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  • Kilpiö, Anna (University of Helsinki, 2008)
    This study investigates primary and secondary school teachers’ social representations and ways to conceptualise new technologies. The focus is both on teachers’ descriptions, interpretations and conceptions of technology and on the adoption and formation of these conceptions. In addition, the purpose of this study is to analyse how the national objectives of the information society and the implementation of information and communication technologies (ICT) in schools reflect teachers’ thinking and everyday practices. The starting point for the study is the idea of a dynamic and mutual relationship between teachers and technology so that technology does not affect one-sidedly teachers’ thinking. This relationship is described in this study as the teachers’ technology relationship. This concept emphasises that technology cannot be separated from society, social relations and the context where it is used but it is intertwined with societal practices and is therefore formed in interaction with the material and social factors. The theoretical part of this study encompasses three different research traditions: 1) the social shaping of technology, 2) research on how schools and teachers use technology and 3) social representations theory. The study was part of the Helmi Project (Holistic development of e-Learning and business models) in 2001–2005 at the Helsinki University of Technology, SimLab research unit. The Helmi Project focused on different aspects of the utilisation of ICT in teaching. The research data consisted of interviews of teachers and principals. Altogether 37 interviews were conducted in 2003 and 2004 in six different primary and secondary schools in Espoo, Finland. The data was analysed applying grounded theory. The results showed that the teachers’ technology relationship was diverse and context specific. Technology was interpreted differently depending on the context: the teachers’ technology related descriptions and metaphors illustrated on one hand the benefits and the possibilities and on the other hand the problems and threats of different technologies. The dualist nature of technology was also expressed in the teachers’ thinking about technology as a deterministic and irrevocable force and as a controllable and functional tool at the same time. Teachers did not consider technology as having a stable character but they interpreted technology in relation to the variable context of use. This way they positioned or anchored technology into their everyday practices. The study also analysed the formation of the teachers’ technology relationship and the ways teachers familiarise themselves with new technologies. Comparison of different technologies as well as technology related metaphors turned out to be significant in forming the technology relationship. Also the ways teachers described the familiarisation process and the interpretations of their own technical skills affected the formation of technology relationship. In addition, teachers defined technology together with other teachers, and the discussions reflected teachers’ interpretations and descriptions.
  • Siira, Kalle (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Organizational conflict research has centered on a few dominant models that have directed the development of the field in theory and in practice. Although these models have undoubtedly benefited the field by providing a common focus, the focused concentration has had costs. Specifically, there has been a lack of approaches that depart from the positivistic, linear, and reductionist views of communication and conflict. This study answers this call by exploring the possibilities and implications that a social complexity approach has to offer organizational conflict management with a special focus on organizational communication. The study consists of four sub-studies. Study 1 (conducted as a questionnaire comparing the conflict and face maintenance styles of Finns and U.S. Americans) functions as an entry to the study of organizational conflict management. Studies 2 and 3 (conducted as theoretical accounts) introduce social complexity principles for individual- and organizational-level conflict management, respectively. Finally, Study 4 develops a framework of managerial conflict influence based on a qualitative analysis of 30 semi-structured interviews. In sum, the dominant individual- and organizational-level models are insufficient to account for conflict behavior and interaction as well as to address conflicts in organizations. A social complexity perspective on organizational conflict implies a constitutive role of communication processes in organizing. The communicative view of organizational conflict is illustrated by using the metaphors of performance, contradiction, and voice. Conflict management in turn is represented via three main variables (the dual function of communication, circumstances, and directness) resulting in six ideal types of influence at the individual level and four strategies at the organizational level. This study contributes to the existing organizational conflict research by providing an alternative view of social complexity to understand the communicative aspects of the phenomenon. This approach helps to illuminate the limitations of and to find areas for development of the dominant models at the individual and organizational levels. This perspective also draws attention to the discursive aspects of organizational conflict, places conflict purely within a communicative context, caters to the relational and systemic aspects of conflict management, and takes a broader view of conflicts. In addition, this study contributes to the interpretivist strand of social complexity and provides a fresh metaphor of organizing for the organizational communication literature.
  • Uronen, Ilkka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The Finnish television industry has gradually moved from a production-centered to a customer-oriented business. Knowledge of your customer and the ability to react to change are major competitive advantages in a situation where there is an abundant supply of similar content and services. In this research, customer orientation could be defined as a competence requirement, as well as a business culture which helps the company reform its operations. This research evaluates the strategic competence of the Finnish television industry in the early 2000s and in connection with the post-digitalization shift. This research is focused on competence in the television industry, the research question being the relationship between competence and business operations. By looking at the television business environment and competences from various perspectives, this research examines the significance of individual, team, and company level competence in the business operations of TV companies. Furthermore, it discloses factors which have an effect on competence and competence development in a company. The internet, the integration of multichannel distribution, the arrival of formats and pay channels, the internationalization of production companies and general media digitalization all contributed to the shift of the television industry in the early 2000s. The aforementioned factors had an effect on the product and service processes, distribution and competence in the TV industry. The integration of television content and internet distribution has been particularly groundbreaking. The internet has generated a new kind of competitive situation, where competence is a crucial competition factor of the television companies. The research results are mainly based on thematic interviews which were assessed in relation to Michael Porter s competitive strategy. In the research interviews, the competence requirements brought on by digitalization were partly seen as a threat. The fear was that traditional TV business will change unforeseeably, and professional images will become fragmented. However, the new competence requirements were also seen as a major future competition factor and an opportunity to create new types of TV content and services. The analysis also takes advantage of media management research as well as research on competence development, leadership and innovation. Moreover, other research material is used to draw conclusions on the development of the TV industry, as well as the changes in business and competence brought on by digitalization.
