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  • Heinonen, Hannu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    The study explores the role of the state in regional integration processes. The question is approached through theoretical discussion and two case-studies - SADC (Southern African Development Community) and the EU. The main research question of the study is, what are the possibilities and problems of the integration process in Southern Africa and how do they differ from the possibilities and problems of the integration process in Europe. The undelrying question of the study is why do states decide to participate in an integration process where they have to limit their sovereignty. Review of the theoretical discussion of the integration studies shows that the integration process is affected by several factors on different levels of the international system. But the state plays a central role in integration processes - integration processes are inititated and carried on by the participatig states. The European integration process shows that the interests of the state can change over time. At the beginning of the integration process, the objective was to strengthen participating states. Later EU member states have decided that it is in their interest to deepen the process even if it has meant limitation of their sovereignty. The determinant factor has been that the member states have considered it to be in their interst to deepen the process. In Southern Africa the integration process is only at the beginning. SADC aims to establish a free trade area by 2008. The biggest challenge is how to implement the integration process so that it benefits all member states in a region that is economically dominated by South Africa. In practice this can be achieved through establishment of corrective mechanisms, which ensure equitable distribution of benefits. This would require deeper integration and South Africa to adapt responsibility towards its regional partners. African integration processes in general have not been as successful as for example the EU. African states have been reluctant to limit their sovereignty in favour of regional organisations.This can be explained by the differences between European and African states. The EU member states have been democracies while African states have been characterised by concentration of power in the executive branch. Furthermore the political systems in Africa have been characterised by vertical clientelist reltionships. As a result it has not been in the interest of the political elite to limit the state sovereignty in favour of regional organisations. In recent years SADC has been relatively succesful in its integration process and reforms, but a lot remains to be done before the implementation of the free trade area can be succesful. The institutional structure and treaties of SADC differ from the structures of the EU. Member states are the main actors of the integration processes. Their differences are reflected in the process and produce different kinds of integration in different parts of the world.
  • Kjærnes, Unni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    The role of people as buyers and eaters of food has changed significantly. From being protected by a paternalistic welfare state, people appear to be accorded more freedom and responsibility as individuals, where attention is redirected from the state towards market relations. Many have asserted that these changes are accompanied by fragmentation, individualisation, and privatisation, leading to individual uncertainty and lack of confidence. But empirical observations do not always confirm this, distrust is not necessarily growing and while responsibilities may change, the state still plays an active role. This dissertation explores changing relationships between states and markets, on the one hand, and ordinary people in their capacities as consumers and citizens, on the other. Do we see the emergence of new forms of regulation of food consumption? If so, what is the scope and what are the characteristics? Theories of regulation addressing questions about individualisation and self-governance are combined with a conceptualisation of consumption as processes of institutionalisation, involving daily routines, the division of labour between production and consumption, and the institutional field in which consumption is embedded. The analyses focus on the involvement of the state, food producers and scientific, first of all nutritional, expertise in regulating consumption, and on popular responses. Two periods come out as important, first when the ideas of “designing the good life” emerged, giving the state a very particular role in regulating food consumption, and, second, when this “designing” is replaced by ideas of choice and individual responsibility. One might say that “consumer choice” has become a mode of regulation. I use mainly historical studies from Norway to analyse the shifting role of the state in regulating food consumption, complemented with population surveys from six European countries to study how modernisation processes are associated with trust. The studies find that changing regulation is not only a question of societal or state vs individual responsibilities. Degrees of organisation and formalisation are important as well. While increasing organisation may represent discipline and abuses of power (including exploitation of consumer loyalty), organisation can also, to the consumer, provide higher predictability, systems to deal with malfeasance, and efficiency which may provide conditions for acting. The welfare state and the neo-liberal state have very different types of solutions. The welfare state solution is based on (national) egalitarianism, paternalism and discipline (of the market as well as households). Such solutions are still prominent in Norway. Individualisation and self-regulation may represent a regulatory response not only to a declining legitimacy of this kind of interventionism, but also increasing organisational complexity. This is reflected in large-scale re-regulation of markets as well as in relationships with households and consumers. Individualisation of responsibility is to the consumer not a matter of the number of choices that are presented on the shelves, but how choice as a form of consumer based involvement is institutionalised. It is recognition of people as “end-consumers”, as social actors, with systems of empowerment politically as well as via the provisioning system. ‘Consumer choice’ as a regulatory strategy includes not only communicative efforts to make people into “choosing consumers”, but also the provision of institutions which recognise consumer interests and agency. When this is lacking we find distrust as representing powerlessness. Individual responsibility-taking represents agency and is not always a matter of loyal support to shared goals, but involves protest and creativity. More informal (‘communitarian’) innovations may be an indication of that, where self-realisation is intimately combined with responsibility for social problems. But as solutions to counteract existing imbalances of power in the food market the impacts of such initiatives are probably more as part of consumer mobilisation and politicisation than as alternative provisioning.
