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  • Tarkiainen, Lasse (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Disparity in longevity by income level has been reported in numerous studies. However, few studies have focused on the possible changes over time in the association between income and mortality. The main aim in this thesis was to describe mortality trends in Finland by income quintiles, and to investigate the age- and cause-of-death structure of any changes among these groups in 1988-2012. A further aim was to investigate the income-mortality association independently of the individual socio-demographic factors that are present in childhood and adulthood, and how this association has changed over time in all-cause and cause-specific mortality. The data originated from administrative registers containing individual-level annual information on socio-demographic characteristics linked to cause-specific mortality records in 1971-2012, and also included data linking these registers to 1950 census. Disparities in mortality among those aged over 35 were analysed by calculating life expectancies and their decomposition, and fitting survival regression models to the data. Life expectancy among the highest four income quintiles increased substantially in 1988-2007, but stagnation among men and minor increase among women caused the disparity with other quintiles to increase markedly in the lowest quintile. Mortality relative to the highest quintile among 35-64-year-olds increased between 1988-91 and 2004-07 in all other quintiles even following adjustment for individual socio-demographic characteristics including education, occupation, economic activity, and living alone. Changes in the socio-demographic composition of the income quintiles did not explain the increasing or stagnating mortality level in the lowest quintile among men and women. The disparity in mortality by income in 1971-2007 also persisted following adjustment for observed and unobserved factors of childhood family background shared by siblings. The disparity in mortality remained even when adult socio-demographic factors were controlled for. This observation was consistent over cause-of-death groups. Alcohol-related causes of death were the main drivers of the adverse mortality trend in the lowest quintile because of substantial rise in mortality to these causes among those with low income. Disparities in cancer mortality and ischaemic heart diseases among men also widened the gap in life expectancy. Socio-demographic characteristics explained 50-60 per cent of the excess alcohol-related mortality in the lowest quintile among men. Among women the proportion explained by these factors declined over the study period, from roughly 70 to 30 per cent. The change in the cause-of-death composition of the disparity in mortality towards alcohol-related causes emphasizes addressing mental and behavioural problems such as alcohol abuse in tackling increasing disparity in mortality.
  • Godenhjelm, Sebastian (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Over the past few decades, contemporary public policy and governance systems have been transformed in response to both local and supra-national societal problems and demands. Clear-cut means of tackling these problems and demands are rare. Public policy problems seldom fall neatly within specific jurisdictions or agencies. The state has become increasingly dependent on a wide range of policies and arrangements that produce public services, provide rapid results and facilitate timely interventions. As a response, the choice of governance mechanisms and organizational forms that enable collaborative, dynamic and flexible arrangements in the implementation of public policy becomes highly relevant. This study analyses the increasing use of temporary project organisations as new governance mechanisms in contemporary policy implementation and the prospects for action that this entails. The main argument is that project organisations could yield significant benefits and can play a vital role as horizontal as well as vertical interlinking mechanisms between various administrative levels. They could also include challenges that have not yet been fully understood. The overarching aim of the study is to conceptualise and understand the benefits and challenges related to the increasing number of temporary governance mechanisms in the form of project organisations in the public sector context. The study analyses the potential consequences and advantages of public sector projectification in four research articles and this summary article, focusing on how projectification is driven forward, as well as what the consequences of projectification are in the European Union (EU) context and the public sector in general. It considers the long-term effects of project organisations and the extent to which the added value they produce can be utilized. Who are the beneficial social partners and what types of collaborative procedures and actions are needed to achieve innovation in EU structural fund projects? The multifaceted and ambiguous nature of public sector project research, the uniqueness associated with the various actor objectives, interests and participatory procedures regarding projects, as well as their management requires a broad theoretical view and a variety of methods. Three interrelated strands of research in this respect are particularly relevant: the New Public Management (NPM) discourse, theories of Governance, and project management ideals and Governance of Projects (GoP). They represent a mixture of old and new, which is necessary in order to understand the functioning of projects and projectification as well as their embeddedness in the public sector environment. The study follows an empirically informed interpretive approach, which emphasises the intentionality of actions, practices, and social life. It uses a mixed-methods approach and advocates multi-perspectivism and paradigm interplay. It also combines different interpretations of the existing governance frameworks and public sector projects, thus acknowledging that alternative views might exist. The methods used in the individual articles represent metaevaluation, qualitative content analysis, logistic regression analysis and social network analysis (SNA). The findings highlight the lack of conceptualizations concerning the relationship between temporary and permanent structures, and suggest that an increasing temporality in public decision-making may challenge fundamental administrative values such as transparency and democratic accountability. The findings question the often over-emphasised value of using projects as opposed to other more permanent mechanisms in the public sector environment and suggest that there is a potential mismatch between the operational logic of projects and the prevailing project and program evaluation system in the public sector. Projects can act as hubs where valuable information is produced, and project stakeholder networks and various collaborative efforts can play a role in predicting project innovations. There is, however, an overly optimistic view of collaborative efforts in achieving project innovations, calling collaboration in projects into question as a direct remedy for a lack of innovation. The study concludes that an increasing use of project organisations in the public sector may have significant consequences, as well as showing that the expected advantages of project organisations are related to the rationalistic ideals, but also that temporality as such poses challenges to permanent administrative structures. Although projects might be superior to permanent structures in producing quick outputs, too much focus on the rational logic of project organisations means that their added value remains underutilized in a public sector context. The study contributes to a theoretical understanding of projectification, what the key drivers of projectification are, as well as specific public sector features that need to be accounted for in a projectified public sector. The study concludes that contextually sensitive interlinking mechanisms between temporary and permanent organizations are vital in explaining the outcome of temporary organizations in a politico-administrative context.
