, gender and socioeconomic differences in these psychosocial mechanisms underlying health behaviour change have not been examined, despite well-documented sociodemographic differences in lifestyle-related mortality and morbidity. Additionally, although stable personality traits (such as dispositional optimism or pessimism and gender-role orientation: agency and communion) are related to health and health behaviour, to date they have rarely been studied in the context of health behaviour interventions. These personality traits might contribute to health behaviour change independently of the more modifiable domain-specific psychosocial factors, or indirectly through them, or moderated by them. The aims were to examine in an intervention setting: (1) whether changes (during the three-month intervention) in psychological determinants (self-efficacy beliefs, action planning and coping planning) predict changes in exercise and diet behaviours over three months and 12 months, (2) the universality assumption of behaviour change theories, i.e. whether preintervention levels and changes in psychosocial determinants are similar among genders and socioeconomic groups, and whether they predict changes in behaviour in a similar way in these groups, (3) whether the personality traits optimism, pessimism, agency and communion predict changes in abdominal obesity, and the nature of their interplay with modifiable and domain-specific psychosocial factors (self-efficacy and social support). Methods: Finnish men and women (N = 385) aged 50 65 years who were at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes were recruited from health care centres to participate in the GOod Ageing in Lahti Region (GOAL) Lifestyle Implementation Trial. The programme aimed to improve participants lifestyle (physical activity, eating) and decrease their overweight. The measurements of self-efficacy, planning, social support and dispositional optimism/pessimism were conducted pre-intervention at baseline (T1) and after the intensive phase of the intervention at three months (T2), and the measurements of exercise at T1, T2 and 12 months (T3) and healthy eating at T1 and T3. Waist circumference, an indicator of abdominal obesity, was measured at T1 and at oneyear (T3) and three-year (T4) follow-ups. Agency and communion were measured at T4 with the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ). Results: (1) Increases in self-efficacy and planning were associated with three-month increases in exercise (Study I). Moreover, both the post-intervention level and three-month increases (during the intervention) in self-efficacy in dealing with barriers predicted the 12-month increase in exercise, and a high postintervention level of coping plans predicted the 12-month decrease in dietary fat (Study II). One- and three-year waist circumference reductions were predicted by the initial three-month increase in self-efficacy (Studies III, IV). (2) Post-intervention at three months, women had formed more action plans for changing their exercise routines and received less social support for behaviour change than men had. The effects of adoption self-efficacy were similar but change in planning played a less significant role among men (Study I). Examining the effects of socioeconomic status (SES), psychosocial determinants at baseline and their changes during the intervention yielded largely similar results. Exercise barriers self-efficacy was enhanced slightly less among those with low SES. Psychosocial determinants predicted behaviour similarly across all SES groups (Study II). (3) Dispositional optimism and pessimism were unrelated to waist circumference change, directly or indirectly, and they did not influence changes in self-efficacy (Study III). Agency predicted 12-month waist circumference reduction among women. High communion coupled with high social support was associated with waist circumference reduction. However, the only significant predictor of three-year waist circumference reduction was an increase in health-related self-efficacy during the intervention (Study IV). Conclusions: Interventions should focus on improving participants self-efficacy early on in the intervention as well as prompting action and coping planning for health behaviour change. Such changes are likely to be similarly effective among intervention participants regardless of gender and educational level. Agentic orientation may operate via helping women to be less affected by the demands of the self-sacrificing female role and enabling them to assertively focus on their own goals. The earlier mixed results regarding the role of social support in behaviour change may be in part explained by personality traits such as communion.