  • Metsola, Lalli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This is a study of Namibian ex-combatant and veteran policies after the country s transition to independence in 1990. Instead of assessing the successfulness of reintegration against its stated objectives or the perspective of post-conflict policy discourses, it examines the politics of reintegration as a process of multiform negotiation over recognition and entitlements for the ex-combatants, and political authority and legitimacy for party and government leaders. The study interrogates the ways in which this process reflects and contributes to postcolonial Namibian politics, state formation and citizenship. It is based on nine months of fieldwork in 2002, 2003 and 2009 and its main sources include ethnographic observation, life historical interviews with ex-combatants, thematic interviews with politicians and civil servants, grey literature as well as Namibian newspapers and internet sources. The study finds that instead of being a neutral exercise in post-conflict management and peacebuilding, Namibian reintegration has been motivated by more exclusive ideas of the nation and by the special bond between the ruling party and the former liberation movement Swapo and its formerly exiled cadres. This close tie and the characterization of Swapo combatants as heroes who hold a special place in the Namibian narrative of national liberation have repeatedly enabled Swapo ex-combatants to demand recognition, employment, monetary compensation and other benefits. Coupled with this, the relative strength of the Namibian state and economy has made it possible to plan and implement ex-combatant reintegration as a predominantly domestic process without the close involvement of international agencies. Hence, it has been possible to diverge from mainstream disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programmes and attempt to solve the ex-combatant question by broad-based public employment. After most ex-combatants were employed in the late 1990s and early 2000s, however, their demands and policy responses shifted towards monetary compensation. The domestic character of Namibian reintegration also made it possible to implement ex-combatant and veteran policies selectively so that former Swapo exiles have gradually been transformed into an officially recognized group of veterans while their former enemies, Namibian fighters of South African surrogate forces, have been sidelined. This process of domestically driven, selective reintegration has multiple broad implications. First, as Namibia has recently emerged from a long period of violent conflict, security concerns and the imperative to control organized violence are clearly visible. The targeting of Swapo ex-combatants in reintegration and their recruitment to the public service, particularly the uniformed services, have relinked their fates with that of the Swapo government, pacifying them and making them useful in consolidating the hold of the regime over the security agencies and the marginal and frontier areas and populations. Indeed, a key reason why the demand politics of the ex-combatants have been so successful is that their interests have been largely congruent with the perceived interests of the political elite. Second, the tendency of Namibian reintegration to entrench involvement in liberationist history as a criterion of full membership in the political community, creating an ever-widening circle of veterans versus others, provides and interesting comparison with struggles over recognition and citizenship elsewhere in Africa which are often framed in terms of language, religion, ethnicity, race or historical origins. The movements thus generated may adopt anti-national stances but they are as likely to seek to reformulate and colonize nationalism itself. Namibian ex-combatant reintegration, on the other hand, exemplifies a situation where nationalism as a supposedly unifying force still has salience but has been appropriated by a particular narrative of belonging. Thus, instead of representing a break from inclusive citizenship towards increasingly codified particular identities that compete within the national space, the Namibian case demonstrates the coexistence of a legal concept of universal national citizenship with a pervasive ideology of national belonging. The latter, however, inherently contradicts the supposed universalism of legal citizenship. The long-term effects of Namibian veteran politics remain to be seen. On the one hand, the aim to reconcile and build a nation, evident in some of the decisions and statements associated with reintegration as well as in Namibian political discourse more generally, is countered by the persistence of pre-independence political logics and divisions, and a concentration of power according to liberationist fault lines. It is not surprising that a militant version of nationalism seems appealing to certain political elites in their bid to justify the current regime and entrench their own positions in it. On the other hand, in the long run the politics of ex-combatants and veterans may also offer a template for more broad-based demands that question entrenched patterns of economic and political privilege, and provoke responses that may lead towards more inclusive citizenship and more broadly legitimate authority.
