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  • Keisalo-Galván, Marianna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Cosmic Clowns: Convention, Invention, and Inversion in the Yaqui Easter Ritual is an ethnographic study of masked clown figures called Chapayekas. They represent Judas and the Roman soldiers in the Passion play that forms the narrative core of the Easter ritual of the Yaquis, an indigenous group in Sonora, Mexico. The study looks at how the Chapayeka is created as a ritual figure, how their performance is constructed, and what the part of the clown is in the dynamics of the ritual. The material was gathered over three periods of anthropological fieldwork in Cócorit, Sonora during Easter in 2004, 2006 and 2007. The Chapayeka masks portray foreigners, animals, mythological figures, and even figures from television and movies. They combine two kinds of performance: they perform set, conventional actions, and improvise and invent new ones. This creates dialectics of invention and convention that allow the figure to mediate between the ritual and its context and different kinds of beings within the Yaqui cosmology. The conventional side of their performance is a cycle of death and rebirth that is an inversion of the cycle of Jesus. Through invention, they separate themselves from the other performers and make themselves powerful. Alternation between the two modes enhances that power and brings it into the conventions of the ritual; ultimately the Chapayekas revitalize the entire ritual. The study finds that the clowns are extremely important to the continuity of both ritual and culture, as the combination of continuity and change, convention and invention, is what makes it possible to recreate the conventions of Yaqui culture as powerful and compelling in various contexts. Another factor is the prevalence of dialectical mediation, which relates concepts by defining them against each other as opposites, and makes it possible to cross a boundary while keeping it intact. Clowns embody and create dialectics to mediate boundaries while guarding against relativization, the disappearance of distinctions. The Chapayekas create and constitute boundaries between the self and other, microcosm and macrocosm, sacred and profane. The study argues that all clown and trickster figures are characterized by constantly alternating between invention and convention; this is what connects them to the collective and moral aspect of culture and, at the same time, makes them unpredictable and powerful. It is possible to do justice to the opposed aspects of these ambiguous and paradoxical figures by taking into account the different foundations and contextual effects of the different modes of symbolization.
  • Lehtinen, Vilma (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Contemporary social scientists describe the current societal circumstances as the late modern era, which is characterized by an abundance of both options and uncertainties. Theorists sometimes associate these characteristics with the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Some argue that computer-mediated, networked interaction reinforces the fragmented conditions of late modernity. Others emphasize ICTs as the ultimate opportunity to participate in global networks of interaction. To contribute to the discussion on how the development of ICTs and the conditions of late modernity are intertwined, the discussion in this dissertation presumes that online interaction provides a way to create meaningfulness and continuity in late modern life. The context of the research is the phenomenon of social network sites (SNSs): the vastly popular online services whose central feature is the public performance of connection. Building on the tenets of symbolic interactionism, I argue that the performance of connection creates shared understandings of individuals interpersonal relationships. This dissertation examines what kinds of performances of interpersonal relationships take place in online settings, what kind of challenges people attribute to these performances and how they attempt to solve those challenges. The observed practices and interpretations are then contrasted with the results of a literature review covering the conceptualizations of mediated community in academic research, to suggest future directions in investigation of the creation of shared understandings of interpersonal relationships in online settings. The research problem is assessed through the use of qualitative methods, which permit the analysis of the expressions that the participants themselves used to describe the novel opportunities and challenges that online interaction offers for the performance of interpersonal relationships. On the basis of the four individual studies included in this dissertation, I argue that 1) people engage in a variety of creative but repetitive practices of constructing shared understandings of interpersonal relationships in online settings, 2) SNSs create a new interpretational frame and impose new challenges for the creation of shared understandings, 3) people engage in collaborative efforts to resolve these challenges, and 4) extending the analysis to the intergroup level would broaden our understanding of social bonds in the networked settings of late modernity. These findings portray the performance of interpersonal relationships in online settings as creative and collaborative attempts to construct shared understandings, continuity, and coherence for transient social bonds.