  • Ehrling, Leena-Maria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    In the field of psychiatry semi-structured interview is one of the central tools in assessing the psychiatric state of a patient. In semi-structured interview the interviewer participates in the interaction both by the prepared interview questions and by his or her own, unstructured turns. It has been stated that in the context of psychiatric assessment interviewers' unstructured turns help to get focused information but simultaneously may weaken the reliability of the data. This study examines the practices by which semi-structured psychiatric interviews are conducted. The method for the study is conversation analysis, which is both a theory of interaction and a methodology for its empirical, detailed analysis. Using data from 80 video-recorded psychiatric interviews with 16 patients and five interviewers it describes in detail both the structured and unstructured interviewing practices. In the analysis also psychotherapeutic concepts are used to describe phenomena that are characteristic for therapeutic discourse. The data was received from the Helsinki Psychotherapy Study (HPS). HPS is a randomized clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of four forms of psychotherapy in the treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders. A total of 326 patients were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: solution-focused therapy, short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy, and long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy. The patients assigned to the long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy group and 41 patients self-selected for psychoanalysis were included in a quasi-experimental design. The primary outcome measures were depressive and anxiety symptoms, while secondary measures included work ability, need for treatment, personality functions, social functioning, and life style. Cost-effectiveness was determined. The data were collected from interviews, questionnaires, psychological tests, and public health registers. The follow-up interviews were conducted five times during a 5-year follow-up. The study shows that interviewers pose elaborated questions that are formulated in a friendly and sensitive way and that make relevant patients' long and story-like responses. When receiving patients' answers interviewers use a wide variety of different interviewing practices by which they direct patients' talk or offer an understanding of the meaning of patients' response. The results of the study are two-fold. Firstly, the study shows that understanding the meaning of mental experiences requires interaction between interviewer and patient. It is stated that therefore semi-structured interview is both relevant and necessary method for collecting data in psychotherapy outcome study. Secondly, the study suggests that conversation analysis, enriched with psychotherapeutic concepts, offers methodological possibilities for psychotherapy process research, especially for process-outcome paradigm.
  • Arppe, Tiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2000)
  • Smolander, Sampo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    This work develops methods to account for shoot structure in models of coniferous canopy radiative transfer. Shoot structure, as it varies along the light gradient inside canopy, affects the efficiency of light interception per unit needle area, foliage biomass, or foliage nitrogen. The clumping of needles in the shoot volume also causes a notable amount of multiple scattering of light within coniferous shoots. The effect of shoot structure on light interception is treated in the context of canopy level photosynthesis and resource use models, and the phenomenon of within-shoot multiple scattering in the context of physical canopy reflectance models for remote sensing purposes. Light interception. A method for estimating the amount of PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) intercepted by a conifer shoot is presented. The method combines modelling of the directional distribution of radiation above canopy, fish-eye photographs taken at shoot locations to measure canopy gap fraction, and geometrical measurements of shoot orientation and structure. Data on light availability, shoot and needle structure and nitrogen content has been collected from canopies of Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis (Dougl.) Forbes) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.). Shoot structure acclimated to light gradient inside canopy so that more shaded shoots have better light interception efficiency. Light interception efficiency of shoots varied about two-fold per needle area, about four-fold per needle dry mass, and about five-fold per nitrogen content. Comparison of fertilized and control stands of Norway spruce indicated that light interception efficiency is not greatly affected by fertilization. Light scattering. Structure of coniferous shoots gives rise to multiple scattering of light between the needles of the shoot. Using geometric models of shoots, multiple scattering was studied by photon tracing simulations. Based on simulation results, the dependence of the scattering coefficient of shoot from the scattering coefficient of needles is shown to follow a simple one-parameter model. The single parameter, termed the recollision probability, describes the level of clumping of the needles in the shoot, is wavelength independent, and can be connected to previously used clumping indices. By using the recollision probability to correct for the within-shoot multiple scattering, canopy radiative transfer models which have used leaves as basic elements can use shoots as basic elements, and thus be applied for coniferous forests. Preliminary testing of this approach seems to explain, at least partially, why coniferous forests appear darker than broadleaved forests in satellite data.
