Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta: Recent submissions

Now showing items 1-20 of 590
  • Taipale, Jaakko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This study examines trial judges’ evaluation of expertise in the context of Helsinki district court traffic insurance compensation cases (TBI cases). In addition to an insurance dispute, the case type features a medical dispute about traumatic brain injuries, and a related medical disagreement about medical diagnostic practice and professional jurisdiction. The motivation for the study stems from studies of expertise in the field of Science and Technology Studies concerning the difficulties that actors have in competently evaluating and making decisions based on expertise in which they are not experts themselves (Collins and Evans, 2007; Lynch, 2007; Turner, 2014). Especially in the case of expert dispute, how can non-experts choose between competing expert claims? The problem presented by expertise to non-expert evaluation also applies in the context of legal courts’ evaluation of scientific evidence and expert testimony (Jasanoff, 2015). Thus, in addition to studies of expertise, the empirical study is informed by studies in law and science that discuss expertise and evidence in the courtroom context (Edmond, 2000; Jasanoff, 2005). I also draw on medical sociological studies discussing evidence-based medicine and clinical practice guidelines (CPGs), and how guidelines organize the practice of clinical medicine (Timmermans and Berg, 2003). This study examines how expert guidelines are used in the unintended context of the courtroom, and what consequences this potentially has. The study theorizes trial judges’ practice of evaluating expertise as meta-expertise and meta-expert judgment in law-science interaction. In its discussion of meta-expertise, the study is indebted to Harry Collins and Robert Evans’ (2007) theorizing about meta-expertise, but it also complements their normative analytical framework by taking an approach suggested by Michael Lynch (2014) in examining how meta-expertise and meta-expert judgment is practised, and determined by its practice, in a particular empirical case setting. The main research question of this dissertation stems from the discussed problem that expertise poses to non-expert judgment of expertise: What are the characteristics of trial judges’ practice of meta-expertise, and how do judges make meta-expert judgments about expert evidence and testimony? The empirical case study data consists of 11 Helsinki district court traffic insurance compensation case verdicts dating from 2014 to 2017, and 20 interviews with Helsinki district court and Helsinki appeals court judges. The verdict material, making over 470 pages in total, was collected in late 2016 and early 2017, while the interviews were conducted between May and November 2016. The verdicts and the interviews were analysed qualitatively using thematic content analysis that was informed by the theoretical interest of exploring the character of judges’ meta-expert judgment in law-science interaction. Therefore, in analysing the data the focus was on how the medical and expert dispute was constructed in the verdicts, and also on how judges justified their choices between experts and what they claim. The verdict and interview data were complemented by an analysis of 2008 and 2017 editions of clinical practice guidelines for brain injury. The guidelines were compared to the verdict data to assess the guidelines’ influence on how judges evaluated medical evidence and expert testimony in the cases. The study consists of one summary article and three original empirical research articles. The articles answered the following secondary research questions: what is the challenge that non-expert judges face in evaluating expertise in the TBI cases? How do judges manage to make and justify their decisions regarding neurological and psychological expert evidence, taking account of the fact that judges’ level of medical scientific and clinical competence is low? How should social analysts examine and understand trial judges’ evaluation of evidence, so as to gain the best possible understanding about judges’ evaluation practices? And, how does medical expertise frame, facilitate and constrain trial judges’ evaluation of evidence in court? The results contribute to our understanding of what meta-expertise constitutes, and what difficulties are involved and strategies available in making meta-expert judgments. The study concludes that judges use 1) a dialectical method, ‘socio-technical review’, in managing contradictory expert claims in court, and 2) social or circumstantial knowledge as proxy for evaluating experts’ credibility and the credibility of their claims of ‘technical’ substance. Thus, judges are able to justify their choice between contradictory expert claims. This was evident for example in the TBI case verdict discussions about professional jurisdiction and the acceptability of diagnostics. Trial judges also show 3) a discursive ability to work around claims of expertise that are beyond their competence in the evaluated field of expertise. In this, judges take advantage of the interpretative flexibility that is characteristic of the disputed evidence, which was discussed in the TBI cases through contested MRI techniques and their credibility. Another key finding concerns 4) the use of guidelines or other general evaluative criteria in making meta-expert judgments. Guidelines or criteria that carry epistemic authority can be used to support meta-expert judgment. However, general evaluative criteria might apply to the specifics of a case poorly, and might result in unexpected outcomes when applied by non-experts. In the TBI cases the guidelines directed the judges’ evaluative gaze, which had unexpected consequences for their evaluation of expert evidence due to the character of the plaintiffs’ medical cases. The study concludes by providing a conceptual foundation for improving judges’ evaluation of expertise based on the examination of evaluative criteria and reflexivity in the TBI cases.
  • Zheng, Yi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis discusses competition and coordination in the market. On the supply side, firms decide optimal competing strategies in pricing while considering corporate social responsibility. On the demand side, on one hand, consumers can act selfishly without considering social norms. On the other hand, consumers can coordinate so that better outcomes can be achieved: for example, a reduction in market inefficiency or an improvement in welfare. I analyze the relationship between the demand and supply sides, and study how the preference and behaviour of one side can affect the other. I then discuss the incentives of both firms and consumers, either competitive, non-cooperative or coordinative. This thesis consists of four articles. The first article points out a new cause of market inefficiency in competitive markets. I propose a coordinative solution to the problem. I show that the market clears if consumers coordinate in a certain way and, therefore, confirm the value of coordination in competitive markets. The second article studies the role of socially responsible actions in a lobbying game. Firms' investment in corporate social responsibility, for example, on environmental protection or animal rights, is proved to be a strategic action that effectively reduces lobbying costs and improves welfare. The other two articles study boycotts. I examine how consumers' behaviour that is driven by environmental concerns can jointly cause a change in firms' behaviour towards more socially responsible actions, and how firms choose their best reactions to deal with boycotts.