  • Anyan, James (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This study explores how opportunities for higher education (HE) are distributed in Ghana's public universities to students; and particularly, how those from the disadvantaged sections of the Ghanaian society fare in that regard. It was approached as a multi-level (integrating elements of micro, meso and macro) and multi-perspective dual transformative case study. Drawing mainly upon data collected from semi-structured interviews with students, graduates, university officials and policy-makers, as well as secondary data archived by the relevant institutions; it examines the processes and patterns in the distribution of admission slots to students. It engages with the tensions and dilemmas confronting the universities in such allocations, and debates same, in the context of procedural justice and meritocracy on the one hand, and distributive justice and affirmative action on the other. The interactions and intersections of socio-economic and other significant variables parental education, family income, geographical location, gender and disability are discussed, principally, in the framework of effectively maintained inequality (EMI), to understand the factors influencing the patterns of distribution observed. The data were thematically analysed using both sensitising concepts from the literature review, the conceptual frameworks as well as the indigenous concepts that emerged from the data. The findings indicate that the distribution of HE seats in the two public universities selected for the study is highly inequitable with students who graduated from the few urban-based and elite upper secondary schools overrepresented while graduates from the majority rural-based and resource-poor schools are underrepresented. Although there was unanimity among the different groups of participants about the existence and persistence of the problem, their approaches to dealing with the problem proved dichotomous. While students from the rural schools, for instance, exposed their status frustration and assumed a reformist stance on the issue of remodelling the current grade-based admission system to one cognisant of the difficult circumstances under which rural students pursue their upper secondary education, their counterparts from the elite schools essentially defended the maintenance of the status quo. The majority of female participants, contrary to the views of policy-makers, strongly objected to affirmative action for the admission of females; arguing that the policy reinforces the notion that they are inferior to their male counterparts. The results further reveal a multi-layered social stratification in access to, and equity in HE in Ghana. Almost all the students and graduates who were admitted into the universities on affirmative action basis identified themselves as rural people from low-income families, with little or no parental education, and poor parental occupations. Such students, though in dire financial straits, were contrary to expectations, found to be very resilient and highly motivated to complete their studies; posting excellent academic performance. Students with disabilities were also found to be internally excluded, facing life and academic threatening challenges, whereas female students reported entrenched socio-cultural norms impeding the education and aspirations of women in the Ghanaian society. Against these backdrops, the study calls for a rethink of the current overly meritocratic admission procedures in Ghana's public universities that do harm to access and equity for the majority rural students. It further recommends financial support from government to support the affirmative action initiatives of the public universities; an improvement in the conditions of students with disability, and multi-sectoral interventions to ameliorate the barriers impeding the education of females. The successful completion of HE holding all things constant by these disadvantaged groups, with its attendant better educated citizenry, enhanced civic consciousness, empowerment and participation, in addition to other socio-economic benefits, make such investments worthwhile. Keywords: distributive justice, procedural justice, affirmative action, gender, disability, stratification.
  • Fornaro, Paolo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    In the last couple of decades, advances in information technology have led to a dramatic increase in the availability of economic data. This doctoral dissertation consists of a collection of articles aimed at the study of various econometric methodologies that allow for the use of large datasets in macroeconomic applications. Chapters 2 and 5 present large dimensional models to nowcast and forecast macroeconomic variables of interests, such as Finnish real output and the binary recession indicator. In particular, in Chapter 2 I use microeconomic data to create timely estimates of the aggregate output indicator of the Finnish economy. In Chapter 5, I use a large dimensional probit model to compute short and long-term forecasts of the United States recession indicator. Chapters 3 and 4 consist of studies related to Finnish enteprises. Specifically, in Chapter 3 I examine the employment behavior of small and large Finnish firms and analyze how their job creation and cyclicality has differed over the last 16 years. In Chapter 4, I analyze the effect of shocks to large Finnish corporations onto the aggregate business cycle, finding that the shocks to a small number of companies are able to explain a substantial share of the fluctuations in aggregate output.
  • Mikeshin, Igor (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This thesis is the study of a rehabilitation ministry for the addicted people called Good Samaritan, run by the Russian Baptist Church. The study scrutinizes a two-dimensional process of Christian Rehabilitation. This process consists of two aspects: bodily detoxication through prolonged isolation, and radical moral transformation through conversion to Christianity. This twofold process corresponds to the twofold nature of substance use dependence: biochemical and psychological. The narrative of conversion is constructed upon the literalist reading of the particular translation of Scripture Russian Synodal Bible impacted by the 16th (Martin Luther) and 17th century (Jacobus Arminius and the Remonstrants) Protestant dogmatics and Russian historical and sociocultural context. The narrative of rehabilitation is also impacted by the street, junkie, and prison experience of the rehabilitants and their elders, who hold the authority to interpret Scripture. My research contributes to the study of Russian Evangelical Christianity and substance use dependence, both of which are unique and substantially influenced by contemporary Russian historical, sociocultural, political, economic, and linguistic context. At the same time, both Russian Evangelicalism and substance abuse share global features of Evangelical Christianity and drug epidemics. My analysis is based on the ethnographic fieldwork conducted from January 2014 to January 2015 in St. Petersburg and Leningradskaia oblast', Russia. The participant observation included prolonged stays in three rehab facilities, guest and missionary visits, church services, seminars, festivities, and extensive study of Protestant Christianity and substance abuse.