  • Aarelaid-Tart, Aili (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    The purpose of this work is to use the concepts of human time and cultural trauma in a biographical study of the turning points in the recent history of Estonia. This research is primarily based on 148 in-depth biographical interviews conducted in Estonia and Sweden in 1995-2005, supplemented by excerpts from 5 collections and 10 individually published autobiographies. The main body of the thesis consists of six published and of two forthcoming separate refereed articles, summarised in the theoretical introduction, and Appendix of the full texts of three particular life stories. The topic of the first article is the generational composition and the collective action frames of anti-Soviet social mobilisation in Estonia in 1940-1990. The second article details the differentiation of the rites of passage and the calendar traditions as a strategy to adapt to the rapidly changed political realities, comparatively in Soviet Estonia and among the boat-refugees in Sweden. The third article investigates the life stories of the double-minded strategic generation of the Estonian-inclined Communists, who attempted to work within the Soviet system while professing to uphold the ideals of pre-war Estonia. The fourth article is concentrated on the problems of double mental standards as a coping strategy in a contradictory social reality. The fifth article implements the theory of cultural trauma for the social practice of singing nationalism in Estonia. The sixth article bridges the ideas of Russian theoreticians concerning cultural dialogue and the Western paradigm of cultural trauma, with examples from Estonian Russian life stories. The seventh article takes a biographical look at the logic of the unraveling of cultural trauma through four Soviet decades. The eighth article explores the re-shaping of citizen activities as a strategy of coping with the loss of the independent nation state, comparatively in Soviet Estonia and among Swedish Estonians. Cultural trauma is interpreted as the re-ordering of the society s value-normative constellation due to sharp, violent, usually political events. The first one under consideration was caused by the occupations of the Republic of Estonia by the Soviet army in 1940-45. After half a century of suppression the memories of these events resurfaced as different stories describing the long-term, often inter-generational strategies of coping with the value collapse. The second cultural trauma is revealed together with the collapse of the Soviet power and ideology in Estonia in 1991. According to empirical data, the following three trauma discourses have been reconstructed: - the forced adaptation to Soviet order of the homeland Estonians; - the difficulty of preserving Estonian identity in exile (Sweden); - the identity crisis of the Russian population of Estonia. Comparative analyses of these discourses have shown that opposing experiences and worldviews cause conflicting interpretations of the past. Different social and ethnic groups consider coping with cultural trauma as a matter of self-defence and create appropriate usable pasts to identify with. Keywords: human time, cultural trauma, frame analysis, discourse, life stories
  • Crentsil, Perpetual (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    This is a study of crises caused by HIV/AIDS among the Akan of Ghana. It creates more awareness about the epidemic and has indicated other possible paths for campaign strategies. The pandemic has many devastating consequences; yet new infections are recorded daily despite campaigns against the disease. The search for therapy often sees the use of multiple outlets, which expresses Ghana's pluralistic medical system based on Kleinman's sector analytical model involving Western medicine, self-therapy, and folk healing. But it also leaves individuals and kin members in financial quandary. The fieldwork for this study is mainly through participant observation lasting 13 months (February 2003 to March 2004) among the Akan; in addition, some archival materials have been used. The Akan people live in the coastal south and forest zone of Ghana. Every Akan village or town is made up of corporate lineages, and social organisation is based on matrilineal descent. The society is holistic because the matrilineages seek the welfare of all their members. Meyer Fortes, R. S. Rattray and others on the Akan noticed this encompassing nature in the lineage organisation; but they did not make it salient (or failed to notice it) during illness, efforts for healing, and the care of the sick member. HIV/AIDS is an illness which shows the encompassing nature of the Akan matrilineage. It also reveals many contradictions in the group, viz. stigmatisation, abandonment, and attitudes that do not express altruism in a group expected to be closely-knit based on members' belief that they are of the 'same blood'. The crises have been analyzed in the total social system because the disease creates breaches at various levels of social interaction. An analysis of crises in a group is not far-fetched; Victor Turner has shown the way among the Ndembu and has revealed the contraditions in the seemingly uneventful life in the group. This study has identified that in dealing with HIV/AIDS patients and crises about the disease we are dealing with 'holistic' patients. Their cases produce many changes in the matrilineal structure--many orphans are being created and the care of patients is increasingly falling on the elderly. HIV/AIDS also challenges Akan cosmology because, for example, an AIDS death in local notions is a 'bad' demise which fails to produce ancestors who reproduce the society through reincarnation. Campaigns could emphasize this notion. The study begins with a description of the holistic nature of Akan matriliny, and the patients have been described as 'holistic' because their crises affect other people in the holistic society. Chapter 2 discusses the importance of ancestors as the starting points for social order who are constantly revered (in rites invoving the chief, Chapter 4). Chapter 3 focuses on funerals as an important social performance for the welfare of the dead and the living. Chapter 5 concentrates on HIV/AIDS as an illness threat marked by dominant discourses such as poverty, sexuality, migration, and condom use. Chapter 6 analyzes the attempts for therapy, and traditional healers' claims to have a cure. The efforts for therapy continues with spiritual church healing in Chapter 7, and chapter 8 is devoted to care of the patients and its inherent crises. Chapter 9 analyzes the effects of HIV/AIDS afflictions and AIDS deaths on the matrilineal group and in society. The study ends with a short part, devoted to Recommendations based on the findings in this investigation.
