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  • Saikkonen, Paula (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    As a result of soil pollution, five hundred people had to move away from their homes in Alakiventie at the end of the 20th century. This area of Alakiventie had been built on an old waste dump in Myllypuro in the 1970s. Examination of the case showed that the area had been built according to the legislation and practices typical of that time. No mistakes had been made, and in consequence, the administration of the city interpreted the case as a rare single accident. This raised the question: when and how is polluted soil constructed as an environmental problem? In the doctoral dissertation, polluted soil is examined as a phenomenon that exists in a certain time span and space. The circumstances of society must be taken into account in order to understand polluted soil as an environmental problem. The definition of the environmental problem and its relation to risk management are in focus. The definition of the problem as well as the solution is dependent on knowledge. Knowledge is historically constructed, originating in action, and transformed from one actor to another. Furthermore, risk knowledge is related to the process in which an environmental problem and risk are defined. The research problem asks how knowledge production promotes or restricts the ability of local decision makers to remedy environmental problems. The problem is answered by the four articles and three sub-questions. The research is a case study. The practices of local governance are analysed over several decades. The studied case addresses local governance in a risk society. The interviews, the official documents of the city, the publications of the administrative bodies, and the minutes of the city board are combined as research material. Knowledge production about polluted soil seems to be disorganized and random. The knowledge produced does not accumulate, and the general view is invisible to decision makers. The silos in the administration, in legislation and in science hamper knowledge production in a way that hides solutions to wicked problems.
  • 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
  • Berg, Päivi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    This study examines gender as a dimension of group divisions and differences in physical education (PE) lessons at school. The aim is to look at those structures and practices which direct the ways the girls and the boys move their bodies at secondary school in 2000’s while growing up to become women and men. Theoretically, the goal is to clarify how the social is inscribed to the bodies in the context of physical education lessons at school. This ethnographic study was conducted in the physical education lessons of 7th graders (13-14-year-olds) by observing the everyday life in five PE groups and by interviewing pupils (N=27) and their teachers (N=2). This method has given the researcher “a sense of the game”; an embodied experience of the feel for the game of the studied phenomenon. The access to the contextual “positions of expertise” does not seem to be socially and materially equally distributed in physical education. In PE the criteria of inclusion and exclusion were intertwined with physical skills and friendships, these hierarchies becoming visible in the situations of team choice in PE lessons. Not all families have possibilities to enable their children to participate in expensive leisure sports activities. Therefore the family’s societal position is in relation to the construction of leisure time activities. The access to certain possibilities demands time and money. In Finland the physical education is mainly carried out in differentiated groups for girls and boys. In physical education, the gender-differentiated groups, and partially the different practices of these groups activate, and on the other hand suppress, situations of gender related borderwork. In this research, both pupils and PE teachers repeatedly mentioned the naturality of the differences while speaking about gender. The differences were also restored to gender. I apply Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical view to the social situations, ethnographic fieldwork and interviews. My central statement is that in ethnography the audience has access to the backstage of the researcher since reporting does not follow the traditional division to the public and the private.