  • Hart, Linda (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This study is a sociological analysis of the establishment and recognition of family relations in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. How are close personal relations between adult couples and children and their parents recognised in the case law of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)? What kinds of combinations of biological, legal, social and gendered personal relations are regarded as family life in legal disputes between individual applicants and Member States of the Council of Europe? Following Nicola Lacey, the analysis develops a notion of relational subjects framed by perspectives from feminist legal theory, relational sociology and contemporary debates on the law and politics of family formation. It also offers a sociological reading of relevant ECHR case law. Relevant judgements from 1979 2014 act as primary data, supported by relevant inadmissibility decisions and reports from 1960 onwards (90 cases in total). In the data, a historical shift from emphasising status (married/unmarried, male/female) towards identity (sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic origins, genealogy) in recent case law may be identified. The notion of individual rights holders is examined from a relational perspective inspired by sociological and anthropological theory and gender studies in law, emphasising the importance of life-sustaining relations of care and dependency in the spirit of feminist relational (legal and political) theory that do not always follow preconceived structures of kinship recognition. Furthermore, it is enquired whether relations between legal subjects are more fruitfully viewed as transactional or transcendental from the point of view of two differing academic schools in the field of relational sociology, one among many other general theories on the constitution of society. It is argued that a process of divergence between alliance (marriage, civil unions, cohabitation) and filiation (legally recognised parent-child relations) has been intensified with the emergence of same-sex marriage and civil unions in the European legal arena in recent years. Politically and legally, alliance is simpler to transform into a gender-neutral legal relation than filiation. Both gender and physical sex, as social and biologico-legal dimensions of the dichotomy of masculine/feminine, provide critical perspectives to the establishment of relations of filiation. It is argued that from a human rights perspective, a gender-sensitive approach is required in relation to questions of corporeal maternity and paternity, as complex issues such as access to knowledge of one s genetic origins and the inalienability of the human body in processes of assisted reproduction crop up in many contexts of which ECHR case law is just one arena.
  • Tiilikainen, Elisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The research explores loneliness in old age from a sociological life course perspective. Acknowledging that individual experiences are always embedded in not just the present everyday life but also the past life events and the wider social surroundings in which people are linked during their course of life. The research answers to questions such as: what kind of social pathways, life situations and life phases can be found behind loneliness in older age and how does loneliness change during one's life course. Using a qualitative longitudinal approach the research aims to grasp the temporal nature of loneliness and its individual meanings in relation to different transitions, events and social relations during the life course. The research data builds on one to three interviews with ten older persons during a five year period. The interviewees have participated in a ten year cohort study Good Ageing in Lahti Region (GOAL) conducted in southern Finland. The survey data is also used when looking at changes in loneliness. Qualitative longitudinal research has been scarcely used among older people, there for the research offers new methodological findings and implications. In the analysis loneliness is described through lost and unfulfilled social roles and weakening social convoy. The first involves life changes and situations such as widowhood, being without a partner, childlessness and grandchildlessness and retirement, due to which loneliness has been present in the lives of the interviewees. The weakening social convey has meant lack of a good friend, experiences of a foreign and strange culture and friction with children or one's own parents. Due to the weakening social convoy hopes toward social relationships have been unfulfilled and the possibilities of social inclusion have declined. Also trajectories of childhood experiences such as war time or loss of one's own mother were connected to loneliness. Some of them have meant loneliness that has been present nearly for a lifetime but for others these trajectories have had an impact on loneliness only in old age. Both in the interviews and survey data loneliness appears as a life situational or as a lifelong experience. Only for a minority of the research participants loneliness has been present for a long time. For others loneliness has been a new experience encountered in old age, but for most loneliness has fluctuated during the life course. It has been present in different life situations and life phases. Also during the research period there has been changes both ways: loneliness has both decreased and increased. The research reveals the dynamic nature of loneliness and the different ways in which loneliness is rooted in the individual life stories and life courses of older people. Even though the interviewees have reported being lonely often or all the time, it has not meant they had been experiencing continuous loneliness in their everyday life. Meaningful relationships have also been present. Throughout the research loneliness appears as a processual and relational experience which offers more understanding on the reasons behind loneliness and interventions to reduce it. Loneliness is always experienced in relation to something: personal relationships and social bonds, communities or more widely to the surrounding society. Hence loneliness is not only connected to relationships but also to the everyday life infrastructure and social environment through which a person is connected or unconnected to other people. Using a life course perspective the research opens windows to the social worlds of older people and more broadly to loneliness experienced in different live phases and situations during life course. By revealing reasons behind loneliness the research also gives an important input on discussions of loneliness interventions. Key words: loneliness, life course, ageing, older people, social pathways, social convoy, social roles, qualitative longitudinal research, interview
  • Brylka, Asteria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The present cross-sectional study investigates the reciprocity of ethnic relations in Finland and the role this reciprocity plays in the development of an inclusive integration context characterised by positive intergroup attitudes, and support for multiculturalism and for the minority groups collective action. The theoretical framework builds on the social identity theory, the theory of acculturation and contact hypothesis. Identity- and contact-related predictors of the inclusive integration context are examined among Finns and among Russian and Estonian immigrants. First, this study sheds more light on intergroup attitudes in the context of immigration. High national identification of Finns and Russian immigrants elicited stronger psychological ownership of Finland. However, while strong ownership made the attitudes of Finns towards Russian immigrants more negative, among the Russian immigrants ownership was linked to more positive attitudes towards Finns. Positive contact with Finns elicited more positive attitudes towards this group, which in turn were linked to more favourable mutual attitudes among Estonian and Russian immigrants. The same association, but with a negative valence, was true for negative contact. Moreover, positive contact with Finns was linked to higher, and negative contact to lower, public collective self-esteem among low-status Russian immigrants but not among high-status Estonian immigrants; higher and lower public collective self-esteem was, in turn, respectively linked to more positive and more negative attitudes towards Estonian immigrants. Second, ethnic identification of Russian immigrants fostered support for multiculturalism only when ethnic superiority of the ingroup was not perceived. Third, among Finns the perception of Russian immigrants preserving more of their culture than Finns would prefer, elicited stronger anxiety and lowered trust, these factors both in turn being related to lower support for collective action of Russian immigrants. When Russian immigrants perceived that they were not allowed by Finns to preserve as much of their culture as they wished, outgroup trust declined and strengthened support for the ingroup s collective action. This study shows that the inclusive integration context does not develop in a social vacuum and provides strong evidence on the importance of the reciprocity of multidimensional intergroup relations in diverse societies.