  • Kontinen, Juha (Helsingin yliopisto, 2004)
  • Masso, Iivi Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    Democratic Legitimacy and the Politics of Rights is a research in normative political theory, based on comparative analysis of contemporary democratic theories, classified roughly as conventional liberal, deliberative democratic and radical democratic. Its focus is on the conceptual relationship between alternative sources of democratic legitimacy: democratic inclusion and liberal rights. The relationship between rights and democracy is studied through the following questions: are rights to be seen as external constraints to democracy or as objects of democratic decision making processes? Are individual rights threatened by public participation in politics; do constitutionally protected rights limit the inclusiveness of democratic processes? Are liberal values such as individuality, autonomy and liberty; and democratic values such as equality, inclusion and popular sovereignty mutually conflictual or supportive? Analyzing feminist critique of liberal discourse, the dissertation also raises the question about Enlightenment ideals in current political debates: are the universal norms of liberal democracy inherently dependent on the rationalist grand narratives of modernity and incompatible with the ideal of diversity? Part I of the thesis introduces the sources of democratic legitimacy as presented in the alternative democratic models. Part II analyses how the relationship between rights and democracy is theorized in them. Part III contains arguments by feminists and radical democrats against the tenets of universalist liberal democratic models and responds to that critique by partly endorsing, partly rejecting it. The central argument promoted in the thesis is that while the deconstruction of modern rationalism indicates that rights are political constructions as opposed to externally given moral constraints to politics, this insight does not delegitimize the politics of universal rights as an inherent part of democratic institutions. The research indicates that democracy and universal individual rights are mutually interdependent rather than oppositional; and that democracy is more dependent on an unconditional protection of universal individual rights when it is conceived as inclusive, participatory and plural; as opposed to robust majoritarian rule. The central concepts are: liberalism, democracy, legitimacy, deliberation, inclusion, equality, diversity, conflict, public sphere, rights, individualism, universalism and contextuality. The authors discussed are e.g. John Rawls, Jürgen Habermas, Seyla Benhabib, Iris Young, Chantal Mouffe and Stephen Holmes. The research focuses on contemporary political theory, but the more classical work of John S. Mill, Benjamin Constant, Isaiah Berlin and Hannah Arendt is also included.
  • Lehmijoki, Ulla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2003)
  • Nguyen, Lien (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    This thesis is grounded on four articles. Article I generally examines the factors affecting dental service utilization. Article II studies the factors associated with sector-specific utilization among young adults entitled to age-based subsidized dental care. Article III explores the determinants of dental ill-health as measured by the occurrence of caries and the relationship between dental ill-health and dental care use. Article IV measures and explains income-related inequality in utilization. Data employed were from the 1996 Finnish Health Care Survey (I, II, IV) and the 1997 follow-up study included in the longitudinal study of the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort (III). Utilization is considered as a multi-stage decision-making process and measured as the number of visits to the dentist. Modified count data models and concentration and horizontal equity indices were applied. Dentist s recall appeared very efficient at stimulating individuals to seek care. Dental pain, recall, and the low number of missing teeth positively affected utilization. Public subvention for dental care did not seem to statistically increase utilization. Among young adults, a perception of insufficient public service availability and recall were positively associated with the choice of a private dentist, whereas income and dentist density were positively associated with the number of visits to private dentists. Among cohort females, factors increasing caries were body mass index and intake of alcohol, sugar, and soft drinks and those reducing caries were birth weight and adolescent school achievement. Among cohort males, caries was positively related to the metropolitan residence and negatively related to healthy diet and education. Smoking increased caries, whereas regular teeth brushing, regular dental attendance and dental care use decreased caries. We found equity in young adults utilization but pro-rich inequity in the total number of visits to all dentists and in the probability of visiting a dentist for the whole sample. We observed inequity in the total number of visits to the dentist and in the probability of visiting a dentist, being pro-poor for public care but pro-rich for private care. The findings suggest that to enhance equal access to and use of dental care across population and income groups, attention should focus on supply factors and incentives to encourage people to contact dentists more often. Lowering co-payments and service fees and improving public availability would likely increase service use in both sectors. To attain favorable oral health, appropriate policies aimed at improving dental health education and reducing the detrimental effects of common risk factors on dental health should be strengthened. Providing equal access with respect to need for all people ought to take account of the segmentation of the service system, with its two parallel delivery systems and different supplier incentives to patients and dentists.