  • Norocel, Cristian (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Contemporary globalisation processes witness the articulation of an allegedly homogeneous totality that has coalesced in direct opposition to the very globalisation processes that have enabled it. This totality is commonly labelled our people and reunites the citizens inhabiting the political social cultural space of a specific polity. Radical right populist parties - claiming to defend the political interests of the people - have gained increasing visibility and acceptance across Europe. Particularly salient among the symbols these parties have employed to portray their ideological stances is the depiction of the people as the tightly knit family, under the guardianship of a man/father/leader, sheltered together under their home s protective roof. However, there is a lack of gender sensitive research on radical right populist ideology. The present study consequently aims to uncover the means through which both concepts - that of family, and respectively people - are discursively gendered, in the sense that they reify gender based distinctions, thereby naturalising the traditional hierarchal gender binary. The dissertation focuses on two case studies: the Greater Romania Party (Partidul România Mare, PRM) and the Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna, SD). It examines how the leaders of radical right populist parties in Romania and in Sweden explain discursively with the aid of conceptual structures particularly, the conceptual metaphor of THE NATION IS A FAMILY and adjoining metaphorical clusters - their ideological conception of the hierarchical gender binary. The present study represents in other words an interdisciplinary dialogue between political science - particularly the study of radical right populism; communication studies - mainly the relationship between the radical right populist leader and contemporary media logic; conceptual metaphor theory - especially the critical analysis of conceptual metaphors, enriched with a genealogical perspective; from a decidedly feminist vantage point.
  • Levänen, Jarkko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The circular economy is a topical issue in public policy and environmental social science. This dissertation offers a critical study of operations intended to develop a circular economy and industrial recycling of materials. The study identifies obstacles that prevent or delay the development of industrial recycling and seeks new solutions for overcoming these obstacles. Institutional obstacles are at the core of this work. They can be identified either as formal obstacles, such as legal or administrative problems, or as informal obstacles, such as problems related to routines or established practices. Traditionally, institutional obstacles have been considered either formal or informal. This dissertation challenges that conception and claims that often the most difficult obstacles are those that operate between the formal and the informal. Operating in between disconnects formal (administrative) institutional reality from informal (operative) institutional reality. It is challenging, if not impossible, to develop formal rules or ways of doing things related to a particular issue once the connection related to that issue has been cut off, because formal and informal realities are structurally dependent on one another. At the same time the dissertation points out that once the disconnection has been identified, it is possible to reunite formal and informal realities. This can be done by means of an institutional feedback mechanism that fits the local circumstances. Institutional feedback means maintenance of knowledge exchange between actors and groups of actors operating in different realities. In an industrial context, institutional feedback may, for example, enable the development of new kinds of recycling opportunities and continuous intensification of the materials utilization. Novel institutional feedback mechanisms may also offer new possibilities for overcoming obstacles in the development of recycling and the promotion of the circular economy in different sectors of society. This dissertation consists of four case studies that investigate the management of materials and other resources in industrial units located in the Bothnian Arc region of northern Finland. The industrial units studied cover the fields of Finland s traditional basic industries: the metal, wood-processing, and chemical industries. The primary data for this study consist of interview materials, questionnaires, and documentary sources. The main points of interest are two types of recycling: 1) the utilization of different leftover materials as replacements for existing products or as raw materials, and 2) the development of completely new kinds of recycling products and innovative recycling processes. Both types are considered especially from the perspectives of institutional obstacles and feedback mechanisms aimed at overcoming the obstacles. The key result of this study is a theoretical presentation of the structure and functioning of an institutional feedback mechanism. To function in a complex operational environment, an institutional feedback mechanism should consist of two components: the production of the right kind of knowledge (knowledge networking) and the management and maintenance of a network of actors that are central to the specific aims (network governance). This dissertation shows different ways to identify, conceptualize, and study these two components of institutional feedback mechanisms. By means of an example, the study also demonstrates how an institutional feedback mechanism can be constructed and how it can be utilized to overcome practical problems and profound institutional obstacles. Policy recommendations for the management of complex operational environments and for the promotion of a circular economy and material efficiency are also presented.