  • Nikkonen, Ahti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2005)
  • Janzon, Max (Max Janzon, 2014)
    Abstract The study offers a strong constructivist reading on Finnish border security. The objective of the study is to realize border security culture. Realizing Finnish border security culture implies constructing Finnish border territoriality and its social meanings thereof, and reconstructing the patterns of valorization. The first research objective is to construct the shared ideas and assumptions of Finnish border security by constructing border territoriality. The second research objective is to define socially constructed spatial strategy. The third research objective is to realize border security culture and implies framing the social practices that confirm social meanings and patterns. Accordingly, the study has three research objectives and three research questions. The first research question is about how Finnish border security is socially constructed. The second research question concerns Finnish socially constructed border strategy. The third research question asks the question of what about border security culture is realized. The empirical agenda of the study is concluded with a main empirical argument regarding border security culture realized. Border security culture is regarded constructivist and thus as a holistically embedded social structure, which by social constructivism is made known, obvious and then understandable. Social constructivism is treated as a metapractice of border security culture and derives its character from the perceived logical and pragmatic relationship to its object of inquiry. Scientific realism in this study is understood in terms of constitutive realism. Constitutive realism draws from the assumption that there is social knowledge and that this social knowledge is expressed in and by social structures. The epistemological position argues for a constitutive framing of Finnish border security that draws from practical knowledge and its contextual horizon. For empirical purposes, the study applies constitutive framing. The act of constitutive framing produces specific frames by organizing and interpreting the language used to communicate border security meaning, patterns, and practices. A total of twenty Finnish border security professionals in senior or executive positions were interviewed for the study. Border security culture in this study is understood to constitute spatial strategy and bordering practices shared by border security professionals. For the purpose of realizing border security culture, the study develops a constructivist argument according to which constructing border security is by application of securitization theory wedded to border security professionals and by using territorialization theory rooted in how border security professionals construct territoriality. Rooted in the social ontology of international border security, the social constructivist argument forms a territorial political sociology that develops by combining the securitizing practices of border security agents and their shared territoriality. According to the empirical agenda, the master constructs of Finnish border security are Eastborderness, Schengenization, Integration, and Cooperation. Eastborderness and Schengenization are acts for communicating territoriality while integrated and cooperational borderwork are acts for enforcing territoriality. The two patterns of valorization that emerge are territorial consciousness and (securitized) spatial order. The pattern of territorial consciousness constitutes pragmatic and constructive territoriality. The pattern of securitized spatial order constitutes coherent and coordinated spatial order. While pragmatic and constructive territoriality are influential acts for communicating border territoriality, coherent and coordinated spatial order are influential acts for enforcing territoriality. Such influential territoriality constitutes effectively a socially constructed convincing border strategy. Border security culture is then realized by the practices that confirm shared meanings and shared patterns. The practices of eastbordering, social bordering, and spatial bordering confirm Finnish border strategy. Further, these bordering practices constitute influential bordering culture and Finnish (and European) border security culture realized. The main empirical argument regarding a border security culture realized is as follows. Rooted in convincing border strategy, the practices of eastbordering, social bordering, and spatial bordering inhere in and constitute an influential bordering culture, and thereby Finnish (and European) border security culture is realized. Eastbordering refers to the practices of Finnish-Russian border security cooperation, while social bordering constitutes Frontex-like border security. Spatial bordering practices define networked border security. Finnish-Russian border security cooperation, Frontex-like border security, and networked border security constitute influential border security culture, while inhering acts for communicating and enforcing territoriality effectively influence interactions at the security borders.