  • Ashrafun, Laila (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    This study is about domestic violence against women in Bangladeshi society. It delineates, in particular, why and how some women become the victims of domestic violence in the changing socio-economic setting of Bangladesh. I was inspired to carry out this study by the highlights and banner news from the daily newspapers, and writings of the scholars about the widespread events of domestic violence against women in Bangladesh. In the light of the news and studies I saw a need to sketch out an in-depth representation of domestic violence against economically and educationally underprivileged women in Bangladeshi society. The fieldwork of this study was carried out in two slums, and in a non-governmental counseling center in Sylhet, Bangladesh. I have relied on qualitative data and methods which I consider as the main strength of this study because it helps me to uncover the situation of the underprivileged young women in a meaningful context. In this study, I have tried to uncover the meaning, causes, coping strategies, resistance as well as effect of domestic violence in the lives of underprivileged women in Bangladeshi society. I have questioned women s agency and the struggle to problematize the position of women in gender relations, social, cultural, religious, and the legal arena. I have shown how women in the underprivileged class are vulnerable because of the prevailing family and social structure and are exposed to domestic violence. Focusing on domestic violence, I also examined why and how women tolerated and tried to solve informally domestic violence perpetrated against them by their husbands and other in-laws for a long time and why some women break the barriers and come to formal legal institutions to seek help. It is obvious from the study that underprivileged women s vulnerability is related to household insecurity which incarcerates the difficulties, experiences, and incidents of women s lives that expose them to violence. This study has sketched out how social-cultural and religious constraints include norms related to early marriage, the practice of purdah, dowry practices, unequal treatment between sons and daughters in the natal family, not having one s own permanent shelter, not getting property from one s father or not having property rights, a father s lack of land, obstacles to women working outside home, a preference for sons, social stigma related with marital separation or divorce. The analysis of the underprivileged women s life helped me to understand all these constraints as a whole mute the voice and limit the agency of young women both within their natal and marital homes. This makes striving for changes more difficult for women from a domestic violence free life, and capabilities for life improving decisions and steps. Domestic violence has moved from the privacy of the home into the light of the political and social arenas in Bangladesh. The issue has shifted focus from a particular man or woman relationship to the societal institutions or dominant ideology such as gender inequality, the varying constraints under which women and men live, the material, social, and the legal options that they access or mobilize. There is no doubt that poor victim women are slowly but steadily raising their muted voice and protesting against domestic violence but it has also become especially clear that, in order to compete for equal footing and establishment of rights, women need to acquire appropriate skills, improve their life situations and develop enough self-confidence. Still there are numerous problems with the legal systems in Bangladesh concerning women s issues in general and domestic violence in particular. The criminal laws and family laws, taken together, are insufficient and weak to solve women s problems when taking into account women s position and the prevalent structural barriers. I realized that the weakness of laws allow violent husbands and in-laws to find a way to escape compliance with them. In my opinion, the law alone is not capable of bringing social change and has less power to change peoples behaviors in gender relations and social practices for establishing human rights. Generally, in the societies people fear the law, legal procedures and punishment but only through fear it will not be possible to uproot violence, immorality and injustice against women. If domestic violence against women is to be stopped, strong law enforcement and state intervention are required. People should be informed and educated about the laws in informal way and cultured to practice the establishment of human rights to ensure meaningful everyday lives for all citizens.
  • Eränen, Liisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2001)
  • Oksanen, Annika (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    The objective of this qualitative study is to reveal the discursive reality of Finnish women, who have chosen to follow their husbands to expatriate assignments. The research material includes interviews of seventeen (17) Finnish housewives who lived in Singapore in 1999. The primary theoretical framework of the study is a social-constructive view, in which the reality is seen to have been constructed through meanings that create and maintain cultural practices, social roles and institutions. Gender is interpreted as produced socially, politically and in language. Human beings in the study exist as cultural and social beings with sex. An underlying assumption of the analysis is that the women in the study do not recognize their experience from their position that has been located to the prompt box in a play of expatriate assignment a role that is offered to them by the business sciences. Referring to Somers (1994) these women suffer of narrative silence as they lack public narratives that correspond to their circumstances. According to Williams (1983), an experience is an evidence of conditions. Therefore, the experiences of the women, who have followed their husbands to expatriate assignments, include information of their conditions. The analysis of the interview material has been performed in two phases: First, the women's experiences are identified from the research material. Thereafter, by means of discourse analysis the experiences are revealed analytically. This revealing process can also be regarded as an articulation of a counter-narrative. The research results can be found from three such discursive interpretations that are offered to the women and from eight such discursive interpretations that can be drawn from the women's own experiences. One of the discursive interpretations, which came out from the women's own experiences, is named as cultural dysphasia. In the study, cultural dysphasia is defined as a condition, in which the women have a difficulty in making their lived reality understood by others outside the sphere of their situation. Finnish women do not only lack public narrative, but