  • Granholm, Camilla (2016)
    During the last two decades, the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) has been fast. Smartphones and tablet computers have made the internet and the virtual dimension it offers, available and continuously present in our everyday lives. Drawing from the insights of four sub-studies considering the aspects of ICT use among (potential) clients within social services, the purpose of this dissertation is to explore what consequences, opportunities and risks are to be considered, if and when implementing ICT as a part of future social work practice. My ontological and epistemological starting points follow the ideas of pragmatism. In this dissertation, pragmatism is seen as a future and development-oriented epistemology, interested not only in what is, but also in what might be. This is a suitable starting point given the situation of contemporary social work where circumstances are changing, and the former knowledge and experiences which form best practice may no longer be applicable. As such, my approach is explorative. The research process spans almost one decade, and the four sub-studies presented in this dissertation include four sets of data, collected at different points in time between 2005 and 2014. This research contributes new information by offering an insight into the change in approaches to ICT that can be seen among (potential) social work clients. In brief, the sub-studies show that (young) people use ICT as a source of social support and empowering bonding, and also as an arena for participation. For youth at risk of marginalization, ICT offers a channel through which they can escape their everyday problems for a while, and view the lives of peers leading everyday lives which are different from their own. This dissertation introduces a framework called blended social work . This framework was developed in order to situate the sub-studies into the continuously developing intersection between social work and ICT. It may also function as a more general framework for exploring and making sense of social work in our time of digital transfer, which is characterized by our simultaneous presence in both online and offline dimensions. Blended social work is anchored in social work, using the global definition of social work as a point of reference. In addition, the results of these sub-studies are used as starting points for exploring how blended social work is realized through the concepts of social support, participation and empowering bonding. In the dissertation, blended social work is left open to further research and development, and it is suggested that future research should focus on determining the expectations and needs of the next generation.
  • Kuokkanen, Kanerva (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Since the 1990s, social scientists in Western countries have noticed a shift in policy-making towards networks and the involvement of civil society and market actors, usually referred to as governance. The governance approach has gone hand in hand with the development of more participatory and deliberative forms of action both in research and in the work of policy-makers and practitioners. Even though a number of scholars emphasise the participatory and deliberative potentials of governance and the role that elected politicians play in metagovernance , governance can still be seen as a risk to the basic principles and institutions of representative democracy. Further, governance research has seldom acknowledged that in practice, governance arrangements are often put into practice through projects and related fixed-term policy instruments and organisation forms. The main interest in this study is what happens to citizen participation when it is developed through projects. The research questions concern the relationship between projects and the broader framework of governance and metagovernance; the main issues in the development of participation in municipalities and especially in metropolitan governance; the role of participation itself when it becomes a development object; and the relationship between projects and the permanent municipal administration. This research addresses these themes through a case study, a project named Citizen Channel which aimed to find and test various forms of citizen participation in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. The project was part of a multi-actor development programme, the Urban Programme for the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. Methodologically, this study belongs to a broader research tradition of interpretive policy analysis. By concentrating on three actor groups the high-level officials of the Urban Programme, the Citizen Channel project administration and the participants in the project this study aims to present a nuanced understanding of the development of participation through projects. From the perspective of governance and metagovernance, this study shows that strategic steering the most important form of metagovernance in the context of programmes and projects is a relatively loose framework that allows various interpretations of the leading strategies at project level. The Urban Programme and the Citizen Channel project brought together a variety of working logics, interests and actors. The Urban Programme was primarily centred on creating consensus and collaboration between the cities of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, previously in competition with each other; the Citizen Channel project administration concentrated on the development of participation; and the neighbourhood association activists and librarians participating in the project emphasised concrete local issues and the creation of new networks. The main motivations for the development of participation at the municipal level are issues of local democracy, the residents experience-based knowledge, and the development of public administration, although actors working with the development of participation see a number of challenges. The main driver for metropolitan forms of participation which transcend municipal boundaries is the metropolitan dimension of everyday life for residents, which is independent of administrative borders. In the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, a specific problem in the development of metropolitan participation is the different administrative cultures and forms of resident participation within each municipality. The development of participation through projects can from a pessimistic perspective lead to the instrumentalisation of participation. A new group of professionals in participation has arisen, and participatory projects concentrate on creating generalizable and transferable models. For the participants in such projects, there is relatively little room for manoeuvre and little continuity after the project has ended. Moreover, projects may be a way to outsource the issue of participation to NGOs and projects so that it has no impact on the permanent organisations of municipal administration. From an optimistic perspective, the development of participation means new scope for NGOs and other local development actors that implement participatory projects and act as intermediary organisations between the public administration and the grassroots level and between short-term projects and long-term development work. Projects support the basic values of these actors and give them the opportunity to provide alternative ways of thinking in public administration and promote the issue of participation in it. Even though individual projects end, they lead to tacit results such as networks and new forms of action at the local level. Finally, even though the impact of individual projects may be limited, the metaproject formed by simultaneous and sequential projects can gradually effect an impact on the permanent administration. In general, the participatory turn of public administration has been intensifying at least until recently. At the same time, there has been a parallel development of citizen- and association-based initiatives, networks and new forms of action outside public institutions.