  • Liimakka, Satu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    The body relation of many contemporary Western young women involves experiences and practices of body dissatisfaction, habitual body monitoring and appearance management. This doctoral dissertation explores young Finnish women s body experiences and possibilities for embodied agency within or despite the constraints of their given socio-cultural surroundings. By drawing from Merleau-Ponty s phenomenology of the body, Bourdieu s reflexive sociology and feminist appropriations of these, both the stability of habitual body experience and the possibilities of transforming it are explored. The study focuses on the body experiences of young Finnish women who study in upper secondary school or university. The study is comprised of three sub-studies that explored the accounts of upper secondary school students, students of social sciences and students of women s studies. In order to explore the relationships between an individual, social groups and society as manifesting in the individual s body experience, the study analysed both collectively and individually produced accounts of body experience, focus group discussions and individually written accounts, and utilized in their analysis grounded theory-inspired coding and interpretative phenomenological analysis. The dissertation shows that the common experiences of self-critical body surveillance and body anxiety among contemporary young women rise from the experience of a representational self, constructed by a culture of appearances. In this study, young women s body experiences were constructed within contradictory demands posed by current cultural beauty and health imperatives and the current cultural self imperative requiring individual, resistant agency in not surrendering to the cultural body imperatives. The young women typically utilized a strategy defined in this study as Cartesian agency, emphasizing the young woman s independence from culture, other people and her own body. Yet Cartesian agency mainly maintained a state of bodily alienation. Through new corporeal experiences, in combination with critical (feminist) reflexivity, some of the young women were able to inhabit their bodies in new and more empowering ways. The agency of the body itself in acquiring new ways of being, thus enabling the young women to re-embody themselves, helped to cause a rupture in their previous socialization of disembodied selves inhabiting objectified and problematic bodies.
  • Heinonen, Hannu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    The study explores the role of the state in regional integration processes. The question is approached through theoretical discussion and two case-studies - SADC (Southern African Development Community) and the EU. The main research question of the study is, what are the possibilities and problems of the integration process in Southern Africa and how do they differ from the possibilities and problems of the integration process in Europe. The undelrying question of the study is why do states decide to participate in an integration process where they have to limit their sovereignty. Review of the theoretical discussion of the integration studies shows that the integration process is affected by several factors on different levels of the international system. But the state plays a central role in integration processes - integration processes are inititated and carried on by the participatig states. The European integration process shows that the interests of the state can change over time. At the beginning of the integration process, the objective was to strengthen participating states. Later EU member states have decided that it is in their interest to deepen the process even if it has meant limitation of their sovereignty. The determinant factor has been that the member states have considered it to be in their interst to deepen the process. In Southern Africa the integration process is only at the beginning. SADC aims to establish a free trade area by 2008. The biggest challenge is how to implement the integration process so that it benefits all member states in a region that is economically dominated by South Africa. In practice this can be achieved through establishment of corrective mechanisms, which ensure equitable distribution of benefits. This would require deeper integration and South Africa to adapt responsibility towards its regional partners. African integration processes in general have not been as successful as for example the EU. African states have been reluctant to limit their sovereignty in favour of regional organisations.This can be explained by the differences between European and African states. The EU member states have been democracies while African states have been characterised by concentration of power in the executive branch. Furthermore the political systems in Africa have been characterised by vertical clientelist reltionships. As a result it has not been in the interest of the political elite to limit the state sovereignty in favour of regional organisations. In recent years SADC has been relatively succesful in its integration process and reforms, but a lot remains to be done before the implementation of the free trade area can be succesful. The institutional structure and treaties of SADC differ from the structures of the EU. Member states are the main actors of the integration processes. Their differences are reflected in the process and produce different kinds of integration in different parts of the world.