  • Weiste, Elina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The quality of the therapeutic relationship is highly significant for treatment outcomes in mental healthcare. While the value of the relationship has been clearly documented, the various aspects of how the relationship is actualized in clinical practice have remained unclear. This dissertation breaks new ground in understanding how the therapeutic relationship is manifested in three forms of therapeutic interaction: psychoanalysis, cognitive psychotherapy and resource-centred counselling. The method of conversation analysis is applied to compare these approaches and reveal how specific aspects of the therapeutic relationship are managed in interaction: 1) how therapists express empathy and respond to clients talk on their subjective emotional experiences, 2) how therapists work with experiences that belong to clients personal domains of knowledge, and 3) how disagreements are expressed and relational stress managed in therapeutic interaction. The data comprise audio- and video-recorded encounters from each therapeutic approach (86 encounters in total). The data analysis reveals the fine-grained interactional practices used in the management of the therapeutic relationship. In all the therapeutic approaches, formulating the client s emotional experience allowed the therapists to display empathic understanding, and prosodic features were important for marking the formulation as either empathic or challenging. In psychoanalysis and cognitive psychotherapy, the client s emotional experiences were typically validated, interpreted or challenged. In the resource-centred approach, the clinicians sought to focus on successful experiences and praised clients agency and competence, while shifting the focus away from their difficult emotional experiences. The data analysis also highlights the complex relationship between emotions and epistemics and describes how a delicate balance between empathic and challenging interventions is manifested in therapists supportive and unsupportive moves during extended disagreement sequences. This dissertation contributes to three areas of research: 1) clinical research, as it underlines the importance of investigating the actions of the therapist and client in a relational way, furthering comprehension of how the processes associated with the therapeutic relationship appear in the context of interaction between therapist and client; 2) sociological studies on mental health, as this study illustrates some important institutional differences between psychotherapy and psychiatric outpatient care; 3) conversation analysis, as this research provides the first broader systematic comparison of interactional practices in different therapeutic approaches.
  • Vehkalahti, Kimmo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2000)
  • De Simone, Emiliano (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    It is well known that an integrable (in the sense of Arnold-Jost) Hamiltonian system gives rise to quasi-periodic motion with trajectories running on invariant tori. These tori foliate the whole phase space. If we perturb an integrable system, the Kolmogorow-Arnold-Moser (KAM) theorem states that, provided some non-degeneracy condition and that the perturbation is sufficiently small, most of the invariant tori carrying quasi-periodic motion persist, getting only slightly deformed. The measure of the persisting invariant tori is large together with the inverse of the size of the perturbation. In the first part of the thesis we shall use a Renormalization Group (RG) scheme in order to prove the classical KAM result in the case of a non analytic perturbation (the latter will only be assumed to have continuous derivatives up to a sufficiently large order). We shall proceed by solving a sequence of problems in which theperturbations are analytic approximations of the original one. We will finally show that the approximate solutions will converge to a differentiable solution of our original problem. In the second part we will use an RG scheme using continuous scales, so that instead of solving an iterative equation as in the classical RG KAM, we will end up solving a partial differential equation. This will allow us to reduce the complications of treating a sequence of iterative equations to the use of the Banach fixed point theorem in a suitable Banach space.