  • Tikkanen, Ulla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The everyday life and bonds of the spousal care of the elderly There are almost 24 000 Finns over the age of 65 who have made an agreement with the welfare state to be compensated for taking care of their family member in need. This agreement – typically concerning spousal care taking place at the mutual home of the spouses – is part of the current “public care” of the elderly in which the Finnish welfare state partners up with families. The public sector, the private sector and the third sector are all looking for their role and modes of collaboration in the network of care. Services supporting the elderly living at home are developed at the same time as the possibilities for institutional care are diminishing. The theoretical approach of the study draws on “figurational sociology” by Norbert Elias. In this study it means studying the ways in which people, human bonds and material objects form a figuration of care in which each element is interdependent of other elements and the whole. The aim of the research is to analyse the interrelated bonds in a way that opens up both their process of formation, and the experience of individuals as a part of the whole figuration of care. The study examines how the everyday life of the care of the elderly is formed, how the nature and bonds of care transform over different phases of care, and how various attachments and disruptions organize the figuration of everyday life. The research materials consist of qualitative interviews, ethnographic observation and a self-filled diary of the caregivers’ week, including their reflections of different days, significant relationships in the network of care and their personal notes. In all, it includes 21 interviews with 11 persons taking care of their spouse (between the ages of 67 and 83 years old) and with three persons in need of care. The empirical data was produced between April 2013 and February 2014. The research results depict a thick description of the everyday life of the spousal care. In addition to verbal analysis of the significant bonds of care, four different phases of care are presented visually placing the spouse caring and the spouse been cared for in the same visual frame (in the home in which the care takes place). The visual presentation illuminates the processes, practices and organising factors of the everyday life of care over time and space. The state of the bondedness can be described as porous, straining, heavy and sticky, depending on the intensity of needs of the spouse been cared for. The most important element of the figuration of care is “the demanding body” referring to the transformation of the spouse been cared for, from an actor to a “needy” body constantly demanding something from the caregiver, material surroundings and devices that gradually take over the whole space and life. The most significant material ties are formed to the home in which the care takes place, the assisting devices and medications. The ways in which humans are intertwined with material devices are examined through the metaphors of stick, walker, wheelchair and bed. The most central human bonds in the figurations of care are the one between the spouses and the one between them and the professionals involved. These central bonds are the most consequential in the formation of the figuration of care. The care of the spouse is physically and emotionally sticky full-time nursing that sometimes feels like being a prisoner. However, the caregivers are different and their characteristics make an impact on the way in which the figuration of care evolves. Taking care for one’s spouse who is gradually getting frail, is depicted as a process of loss and letting go of the personally significant contents of life, including the spouse her- or himself. Elias discusses this as a broken valency, one that tears apart a part of oneself. Discretion, empathy and respect toward the elderly by their family members, the public officials and the nursing staff would ease the caregivers’ burden. The study speaks for the benefits of the dynamic and holistic perspective of Elias’s figurational sociology in studying care. It enables to understand human interdependencies and needs as a part of a larger figuration of bonds, both human and material. By adding the material aspect in studying the human figuration of care, the study builds a fuller picture of the everyday realities of elderly care than work merely focusing on people. Keywords: aging, elderly care, family care, figurational sociology, human bonds, interdependency, material sociology, visualisation and welfare services
  • Uronen, Ilkka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The Finnish television industry has gradually moved from a production-centered to a customer-oriented business. Knowledge of your customer and the ability to react to change are major competitive advantages in a situation where there is an abundant supply of similar content and services. In this research, customer orientation could be defined as a competence requirement, as well as a business culture which helps the company reform its operations. This research evaluates the strategic competence of the Finnish television industry in the early 2000s and in connection with the post-digitalization shift. This research is focused on competence in the television industry, the research question being the relationship between competence and business operations. By looking at the television business environment and competences from various perspectives, this research examines the significance of individual, team, and company level competence in the business operations of TV companies. Furthermore, it discloses factors which have an effect on competence and competence development in a company. The internet, the integration of multichannel distribution, the arrival of formats and pay channels, the internationalization of production companies and general media digitalization all contributed to the shift of the television industry in the early 2000s. The aforementioned factors had an effect on the product and service processes, distribution and competence in the TV industry. The integration of television content and internet distribution has been particularly groundbreaking. The internet has generated a new kind of competitive situation, where competence is a crucial competition factor of the television companies. The research results are mainly based on thematic interviews which were assessed in relation to Michael Porter s competitive strategy. In the research interviews, the competence requirements brought on by digitalization were partly seen as a threat. The fear was that traditional TV business will change unforeseeably, and professional images will become fragmented. However, the new competence requirements were also seen as a major future competition factor and an opportunity to create new types of TV content and services. The analysis also takes advantage of media management research as well as research on competence development, leadership and innovation. Moreover, other research material is used to draw conclusions on the development of the TV industry, as well as the changes in business and competence brought on by digitalization.
  • Hautamäki, Lotta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The starting point for this research in science and technology studies is the diagnostic uncertainty inherent in psychiatry. Despite the advances in the neurosciences, there are no biomarkers for mental disorders and the diagnosis is based on the descriptive classifications in diagnostic manuals. This leaves the symptoms open for interpretation. This research is an ethnographic analysis of how this diagnostic uncertainty is dealt with in psychiatric science, clinical practice and patients experiences. The research uses bipolar disorder in Finland as a case study, allowing an empirical analysis of psychiatry as a global and complex assemblage of interdependent economic, political, social and scientific endeavours. The focus is on the interplay between scientific knowledge, clinical practice and patients' experiences, as well as the mundane practices of both experts and patients in getting along with the diagnostic uncertainty inherent in psychiatry. The research draws from Annemarie Mol s work in analysing what is enacted within the practices in science, clinic and patients lives. The ideals of objectivity and translatability are enacted in bipolar disorder research. The scientists need to balance between these ideals and the variability of patients in the messy clinical reality. In clinical practice, the ideals of evidence-based medicine and the recommendations of clinical practice guidelines are put into effect. Clinicians diagnosing and treating the patients need to balance between the generalised knowledge and the individuality of the patients symptoms and life situations. Patients enact their individual genes, hormones, brains, life situations, diets, sleep rhythms and ways of experiencing bipolar disorder. Patients with bipolar disorder diagnosis need to live with the diagnostic uncertainty in their day-to-day lives of evaluating the mood swings and adjusting to the interventions attempting to cure, alleviate and control their disorder. The research concludes that the inherent diagnostic uncertainty in psychiatry is stabilised and coordinated by the help of the standardised classifications, diagnostic tools and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. The remaining problem is: how to overcome the inconsistency between the objective universal knowledge of science and the variety of the particular patients and their subjective experiences?