  • Kjærnes, Unni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    The role of people as buyers and eaters of food has changed significantly. From being protected by a paternalistic welfare state, people appear to be accorded more freedom and responsibility as individuals, where attention is redirected from the state towards market relations. Many have asserted that these changes are accompanied by fragmentation, individualisation, and privatisation, leading to individual uncertainty and lack of confidence. But empirical observations do not always confirm this, distrust is not necessarily growing and while responsibilities may change, the state still plays an active role. This dissertation explores changing relationships between states and markets, on the one hand, and ordinary people in their capacities as consumers and citizens, on the other. Do we see the emergence of new forms of regulation of food consumption? If so, what is the scope and what are the characteristics? Theories of regulation addressing questions about individualisation and self-governance are combined with a conceptualisation of consumption as processes of institutionalisation, involving daily routines, the division of labour between production and consumption, and the institutional field in which consumption is embedded. The analyses focus on the involvement of the state, food producers and scientific, first of all nutritional, expertise in regulating consumption, and on popular responses. Two periods come out as important, first when the ideas of “designing the good life” emerged, giving the state a very particular role in regulating food consumption, and, second, when this “designing” is replaced by ideas of choice and individual responsibility. One might say that “consumer choice” has become a mode of regulation. I use mainly historical studies from Norway to analyse the shifting role of the state in regulating food consumption, complemented with population surveys from six European countries to study how modernisation processes are associated with trust. The studies find that changing regulation is not only a question of societal or state vs individual responsibilities. Degrees of organisation and formalisation are important as well. While increasing organisation may represent discipline and abuses of power (including exploitation of consumer loyalty), organisation can also, to the consumer, provide higher predictability, systems to deal with malfeasance, and efficiency which may provide conditions for acting. The welfare state and the neo-liberal state have very different types of solutions. The welfare state solution is based on (national) egalitarianism, paternalism and discipline (of the market as well as households). Such solutions are still prominent in Norway. Individualisation and self-regulation may represent a regulatory response not only to a declining legitimacy of this kind of interventionism, but also increasing organisational complexity. This is reflected in large-scale re-regulation of markets as well as in relationships with households and consumers. Individualisation of responsibility is to the consumer not a matter of the number of choices that are presented on the shelves, but how choice as a form of consumer based involvement is institutionalised. It is recognition of people as “end-consumers”, as social actors, with systems of empowerment politically as well as via the provisioning system. ‘Consumer choice’ as a regulatory strategy includes not only communicative efforts to make people into “choosing consumers”, but also the provision of institutions which recognise consumer interests and agency. When this is lacking we find distrust as representing powerlessness. Individual responsibility-taking represents agency and is not always a matter of loyal support to shared goals, but involves protest and creativity. More informal (‘communitarian’) innovations may be an indication of that, where self-realisation is intimately combined with responsibility for social problems. But as solutions to counteract existing imbalances of power in the food market the impacts of such initiatives are probably more as part of consumer mobilisation and politicisation than as alternative provisioning.
  • Vehkalahti, Kimmo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2000)
  • De Simone, Emiliano (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    It is well known that an integrable (in the sense of Arnold-Jost) Hamiltonian system gives rise to quasi-periodic motion with trajectories running on invariant tori. These tori foliate the whole phase space. If we perturb an integrable system, the Kolmogorow-Arnold-Moser (KAM) theorem states that, provided some non-degeneracy condition and that the perturbation is sufficiently small, most of the invariant tori carrying quasi-periodic motion persist, getting only slightly deformed. The measure of the persisting invariant tori is large together with the inverse of the size of the perturbation. In the first part of the thesis we shall use a Renormalization Group (RG) scheme in order to prove the classical KAM result in the case of a non analytic perturbation (the latter will only be assumed to have continuous derivatives up to a sufficiently large order). We shall proceed by solving a sequence of problems in which theperturbations are analytic approximations of the original one. We will finally show that the approximate solutions will converge to a differentiable solution of our original problem. In the second part we will use an RG scheme using continuous scales, so that instead of solving an iterative equation as in the classical RG KAM, we will end up solving a partial differential equation. This will allow us to reduce the complications of treating a sequence of iterative equations to the use of the Banach fixed point theorem in a suitable Banach space.