  • Pötzsch, Tobias (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis explores the process of social inclusion of adult migrant learners enrolled in integration education programs. It reveals the Inclusectionalities denoting the intersections of inclusion and exclusion through which liminal spaces are revealed that position migrant students as between and betwixt belonging and othering. The study is based on research findings obtained during multiple case study fieldwork in Finland and Canada between 2015-2017 consisting of in-depth and group interviews with migrant students and staff as well as extended periods of participant observation. The Finnish case studies consist of Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) programs at The Swedish Adult Education Institute (Arbis) in Helsingfors and The Civic Institute (Medis) in Mariehamn, on the Åland Islands, while NorQuest College’s Language Integration for Newcomers to Canada program (LINC) in Edmonton represents the Canadian case. Anti-oppressive methodologies (AOP), as well as perspectives integrated from Critical Whiteness Studies (CWS) and Critical Migration Studies (CMS) with their ideals of challenging structural racism and working for social change inform the theoretical framework of critical social inclusion as well as the study’s research design. The empirical findings show that social inclusion within the educations was tangled, episodic, and far from uniform or straightforward. Its negotiations revealed the presence of widely contradictory and conflicted responses which oscillated between Civic Integrationism’s striving to inculcate a “coherent” national narrative and Transformation Inclusion’s more “incoherent,” critical and egalitarian interpretations. The findings, presented in three main themes: Inclusion Within the Walls, Inclusion Beyond the Walls and (Colour) Blind Spots, also reveal that both enabling and disabling factors emerged in implementing critical social inclusion within the case studies’ different educational, social and national environments. Educational programs where integration was myopically equated with host country language acquisition often lost sight of the breadth and depth – the “real life” focus – broader social inclusion demanded. Secondly, where an integrationist normative narrative – as in, “aren’t we supposed to teach them how to live here?” – justified prevailing power and racial hierarchies, it stood in the way of reciprocal learning and student agency in reshaping curricula and inclusion efforts. A third factor concerned how willing staff, administrators and other stakeholders were to turn the majority gaze inwards in interrogating their own role in maintaining cultural and structural inequalities as well as white entitlements. By diverting this gaze, the white social frame grounding these inequalities became institutional background and “common sense” views of culture, learning and integration eluded critical analysis. The fourth factor refers to the prevailing social and political climates in which integration education programs were embedded. Where these climates emphasized controls and compliances which racialized and othered migrants, they accentuated students’ abjection from the social body. Lastly, social inclusion necessitates robust expressions of joint political agency yet implementations of LINC and SFI were generally characterized by a politics of apoliticality. Because programs were not developed around critical citizenship foundations but emphasized more “neutral” incarnations of language and cultural learning, they extended limited sanctioned opportunities for teachers and students to collectively challenge social and structural injustices. A key discursive and cognitive transposition is the study’s contention that if critical perspectives of social inclusion are to become a lived reality for “all” program participants, then majorities must also be subjected to the “integration spotlight.” Turning the majority gaze from the migrant inwards, presumes a sea change in attitudes, aims and program implementations. How one answers the question of who serves as an arbiter over which expressions of migrant diversity are judged as beneficial or as obstacles to inclusion is crucial here.
  • Berger, Heidi (2020)
    In line with the title, Russian foreign- and security policy from Boris Yelt-sin to Vladimir Putin 1992–2014: Presidential belief-systems in the setting of political conditions, this study examines Russia’s foreign and security policy during the eras of the three presidents by focusing on two intercon-nected perspectives namely the presidential belief systems defined as the operational codes and the context of this policy making defined as the con-ditions. The main claim in this thesis is that Russian foreign and security policy making is guided by a comprehensive framework in which two main opera-tional models are balancing. The challenging approach refers to a reactive pattern and the joining approach refers to a proactive pattern. These opera-tional models should be perceived as intertwined and can be observed in relation to different fields of action characterized by varying processes and goals. Due to the argument such challenging–joining framework repre-sents a strategic level continuity of Russian foreign and security policy dur-ing the period of 1992–2014. This study seeks to answer to following research questions: What is this framework about and what kind of descriptive and explanative qualities does it have? What kind of political belief systems does the three presi-dents have and what kind of policy shifts can be found during these presi-dential eras? These questions will be answered with a combination of con-textual multicase analysis and qualitative operational code analysis includ-ing the philosophical-, instrumental-, and strategic beliefs applied within the context of Walter Carlsnaes’ explanative model. This study shows that unity can be found between the political belief sys-tems of Yeltsin, Medvedev and Putin who have been defined as the repre-sentatives of the foreign- and security policy elite. Analysis also reveals how foreign and security policy instruments have diversified during time. Among the presidents the vision of a sovereign great power is strong being capable to protect its national interests even by force if necessary, seeking to maximize its gains/advantages and to set the rules of the game with a combination of challenging and joining operational models. Through the contextual multicase analysis five foreign and security policy phases can be found including the pro-western policy phase during 1992–1993, a vision of new era and damage limitation 1993–1999, a vision of agreements and gains/advantages maximizing 2000–2008, a vision of de-velopment and setting of rules 2008–2012 and a vision of the possible fu-tures and syntheses of the pillars 2012–2014. In line with the argument the challenging–joining framework as the syn-thesis of three pillars represents a strategic level continuity during the pe-riod of 1992–2014. Such observation provides an evidence that Russian foreign and security policy should not be understood nor explained solely by excluding categories since the framework can appear as nationalistic or imperialistic while simultaneously be oriented towards the west. The framework clarifies the main fields of action in which Russia operates and enables one to understand why its operational model may at times appear contradictory while explaining that Russia seeks a great power role with a variety of instruments which have not always been clearly recognized.