  • Stevanovic, Melisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    This dissertation describes people s orientations to "deontic rights" -that is, their rights to determine actions. Through analyses of video-recorded church workplace meetings between pastors and cantors as data, and conversation analysis as a theoretical and methodological framework, the study examines how participants in interaction may establish their own and each other s deontic rights in the turn-by-turn sequential unfolding of interaction. The dissertation consists of six original articles and an introduction, which introduces the central concepts of the study, provides an overview of its results, and discusses the ways in which the study contributes to the existing knowledge of social interaction. The study considers deontic rights from two different angles. First, it describes how participants in interaction may claim or mitigate their claims of deontic rights by virtue of their overt interactional conduct: Article 1 discusses the participants ways of dealing with those claims of deontic rights that arise from their participation in an encounter, and Articles 2 4 consider how participants in joint decision making may establish and maintain the symmetrical distribution of deontic rights at different sequential loci. Second, the study describes the ways in which participants may deploy their deontic rights as interactional resources, as they design their communicative actions so as to be recognizable as such. The central argument presented in Articles 5 and 6 is that, instead of always needing to claim their deontic rights (deontic stance), participants may also trust in their co-participants being aware of, and taking into account, these rights (deontic status). It is thus the complementarity and relative weight of deontic stances and deontic statuses that constitutes a fundamental mechanism by which people may engage in tough power negotiations without yet causing any overt face threats to their mutual solidarity. The study highlights the significance of face-to-face interaction as a locus of social order and seeks to enhance our understanding of the linkages between the local and wider aspects of social organization that pertain to people s interactional conduct.
  • Laitinen, Irmeli (Helsingfors universitet, 2008)
    Traditionally feminist scholars envisaged that feminist research should be ‘on, by and for women’. The Women and Depression Project’s focus is ‘on’ depressed women but includes implicitly the part men and the patriarchal welfare state play in their depression; ‘written’ ‘by’ depressed women who are the subjects and active participants and whose depressed voices need to be heard and ‘for’ depressed women who have the potential to use their work in groups to deal effectively with their personal feelings and social situations. The study was designed to engage depressed women in feminist therapeutic action research and to develop professionally guided self-help groups in a 10 session programme in the statutory and non-statutory sectors in Finland. I had a dual role as a psychotherapist and feminist researcher. This dual role provided two foci: to present (as a feminist researcher) the authentic voices of depressed women in these groups and to demonstrate (as a psychotherapist) how the group process had an effect on these women’s lives. Two questions guided the research process: Is it possible for depressed women who have been dealt with as objects of treatment to become active subjects in their own healing? How do Finnish women experience depression? Embedded in the WDP were multiple ways of gathering research from members of the group as well as therapeutic tools with elements of self-help, consciousness raising and group psychotherapy. While the project had a dual focus, the findings reveal that women became empowered to understand themselves and believe in their potential as social individuals through their participation in the WDP groups. In the long term, they altered their feelings and relationships to themselves and their environment as well as key embodied activities. Additionally, the findings also suggest that depression may be a consequence of invisible gendered tensions in a women friendly welfare state and reveal a type of ‘welfare depression’. According to Allardt's welfare typology, these women were somewhat secure in their "welfare having" (i.e. physical health), but lacked in their "being" (i.e. need for emotional well-being) and "loving" (i.e. wanting better personal relationships). If a new understanding of women and depression is to develop, it must explicitly include ideas on how depression is shaped at the public and private interface as well as how distress and well-being may have cultural as well as gendered variations. For depressed women, voicing long-silenced experiences can play a crucial part in their empowerment and healing. The type of women friendly care practices generated by professionally led self-help groups enabled this process to begin at least for depressed women in Finland.