the absence of a housewife-culture in Finland prevents them from any public narrative that would have a positive tone. To avoid dependence on the housewife concept, a woman's decision to follow her husband to an expatriate assignment is interpreted as a demonstration of solidarity to the relationship. In this connection, these Finnish women are re-named as 'siirtonainen' (Finnish, literally 'transfer woman'). This is the first scientific study to make visible the lived reality of Finnish women who have followed their husbands to expatriate assignments. The study will help the women in similar circumstances to find their marks among the current narratives. By reducing dichotomy between housewives and career women, which is damaging to women, and by creating the concept of 'siirtonainen' it will be possible to expand the cultural space of Finnish women. Finally, the study argues that a Finnish career woman, grown together with the imperative of self-support, has been lifted up as one symbol of modern Finland. Key words: expatriate research, experience, public narrative, narrative silence, cultural dysphasia, siirtonainen - transfer woman
  • Koponen, Anne Maarit (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    Life of children exposed to alcohol or drugs in utero This study focused on the growth environment, physical development and socio-emotional development of children, aged 16 and under, who had been exposed to alcohol (n=78) or drugs (n=15) in utero. The aim of the study was to obtain a comprehensive picture of the living conditions of these children and to examine the role of the growth environment in their development. The study was carried out using questionnaires, written life stories and interviews. Attachment theory was used as a background theory in the study. Over half of the children exposed to alcohol were diagnosed with foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), one quarter was diagnosed with foetal alcohol effects (FAE), and one fifth had no diagnosis. Most of the children exposed to drugs had been exposed to either amphetamines or cannabis, and a smaller number to heroin. Some of the children exposed to alcohol were mentally handicapped or intellectually impaired. The children exposed to drugs did not exhibit any serious learning difficulties but a considerable number of them had socio-emotional development problems. Language and speech problems and attention, concentration and social interaction problems were typical among both the children exposed to alcohol and those exposed to drugs. Only one child had been placed into long-term foster care in a family immediately after leaving the maternity hospital. In biological families there had been neglect, violence, mental health problems, crime and unemployment, and many parents were already dead. Two of the children had been sexually abused and four were suspected of having been abused. From the point of view of the children's development, the three most critical issues were 1) the range of illnesses and handicaps that had impaired their functional capacity as a result of their prenatal exposure to alcohol, 2) child's age at the time of placement on a long-term basis, and 3) the number of their traumatic experiences. The relationship with their biological parents after placement also played a role. Children with symptoms were found in all diagnosis categories and types of exposure. Children with the smallest number of symptoms were found among those who had never lived with their biological parents. Almost all children were exhibiting strong symptoms at the time of placement in foster care. In most cases, they were behaving in a disorderly manner towards others, but some children were withdrawn. The most conspicuous feature among those with the most severe symptoms was their disorganized behaviour. Placement in a foster family enhanced the children's development, but did not solve the problems. The foster parents who brought these children up did not receive as much therapy for the children and support for the upbringing as they appear to have needed. In Finland, transfer to long-term custody is based on strict criteria. The rights of children prescribed in the child protection law are not fulfilled in practice. Key words: FASD, FAS, FAE, alcohol exposure, drugs exposure, illegal drugs, early interaction, child development, attachment
  • Alho, Arja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2004)
  • Mikkola, Tuula (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    Depending on you – A study of spousal care, everyday life and agency The present aim of the aging policy is to promote old peoples´ possibilities to live at their own home. It is also many elderly couples´ own wish. At home a persons spouse is the most natural care giver, if she or he is able to give care. Spousal care means living together, giving and receiving care and interdependency between the spouses. The aim of the policy is to support spousal care by paying financial support to a carer and arrang-ing formal home care services. The purpose of this research is to study the agency of care giving and receiving spouses as care givers and receivers and also as home care service users. The data of the study consist of the interviews of 21 elderly couples. Both spouses were interviewed seper-ately, with the exception of five couples who were interviewed together. In these inter-views a care receiver had difficulties in communicating by speaking and a spouse was her or his interpreter. The study is based on a social constructionistic and a discourse analytical view of con-struction of meanings in human communication. Talking is a social action: people achieve identities, realities, social order and social relationship through talking. In inter-pretating the spouses agency I have used of Harvey Sack´s method of Membership Categorization Device (MCD). The spouses construct social categories which made the meaning of their agency visible. Care changes the routines and actions of everyday life. The couples have to negotiate their duties and rights between each other. Care giving and receiving are both physical and emotional actions. In the end it becomes a part of the couples´ normal life. The pur-pose of couples´ action is to live together as long as possible. They want to strengthen both their own agency and their spouses´ agency. The living together depends on both of them. The spouses decided together what home care services they would like to use and on which conditions they have to use services. Spouses have different kind of agencies as service users which describe their relationship and confidency on formal home care support and services. Services must support the elderly couples´ shared life at home. They cannot be against the conditions on the spousal care. When you want to arrange services to elderly care giving and receiving couples, you have to consider their own wishes and the meanings of their own relationship and shared life.