  • Hoikkala, Susanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    In this PhD research, restrictive and disciplinary practices refer to procedures which differ from the usual regulative practices of everyday life in a children’s residential care institution in child welfare. These practices restrict child’s possibilities to act and participate or they violate the privacy of a child. In this study restrictive and disciplinary practices are interpreted as ways to govern children and young people within child welfare. The two main research questions are as follows: 1) What kind of restrictive and disciplinary practices have there been in the children’s residential care institution at different times and how have these practices been organized in the social relations of specific time? 2) How has their regulation changed? Theoretically and methodologically, the study adheres to the approach developed by Dorothy E. Smith. This approach has been used to explore the organization of restrictive and disciplinary practices as well as the distinctive forms of relations of ruling mediating their implementation. Practices under examination are interpreted as the intersection of the everyday life of residential care and the social relations governing it. The most important social relation is the generational relation. Furthermore, Michel Foucault’s idea of a history of the present is applied heuristically. In this qualitative social work research, a single case study design is applied as a research strategy. One children’s residential care institution forms the case. Data collected from the case study institution and the archive contains textual documentary data such as the journals of punishments, the decisions of restraints, the memos of meetings, daily reports and the extracts of children’s case files, produced by residential care workers. Regulative relations are examined by using the municipal guidelines and legislation as well as professional texts such as committee reports. In the analysis, three key points of transformation are first located by exploring the continuities and discontinuities of practices under examination. Secondly, these moments are analysed by applying the method of textual inquiry and close reading, which takes into account definite places and times. Thirdly, the transformation of the practices under examination and their regulation are analysed during the time period of this research. Restrictive and disciplinary practices have changed during the period under examination from the practices of punishment and disciplinary power to practices emphasizing care and caring power. For example, corporal punishments were replaced by various methods of isolation, and drug testing was implemented as a new practice. The municipal guidelines formed the regulative basis for practices under examination until 1983. Since then they have been regulated by child welfare legislation. Both practices under examination as well as the generational relations of children and residential care workers have been re-shaped by the professionalization, democratization and legalization of children’s residential care. Residential care workers have been expected to integrate the events of everyday life and the formal regulative organization of practices. They have also been expected to adjust their professional activities accordingly. Key words: Children’s residential care, restriction, discipline, history of child welfare, relation of ruling, generational relation
  • Määttä, Suvi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The sedentary lifestyle is rooted in our lives across many settings in contemporary society. The phenomenon has raised public health concerns due to increasing knowledge of the negative health consequences of extensive sedentary behavior (SB). SB is defined as any waking behavior characterized by a low energy expenditure while in a sitting, reclining or lying posture. Already, preschool-aged children are sedentary for over half their daily waking hours. The prevalence of their SB encourages understanding of the factors associated with it. The two key settings for the development of preschool children’s SB habits are home and preschool. As postulated by the socioecological model of SB, each setting, with its social and physical environment, shapes the individual’s possibilities for SB differently. Each setting may also differ in socioeconomic status (SES). Beside settings, individual characteristics (e.g. temperament) shape behavior. These theoretical assumptions create the potential to study the interplay between individual characteristics, SES, home and preschool settings, and children’s SB. The main research focus of this dissertation was to examine examine how SES, individual factors, and home and preschool settings combine to shape preschool children’s SB. The specific questions targeted in this study were: 1) Which individual, home, and preschool factors were associated with the preschool children’s overall SB and to what extent did these factors explain variance in children’s overall SB? 2) Which factors in the preschool setting were associated with preschool children’s SB during preschool hours and did these factors in preschool setting act as moderators in the associations between parental SES and SB? 3) Did co-participation in physical activity (PA) as a parenting practice act as a mediator in the associations between parental SES and SB? and 4) Did the frequent visits to places where PA is encouraged and weekly common practices in the preschool group associate with preschool children’s SB during preschool hours? This research was based on the DAGIS (Increased Health and Wellbeing in Preschool) cross-sectional study, which was conducted in 66 preschools in Western and Southern Finland in the years 2015 and 2016. A total of 864 children, aged three to six years, participated in this study. This multimethod study included objective measurement of SB, observations, and multiple questionnaires covering the children’s characteristics, the preschool setting and the home setting. The preschool setting was defined as consisting of social, physical and organizational environments whereas the home setting comprised parenting behaviors and practices, family knowledge and social norms, and family SES. The indicators of SES were parental educational background and preschool neighborhood SES. All the main analyses in the sub-studies applied multilevel linear regression models, but additionally cross-level interactions were tested in study II and indirect effects in study III. The main results of this research were: 1) Being a boy and having higher levels of surgency temperament were associated with lower SB. Individual characteristics explained the variance in children’s SB more than the settings. 