  • Tuominen, Pekka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This study examines the moral qualities of urban space in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, looking particularly into how its transformation is understood as interaction between layers of historical consciousness and reproduction of its physical and symbolic boundaries. It focusses on how significant places in Istanbul carry different meanings to people, how the life-worlds of its neighbourhoods are separated from the urban sphere by contextually shifting boundaries and how the notions of public space and the spatial makeup of the city are rapidly changing, motivated by negotiations of appropriate values, appearances and practices. The research is based on a long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Beyoğlu, concentrating on the dynamics between the effective urban centre around Istiklal Street and Taksim Square and the impoverished neighbourhoods of Tarlabaşı and Tophane in its close proximity. The analysis focusses on moral ambiguities of everyday life; I discuss the spatially ordered sense of sociality, dealing with the notions of individual and community, freedom and tolerance, in relation to moral frameworks of Istanbul s urbanity coexisting in different spaces. I explore the shifts between morally appropriate practices across sociocultural boundaries to study how they demand reflective adaptation from the inhabitants to reproduce the mental mappings of the city with internalized, albeit often contradictory, notions of the proper rules of the conduct. These questions were extremely important in the everyday lives of my central informants, underemployed men living in Istanbul s inner-city neighbourhoods who were struggling to live moral lives in an environment characterized by discrimination and exclusion. This is also a study of Turkish modernity. I investigate the historical consciousness of modernity in present-day Istanbul as constant reorganization of historical trajectories, spatial arrangements, mentalities and senses of selfhood in the city. I draw from diverse historical materials, illustrating both official histories and vernacular accounts, to show how the debates over desired modernity at different periods are brought into the present and how they are expressed in the moral landscape of Istanbul. In my fieldwork I have concentrated on participant observation of everyday life, especially in situations and spaces where questions of morality arise. In Istanbul, there are countless struggles over urban space at different levels, fractured along often crosscutting lines of social difference: the issues of class, ethnicity, urbanity, gender and religion derive from encounters between people and assessment of their conduct. These are intimately linked with the extensive rearrangements of urban space in Istanbul that are redrawing the boundaries within the city. In the study, these transformations are studied as both material and embodied, in a way that acknowledges their historical specificities.
  • Piironen, Ossi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Quantitative knowledge plays an increasing role in transnational governance, even when not explicitly part of formal processes of decision making. This study consists of five research articles that individually and together deal with the subtle ways by which socio-political quantification influence governance and politics. Rather than looking at the direct impact a specific ranking has on a particular policy or set of policies, the articles focus on processes that precede and frame individual and institutional decision making and conduct. As such, this research aligns with certain variants of new institutionalist literature, the theory of interactive governance and the idea of metagovernance (Torfing et al. 2011), and with the Foucault-inspired studies in governmentality. The empirical cases - democracy and good governance, and higher education policies and university autonomy - demonstrate how quantification constitutes (1) knowledge in setting the parameters within the limits of which a concept, idea, domain, empirical fact or a policy prescription comes to be understood collectively; (2) identities in individualizing social units, making them appear separate, self-sufficient, responsible and competitive; (3) authority in transferring legitimacy to the participants of the numbers industry, bestowing on them an aura of expertise, or to those who numbers present in a favorable light. Comparative rankings tell us what the world is like, who we are, what we should accomplish, how we can reach our objectives, and who we should look up to. In addition to shedding light on and systematizing the ways in which quantification functions as a mechanism of governing, the empirical cases build up evidence for arguing that the contemporary trend for quantification - manifest in the proliferation of demands for evidence-based policy making, managerial reforms in national public administration and supranational efforts to produce accessible knowledge for various purposes - is often premised on an atomistic social ontology that reinforces the ideology of competition and supports economistic problem setting and policy solutions. Whether or not one likes the role quantification plays in governing, there is no doubt that the analysis of socio-political quantification forms an important aspect of governance research, which the articles in this thesis strongly confirm.
  • Kaasik-Krogerus, Sigrid (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    The longitudinal research "Normative Stories of the Formative Moment. Construction of Estonian National Identity in Postimees during the EU Accession Process" analyzes how Estonian national identity is constructed in country s largest and oldest daily newspaper in relation to the European Union (EU) during 1997-2003. The study combines media studies with political science, EU studies and nationalism studies to scrutinize this period as an example of a formative moment . During this formative moment the EU became the new official Other in relation to which a new temporary community, Estonia as a candidate country, was imagined in the opinion articles of the paper. The study is based on the assumption that national identity as a normative process of making a distinction between 'us' and 'Others' occurs in societal texts, such as the media. The overall framework consists of critical discourse analysis in three phases, text, discourse practice and sociocultural practice. The empirical data consists of 1780 opinion articles of Postimees. First, in the text level a characteristic feature of this formative moment is the open normativity of identity. In three discourses formed on the basis of the empirical data, European Estonia, Independent Estonia and Humble Estonia, the question of who we are is challenged both internally and externally by who we should become . Second, the analysis shows that in the beginning of the accession process only a limited group of people, mostly journalists and political decision makers, wrote about the EU. By 2003, however, both the number of articles as well as the variety of authors had multiplied several times. This shows, how a new community, Estonia as a candidate country, is first imagined by a small number of people and then expands into the wider public. Last but not least, this formative moment can be seen as a disciplining sociocultural practice. Here a link between normative public discussion and critical public opinion towards the EU during country s accession process can be drawn. Even though the newspaper tried to bring the EU closer to the people this attempt was accompanied by top-down discussions downplaying everyday problems. This study also shows the paradox of how a necessity to improve 'us' is communicated in the public discussion in parallel to claiming that Estonia as an EU member does not have to change .