  • Ruoppila, Sampo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    The thesis examines urban issues arising from the transformation from state socialism to a market economy. The main topics are residential differentiation, i.e., uneven spatial distribution of social groups across urban residential areas, and the effects of housing policy and town planning on urban development. The case study is development in Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, in the context of development of Central and Eastern European cities under and after socialism. The main body of the thesis consists of four separately published refereed articles. The research question that brings the articles together is how the residential (socio-spatial) pattern of cities developed during the state socialist period and how and why that pattern has changed since the transformation to a market economy began. The first article reviews the literature on residential differentiation in Budapest, Prague, Tallinn and Warsaw under state socialism from the viewpoint of the role of housing policy in the processes of residential differentiation at various stages of the socialist era. The paper shows how the socialist housing provision system produced socio-occupational residential differentiation directly and indirectly and it describes how the residential patterns of these cities developed. The second article is critical of oversimplified accounts of rapid reorganisation of the overall socio-spatial pattern of post-socialist cities and of claims that residential mobility has had a straightforward role in it. The Tallinn case study, consisting of an analysis of the distribution of socio-economic groups across eight city districts and over four housing types in 1999 as well as examining the role of residential mobility in differentiation during the 1990s, provides contrasting evidence. The third article analyses the role and effects of housing policies in Tallinn s residential differentiation. The focus is on contemporary post-privatisation housing-policy measures and their effects. The article shows that the Estonian housing policies do not even aim to reduce, prevent or slow down the harmful effects of the considerable income disparities that are manifest in housing inequality and residential differentiation. The fourth article examines the development of Tallinn s urban planning system 1991-2004 from the viewpoint of what means it has provided the city with to intervene in urban development and how the city has used these tools. The paper finds that despite some recent progress in planning, its role in guiding where and how the city actually developed has so far been limited. Tallinn s urban development is rather initiated and driven by private agents seeking profit from their investment in land. The thesis includes original empirical research in the three articles that analyse development since socialism. The second article employs quantitative data and methods, primarily index calculation, whereas the third and the fourth ones draw from a survey of policy documents combined with interviews with key informants. Keywords: residential differentiation, housing policy, urban planning, post-socialist transformation, Estonia, Tallinn
  • Seitsamo, Jorma (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    The ageing of the labour force and falling employment rates have forced policy makers in industrialized countries to find means of increasing the well-being of older workers and of lengthening their work careers. The main objective of this thesis was to study longitudinally how health, functional capacity, subjective well-being, and lifestyle change as people grow older, and what effect retirement has on these factors and on their relationships. The present study is a follow-up questionnaire study of Finnish municipal workers, conducted in 1981 to 1997 at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. In 1981, a postal questionnaire was sent to 7344 municipal workers in different parts of Finland. The respondents were born between 1923 and 1937. A total of 6257 persons responded to the first questionnaire. In the end, a total of 3817 persons had responded to all four (1981, 1985, 1992, 1997) questionnaires. (The response rate was 69% of the living participants). Cross-tabulations, comparison of means, logistic regression analyses and general linear models with repeated measures were used to derive the results. The transition from work life to retirement, and the following years as a pensioner were associated with many changes. Involvement in various activities increased during the transition stage but later decreased to the previous level. Physical exercise was an exception: it became increasingly popular over the years. Perceived health improved markedly from the working stage to the retirement transition stage, even though morbidity increased steadily during the follow-up. On the other hand, functional capacity decreased over the follow-up, especially among those who were occupationally active until the retirement stage. Subjective well-being remained stable during the follow-up period. There were, however, great differences based on the type of work, favouring those whose work had been mental in nature. The impact of activity level on maintaining well-being became greater during the follow-up, whereas the effect of physical functioning diminished. Good physical functioning and an active life-style contributed to staying on at work until normal retirement age. Also work-related factors, i.e. possibilities for development and influence at work, responsibility for others, meaningful work, and satisfaction with working time arrangements were positively related to continuing working. The transition from work to retirement had a positive impact on a person s health and functional capacity. The study results support the view that it should be possible to ease one s work pace during the last years of a work career. This might lower the threshold between work and retirement and convince people that there will still be time to enjoy retirement also a few years later.