2) Parental perceived barriers related to children’s outdoor PA was associated with children’s higher SB, whereas more frequent parental co-participation in PA, especially in their own yard and in nature, was associated with children’s lower SB. 3) Parental SES differences existed regarding co-participation in PA practices. Compared to parents with high SES backgrounds, parents with low SES reported visiting more frequently their own yards, and this was associated with their children’s lower SB. Parents with high SES reported more frequent visits to indoor sports facilities than parents with middle or low SES backgrounds, but this frequency did not have a statistically significant association with children’s SB. 4) Preschool practices were associated with children’s lower SB during preschool hours. Namely, more minutes spent on physical education lessons, higher numbers of PA theme weeks, more frequently conducted nature trips and early educators’ practices to break children’s SB were related to children’s lower SB. 5) Higher parental SES was associated with children’s higher SB in preschools either a higher number of organized SB theme weeks, a lower number of PA theme weeks or a lower number of PE lessons. This dissertation brings novel and practical knowledge about the important role of parental and preschool practices in relation to preschool children’s SB. The practical implications based on the results of this dissertation encourage the development of public health programs and intervention strategies related to parental and preschool practices enhancing preschool children’s healthy SB habits. More specifically, strategies inspiring families’ frequent co-participation in PA, specifically in nature and their own yards, can be beneficial. In addition, all the preschools should assure frequent nature trips, PE lessons and PA theme weeks for their children, as these practices have the potential to diminish children’s SB. However, the children’s individual characteristics also need to be reflected on better. More research is needed on the mechanisms of SES in children’s SB.
  • Nortio, Emma (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Social psychological research on multiculturalism has demonstrated its potential to promote ethnic equality and reduce interethnic conflicts in society. However, it has also shown that ethnocultural majorities tend to support multiculturalism less than minorities. This result has been explained through the majority members’ uneasiness, which is related to minorities’ claims for cultural maintenance. While the dilemmas of multiculturalism—especially in regard to politics, policies and ideology—have been widely discussed in social psychological and social scientific research, there has been a limited interest in studying the accounts of those who live multiculturalism in their everyday lives. In this research, I focus on multiculturalism as a lived ideology. I argue that understanding the ways in which multiculturalism is oriented in the lay discourse could shed more light on its potential to promote harmonious intergroup relations. To foster this understanding, this research examines the lay discourse of multiculturalism in Finland, a country that ranks as one of the world’s most policy-wise multicultural societies, which concurrently is witnessing the mainstreaming of anti-multiculturalism and xenophobic political discourses. More specifically, this research asks, what kinds of discursive tools and resources do ordinary people living in Finland use to account for multiculturalism. In other words, how they construct, negotiate, and manage ethnocultural diversity and intergroup relations in their talk. This study consists of four sub-studies, all of which draw from discursive social psychological approaches stemming from social constructionism. Study I analyses focus groups held among majority Finns; Studies II and III analyse focus group discussions held among minority and majority Finns; and Study IV combines frame analytic and discursive psychological perspectives to examine the accounts of multiculturalism in a popular online forum. By employing a discursive approach, this research shows the complexities and dilemmatic aspects of the lay discourse of multiculturalism. More specifically, these complexities relate to three discursive constructions of multiculturalism and their functions. The first construction, threatening multiculturalism, served to represent majority and immigrants as essentially different groups and to justify their inequality. The second construction, valuable multiculturalism, enabled accounts celebrating diversity, and served as a tool to demonstrate a speaker’s open-mindedness. Third, the construction of limiting multiculturalism enabled the criticising of the essentialist and hierarchical categorisations of “us” and “them”, and the claiming of immigrants’ cultural citizenship.
  • Lehto-Lundén, Tiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This study analyses children and their experiences of support family service. Support family service is goal-oriented and is one of the child welfare services provided to children and families in their challenging life situations. In support family service, the child of the supported family participates in the daily life of the support family and usually stays with the family one weekend a month. The study answers the question: What are the meanings that children give to support family service? The research is anchored in childhood research and emphasizes the child as an active, experiential, informed and empowered individual who appreciates his/her experiences as part of the formation of scientific knowledge. The methodological guideline of the study is existential phenomenology, which engages in a holistic concept of human beings. Phenomenology is considered a science of phenomena intended to go back to the “things themselves”. A holistic concept of humans takes into account the inividual as an embodied and mental actor, influenced by the individual’s life situation and the surrounding timeframe. Data was collected in various ways between 2015–2016 as a five-step process. Children shared their experiences through interviews, drawings, taking photographs and making videos. The children themselves played an active role in gathering the research material. The study gives voice to eleven children. At the time of the study, the children were between 3 and 15 years old. There were altogether 43 research meetings with children. The research analysis is carried out using the phenomenological method. Children’s experiences form a diverse picture of support family service. It is crystallized into a set of relationships, places, activities, material and travelling. This study summarizes children’s experiences of support family service into four general-level meanings: 1) relationship-based (relationship, encounters, and continuity), 2) contextual environment (physical home, spaces, and environments) 3) activities (concrete action and evnts) and 4) repetitive transitions (moving between home and support family). Children’s experiences show that effective and interactive relationships with adults in a support family are essential, but relationships with bonus siblings and pets also play an important role. The child may also develop an attachment relationship to the support family’s operational environment, in addition to the relationships they have with the support family itself. The common experiences of support family service are shared with all the children, but the whole is formed individually for each child. Research shows that the use of a variety of participatory methods in research meetings is beneficial because they can balance the power relations between adult and child. Research shows that the existential-phenomenological framework provides opportunities to use phenomenology as one of the background theories in social work research and while structuring practical social work. Keywords: Support family service, social work, child welfare, child’s experience, existential phenomenology, holistic concept of human.