  • Louheranta, Olavi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    The doctoral dissertation, entitled Siperiaa sanoiksi - uralilaisuutta teoiksi. Kai Donner poliittisena organisaattorina sekä tiedemiehenä antropologian näkökulmasta clarifies the early history of anthropological fieldwork and research in Siberia. The object of research is Kai Donner (1888-1935), fieldworker, explorer and researcher of Finno-Ugric languages, who made two expeditions to Siberia during 1911-1913 and 1914. Donner studied in Cambridge in 1909 under the guidance of James Frazer, A. C. Haddon and W. H. R. Rivers - and with Bronislaw Malinowski. After finishing his expeditions, Donner organized the enlistment of Finnish university students to receive military training in Germany. He was exiled and participated in the struggle for Finnish independence. After that, he organized military offensives in Russia and participated in domestic politics and policy in cooperation with C. G. E. Mannerheim. He also wrote four ethnographic descriptions on Siberia and worked with the Scandinavian Arctic areas researchers and Polar explorers. The results of this analysis can be sum up as follows: In the history of ethnographic research in Finland, it is possible to find two types of fieldwork tradition. The first tradition started from M. A. Castrén's explorations and research and the second one from August Ahlqvist's. Donner can be included in the first group with Castrén and Sakari Pälsi, unlike other contemporary philologists, or cultural researcher colleagues, which used the method of August Ahlqvist. Donner's holistic, lively and participant-observation based way of work is articulated in his writings two years before Malinowski published his thesis about modern fieldwork. Unfortunately, Donner didn't get the change to continue his researche because of the civil war in Finland, and due to the dogmatic position of E. N. Setälä. Donner's main work - the ethnohistorical Siberia - encloses his political and anthropological visions about a common and threatened Uralic nation under the pressure of Russian. The important items of his expeditions can be found in the area of cultural ecology, nutritional anthropology and fieldwork methods. It is also possible to prove that in his short stories from Siberia, there can be found some psychological factors that correlate his early life history.