  • Einiö, Elina K (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    With growing pressure from an ageing population on social and health-care expenditure, it is of policy importance to analyze the reasons for admission to long-term institutional care at older ages. Although there is increasing evidence that cognitive and functional disabilities are not the only major risk factors, and that the social situation and the lack of family members play an important role in explaining admissions, further research is needed. There is a lack of evidence on the effects of a spouse’s death, and previous findings on how income is associated with institutional care are inconsistent, and results on poor housing are seldom available. Furthermore, there is little systematic evidence showing how chronic medical conditions other than dementia affect the risk of admission in the general older population. This study used population-based register data on Finnish older adults aged 65 and over (n=280,722) to analyse individual-level determinants of admission to long-term institutional care from January 1998 to September 2003. The main focus was on how chronic medical conditions, household income and other socio-economic factors, living with a spouse, and the death of a spouse were associated with admissions. The results of the study indicated that dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, depressive symptoms, other mental-health problems, hip fracture, and diabetes were strongly associated with an increased risk of admission when socio-demographic confounders and co-morbid conditions were controlled for. It was also shown that older men and women in the lowest household-income quintile group were more likely to be admitted to institutional care than those in the highest group, when age, first language, and area characteristics were accounted for. Controlling further for living arrangements and other socio-economic and chronic medical conditions markedly reduced these income differences in admission, but they still remained significant. Poorly equipped housing and being a renter were associated with an increased risk of admission, and the possession of a car and living in a detached house with a decreased risk in these same multivariate models. Having a lift in an apartment house was not associated with admission. The results further showed that the lower risk of admission among those living with a spouse compared to those living alone or with others was only partly attributable to and mediated through favorable socio-economic, housing and medical conditions. Moreover, this study was the first to establish that the death of a spouse strongly increases the risk of admission, the excess risk being highest during the first month following the death and decreasing over time in both genders. The findings in this study imply that the future need for institutional care will depend not only on the increasing numbers of older people but also on the development of the prevalence and severity of chronic medical conditions associated with admission, and on older people’s income, housing conditions and access to informal care from their spouse.
  • Kalliovirta, Leena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    This thesis studies quantile residuals and uses different methodologies to develop test statistics that are applicable in evaluating linear and nonlinear time series models based on continuous distributions. Models based on mixtures of distributions are of special interest because it turns out that for those models traditional residuals, often referred to as Pearson's residuals, are not appropriate. As such models have become more and more popular in practice, especially with financial time series data there is a need for reliable diagnostic tools that can be used to evaluate them. The aim of the thesis is to show how such diagnostic tools can be obtained and used in model evaluation. The quantile residuals considered here are defined in such a way that, when the model is correctly specified and its parameters are consistently estimated, they are approximately independent with standard normal distribution. All the tests derived in the thesis are pure significance type tests and are theoretically sound in that they properly take the uncertainty caused by parameter estimation into account. -- In Chapter 2 a general framework based on the likelihood function and smooth functions of univariate quantile residuals is derived that can be used to obtain misspecification tests for various purposes. Three easy-to-use tests aimed at detecting non-normality, autocorrelation, and conditional heteroscedasticity in quantile residuals are formulated. It also turns out that these tests can be interpreted as Lagrange Multiplier or score tests so that they are asymptotically optimal against local alternatives. Chapter 3 extends the concept of quantile residuals to multivariate models. The framework of Chapter 2 is generalized and tests aimed at detecting non-normality, serial correlation, and conditional heteroscedasticity in multivariate quantile residuals are derived based on it. Score test interpretations are obtained for the serial correlation and conditional heteroscedasticity tests and in a rather restricted special case for the normality test. In Chapter 4 the tests are constructed using the empirical distribution function of quantile residuals. So-called Khmaladze s martingale transformation is applied in order to eliminate the uncertainty caused by parameter estimation. Various test statistics are considered so that critical bounds for histogram type plots as well as Quantile-Quantile and Probability-Probability type plots of quantile residuals are obtained. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 contain simulations and empirical examples which illustrate the finite sample size and power properties of the derived tests and also how the tests and related graphical tools based on residuals are applied in practice.