  • Kuusela, Vesa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Modern sample surveys started to spread after statistician at the U.S. Bureau of the Census in the 1940s had developed a sampling design for the Current Population Survey (CPS). A significant factor was also that digital computers became available for statisticians. In the beginning of 1950s, the theory was documented in textbooks on survey sampling. This thesis is about the development of the statistical inference for sample surveys. For the first time the idea of statistical inference was enunciated by a French scientist, P. S. Laplace. In 1781, he published a plan for a partial investigation in which he determined the sample size needed to reach the desired accuracy in estimation. The plan was based on Laplace s Principle of Inverse Probability and on his derivation of the Central Limit Theorem. They were published in a memoir in 1774 which is one of the origins of statistical inference. Laplace s inference model was based on Bernoulli trials and binominal probabilities. He assumed that populations were changing constantly. It was depicted by assuming a priori distributions for parameters. Laplace s inference model dominated statistical thinking for a century. Sample selection in Laplace s investigations was purposive. In 1894 in the International Statistical Institute meeting, Norwegian Anders Kiaer presented the idea of the Representative Method to draw samples. Its idea was that the sample would be a miniature of the population. It is still prevailing. The virtues of random sampling were known but practical problems of sample selection and data collection hindered its use. Arhtur Bowley realized the potentials of Kiaer s method and in the beginning of the 20th century carried out several surveys in the UK. He also developed the theory of statistical inference for finite populations. It was based on Laplace s inference model. R. A. Fisher contributions in the 1920 s constitute a watershed in the statistical science He revolutionized the theory of statistics. In addition, he introduced a new statistical inference model which is still the prevailing paradigm. The essential idea is to draw repeatedly samples from the same population and the assumption that population parameters are constants. Fisher s theory did not include a priori probabilities. Jerzy Neyman adopted Fisher s inference model and applied it to finite populations with the difference that Neyman s inference model does not include any assumptions of the distributions of the study variables. Applying Fisher s fiducial argument he developed the theory for confidence intervals. Neyman s last contribution to survey sampling presented a theory for double sampling. This gave the central idea for statisticians at the U.S. Census Bureau to develop the complex survey design for the CPS. Important criterion was to have a method in which the costs of data collection were acceptable, and which provided approximately equal interviewer workloads, besides sufficient accuracy in estimation.
  • Maksimainen, Jaana (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    This study takes as its premise the prominent social and cultural role that the couple relationship has acquired in modern society. Marriage as a social institution and romantic love as a cultural script have not lost their significance but during the last few decades the concept of relationship has taken prominence in our understanding of the love relationship. This change has taken place in a society governed by the therapeutic ethos. This study uses material ranging from in-depth interviews to various mass media texts to investigate the therapeutic logic that determines our understanding of the couple relationship. The central concept in this study is therapeutic relationship which does not refer to any particular type of relationship. In contemporary usage the relationship is, by definition, therapeutic. The therapeutic relationship is seen as an endless source of conflict and a highly complex dynamic unit in constant need of attention and treatment. Notwithstanding this emphasis on therapy and relationship work the therapeutic relationship lacks any morally or socially defined direction. Here lies the cultural power and according to critics the dubious aspect of the therapeutic ethos. For the therapeutic logic any reason for divorce is possible and plausible. Prosaically speaking the question is not whether to divorce or not, but when to divorce. In the end divorce only attests to the complexity of the relationship. The therapeutic understanding of the relationship gives the illusion that relationships with their tensions and conflicting emotions can be fully transferred to the sphere of transparency and therapeutic processing. This illusion created by relationship talk that emphasizes individual control is called omnipotence of the individual. However, the study shows that the individual omnipotence is inevitably limited and hence cracks appear in it. The cracks in the omnipotence show that while the therapeutic relationship based on the ideal of communication gives an individual a mode of speaking that stresses autonomy, equality and emotional gratification, it offers little help in expressing our fundamental dependence on other people. The study shows how strong an attraction the therapeutic ethos has with its grasp on the complexities of the relationship in a society where divorce is so common and the risk of divorce is collectively experienced.
  • Vihemäki , Heini (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    This Ph.D. thesis Participation or Further Exclusion? Contestations over Forest Conservation and Control in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania describes and analyses the shift in the prevailing discourse of forest and biodiversity conservation policies and strategies towards more participatory approaches in Tanzania, and the changes in the practises of resource control. I explore the scope for and limits to the different actors and groups who are considered to form the community, to participate in resource control, in a specific historical and socio-economic context. I analyse whether, how and to which extent the targets of such participatory conservation interventions have been able to affect the formal rules and practices of resource control, and explore their different responses and discursive and other strategies in relation to conservation efforts. I approach the problematic through exploring certain participatory conservation interventions and related negotiations between the local farmers, government officials and the external actors in the case of two protected forest reserves in the southern part of the East Usambaras, Tanzania. The study area belongs to the Eastern Arc Mountains that are valued globally and nationally for their high level of biodiversity and number of endemic and near endemic species. The theoretical approach draws from theorising on power, participation and conservation in anthropology of development and post-structuralist political ecology. The material was collected in three stages between 2003 and 2008 by using an ethnographic approach. I interviewed and observed the actors and their resource use and control practices at the local level, including the representatives of the villagers living close to the protected forests and the conservation agency, but also followed the selected processes and engaged with the non-local agencies involved in the conservation efforts in the East Usambaras. In addition, the more recent processes of change and the actors strategies in resource control were contextualised against the social and environmental history of the study area and the evolvement of institutions of natural resource control. My findings indicate that the discourse of participation that has emerged in global conservation policy debate within the past three decades, and is being institutionalised in the national policies in many countries, including Tanzania, has shaped the practices of forest conservation in the East Usambaras, although in a fragmented and uneven way. Instrumental interpretation of participation, in which it is to serve the goals of improving the control of the forest and making it more acceptable and efficient, has prevailed among the governmental actors and conservation organisations. Yet, there is variation between the different projects and actors promoting participatory conservation regarding the goals and means of participation, e.g. to which extent the local people are to be involved in decision-making. The actors representing communities also have their diverse agendas, understandings and experiences regarding the rationality, outcomes and benefits of being involved in forest control, making the practices of control fluid. The elements of the exclusive conservation thinking and practices co-exist with the more recent participatory processes, and continue to shape the understandings and strategies of the actors involved in resource control. The ideas and narratives of the different discourses are reproduced and selectively used by the parties involved. The idea of forest conservation is not resisted as such by most of the actors at local level, quite the opposite. However, the strict regulations and rules governing access to resources, such as valuable timber species, continue to be disputed by many. Furthermore, the history of control, such as past injustices related to conservation and unfulfilled promises, undermines the participation of certain social groups in resource control and benefit sharing. This also creates controversies in the practices of conservation, and fuels conflicts regarding the establishment of new protected areas. In spite of this, the fact that the representatives of the communities have been invited to the arenas where information is shared, and principles and conditions of forest control and benefit sharing are discussed and partly decided upon, has created expectations among the participants, and opened up opportunities for some of the local actors to enhance their own, and sometimes wider interests in relation to resource control and the related benefits. The local actors experiences of the previous government and other interventions strongly affect how they position themselves in relation to conservation interventions, and their responses and strategies. However, my findings also suggest, in a similar way to research conducted in some other protected areas, that the benefits of participation in conservation and resource control tend to accrue unevenly between different groups of local people, e.g. due to unequal access to information and differences in their initial resources and social position.