  • Ruoppila, Sampo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    The thesis examines urban issues arising from the transformation from state socialism to a market economy. The main topics are residential differentiation, i.e., uneven spatial distribution of social groups across urban residential areas, and the effects of housing policy and town planning on urban development. The case study is development in Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, in the context of development of Central and Eastern European cities under and after socialism. The main body of the thesis consists of four separately published refereed articles. The research question that brings the articles together is how the residential (socio-spatial) pattern of cities developed during the state socialist period and how and why that pattern has changed since the transformation to a market economy began. The first article reviews the literature on residential differentiation in Budapest, Prague, Tallinn and Warsaw under state socialism from the viewpoint of the role of housing policy in the processes of residential differentiation at various stages of the socialist era. The paper shows how the socialist housing provision system produced socio-occupational residential differentiation directly and indirectly and it describes how the residential patterns of these cities developed. The second article is critical of oversimplified accounts of rapid reorganisation of the overall socio-spatial pattern of post-socialist cities and of claims that residential mobility has had a straightforward role in it. The Tallinn case study, consisting of an analysis of the distribution of socio-economic groups across eight city districts and over four housing types in 1999 as well as examining the role of residential mobility in differentiation during the 1990s, provides contrasting evidence. The third article analyses the role and effects of housing policies in Tallinn s residential differentiation. The focus is on contemporary post-privatisation housing-policy measures and their effects. The article shows that the Estonian housing policies do not even aim to reduce, prevent or slow down the harmful effects of the considerable income disparities that are manifest in housing inequality and residential differentiation. The fourth article examines the development of Tallinn s urban planning system 1991-2004 from the viewpoint of what means it has provided the city with to intervene in urban development and how the city has used these tools. The paper finds that despite some recent progress in planning, its role in guiding where and how the city actually developed has so far been limited. Tallinn s urban development is rather initiated and driven by private agents seeking profit from their investment in land. The thesis includes original empirical research in the three articles that analyse development since socialism. The second article employs quantitative data and methods, primarily index calculation, whereas the third and the fourth ones draw from a survey of policy documents combined with interviews with key informants. Keywords: residential differentiation, housing policy, urban planning, post-socialist transformation, Estonia, Tallinn
  • Seitsamo, Jorma (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    The ageing of the labour force and falling employment rates have forced policy makers in industrialized countries to find means of increasing the well-being of older workers and of lengthening their work careers. The main objective of this thesis was to study longitudinally how health, functional capacity, subjective well-being, and lifestyle change as people grow older, and what effect retirement has on these factors and on their relationships. The present study is a follow-up questionnaire study of Finnish municipal workers, conducted in 1981 to 1997 at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. In 1981, a postal questionnaire was sent to 7344 municipal workers in different parts of Finland. The respondents were born between 1923 and 1937. A total of 6257 persons responded to the first questionnaire. In the end, a total of 3817 persons had responded to all four (1981, 1985, 1992, 1997) questionnaires. (The response rate was 69% of the living participants). Cross-tabulations, comparison of means, logistic regression analyses and general linear models with repeated measures were used to derive the results. The transition from work life to retirement, and the following years as a pensioner were associated with many changes. Involvement in various activities increased during the transition stage but later decreased to the previous level. Physical exercise was an exception: it became increasingly popular over the years. Perceived health improved markedly from the working stage to the retirement transition stage, even though morbidity increased steadily during the follow-up. On the other hand, functional capacity decreased over the follow-up, especially among those who were occupationally active until the retirement stage. Subjective well-being remained stable during the follow-up period. There were, however, great differences based on the type of work, favouring those whose work had been mental in nature. The impact of activity level on maintaining well-being became greater during the follow-up, whereas the effect of physical functioning diminished. Good physical functioning and an active life-style contributed to staying on at work until normal retirement age. Also work-related factors, i.e. possibilities for development and influence at work, responsibility for others, meaningful work, and satisfaction with working time arrangements were positively related to continuing working. The transition from work to retirement had a positive impact on a person s health and functional capacity. The study results support the view that it should be possible to ease one s work pace during the last years of a work career. This might lower the threshold between work and retirement and convince people that there will still be time to enjoy retirement also a few years later.
  • Asikainen, Anna-Leena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2005)
  • 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)