  • Jokela, Ulla (Diakonia-ammattikorkeakoulu, 2011)
    This study examines the diaconia work of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church from the standpoint of clients. The role of diaconia work has grown since the early 1990s recession, and since it established itself as one of the actors along with other social organizations. Previous studies have described the changing role of diaconal work, especially from the standpoint of diaconia workers and co-operators. This research goes back to examine, beyond the activities of the diaconia work of everyday practices, its relations of ruling which are determining practices. The theoretical and methodological framework rises from the thinking of Dorothy E. Smith, the creator of institutional ethnography. Its origins are in feminism, Marxism, phenomenology, etnomethodology, and symbolic interactionism. However, it does not represent any school. Unlike the objectivity-based traditional sociology, institutional ethnography has its starting point in everyday life, and people s subjective experience of it. Everyday life is just a starting point, and is used to examine everyday life s experiences of hidden relations of ruling, linking people and organizations. The level of generalization is just on the relations of ruling. The research task is to examine those meanings of diaconia work which are embedded in its clients experiences. The research task is investigated with two questions: how diaconia work among its clients takes shape and what kinds of relations of ruling exist in diaconia work. The meanings of diaconia work come through an examination of the relations of ruling, which create new forms of diaconal work compared with previous studies. For the study, two kinds of data were collected: a questionnaire and ethnographic fieldwork. The first data set was collected from diaconal workers using the questionnaire. It gives background information of the diaconia work process from the standpoint of the clients. In the ethnographic study there were two phases. The first ethnographic material was collected from one local parish by observing, interviewing clients and diaconal workers and gathering documents. The number of observations was 36 customer appointments, and 29 interviews. The second ethnographic material was included as a part of the analysis, in which ruling relations in people s experiences were collected from the transcribed data. Close reading and narrative analysis are used as analysing methods. The analysis has three phases. First, the experiences are identified with close reading; the following step is to select some of the institutional processes that are shaping those experiences and are relevant for the research. At the third stage, those processes are investigated in order to describe analytically how they determine people s experience. The analysis produces another narrative about diaconia work, which provides tools for examining the diaconal work from a new perspective. Through the analysis it is possible to see diaconia as an exchange ratio, in which the exchange takes place between a client and a diaconia worker, but also more broadly with other actors, such as social workers, shop clerks, or with other parishioners. The exchange ratio is examined from the perspective of power which is embedded in the client s experiences. The analysis reveals that the most important relations of ruling are humiliation and randomness in the exchange ratio of diaconia work; valuating spirituality above the bodily being; and replacing official social work. The results give a map about the relations of ruling of diaconia work which gives tools to look at diaconia work s meanings to the clients. The hidden element of humiliation in the exchange ratio breaks the current picture of diaconia work. The ethos of the holistic encounters and empathic practices are shown to be of another kind when spirituality is preferred to the bodily being. Nevertheless, diaconia appears to be a place for a respectful encounter, especially in situations where the public sector s actors are retreating on liability or clients are in a life crisis. The collapse of the welfare state structures imposes on diaconia work tasks that have not previously belonged to it. At the local level, clients receive partners from diaconia workers in order to advocate them in the welfare system. Actions to influence the wider societal structures are not reached because of lacking resources. An awareness of the oppressive practices of diaconia work and their critical reviewing are the keys to the development of diaconia work, since there are such practices even in holistic and respectful diaconia work. While the research raises new information for the development of diaconia work, it also opens up new aspects for developing other kinds of social work by emphasizing the importance of taking people s experiences seriously. Keywords: diaconia work, institutional ethnography, Dorothy E. Smith, experience, customer, relations of ruling.