  • Kouvonen, Anne (Helsingin yliopisto, 2002)
  • Hakulinen, Ville (Helsingin yliopisto, 2002)
  • Kestilä, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    There is increasing evidence that the origins of poor adult health and health inequalities can be traced back to circumstances preceding current socioeconomic position and living conditions. The life-course approach to examining the determinants of health has emphasised that exposure to adverse social and economic circumstances in earlier life or concurrent adverse circumstances due to unfavourable living conditions in earlier life may lead to poor health, health-damaging behaviour, disease or even premature death in adulthood. There is, however, still a lack of knowledge about the contribution of social and economic circumstances in childhood and youth to adult health and health inequalities, and even less is known about how environmental and behavioural factors in adulthood mediate the effects of earlier adverse experiences. The main purpose of this study was to deepen our understanding of the development of poor health, health-damaging behaviours and health inequalities during the life-course. Its aim was to find out which factors in earlier and current circumstances determine health, the most detrimental indicators of health behaviour (smoking, heavy drinking and obesity as a proxy for the balance between nutrition and exercise), and educational health differences in young adults in Finland. Following the ideas of the social pathway theory, it was assumed that childhood environment affects adult health and its proximal determinants via different pathways, including educational, work and family careers. Early adulthood was studied as a significant phase of life when many behavioural patterns and living conditions relevant to health are established. In addition, socioeconomic health inequalities seem to emerge rapidly when moving into adulthood; they are very small or non-existent in childhood and adolescence, but very marked by early middle age. The data of this study were collected in 2000 2001 as part of the Health 2000 Survey (N = 9,922), a cross-sectional and nationally representative health interview and examination survey. The main subset of data used in this thesis was the one comprising the age group 18 29 years (N = 1,894), which included information collected by standardised structured computer-aided interviews and self-administered questionnaires. The survey had a very high participation rate at almost 90% for the core questions. According to the results of this study, childhood circumstances predict the health of young adults. Almost all the childhood adversities studied were found to be associated with poor self-rated health and psychological distress in early adulthood, although fewer associations were found with the somatic morbidity typical of young adults. These effects seemed to be more or less independent of the young adult s own education. Childhood circumstances also had a strong effect on smoking and heavy drinking, although current circumstances and education in particular, played a role in mediating this effect. Parental smoking and alcohol abuse had an influence on the corresponding behaviours of offspring. Childhood circumstances had a role in the development of obesity and, to a lesser extent, overweight, particularly in women. The findings support the notion that parental education has a strong effect on early adult obesity, even independently of the young adult s own educational level. There were marked educational differences in self-rated health in early adulthood: those in the lowest educational category were most likely to have average or poorer health. Childhood social circumstances seemed to explain a substantial part of these educational differences. In addition, daily smoking and heavy drinking contributed substantially to educational health differences. However, the contribution of childhood circumstances was largely shared with health behaviours adopted by early adulthood. Employment also shared the effects of childhood circumstances on educational health differences. The results indicate that childhood circumstances are important in determining health, health behaviour and health inequalities in early adulthood. Early recognition of childhood adversities followed by relevant support measures may play an important role in preventing the unfortunate pathways leading to the development of poor health, health-damaging behaviour and health inequalities. It is crucially important to recognise the needs of children living in adverse circumstances as well as children of substance abusing parents. In addition, single-parent families would benefit from support. Differences in health and health behaviours between different sub-groups of the population mean that we can expect to see ever greater health differences when today s generation of young adults grows older. This presents a formidable challenge to national health and social policy as well as health promotion. Young adults with no more than primary level education are at greatest risk of poor health. Preventive policies should emphasise the role of low educational level as a key determinant of health-damaging behaviours and poor health. Keywords: health, health behaviour, health inequalities, life-course, socioeconomic position, education, childhood circumstances, self-rated health, psychological distress, somatic morbidity, smoking, heavy drinking, BMI, early adulthood
  • Leinikki, Sikke (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    This study analyzes the forming of the occupational identity of the well-educated fixed-term employees. Fixed-term employment contracts amongst the well-educated labour force are exceptionally common in Finland as compared to other European countries. Two groups of modern fixed-term employees are distinguished. The first comprises well-educated women employed in the public sector whose fixed-term employment often consists of successive periods as temporary substitutes. The other group comprises well-educated, upper white-collar men aged over 40, whose fixed-term employment careers often consist of jobs of project nature or posts that are filled for a fixed period only. Method of the study For the empirical data I interviewed 35 persons (26 women and 9 men) in 33 interviews, one of which was conducted by e-mail and one was a group interview. All the interviews were electronically recorded and coded. All the interviewees have two things in common: fixed-term employment and formal high education. Thirteen (13) of them are researchers, four nurses, four midwives, four journalists, and ten project experts. I used the snowball method to get in touch the interviewees. The first interviewees were those who were recommended by the trade unions and by my personal acquaintances. These interviewees, in turn, recommended other potential interviewees. In addition, announcements on the internet pages of the trade unions were used to reach other interviewees. In analysing process I read the research material several times to find the turning points in the narrative the interviewees told. I also searched for the most meaningful stories told and the meaning the interviewees gave to these stories and to