  • Kostamo, Katri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Regular physical activity is a crucial factor in maintaining physical and mental well-being. International evidence has shown a decline in physical activity during adolescence. For the time being, there is insufficient knowledge about how to inspire adolescents to engage in physical activity and to maintain it as a part of their daily routine. For example, school-based physical activity interventions have, according to accelerometry measures, so far not been able to significantly increase moderate-to-vigorous physical activity among children and young people. This dissertation explores changes in physical activity among Finnish vocational and high school students. It focuses on investigating the events and sources of inspiration that, according to participant interpretations, contributed to the increase in their physical activity. My work consists of two independent parts, both related to a larger research project. The project developed and evaluated an intervention implemented in vocational schools, namely the Let’s Move It (LMI) intervention. The datasets analysed in this study were initially collected for development and evaluation of the LMI intervention. A key concept in this dissertation is the physical activity relationship, which approaches physical activity as part of an individual’s life style and identity. In addition to physical activity behaviour, the physical activity relationship includes attitudes, values and meanings related to physical activity that guide individual choices. According to previous literature on the physical activity relationship, salient meanings of physical activity among adolescents are: competition and achievement, health and fitness, expression and performance, pleasure and play, sociability, self-searching, growth and development, as well as various meanings characteristic of different sports. The physical activity relationship can be explored from four different perspectives: personal physical activity, following sports, production of physical activities, and sportisation, that is, how meanings of sports are absorbed by wider society. My summary illustrates how adolescents who increased their physical activity presented their physical activity relationship. In particular, it identifies those perspectives, meanings, and conceptualisations of physical activity that they emphasised as important for behaviour change. My dissertation draws on three sub-studies. In the first and second sub-study, a life-course perspective was applied to investigate the essay contest entries of vocational and high school students. With the help of Finnish language teachers, 115 student essays were collected in total. The essays were then analysed in order to identify interpretative frames for physical activity and critical incidents triggering changes in physical activity. The third sub-study was based on individual interviews, focusing on vocational school students’ interpretations of changes in their physical activity during and after the LMI trial. Thirty-four interviews were conducted immediately after the intensive intervention had ended. Recruitment of intervention and control arm participants was based on having reported low or moderate activity at baseline. The 34 interviews were analysed using the critical incident technique, aiming to identify those insights and processes that the participants described as crucial for increasing physical activity or changing their thinking about physical activity. During the analysis phase, two salient themes for behaviour change were identified. In the contest essays (articles I and II), the turning point was presented as insight into the personal benefits of physical activity, such as experiencing success, feeling better, and gaining a more attractive appearance. Becoming aware of the association between physical activity and one’s own well-being was described, for example, as noticing how a decline in physical activity had resulted in becoming less fit. In student interviews, a new conceptualisation of physical activity and concrete tips about how to increase physical activity in daily life were emphasised as important triggers for behaviour change. As the key to behaviour change, participants described having acquired a novel way of conceptualising beneficial physical activity, particularly understanding the positive effects of light physical activity for health and well-being. (Article III.) When analysing findings about increasing physical activity via the eight meanings previously identified in the existing literature, almost all of them were found to relate to behaviour change. Specifically, meanings related to competition and achievement, health, expression, and various meanings characteristic of different sports seemed to be important triggers for increasing physical activity. Meanings related to competition and achievement were closely related to the meanings of different sports, for example, in descriptions of gaining experiences of success from participating in a certain sport or being physically active in a certain way that felt especially suitable for oneself. Meanings related to health were expressed in two ways: on the one hand, the increase in physical activity was presented as a way of preventing and treating health problems and, on the other hand, as a means of achieving general well-being and, for example, maintaining work ability. Meanings related to expression could be identified in descriptions about how behaviour change was triggered via being aware of the consequences of physical activity for one’s own appearance. The desire to change one’s own appearance seemed, in these datasets, to be more often associated with other people’s gaze and their feedback– in other words, to be related to the visual impression given to other people. Of the perspectives related to the concept of physical activity relationship, the most salient one in these datasets was personal physical activity, including exercise as well as physical activity related to daily routines. In contrast, following sports, production of physical activities, and sportisation were rarely mentioned. Based on the results, it can be seen that, during adolescence, young people may get inspired by physical activity and adopt it as a part of their life style and daily routine. The factors, that young people perceived as inspiring them in independently increasing their physical activity, seem to be construed around the idea of benefit: firstly, whether being physically active is perceived as beneficial for oneself and secondly, what kinds of actions beneficial physical activity is perceived to consist of. In light of the datasets analysed in this dissertation, it is worth asking whether more diverse meanings of physical activity need to be included in the contents of messages in health promoting interventions, in case particularly when seeking to inspire young people with low physical activity levels to increase their physical activity. Further research could continue to explore the various meanings and factors associated with increasing physical activity among adolescents with low physical activity levels. The most appropriate method for such inquiry might be to integrate longitudinal mixed-methods studies into long-term and theory-based physical activity interventions.