  • Rahikka, Anne (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    The development of information and communication technology has spread to social and health care organisations, which now offer interactive online services. The subject of this study is the work of social and health care professionals who offer their services online. In this study these online services are given the term online support services, which constitute a systematic method to help citizens cope in their everyday life. The point of view in this study comes from the narratives of the professionals in social and health care organisations. The study will answer to following research questions: How are the online services defined in the professionals narratives? How is the computer-mediated communication between the professionals and the customers structured according to the narratives? The research material consists of 18 interviews conducted through a combination of active and theme interview methodology and then analysed by shape and thematic analysis. The metaphors and distinctions used by the professionals highlight the special features of the environment and define the computer-mediated communication between the professionals and the customers. In this study the computer-mediated communication is conceptualized as consisting of three dimensions: textuality, process and socio-cultural factors. The computer-mediated communication is studied from the perspective of dialogue, especially using the structural concepts of Mihail Bahtin. According to the professionals narratives, online support services are independent of time and place, based on anonymity and guide the customers toward more personalized face to face services. The results of the study show tension in computer-mediated communication, because the professionals must balance between expert-like and remote communication on the one hand, and personal and deeply encountering communication on the other. In online services there exist both open and closed dialogue, which serve the customers in different types of situations. Professionals are able to generate open dialogue by using online text that meets the customers at their point of need and by mastering the elements of the dialogical process. The difficulties of mastering the communication and the ambiguity of messages direct the communication towards monologue. In the network groups, the professionals seek with their dialogic interventions to guide the communication from regressive narratives to progressive narratives, which are able to open up new perspectives. In the network groups the professionals interventions can be divided into either cognitive or emotional interventions. The study shows that socio-cultural factors produce polyphony both in the organisations inner and external communication. The polyphony challenges the professionals ability to communicate online and the organisations as they develop their services. Keywords: social and health care organisations, non-governmental organisation, online support organisations, computer-mediated communication, dialogue
  • Hellsten, Alex (Helsingin yliopisto, 2003)
  • Konttinen, Hanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    In post-industrialised societies, food is more plentiful, accessible and palatable than ever before and technological development has reduced the need for physical activity. Consequently, the prevalence of obesity is increasing, which is problematic as obesity is related to a number of diseases. Various psychological and social factors have an important influence on dietary habits and the development of obesity in the current food-rich and sedentary environments. The present study concentrates on the associations of emotional and cognitive factors with dietary intake and obesity as well as on the role these factors play in socioeconomic disparities in diet. Many people cognitively restrict their food intake to prevent weight gain or to lose weight, but research on whether restrained eating is a useful weight control strategy has produced conflicting findings. With respect to emotional factors, the evidence is accumulating that depressive symptoms are related to less healthy dietary intake and obesity, but the mechanisms explaining these associations remain unclear. Furthermore, it is not fully understood why socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals tend to have unhealthier dietary habits and the motives underlying food choices (e.g., price and health) could be relevant in this respect. The specific aims of the study were to examine 1) whether obesity status and dieting history moderate the associations of restrained eating with overeating tendencies, self-control and obesity indicators; 2) whether the associations of depressive symptoms with unhealthier dietary intake and obesity are attributable to a tendency for emotional eating and a low level of physical activity self-efficacy; and 3) whether the absolute or relative importance of food choice motives (health, pleasure, convenience, price, familiarity and ethicality) contribute to the socioeconomic disparities in dietary habits. The study was based on a large population-based sample of Finnish adults: the participants were men (N=2325) and women (N=2699) aged 25-74 who took part in the DILGOM (Dietary, Lifestyle and Genetic Determinants of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome) sub-study of the National FINRISK Study 2007. The participants weight, height, waist circumference and body fat percentage were measured in a health examination. Psychological eating styles (the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire-R18), food choice motives (a shortened version of the Food Choice Questionnaire), depressive symptoms (the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale) and self-control (the Brief Self-Control Scale) were measured with pre-existing questionnaires. A validated food frequency questionnaire was used to assess the average consumption of sweet and non-sweet energy-dense foods and vegetables/fruit. Self-reported total years of education and gross household income were used as indicators of socioeconomic position. The results indicated that 1) restrained eating was related to a lower body mass index, waist circumference, emotional eating and uncontrolled eating, and to a higher self-control in obese participants and current/past dieters. In contrast, the associations were the opposite in normal weight individuals and those who had never dieted. Thus, restrained eating may be related to better weight control among obese individuals and those with dieting experiences, while among others it may function as an indicator of problems with eating and an attempt to solve them. 2) Emotional eating and depressive symptoms were both related to less healthy dietary intake, and the greater consumption of energy-dense sweet foods among participants with elevated depressive symptoms was attributable to the susceptibility for emotional eating. In addition, emotional eating and physical activity self-efficacy were both important in explaining the positive association between depressive symptoms and obesity. 3) The lower vegetable/fruit intake and higher energy-dense food intake among individuals with a low socioeconomic position were partly explained by the higher priority they placed on price and familiarity and the lower priority they gave to health motives in their daily food choices. In conclusion, although policy interventions to change the obesogenic nature of the current environment are definitely needed, knowledge of the factors that hinder or facilitate people s ability to cope with the food-rich environment is also necessary. This study implies that more emphasis should be placed on various psychological and social factors in weight control programmes and interventions.