  • Asikainen, Anna-Leena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2005)
  • Valkendorff, Tiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    The thesis, which consists of four original articles and a summarizing chapter, aims to study meanings of food and eating in contemporary society. While for a long time the meaning of food has been equivalent to its sufficient quantity, nowadays the meanings are far more complex. They include, for example, different esthetical, ethical, moral, political, health-oriented and medical aspects. In addition, eating has become a problem, which is reflected by the public discourse on eating disorders and fatness. The research questions are: What kinds of meanings are assigned to eating and body in contemporary society? How and why do eating and the body develop into problems? The focus of the thesis is on eating-related lifestyles and problems: the study examines discussions of eating disorders, healthy and unhealthy lifestyles and fatness. The purpose of the study is to examine the problematized nature of eating and to make the phenomenon more understandable through the theoretical perspectives. The theoretical frame consists of body studies. Other theoretical viewpoints are the sociology of health, religion theory and governmentality. The viewpoint of the study is sociological and based on social constructionism. The interest is on how lay-people discuss eating and the body, and what kind of information they produce. The research material consists of internet discussions from the years 2004 2010. The discussions included in the material deal with eating disorders, orthorexia and healthy eating, as well as fatness as a self-induced problem. The material is analyzed through qualitative content and discursive analysis. In the study, eating is interpreted as an embodied phenomenon: by eating right, it is possible to pursue an ideal body, while the wrong kind of bodies are seen as resulting from a bad diet. The results of the research continue to show that the meanings of food and body are categorical. This becomes apparent in the ideals of thinness and health, and in their opposites, the problems of unhealthiness and fatness. According to the study, the cultural ideals of health and thinness can take extreme forms in two directions: excessive pursuit of ideals on the one hand, and stigmatization of people who fail to meet the ideals on the other. In excessive pursuit of ideals, thinness and health can become an imperative, life-determining content of life. This is expressed in the spectrum of eating disorders and problems, in the core of which may lie pursuit of thinness or, nowadays, striving for health or orthorexic symptoms. These lifestyles and problems can become a life-determining issue that resembles religion. As the significance of traditional religions has dimin-ished, bodily ideals may represent something secularly holy to people. As a consequence, the pursuit of the right kind of body can become compulsive, so that control over one s body turns into an addiction. While it is important in our culture to pursue an ideal body, its opposite, obesity, has begun to be interpreted as a problem. Obesity is defined as the wrong kind of body, re-sponsibility for which lies with the individual, and as certain kind of cultural dirt , which is targeted by hate speech. Bodies change, and therefore it is crucial to be in a constant process towards the ideal, which is defined by the continuous social discussion. As a conclusion, the study claims that the meaning of eating is not primarily nutritional, but eating is an embodied demarcation.