  • Remes, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    Social gradients in health, wherein each successive level of social position enjoys better health and lower mortality, have been observed in various health indicators within different societies. Social inequalities in infant and adult mortality are well documented, but previous findings on children, adolescents and young adults are less complete and less consistent. Death at a young age is increasingly rare in developed countries. Nevertheless, research on mortality can still provide valuable insights into health inequalities in that social differentials in ultimate health outcomes reflect differentials in many other acute and chronic health conditions that are more difficult to capture. The purpose of this study was to examine the social determinants of mortality at a young age. The findings are based on several measures of parental social background, and among older adolescents and young adults also on measures reflecting their own social position and current living arrangements. Extensive individual-level register data was obtained from Statistics Finland. Combining longitudinal population census and employment data from the period 1970 2007 with data on mortality and causes of death, the study data covered 80% of all deaths in 1990−2007. Social differentials in mortality in the age range 1−29 years were assessed in both absolute and relative terms, by calculating mortality rates and estimating Cox proportional hazards models. Mortality in childhood among both boys and girls was clearly associated with family type and parental socioeconomic factors. There were no differences in mortality between children in cohabiting-parent families and children of married parents, but children in single-parent families carried an excess risk. Both parental education and household income showed clear mortality gradients, with higher mortality among children of parents with lower levels of education and who earned less. The relationship between single parenthood and child mortality was, in fact, largely attributable to the associated low parental education and income. Mortality in late adolescence and early adulthood was higher among young men and women living in single- or cohabiting-parent families, as single parents themselves, alone, or with others than among those living in the parental home with married parents. Living independently with a partner was associated with lower mortality, especially among people in their late 20s. Following adjustment for childhood and current factors, the strongest excess mortality in early adulthood occurred among the less-highly educated and the non-employed. Leaving the parental home at a young age also remained an independent risk factor for premature death. The associations between parental social background and mortality were distinct but smaller, and were largely mediated by the current factors and age at leaving the parental home. Among children, social inequalities in mortality were strongest in early childhood, between the ages of one and four years, somewhat smaller between five and nine years, and with the exception of a weak association between mortality and parental education, non-existent at 10 14 years. Moreover, the associations between mortality and the current living arrangements and the main activity differed by age in late adolescence and early adulthood. The convergence of social differentials in mortality in late childhood, and their re-emergence in late adolescence related to changes in the most common causes of death during these life phases. Influenced by various factors, different causes of death are more or less likely to associate with social factors. Social differentials in mortality stemmed mostly from external causes, but deaths from diseases contributed to mortality differentials between the ages of one to four, and in early adulthood. Targeting support to high-risk groups in early childhood and in the transition to adulthood could prove to be effective in reducing health inequalities and preventing social exclusion not only among the young but also later in life.
  • Snell, Karoliina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    The object of the dissertation is to analyse the concept of social responsibility in relation to research and development of new biotechnology. This is done by examining the relevant actors – researchers, administrators, decision-makers, experts, industry, and the public – involved in the Finnish governance of biotechnology through their roles and responsibilities. Existing practises of responsibility in biotechnology governance, as well as the discourses of responsibility – the actors’ conceptions of their own and others responsibilities – are analysed. Three types of responsibility that the actors have assumed are formulated, and the implications of these conceptions to the governance of new biotechnology are analysed. From these different types of responsibility adopted and used by the actors, theoretical models called responsibility chains are constructed. The notion of responsibility is under-theorised in sociology and this research is an attempt to create a mid-range theory of responsibility in the context of biotechnology governance. The research aims to increase understanding of the governance system from a holistic viewpoint by contributing to academic debates on science and technology policy, public understanding of science, commercialisation of research, and corporate social responsibility. With a thorough analysis of the concept of responsibility that is derived from empirical data, the research brings new perspectives into these debates by challenging many normative ideas embedded in discourses. For example, multiple roles of the public are analysed to highlight the problems of consumerism and citizen participation in practise, as well as in relation to different policy strategies. The research examines also the contradictory responsibilities faced by biotechnology researchers, who balance between academic autonomy, commercialisation of research, and reflecting social consequences of their work. Industries responsibilities are also examined from the viewpoint of biotechnology. The research methodology addresses the contradictions between empirical findings, theories of biotechnology governance, and policies in a novel way, as the study concentrates on several actors and investigates both the discourses and the practises of the actors. Thus, the qualitative method of analysis is a combination of discourse and content analysis. The empirical material is comprised of 29 personal interviews as well as documents by Finnish and multinational organizations on biotechnology governance.