the whole narrative. In addition to that I paid attention to co-production of the narrative with the interviewees and analyzed the narrative as performance to be able to search for the preferred identities the interviewees perform. (Riesman 2001, 698-701). I do not pay much attention to the question of truth of a narrative in the sense of its correspondence with facts; rather I think a working life narrative has two tasks: On the one hand one has to tell the facts and on the other hand, he/she has to describe the meaning of these facts to herself/himself. To emphasize the double nature of the narrative about one’s working life I analyzed the empirical data both by categorizing it according to the cultural models of storytelling (heroic story, comedy, irony and tragedy) and by studying the themes most of the interviewees talked about. Ethics of the study I chose to use narrative within qualitative interviews on the grounds that in my opinion is more ethical and more empowering than the more traditional structured interview methods. During the research process I carefully followed the ethical rules of a qualitative research. The purpose of the interviews and the research was told to the interviewees by giving them a written description of the study. Oral permission to use the interview in this research was obtained from the interviewees. The names and places, which are mentioned in the study, are changed to conceal the actual identity of the interviewees. I shared the analysis with the interviewees by sending each of them the first analysis of their personal interview. This way I asked them to make sure that the identity was hidden well enough and hoped to give interviewees a chance to look at their narratives, to instigate new actions and sustain the present one (Smith 2001, 721). Also I hoped to enjoy a new possibility of joint authorship. Main results As a result of the study I introduce six models of telling a story. The four typical western cultural models that guide the telling are: heroic story, comedy, tragedy and satirical story (Hänninen 1999). In addition to these models I found two ways of telling a career filled with fixed-term employments that differ significantly from traditional career story telling. However, the story models in which the interviewees pour their experience locates the fixed term employers work career in an imagined life trajectory and reveals the meaning they give to it. I analyze the many sided heroic story that Liisa tells as an example of the strength of the fear of failing or losing the job the fixed term employee feels. By this structure it is also possible to show that success is felt to be entirely a matter of chance. Tragedy, the failure in one’s trial to get something, is a model I introduce with the help of Vilppu’s story. This narrative gets its meaning both from the sorrow of the failure in the past and the rise of something new the teller has found. Aino tells her story as a comedy. By introducing her narrative, I suggest that the purpose of the comedy, a stronger social consensus, gets deeper and darker shade by fixed-term employment: one who works as a fixed term employee has to take his/her place in his/her work community by him/herself without the support the community gives to those in permanent position. By studying the satiric model Rauno uses, I argue that using irony both turns the power structures to a carnival and builds free space to the teller of the story and to the listener. Irony also helps in building a consensus, mutual understanding, between the teller and the listener and it shows the distance the teller tells to exist between him and others. Irony, however, demands some kind of success in one’s occupational career but also at least a minor disappointment in the progress of it. Helmi tells her story merely as a detective story. By introducing Helmi’s narrative, I argue that this story model strengthens the trust in fairness of the society the teller and the listener share. The analysis also emphasizes the central position of identity work, which is caused by fixed-term employment. Most of the interviewees talked about getting along in working life. I introduced Sari’s narrative as an example of this. In both of these latter narratives one’s personal character and habits are lifted as permanent parts of the actual professional expertise, which in turn varies according to different situations. By introducing these models, I reveal that the fixed-term employees have different strategies to cope with their job situations and these strategies vary according to their personal motives and situations and the actual purpose of the interview. However, I argue that they feel the space between their hopes and fears narrow and unsecure. In the research report I also introduce pieces of the stories – themes – that the interviewees use to build these survival strategies. They use their personal curriculum vitae or portfolio, their position in work community and their work morals to build their professional identity. Professional identity is flexible and varies in time and place, but even then it offers a tool to fix one’s identity work into something. It offers a viewpoint to society and a tool to measure one’s position in surrounding social nets. As one result of the study I analyze the position the fixed-term employees share on the edge of their job communities. I summarize the hopes and fears the interviewees have concerning employers, trade unions, educational institutions and the whole society. In their opinion, the solidarity between people has been weakened by the short-sighted power of the economy. The impact the fixed-term employment has on one’s professional identity and social capital is a many-sided and versatile process. Fixed-term employment both strengthens and weakens the professional identity, social capital and the building of trust. Fixed-term employment also affects one’s day-to-day life by excluding her/him from the norm and by one’s difficulty in making long-term plans (Jokinen 2005). Regardless of the nature of the job contract, the workers themselves are experts in making the best of their sometimes less than satisfying work life and they also build their professional identity by using creatively their education, work experiences and interpersonal relations. However, a long career of short fixed-term employments may seriously change the perception of employee about his/her role. He/she may start concentrating only in coping in his/her unsatisfactory situation and leaves the active improvement of the lousy working conditions to other people. Keywords: narrative, fixed-tem employment, occupational identity, work, story model, social capital, career  