  • Holappa, Lauri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This is a study about a deep-seated fallacy in modern Political Economy research. This myth emphasises the ability of the bond markets to discipline the actions of all states by demanding either higher interest rates on government bonds or by refraining from lending to governments they dislike. I call this assumption the bond-market-power narrative (BMPN) and demonstrate its popularity in both strands of modern Political Economy, namely international political economy and comparative political economy. I prove that the BMPN must rely on a closed-systems-based understanding of economic theory in order to be internally coherent. Theoretical approaches founded on a closed-systems metatheory argue that the primary aim in the social sciences should be to detect geo-historical regularities between key factors. Relying on a critical-realist philosophy of social sciences I argue that such approaches are highly problematic because stable sequences cannot reliably be found in open systems such as human societies. I suggest that the so-called Say’s law forms the exact mechanism of how the closed-systems approach is realised in BMPN-based studies. Say’s law says that supply creates its own demand – at least in the long run – which is why demand stimulation cannot have important positive long-term effects. This is crucial since the key argument in my study is that all governments enjoying relatively strong monetary sovereignty can mostly bypass bond market influence by using direct central bank financing of fiscal deficits if there is enough political support for such actions. BMPN-based Political Economy literature, however, rejects this possibility – sometimes explicitly and at times implicitly. In economic theory, the risks of central bank financing of fiscal deficits are virtually always associated with the acceptance of some form of Say’s law. The idea is that fiscal deficits are possible in the long run only if government spending is financed through the central bank. However, since there is no output gap in the long run, the deficits primarily cause rising or even accelerating inflation rates. I conclude that BMPN scholars must have accepted, at least passively, such economic-theoretical views. BMPN-based studies could not otherwise be internally logical. For me, BMPN scholarship includes only studies that clearly present the material structures of the world economy as sources of market discipline. So, by definition, BMPN scholars do not discuss bond market power as a political idea being promoted by certain fractions of the society. Rather, in BMPN scholarship, bond market power is predominantly something that has been connected to the crisis of the tax state and the deregulation of global finance which, consequently, have forced ostensibly sovereign governments to be at the mercy of bond market vigilantes. I argue that the main schools of thought in economics compatible with the BMPN are neoclassical and classical-Marxian economics which both accept closed-systems theorising and some form of Say’s law. The major school of thought that most notably rejects such theorising is post-Keynesianism. Post-Keynesian theory argues that social reality is defined by fundamental uncertainty. Thus, there is no automatic adjustment towards any “natural” or “normal” rate (whether we are speaking of growth, capacity utilisation or unemployment) and therefore, the level of effective demand may differ, and output gap exist in all possible intervals. I further argue that the criticisms of post-Keynesians against the adjustment mechanisms at the heart of Say’s law are empirically convincing and therefore, the post-Keynesian depiction of the fiscal policy space is more accurate than neoclassical or classical-Marxian alternatives. However, even though I argue that governments with relatively strong monetary sovereignty cannot be disciplined by bond markets, I also accept the existence of important external limitations on state-level economic policy. The most significant such limitation is the balance-of-payments (BOP) constraint which says that most countries are unable to run permanent current account deficits without risking a collapse of the exchange rate. Yet, in this study it is pointed out that BOP constraints have existed for as long as there has been a discrepancy between the open world economy and territorialised political authority. Hence, the structural power of capital is not a new phenomenon and the deregulation of global finance has not, principally, added important new layers to the disciplinary capabilities of the capitalist class – at least not in a material sense. The most central finding of this study is that the acceptance, whether passive or active, of a closed-systems macroeconomic perspective is a necessary component of the bond-market-power narrative. Thus, the BMPN-based Political Economy studies do not primarily reveal much about the non-discoursive power structures of the world economy. On the contrary, these studies tend to be based on a replication of orthodox economic-theoretical views – and are often even unaware of this. Consequently, the argument put forward in this study is that the rejection of the BMPN is necessary for the progress of modern Political Economy research.