  • Hankamäki, Jukka Sakari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    In this study my aim is to clarify George H. Mead’s (1863–1931) impact history and his significance for the development of social psychology. Another task is to systematically analyse the problems and paradoxes faced by Mead in his theory of meaning and concept of the human being. The third target is to draw a holistic theory of human being for the needs of present social psychology and the theory of agency. My approach is philosophical and epistemological, and my method is hermeneutical, although the main focus is centered on the development of social psychology. I operate with a division of subject and object, which characterizes the so-called crisis discussion in social psychology. I interpret this division to have become problematic already as early as Mead’s theory of the Self, where the ego was divided into ‘I’ and ‘me’ . The study shows that Mead was required to presuppose a kind of substitute for the transcendental ego in order to explain the emergence of significant symbols and meanings. On the other hand, the study shows that the objectification of otherness, ‘the generalized other’, is important both for personal development and the construction of society. In this way, the concept of meaning will expand from the semantic level to the level of value containing meanings. I understand Mead’s ‘generalized other’ as a key concept in the history of social psychology. ‘The generalized other’ has formed a theoretical concept upon which it may be thought that social psychology need not be derived from individual psychology or sociology. Instead, ‘the generalized other’ offers an opportunity for social psychology to establish itself on the foundation of its own theoretical hypothesis. Mead’s thinking strongly emphasizes collectivism and objectivism. His ideological preconditions are very clear on those claims in which he states that an individual’s self can develop “only in so far as he takes the attitudes of the organized social group to which he belongs”. To my mind, Mead’s stress on anti-individualism is too great. On the other hand, Mead’s thinking remains genuinely illuminating and suitable for different applications in the social sciences as long as his concept of the generalized other is not understood metaphysically, but rather in accordance with relational social psychology. This anti-ontological and anti-essentialist way of thinking takes better into account the lesson of “the linguistic revolution” and “the crises discussion”. The downside of this weighting is that, while highlighting the anti-metaphysical character of social relations and neglecting ontological aspects in general, discursive analysts and relational social psychologists have not sufficiently recognized the ontological existence of individuals. However, ‘I’ and ‘Self’ (and their intentions) should be given a stronger position in creating a theory of moral agency, which cannot be formed without taking into consideration the individual’s freedom, free will, and voluntarism. For this reason human action cannot be reduced to “agency”. If, however, human beings are conceived more generally as moral subjects, rather than as agents or actors, this does nothing to threaten the firm role of symbolic interactionism at the heart of social psychology. Key words: George H. Mead, social psychology, symbolic interactionism, philosophy of science, theory of agency.
  • Meincke, Maylin (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    This is an ethnographic and discourse analytical study into the onto-politics of traditional medicine in Namibia. The discourses and practices that shape, make and imagine traditional medicine at the international, national and individual level are examined. Traditional medicine in this study is not something that can be discovered, institutionalised, controlled and improved to be part of the modern Namibian state. Instead, traditional medicine is created through the multiple ways, in which Namibians and others already engage, to define what it is and what role it can officially play. It is not a system that consists of traditional healers, their practices and the natural resources they utilise, but it entails practices and discourses of the state, researchers, aid and non-governmental organisations, the private sector and the Namibian society at large. Traditional medicine is a product of international, national, local and individual utterances and practices, and it feeds into the imaginary space of a developed and modern Namibia. Methodologically, this thesis departs from conventional research into traditional medicine in Africa, which primarily focuses on in-depth studies of individual healers practices. These are framed either as cultural-specific therapeutic methods, as individual herbal medical exercises based on plants containing active compounds for potential new drugs, or as occult practices within the realm of witchcraft. This study deflects from the conceptualisation of traditional medicine as a traditional healing practice that is local or individual, and distinctly African. Instead, it seeks to ontologically re-define and re-politicise traditional medicine and to bring it into the wider global formations of subjects and objects in the field of health, sciences, and politics. This is achieved by decentring and deconstructing traditional medicine as a folk category that receives meaning either as a national cultural heritage, an alternative medical system, as a traditional knowledge system, or as an anti-witchcraft practice. The respective discourses and practices on international, national and individual level are analysed through applying the Logics and Critical Explanation (LCE) approach by Jason Glynos and David Howarth, which draws from Foucauldian genealogy, Derridan deconstruction and Lacanian psychoanalysis. To this was added the insights by Lene Hansen s discourse analysis, Homi Bhabha s concept of mimicry, and Gayatri Spivak s subaltern. The data of this study is based on five months of ethnographic fieldwork in Namibia, mostly Windhoek, and poststructural discourse analyses of policy documents. The study s results indicate that traditional medicine in Namibia is discursively split between culture and knowledge. What is envisioned, negotiated and created is a traditional medicine that is, on the one hand, a cultural artefact, a traditional heritage that is part of a national and African identity. It is something that can be staged, exhibited and celebrated. On the other hand, it is a knowledge resource that, once appropriated and tested, is subsumed under biomedical knowledge and practice or under the economic system with the aim to improve and develop Namibia. Traditional medicinal knowledge, therefore, transforms into scientific knowledge or a potential commodity governed by the state. Knowledge that is considered profitable and true is transferred to other systems of knowledge and practices, relinquishing traditional medicine to performances of culture and traditions with traditional healers as main actors. At the national and international level, traditional healers are spoken for and about. They remain in a subaltern position in Namibia. Despite using subjectivities and objectivities created by these discourses and practices for their own advantages, traditional healers do not have the power to change and forge traditional medicine in Namibia according to their imaginations and preferences. Instead, they inhabit and claim for themselves the discursive field that is outside of official and state discourse and practices: witchcraft. On the basis of its ethnographic material this study proposes to read witchcraft discourse as a re-/deflection of the fantasies of development that is, of a healthy Namibian population, economic development and independence, and the development of a modern democratic nation state. Traditional medicine articulated as an anti-witchcraft practice, therefore, addresses the negative side-effects and by-products of social and economic development and its failures. By decentring and deconstructing traditional medicine at international and national level, this study reveals the phantasmagorical and arbitrary character of the various constructions. The occult aspects, which are generally considered beyond reason and an uneasy fit, become just one of the imaginative and performative aspects of traditional medicine . Traditional medicine and its occult aspects, therefore, are not relics from the past. On the contrary, traditional medicine as a folk category is already an integral aspect of contemporary international and national imaginations in the context of health and development.