  • Akdogan, Itir (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    This research analyses how different groups of people perceive the role of new information and communication technologies (ICT) in social change, and how they make sense out of these claimed changes in society. There are claims for social change in many areas. This research frames its analysis in three areas of social change namely the local-global relation; politics and the political, and ICT. The study first looks at the theoretical discussions on how different perspectives conceptualize social change in these areas. The theoretical framework then looks at the three dimensions that emerge from the interaction of these three areas; institutional politics, activism, and identity. There are different frameworks for making sense of social change. Lacanian fantasy is one that allows deeper analysis of perceptions and fluidity between the various perceptions. As all fantasies are frustrated, the concept also allows a critical analysis. The theoretical framework finally also looks at what fantasies the theoretical discussions create, regarding social change in the above three areas and dimensions. At the empirical level, the research focuses on the perceptions of the role of ICT in the changing institutional politics, activism, and identity in Istanbul from the local-global relation, politics and the political, and ICT perspectives. The research then discusses what fantasies come out of these perceptions. The research uses the grounded theory methodology. This is a methodology that allows researchers to discover new concepts that are not initially included in the theoretical framework so that they can extend and develop their theoretical frameworks. Once researchers find a new concept, they first need to theorize it by going back to the theoretical level, and analyse the empirical data deeper after that theorization. Fantasy is the new concept that was grounded in the empirical data of this research. That is how the concept was first theorized and used for the deeper analysis of the empirical data. The study collected the empirical data from 57 in-depth interviews with institutional politicians, activists, and ordinary citizens that each primarily fed one dimension of the study. The research also used secondary data for the chapter of the contextual background on Istanbul and Turkey. The results of the analysis suggest that all three groups in Istanbul create fantasies in their perception of the role of ICT in social change. The research concludes that institutional politicians, activists, and ordinary citizens all create fantasies of political power, technological power, and harmony. The research also concludes that among the different groups there are variations and contradictions in the fantasies that all are frustrated by several local challenges, especially the political culture.
  • Huotilainen, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2005)
  • Leinonen, Taina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Socioeconomic factors are major predictors of disability retirement. Socioeconomic position and other socio-demographic factors also shape the retirement process, thereby modifying health outcomes after the transition. This study focuses on the socioeconomic differences in disability retirement and the influences of socio-demographic factors on mental health and mortality in relation to the transition. The study was based mainly on longitudinal register data on a representative sample of the Finnish population, but also included survey data on a municipal employee cohort linked to register data. Cox proportional hazard and linear regression models were used in the analyses. Low education and occupational social class were more strongly associated with disability retirement than a low level of income. Part of the effect of each of these three socioeconomic factors was explained by or mediated through the other two. Education, social class and income therefore have both independent and interdependent pathways to disability retirement. Social-class differences were particularly large in retirement due to musculoskeletal diseases. The association between social class and disability retirement was mediated largely through physical working conditions and partly also through job control. The contribution of health behaviours to the association was modest. Improvements in working conditions among those in lower social classes could reduce socioeconomic differences as well as the overall incidence of disability retirement in the population. Depressive morbidity measured via purchases of antidepressant medication decreased after disability retirement, following a pre-retirement increase. Such changes were more pronounced in retirement due to mental disorders, particularly depression. Compared to the general population, those who retired due to depression and other mental disorders had a high mortality risk, particularly from unnatural and alcohol-related causes. Socioeconomic position and family ties had only limited protective influence on mental ill-health and mortality after disability retirement. Among young adults disability retirement was particularly strongly associated with prolonged mental-health problems and a high risk of mortality, especially from unnatural causes. Particular attention should therefore be paid to younger adults in terms of mental ill health, work disability and other social problems.