  • Mäenpää, Elina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The tendency towards socio-economic homogamy - partner similarity in terms of socio-economic status - is of great interest to social scientists, for two reasons. First, socio-economic homogamy is an indicator of social closure between status groups in a society. Second, given that homogamy leads to the accumulation of advantageous and disadvantageous socio-economic conditions within couples, it also intensifies social and economic inequalities between families. The objective of this thesis is to enhance knowledge of socio-economic homogamy and its consequences for union stability in Finland. The first aim was to analyse the strength and patterns of socio-economic homogamy in partner choice. The second aim was to determine whether and, if so, how homogamy is associated with the likelihood of ending non-marital cohabitation - through separation on the one hand, or marriage on the other. In addition, two dimensions of socio-economic status, individual educational attainment and social class of the family of origin, were analysed to find out whether matching on individually achieved status or on the status of the parental family had a bigger effect on union dynamics. The analyses were based on sets of register data compiled at Statistics Finland. Log-linear models were applied to study homogamy tendencies and their changes in marriages and cohabitations of women born in 1957-1979 at the age of 30. The effects of homogamy and heterogamy on the likelihood of separation and marriage were analysed with Cox proportional hazards model in cohabitations formed in the period 1995-2002 by women born in 1960-1977. An elaborate approach was adopted: marriage and separation rates were examined in each possible combination of partner status. The results imply that people tend to choose partners who are similar to them in terms of educational attainment and class background. However, homogamy was stronger with regard to education than to social-class origins. This is line with the view that boundaries based on achieved status are more difficult to cross in modern, individualized societies than boundaries based on social origins. The most highly educated - those with a higher university degree - were particularly strongly inclined towards homogamy. The general strength of homogamy did not change much across the birth cohorts from the late 1950s to the 1970s, but the trends differed depending on the level of education: homogamy strengthened among those with a low level of education, and weakened among the highly educated. The results also indicate that in the absence of homogamy, women increasingly tend to have partners whose level of education is lower than theirs. Homogamy in class background had a relatively weak influence on the stability of cohabiting unions. Homogamy increased the marriage rate among the children of farmers, whereas heterogamy was associated with an increased separation risk when one partner came from a farmer family and the other from an upper-white-collar family. Educational differences played a somewhat more significant role in these transitions. Homogamy was associated with a reduced risk of separation among the most highly educated cohabitors in particular. The effects of educational homogamy on the marriage rate were less consistent: homogamy increased the marriage rate among cohabitors with a basic-level education, but reduced it among the most highly educated. The findings reveal that status barriers and cultural differences are of significance in partner choice and the stability of cohabiting unions in Finland, and that group boundaries based on achieved status are stronger than those based on ascribed status in terms of union dynamics.
  • Hinkkanen , Reea (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    This study Someone to Welcome you home: Infertility, medicines and the Sukuma-Nyamwezi , looks into the change in the cosmological ideology of the Sukuma-Nyamwezi of Tanzania and into the consequences of this change as expressed through cultural practices connected to female infertility. This analysis is based on 15 months of fieldwork in Isaka, in the Shinyanga area. In this area the birth rate is high and at the same time infertility is a problem for individual women. The attitudes connected to fertility and the attempts to control fertility provide a window onto social and cultural changes in the area. Even though the practices connected to fertility seem to be individualized the problem of individual women - the discourse surrounding fertility is concerned with higher cosmological levels. The traditional cosmology emphasized the centrality of the chief as the source of well-being. He was responsible for rain and the fertility of the land and, thus, for the well-being of the whole society. The holistic cosmology was hierarchical and the ritual practices connected to chiefship which dealt with the whole of the society were recursively applied at the lower levels of hierarchy, in the relationships between individuals. As on consequence of changes in the political system, the chiefship was legally abolished in the early years of Independence. However, the holistic ideology, which was the basis of the chiefship, did not disappear and instead acquired new forms. It is argued that in African societies the common efflorence of diviner-healers and witchcraft can be a consequence of the change in the relationship between the social reality and the cosmological ideology. In the Africanist research the increase in the numbers of diviner-healers and witchcraft is usually seen as a consequence of individualism and modernization. In this research, however, it is seen as an altered form of holism, as a consequence of which the hierarchical relations between women and men have changed. Because of this, the present-day practices connected to reproduction pay special attention to the control of women s sexuality.