  • Smith, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Abstract This dissertation addresses the difficulties encountered in international relations between Russia and the West, specifically Europe, in spite of their cultural and geographical proximity and the expectation that Russia and Europe would share values and interests following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The problem is addressed through focussing on a particular aspect of Russia s national and state identity greatpowerness . Greatpowerness - the self-perception that Russia always has been and still is a great power - is a significant part of Russia s self identity. The effects of Russian greatpowerness are examined through investigation of Russia s relations with three European international organisations the Council of Europe, the European Union, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe from the early 1990s through to 2004. The particular issue through which these relationships are explored are the two Chechen wars of 1994-1996 and 2000-2004. Russian actions in Chechnya provoked frequent criticisms from the West, but were seen in Russia in the 1990s as an internal matter, and as part of the international war on terrorism in the 2000s. In both cases, they reflected in part Russia s great power aspirations. There were particular sets of expectations from the Russian side based on its self-perception in each case. It is argued in the dissertation that this plays a part in understanding the difficulties and apparent inconsistencies encountered in Russia s relationship with the West. The dissertation contributes to explaining inconsistencies in Russian foreign policy behaviour towards the West which are not adequately accounted for by existing empirical and theoretical approaches. It begins with a discussion of definitions of being a Great Power and understandings of greatpowerness as an issue of self-perception in state identity. It then looks at Russian understandings of international relations, different Russian foreign policy schools and a series of factors which are persistent in Russian greatpowerness: sovereignty, ressentiment, isolationism, expansionism, imperialism, multilaterism and multipolarity. Next it sets the course of the two Chechen wars in the context of Russian political and international development. The main empirical section of the dissertation is taken up by the three case studies of the Council of Europe, the European Union, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, noting similarities and distinctions in each case as to how Russia experienced interaction with the three different organisations. The Council of Europe has adopted a rather pragmatic approach in its cooperation with Russia and hence, in spite of some difficulties, the relationship has been the best of the three. This cooperation has challenged Russian greatpowerness the least and expectations came closest to outcomes. Cooperation with the EU has been of a different nature since Russia is not a member state. Here the relationship has had good and bad periods, which have very much depended on how Russia has felt about its level of expectations met by outcomes. The Russian relationship to the OSCE was also full of ups and downs always with strongly power political reasons. Russian expectations were highest in regards to the OSCE. However it challenged Russian greatpowerness most and caused biggest disappointment. In conclusion, it is shown that Russian self-perception of greatpowerness and the aspiration to have its status as a Great Power recognised internationally provides one part of the explanation of the apparent inconsistencies while showing a form of consistency in Russia s relationship with the West.
  • Kalanti, Timo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    "Body and Iron: Essays on the Socialness of Objects" focuses on the bodily-material interaction of human subjects and technical objects. It poses a question, how is it possible that objects have an impact on their human users and examines the preconditions of active efficacy of objects. In this theoretical task the work relies on various discussions drawing from realistic ontology, phenomenology of body, neurophysiology of Antonio Damasio and psychoanalysis to establish both objects and bodies as material entities related in a causal interaction with each other. Out of material interaction emerge a symbolic field, psyche and culture that produce representations of interactions with material world they remain dependent on and conditioned by. Interaction with objects informs the human body via its somatosensory systems: interoseptive and proprioseptive (or kinesthetic) systems provide information to central nervous system of the internal state of the body and muscle tensions and motor activity of the limbs. Capability to control the movements of one's body by the internal "feel" of being a body turns out to be a precondition to the ability to control artificial extensions of the body. Motor activity of the body is involved in every perception of environment as the feel of one's own body is constitutive of any perception of external objects. Perception of an object cause changes in the internal milieu of the body and these changes in the organism form a bodily representation of an external object. Via these "muscle images" the subject can develop a feel for an instrument. Bodily feel for an object is pre-conceptual, practical knowledge that resists articulation but allows sensing the world through the object. This is what I would call sensual knowledge. Technical objects intervene between body and environment, transforming the relation of perception and motor activity. Once connected to a vehicle, human subject has to calibrate visual information of his or her position and movement in space to the bodily actions controlling the machine. It is the machine that mediates the relation of human actions to the relation of her body to its environment. Learning to use the machine necessarily means adjusting his or her bodily actions to the responses of the machine in relation to environmental changes it causes. Responsiveness of the machine to human touch "teaches" its subject by providing feedback of the "correctitude" of his or her bodily actions. Correct actions form a body technique of handling the object. This is the way of socialness of objects. While responding to human actions they generate their subjects. Learning to handle a machine means accepting the position of the user in the program of action materialized in the construction of the object. Objects mediate, channel and transform the relation of the body to its environment and via environment to the body itself according to their material and technical construction. Objects are sensory media: they channel signals and information from the environment thus constituting a representation of environment, a virtual or artificial reality. They also feed the body directly with their powers equipping their user with means of regulating somatic and psychic states of her self. For these reasons humans look for the company of objects. Keywords: material objects, material culture, sociology of technology, sociology of body, mobility, driving