  • Vento, Isak (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Public policy is increasingly implemented with projects. The projects serve as policy instruments in governance systems, which aim for efficient and democratic governing of the contemporary liberal democratic societies with divergent mechanisms. The temporary project has been assumed to enhance policy implementation within a governance system by rendering timely cooperation and interventions possible and provide autonomy to experiment and learn. However, the temporality of projects can increase uncertainty and the project logic of action may clash with other logics of action and result in misunderstanding or disagreement. Despite the importance of new organizational forms for public governance, the effects of project organization on governance mechanisms has so far been insufficiently studied. To what extent do the temporality and action logic of projects actually contribute to or counteract the divergent governance mechanisms for effective and democratic public governance? This dissertation argues that the lack of governance analysis of project organization stretches to a more fundamental shortage of theorizing project-based implementation from a governance perspective. As such, projects have been mostly perceived as administrative questions rather than as challenges for putting public policy into practice within a governance system. Governance systems are known to elude the conventional conception of the policy process as a cycle of sequential stages from planning to decision-making and implementation. This thesis applies the Multiple Governance Framework (MGF) to the analysis of project-based policy implementation. In distinction to other theoretical frameworks of the policy process, it is developed for theorizing the policy process from a governance perspective with focus on implementation. The dissertation has a twofold analytical agenda. Firstly, the dissertation theorizes the potential effects of project organization on governance mechanisms. The organizational characteristics distinguishing projects from other organizations are identified based on project organization theory and research. The governance mechanisms with collaboration, quasi-markets and trust as their core are then distinguished based on the collaborative governance, metagovernance and interactive governance theories. By discussing the project organization in relation to the governance mechanisms, the hypothetical effects are outlined. Secondly, the dissertation analyzes empirically the effects of project organization on the governance mechanism. The findings are discussed in relation to the governing of implementation outlined by the MGF to analyze how the agents with divergent mechanisms are assigned different types of action in public governance. The object of study is the European Union’s regional policy, the Cohesion policy, and its 2007-2013 program in Finland. As an early adopter of project-based implementation and one of the world’s largest policies with an intrinsic transformative agenda, the Cohesion policy offers an exemplary case for the study of public governance with a projectified policy. Applying a mixed methods approach, combining research articles with cross-sectional analysis of register and survey data and research articles with qualitative case studies, this article-based compilation dissertation provides extensive empirical evidence of governance challenges arising from project organization. The dissertation identifies the key governance agents and activities of public project organization, such as public managers with discretion over project funding and project managers managing the various phases of the project. The dissertation also theorizes the potential effects of project organization on the governance mechanisms put forth by collaborative governance, metagovernance and interactive governance theories. As a result of empirically testing the assumptions, the study shows that there is both a transformative and a redistributive rationale in the Cohesion policy, indicating project-based policies may be driven by several rationales that potentially generate divergent goals for projects. The putatively flexible project organization entails bureaucracy by requiring funding applications and reports. However, the extent to which bureaucracy is perceived as red tape is found to be affected by individual professional experience. The project organization requires public managers to collaborate but presents a potential problem with its logic of action that is at odds with the logic of the public administration. Public managers are found to increase the gains from the involvement of different agents on the condition that the project manager is receptive to the logic of the public administration. Finally, the temporary organization is found to increase the uncertainty of the metagovernance mechanism without capitalizing on the autonomy. The project provides, however, a responsive outset for interpersonal trust to be formed through dynamic interaction between the public official and project manager. The trust enables the project to preserve its autonomy while providing the public administration scrutiny over the project. The dissertation shows that the theories of collaborative governance, metagovernance and interactive governance should take into account the uncertainty generated by the temporality of project organization and the potential disjunction of logics between involved agents. With the right governance mechanisms, the project organization can provide an added value to an effective and democratic public governance. The MGF is, contrary to its promises, uninformative regarding the structuring of governance mechanisms and assignment of roles to agents in public governance. However, by theorizing the project-based implementation from a governance perspective, the MGF assists in analyzing how non-state agents unintendedly can act with tasks that overreach their formal mandate in a fluid and complex governance system.
  • Karimi, Zeinab (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This research investigates how families who have a refugee background experience intergenerational relationships. The study is focused on Iranian families who moved to Finland between the 1990s and early 2000s. The participants include both parents, and their now adult children, who moved to Finland with their families as young children, and grew to adulthood. The empirical material is inspired by ethnographic data collection, and includes 12 in-depth interviews and participant observations carried out between 2011 and 2014 in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The study draws broadly from sociological studies on intergenerational relationships and migration. This research responds to some limitations in previous literature by asking how the intersecting positions of family members—in terms of class, gender, and migration—affect their intergenerational relationships. I employ the concept of respectability, which reflects on how some groups, such as the working class, may have different resources for being perceived worthy in society. Another key concept is intergenerational ambivalence, which represents the contradictions that manifest in parent-child relationships. These contradictions challenge parents and their children to navigate their role between dependency and autonomy. The analysis investigates how the intersecting position of the families, and their possibilities to be viewed as respectable, has a dramatic impact on their intergenerational relationships. The results indicate that the parents make a distinction between their positionality in terms of migration and class, before and after migration. The parents also have only limited possibilities to represent themselves as respectable in Finland. In particular, the fathers often lose their previous positions in society. This is connected to their limited agency in Finland when defining their role as a provider for their family, and as their children’s guide. The mothers also experience that their position in Finnish society is lower, compared to the positionality they held prior to migration. However, they attempt to fit into gendered discourses of mothering as a way to build value for themselves. Despite these limitations, the parents try to define themselves and their family as respectable among their Finnish-Iranian communities through raising successful children. Thus, a family’s respectability becomes intertwined with the children’s achievements. This study also discusses how social control is experienced by the adult children, when presenting themselves as deserving and respectable children. The boundaries of respectability for the adult children are gendered. Moreover, the results of this research contribute to the literature on migration and family ties through illuminating the ways in which intergenerational ambivalence is experienced. I argue that structural inequalities limit possibilities, as well as create a continuous struggle for families to be recognised as respectable members of society. This struggle manifests in parent-child relationships in a way that produces paradoxical demands between autonomy and dependency, and prompts them to sometimes question themselves and their abilities as members of their family. Keywords: respectability, intersectionality, intergenerational ambivalence, filial obligations, refugees, migration