  • Heinilä, Harri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    ABSTRACT The dissertation discusses how Harlem-based jazz dance was recognized in the mainstream press, meaning, non-African-American newspapers and magazines, between 1921 and 1943. The topic was examined by exploring how Harlem jazz dance was perceived in and outside Harlem. Harlem-based jazz dance refers to jazz and swing music dances like the Lindy Hop, the Charleston, and Tap dance, which were danced and promoted by Harlemites in and outside Harlem. In addition to the mainstream press, African-American newspapers, dancers’ interviews, articles about dancers, their memoirs, various studies and different materials in archives, were used for building up the picture of Harlem entertainment both in and outside Harlem. The study mainly analyzes dancers and dance groups like Bill Robinson, the Nicholas Brothers, John W. Sublett and Buck Washington, Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers and George Snowden. How they were seen in the mainstream press was examined by analyzing reviews and articles of the Broadway-connected plays, movies, the Harvest Moon Ball contest, other contests, and other performances. Harlem dancers were reported on in a variety of ways in the mainstream press. As far as the reviews of the Broadway-connected plays are concerned, they mostly received mixed reviews. Bill Robinson, in particular, was recognized mostly positively when compared to other Harlem dancers. Where movie reviews are concerned, Bill Robinson and others got mixed reviews. The dancers were recognized mostly for their dancing, with the exception of Bill Robinson whose acting skills were occasionally praised in the movie reviews. Overall, the critics seemed to appreciate African-American, dance-related values like good rhythm which differed positively from white dancers’ rhythm, and they occasionally recognized the Harlem dancers as rehearsed dancers. In other words, they were not considered stereotypically to be natural dancers. The mainstream press coverage differed among dancers. Bill Robinson was reported on to a great extent in the mainstream press when compared to other Harlem dancers. In addition to the discussion of his private life, he was even quoted as a ‘political advocate’, and he was sometimes described even as a “superhuman” person, where his dancing was concerned. He broke racial barriers in that sense. Although Robinson was distinguished from racial stereotypes, even he could not be fully distinguished from a stereotype of African-Americans as people who merely dance. Although the mainstream press reported on Harlem dancers positively and even sometimes stressed equality between races when publishing pictures of dancers, especially the Rockland Palace dance marathon in Harlem in 1928, the dancers were also occasionally dismissed. As far as the amount of pictures and articles, and sometimes dismissing tone of the articles are concerned, the mainstream press coverage of the Harvest Moon Ball underplayed Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers who participated successfully in the contest. A reason for that was possibly their success in the contest: They won the Lindy Hop/Jitterbug Jive division every year until 1942. The sponsor of the contest, Daily News, wanted to give other dancers an equal chance to win the Lindy Hop/Jitterbug Jive division in the Harvest Moon Ball. The Lindy Hop/Jitterbug Jive, which was the crucial dance in the Harvest Moon Ball because audiences acknowledged it as the number one dance in the contest, was recognized in a powerful way in the LIFE magazine article in 1943 where it was stated that the Lindy Hop was a national dance of the United States. Thus, Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers and George Snowden’s hard work to promote the Lindy Hop culminated in the article. George Snowden with his partner, Mattie Purnell, also created the Lindy Hop, one of the most successful dances in the 20th century, in the Rockland Palace dance marathon. This thesis also explores how political movements like the Civil Rights Movement used jazz music and jazz dance in their events. In particular, the American Communist Party with its affiliates and the NAACP were notable for this activity. This happened mostly to gather people to events like the Scottsboro case fundraisers and raising funds for different purposes. They did not promote actively Harlem jazz dance as a remarkable cultural achievement. The leaders of the NAACP were also active in the Harlem Renaissance Movement which neglected the Harlem jazz dances because it considered them mostly as ‘lower art forms’. As far as the Communists are concerned, they mainly preferred modern dance to the jazz dance. The study also examined how the Harlem riots in 1935 and in 1943 were connected to Harlem entertainment. It seems that the riots did not directly decrease the number of Harlem places of entertainment which mostly stayed intact after the riots. In addition, it explores how rising midtown, Manhattan entertainment venues competed with Harlem entertainment. It is possible that the rise in midtown and other Manhattan entertainment led to the decreased number of white people visiting Harlem places of entertainment, starting at the end of the 1930s. Thus, Harlem entertainment was challenged by this external entertainment. African-American jazz dance was also compared to other entertainment forms like American football and basketball. African-American jazz dance was fully integrated before these other remarkable entertainment forms. It is presumable that Harlem jazz dance played a significant part in the racial integration process in the United States. Recognition of Harlem-based jazz dance diversified the image of African-American dancers as multifaceted dancers.
  • Raita, Eeva (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    A vast amount of our daily experiences emerge in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as smartphones and tablets. A major trend for studying these experiences is user experience research in the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI). While this string of research has focused on the subjectivity of user experiences, less is known about their social origins, or intersubjectivity. I draw on the concept of mediation to develop an understanding of how user experience is situated not inside the head of the individual, but rather also to the social and material context. I argue that we can increase our understanding of user experience by approaching it as a phenomenon that encompasses multilayer mediation. User experience is not mediated only by ICT use, but also by social processes. The empirical research utilizes a mixed methods approach and combines quantitative and qualitative methods. I investigate how social processes mediate everyday user experiences by focusing on three particular social processes: interpretations, expectations, and habits. The fourth study broadens understanding of the mediating role of ICT use by addressing the central yet ambiguous relationship between user experience and usability. Each of the studied processes mediates user experience in a unique way. First, user experiences do not concern only the present user system interaction; they are adjusted and compared to expectations derived from others opinions. Second, experiences with a given artifact differ between people because of interpretative flexibility: the same artifact can be interpreted and experienced very differently, with much depending on socially shared perspectives. Third, social processes are not only about meaning-making but they concern also practices. ICT is commonly experienced through repetitive behavior, or habits, which connect the user to social customs. Last, usability is a process that mediates the flow of experiencing. Good usability lets users engage in technology-mediated experiences, but poor usability forces users to focus on the broken device. The dissertation advances user experience research by articulating the multilayer mediation of everyday experiences with ICT. It questions the individual-centric emphasis in prominent mainstream research by expanding the understanding of how individual s user experiences are socially mediated. It ties together scientific traditions to pave way for user experience design, development and evaluation that is socially discerning. Thereby social psychological theories and research methods offer a solid base for understanding and capturing the intersubjectivity of user experiences. Importantly, the work denotes that relationships to other people are always part of our user experiences even when we are ostensibly by ourselves.