  • Wrede-Jäntti, Matilda (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Your money or your life? A qualitative follow-up study of the young unemployed from an actor perspective is a qualitative and longitudinal study following 36 unemployed young people in Helsinki over a span of ten years. The purpose of the study is to shed light on how a few young people view employment/unemployment and their lives and future, how they as unemployed perceive their encounters with society, and how society supports them. Four so-called key informants were followed at a finer level of empirical detail. They were chosen for the thematic interviews because of their different personalities, starting points and preferences. Although some differences were expected, what the results show is quite striking. The individual stories raise a number of questions about differences between young people, about society s view of the young unemployed, and about the principles behind the so-called activation policy and how society s support is distributed. The key informants descriptions underline that the group young unemployed does not consist of individuals who are alike but that life is complex, that paid work and unemployment can be perceived very differently, and that background and unofficial support can have consequences for self-perception and for ways of looking at the future, vocational choices, paid work and activation policy. Margaret S. Archer s theory of Morphogenesis and Barbara Cruikshank s theory of constructing democracies compose the study s theoretical framework. The key informants stories give a picture of a formal support system that, even though it puts part of the responsibility for unemployment on the individuals themselves, in the name of fairness and equality, treats them in an impersonal way, not giving their personal situation and wishes much weight. As a consequence, those who share the dominant values of society do well, while others who do not are faced with difficulties. The bigger the gap between society s and the individual s values, the bigger the risk to be met by little understanding and by penalties. And vice versa: Those who initially have the right values and know how to deal with authorities get heard and their opinions get accepted. The informants ask for a more personal encounter, which could improve both the atmosphere and the clients experiences of being heard. Still the risk of having a more individualistic system should be addressed, as a new system might generate new winners, but just as well give new losers. Finally, we have to ask if the so-called activation policy is looking for answers primarily to a macro-level problem on the micro-level. If it does not produce more jobs, its support for the unemployed will be insignificant. It is not enough to think about what to do at the grassroots level to make the system more functional and support job-seeking. If the current rate of unemployment endures, the quality of life of the unemployed should be addressed. A first step could be taken by placing less guilt on the unemployed. Instead of talking about activating the unemployed, discussion should be targeted at removing structural impediments to employment. If we want to have less polarisation between the those with paid work and those without, who often struggle with low incomes, we need to include the macro-level in the discussion. What does high unemployment mean in a work-based society, where the individual s self-perception and important social forms of support are linked to labour income? And what can be done at the macro-level to change this undesirable condition at the micro-level? Keywords: Unemployment, Youth, Public interventions, Activation policy, Individual actors, Qualitative, Longitudinal, Holistic, Helsinki, Finland
  • Lyytikäinen, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    This book examines Russian civil society and democratization from the perspective of the oppositional youth activists in Moscow and St. Petersburg. It takes the Russian youth movement Oborona (Defense) as its case study. Before its dissolution in 2011, the movement was an active participant in the political opposition movement and, thus, it is an interesting case study of the actually existing activist traditions in Russia. The research shows how in Russian political activism, the Soviet continuities and liberal ideas are entangled to create new post-socialist political identities and practices. The study s findings reflect the opportunities and restrictions for activism in Russia in general, and demonstrate the specificities of Russian liberal activism as well as the reasons for the lack of wider oppositional mobilization in the country. The research draws on sociological theories on identities, social performance, and politicization as well as class, gender and generation studies. The data is derived from thematic interviews, informal discussions, participant observations, and selected readings of central Internet and social media sites. The interview data consists of 38 interviews with the activists of youth movements and it was collected in Moscow and in St Petersburg during the period of 2009 2012. In the Oborona movement, the activist identity is constructed in the intersections of the Soviet intelligentsia and dissident traditions, and international influences. On the group level, the activists sense of solidarity relies on friendship and obshchenie (communication and being together) instead of a political connectedness. Also the movement practices tend to emphasize the sense of unity by silencing individual voices and political affiliations. The movement Oborona tries to find its own way between the western imported understanding of democracy and civil society and the dominant symbolic order of sovereign democracy . The book argues that both the state s official view on democracy and Oborona s liberal-democratically oriented interpretation are tied to the political symbols of nationalism and the strong state and its unifying leader, which can be seen as a continuation of the centralized power relationships of the Soviet state. Furthermore, Oborona s repertoire of action brings together the ideals and norms of the activist identity and discursive frameworks of the movement. The book argues that the protest and its actors remain distant from the audiences and this reflects the wider problems of the political opposition and especially the liberals in Russia. The research suggests that the same weakness of collective political identity, lack of common ideological goals, leader-centeredness, and personified power that the case study illustrates are found in the Russian liberal opposition in general. Key words: Russia, political opposition, protest, youth, activism
  • Anyan, James (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This study explores how opportunities for higher education (HE) are distributed in Ghana s public universities to students; and particularly, how those from the disadvantaged sections of the Ghanaian society fare in that regard. It was approached as a multi-level (integrating elements of micro, meso and macro) and multi-perspective dual transformative case study. Drawing mainly upon data collected from semi-structured interviews with students, graduates, university officials and policy-makers, as well as secondary data archived by the relevant institutions; it examines the processes and patterns in the distribution of admission slots to students. It engages with the tensions and dilemmas confronting the universities in such allocations, and debates same, in the context of procedural justice and meritocracy on the one hand, and distributive justice and affirmative action on the other. The interactions and intersections of socio-economic and other significant variables parental education, family income, geographical location, gender and disability are discussed, principally, in the framework of effectively maintained inequality (EMI), to understand the factors influencing the patterns of distribution observed. The data were thematically analysed using both sensitising concepts from the literature review, the conceptual frameworks as well as the indigenous concepts that emerged from the data. The findings indicate that the distribution of HE seats in the two public universities selected for the study is highly inequitable with students who graduated from the few urban-based and elite upper secondary schools overrepresented while graduates from the majority rural-based and resource-poor schools are underrepresented. Although there was unanimity among the different groups of participants about the existence and persistence of the problem, their approaches to dealing with the problem proved dichotomous. While students from the rural schools, for instance, exposed their status frustration and assumed a reformist stance on the issue of remodelling the current grade-based admission system to one cognisant of the difficult circumstances under which rural students pursue their upper secondary education, their counterparts from the elite schools essentially defended the maintenance of the status quo. The majority of female participants, contrary to the views of policy-makers, strongly objected to affirmative action for the admission of females; arguing that the policy reinforces the notion that they are inferior to their male counterparts. The results further reveal a multi-layered social stratification in access to, and equity in HE in Ghana. Almost all the students and graduates who were admitted into the universities on affirmative action basis identified themselves as rural people from low-income families, with little or no parental education, and poor parental occupations. Such students, though in dire financial straits, were contrary to expectations, found to be very resilient and highly motivated to complete their studies; posting excellent academic performance. Students with disabilities were also found to be internally excluded, facing life and academic threatening challenges, whereas female students reported entrenched socio-cultural norms impeding the education and aspirations of women in the Ghanaian society. Against these backdrops, the study calls for a rethink of the current overly meritocratic admission procedures in Ghana s public universities that do harm to access and equity for the majority rural students. It further recommends financial support from government to support the affirmative action initiatives of the public universities; an improvement in the conditions of students with disability, and multi-sectoral interventions to ameliorate the barriers impeding the education of females. The successful completion of HE holding all things constant by these disadvantaged groups, with its attendant better educated citizenry, enhanced civic consciousness, empowerment and participation, in addition to other socio-economic benefits, make such investments worthwhile. Keywords: distributive justice, procedural justice, affirmative action, gender, disability, stratification.
  • Lindqvist, Ann-Marie (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    The thesis describes how adults with learning disabilities are experiencing, creating and exercising their social citizenship. It concerns lived citizenship, understood as the meaning citizenship actually has in the persons lives and the ways in which the social and cultural background and material circumstances affect their lives as citizens. It is based on Ruth Lister's understanding of citizenship. The study approaches the following questions: How do people with learning disabilities experience their participation and how are obstacles and possibilities for their participation manifested in everyday life? What factors are important when people with learning disabilities are creating and exercising their citizenship in a housing context? The thesis posits itself within an ethnographic tradition and represents disability research where the users' and the professionals perspectives are highlighted. The thesis follows a tradition of research in social work that studies the living conditions for people in vulnerable positions and draws attention to their agency. Critical realism based on Roy Bhaskar and Berth Danermark gives the methodological guidelines for the thesis. To understand disability, critical realism and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) provide the theoretical understanding with a focus on interaction between the individual and the environment. Knowledge production has been made in collaboration with a group of people with learning disabilities. The two empirical studies in the thesis are based on interviews with people with learning disabilities and professionals, participant observation and documents. The persons in the study exercise and create their citizenship in areas where they are dependent on how professionals view their work and their role. The study gives some evidence of the fact that both the professionals and the service users are trying to find new roles and new positions. The forums to exercise control over their everyday life are individual plans, formal face to face discussions and everyday informal discussions with staff. However, as service users the persons are unsure of their rights and obligations. Furthermore the persons are not always included in the discussions relating to them. Formulation of wishes and a positive self-relation can be seen as prerequisites when people create their citizenship. The size of the service units is relevant to the amount of control the service users can have over their lives, but what matters most is the professionals approach to work and spatial practice that takes into account opportunities for social interaction and privacy. In collective service units the professionals find it problematic to take into account all the service users´ individual needs while balancing between the rights and individual differences. Citizenship as status gives the rights and opportunities to get one s voice heard as an actor. But rights themselves are not sufficient. While the persons in the study have a will to control their lives they are on different levels, dependent on various degrees of support from the environment, in order to take an active role in the process of creating and exercising their citizenship. Negotiations on belonging and participation take place in interaction with the environment. The persons in the study benefit from supported decision making. It means being provided with information in a way that they understand and having professionals, who are familiar with alternative methods of communicating so as to reach a common understanding. The professionals reflective approach and the persons opportunity to receive support from professionals they have confidence in, make it possible to build up a joint reflection regarding processes where they actively create their citizenship. Key words: lived citizenship, people with learning disability, critical realism, everyday life experiences, ICF, participatory research.
  • Siivonen, Jonita (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    The thesis The portrait interview as a newspaper genre. A qualitative close reading focussing on topical motifs, conventions of narration, and gender defines the portrait interview as a newspaper genre and analyses how the personalities in the portraits are constructed textually. The main body of material consists of 107 portrait interviews in two morning newspapers, Dagens Nyheter (published in Stockholm, Sweden) and Hufvudstadsbladet (published in Swedish in Helsinki, Finland), during two one-week periods (week 46/1999 and week 38/2002). There is also complementary material of 59 portraits from four magazines. The study is carried out within the research traditions of journalistic genre studies, gender and journalism, and critical text analysis. It is comprised of a qualitative close reading focussing on content (topical motifs or themes), conventions of narration, and gender. The methods used to carry out the study are qualitative close reading and quantitative content analysis. The analysis identifies the stylistic elements that differentiate the portrait genre from other journalistic genres, as well as from the autobiographical genre, and explores what opportunities and limitations these elements present for the inclusion of even more women protagonists in the portrait genre. The portrait interview is an exception from the critical mission of journalism in general, with its position as a genre of politeness. Since a typical characteristic of the portrait interview genre is that it pays tribute to the protagonist, the genre reveals the kind of personalities and lives that are seen as admirable in society. Four levels of portrait interview are defined: the prototype portrait, the pure portrait, the hybrid portrait and the marginal portrait. The prototype is a raw version of a portrait that fulfils the criteria but may be lacking in content and stylistics. The pure portrait does not lack these qualities and resembles an ideal portrait. The hybrid is a borderline case which relates to another genre or is a mixture between the portrait and some other genre, most commonly the news genre. The marginal portrait does not fulfil the criteria, and can therefore be seen as an inadequate portrait. For example, obituaries and caricatures are excluded if the protagonist s voice is never quoted. The analysis resulted in three factors that in part help to explain why the portrait interview genre has somewhat more female protagonists than journalistic news texts do in general. The four main reasons why women are presented somewhat more in the portrait genre than in other journalistic genres are: (i) women are shown as exceptions to the female norm when, for example, taking a typical male job or managing in positions where there are few women; (ii) women are shown as representing female themes ; (iii) use of the double bind as a story-generating factor; and (iv) the intimisation of journalism. The double bind usually builds up the narration on female ambiguity in the contradiction between private and public life, for example family and career, personal desire and work. The intimisation of journalism and the double bind give women protagonists somewhat more publicity also because of the tendency of portrait interviews to create conflicts within the protagonist, as an exception to journalism in general where conflicts are created or seen as existing between, for example, persons, groupings or parties. Women protagonists and their lives create an optimal narration of inner conflicts originating in the double bind as men are usually not seen as suffering from these conflicts. The analysis also resulted in gendered portrait norms: The feminine portrait norm and the masculine portrait norm or more concretely, professional life and family life as expectation and exception. Women are expected to be responsible parents and mediocre professionals, while men are expected to be professionals and in their free time engaging fathers. Key words: journalism, genre, portrait interview, gender, interview, newspaper, women s magazine.
  • Lämsä, Riikka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Riikka Lämsä Patient story. An ethnographic study of patienthood in the practices of a hospital ward Health care services are changing towards more client orientation, where the patient is identified as a lay-expert, consumer and participant. The purpose of this study is to examine what kinds of patienthood are constructed by the practices of a hospital ward. In accordance with ethnomethodology, the concept of patient is not determined beforehand or imposed from above; instead, patient is seen as an agent that arises through the daily practices of a hospital ward. The patient is multiple and, through the insight of science and technology studies, non-human agents, such as devices, can also enact patienthood. I study the concept of patienthood arising out of time, sound, and technology in a hospital ward as well as how it arises through interactions during ward rounds and through patient discharge negotiations. The study is ethnographic, and I collected the data in three internal medicine wards by observing events, by conversing with patients and staff, and by collecting written data. Qualitative content analysis was chosen as the method of analysis. Patienthood in a hospital ward will be described through five different kinds of dimensions. Stability describes the temporal stability of patienthood, i.e., the frequency of changes in practices. The telemetry method, which is an example of the constant development of technology in hospital wards, is changing the patterns of interaction between the patient and the staff. In contrast, the practice of ward rounds has remained relatively unchanged. As a result, in rooms shared by several patients, patients overhear information about other patients and adapt to the situation by behaving as if indifferent during the rounds. Focus describes the scale of patienthood. At times, the patient is identified with the microbe he or she has caught or with electrical impulses of the heart, while at times the focus is on the patient s life situation. Integration of these "different-scaled" forms of patient requires a lot of negotiating in the ward. The self-directed agency of a patient is constructed as "active passivity" when the doctor talks with other patients during ward rounds or as "minor agency" directed towards daily activities during the patient's free time. The patient's self-directed agency is very different from the patient's more passive agency as part of the hospital ward practices. Separateness describes the patient either as an individual or as a collective agent. Ward rounds in shared rooms construct a group of patients and, at the same time, violate the informational privacy of individual patients. The status of the patient as an inpatient or a patient to be discharged is the subject to continuous negotiation. The grounds for discharging a patient are often to do with the patient's functional capacity or life situation as well as with medical or administrative reasons. Discharge negotiations are fairly volatile because the purpose is also to decide in what kind of condition the patient can be discharged. The study provides a new kind of theoretical model on patienthood in hospital wards as well as proposals for the development of practices in hospital wards. In the future, the concealment of verbal patient information should be assured by improving the practice of ward rounds. The best way to improve the activity of the patient is to promote the patient's existing agency, i.e. the agency directed towards daily activities. Discharge negotiations can be improved by developing a set of transparent discharge criteria. Keywords: Hospital, patient, practices, ethnography