  • Kantokoski, Olga (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This doctoral dissertation examines the ‘politics’ of the EU's international police cooperation. The existing academic scholarship approaches the historical process of internationalization of the European internal security and law enforcement collaboration mainly from a ‘technocratic’ and ‘apolitical’ perspective, whereby ‘externalization’ of the Union's internal security objectives to the third countries and regions is explained in a ‘functionalist’ manner as a response to the ever growing menace of international organized crime. The ‘institutional factor’, or the presence of adequate anti-crime institutional resources and infrastructure, is additionally highlighted by scholars as an important enabler of the Union's international cooperation in the domain of internal security. By contrast, the causal role of the EU's high-level political and power considerations in the justice and home affairs’ internationalization process has remained insufficiently understood and theorized in the existing literature. This research project expands the theoretical horizons of both specialized literature on the EU's external JHA cooperation and a broader stream of research on the EU's foreign policy by exploring the Union's police cooperation as primarily reflective of the EU's evolving international political and power ambitions regarding its geographical neighbourhood. It thus challenges the prevalent view of the external dimension of JHA as being a merely security-driven, anti-crime practice, and a ‘functional corollary’ of the process of institutionalization of the EU's internal JHA landscape. Empirically, the dissertation engages with the examination of the recent history and practices of European internal security collaboration in the EU's core strategic neighbourhood of the Western Balkans: being perceived and securitized as a ‘stronghold’ of organized crime in the European discourse, this region has for years acted as a site of the Union's most intense international anti-crime activities. Chronologically, the research project spans the major period of 1991-2011, when the Western Balkans rose to prominence in the EU's foreign policy and cooperation on internal security matters and police cooperation with this region acquired particular importance for the Union. The dissertation project is of significance not only due to its empirical value (it is based on a significant amount of raw empirical data that the author processed into findings by methods such as interviews with people at the front-line of policy developments), but also because it opens up new theoretical-conceptual avenues to the study of the European Union as an international political actor.
  • Huotari, Antti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This dissertation focuses on stochastic and computational finance. It contains an introductory chapter and four essays. The first three of the essays are related to the optimal consumption and portfolio choice problem. The last essay deals with implied volatility modelling of swaptions. The first two essays are devoted to optimal portfolio and consumption when a consumer has habit preferences. The first essay focuses on finding an explicit solution when the underlying assets are allowed to follow non-Markovian dynamics and the preferences of the consumer are determined by the hyperbolic risk aversion utility function (HARA). The second essay presents a numerical method for solving the optimal portfolio in the habit case. By exploiting the Monte Carlo covariation method, it is possible to solve the optimal portfolio problem in the habit case. The approach is flexible in the sense that it is allows to make different kinds of assumptions about the behaviour of financial assets. The third essay considers the consumption-portfolio choice model when the stock prices follows a geometric Lévy process. Due to the lack of closed form solutions, numerical methods have been developed. In the case of the Lévy process, it is possible to form a so-called partial integro-differential equation (PIDE) and solve it by using a finite difference method. In the essay, an explicit-implicit option pricing method is utilized and a Markov chain approximation method is proposed for solving an optimal consumption and portfolio choice in the Lévy process case. The standard procedure for finding implied volatilities is based on Black's model which assumes a lognormal distribution of underlying prices and constant volatility. The last essay of this dissertation proposes pricing swaptions by assuming normally distributed swap rates with jumps rather than log-normally distributed rates. The pricing formula has been used to find implied volatility. The method is a combination of Bachelier's option pricing formula with normally distributed stock prices and a jump-diffusion formula for modelling variation which is based on swaption data. It is particularly useful in the case of a low interest rate and high volatility market.
  • Tepora-Niemi, Suvi-Maaria (2020)
    Inequality in work and rehabilitation. Agency in the life course of a person with a chronic illness or disabilities In this qualitative longitudinal study, I report on analyses of the agency of people diagnosed with a severe chronic illness when young and the change of agency in the course of their life in relation to the illness, rehabilitation and work. The research subjects had been treated as persons with a chronic illness or disabilities, and disability is understood broadly as limitations of functions and participation in society. The research material consists of deep narrative interviews conducted between 2012 and 2018 of the same people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) when young. In this study, MS is treated as an example of a disabling illness in illustrating the relationship between society, a chronic illness and disability, since the social experiences of chronic illness and disability are often similar regardless of the specific illness or disability. One goal of the study was to broaden the overall view of disability in Finland from the perspectives of work and rehabilitation. The results of the study are experience-based knowledge on the processes of falling ill, rehabilitation and changes of agency. It is possible to follow these processes in a qualitative longitudinal study. The theoretical basis of the study are the ideas of Anthony Giddens on the relationship between an agent and a structure, the capability approach of Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, the actantial model and types of pragmatic modality of Algirdas Julien Greimas, and the theoretical-methodological framework of the modalities of agency, developed further from the types of pragmatic modality by Jyrki Jyrkämä. The concept of modality makes it possible to analyse the nature of a chronic illness and disability in relation to society and to understand health, chronic illness and disability in the course of life as a continuum, in which different phases of chronic illness and comprehensive well-being alternate. The objective of the study was to investigate the kind of agency that is developed in a person diagnosed with a severe chronic illness when young, along with the life course in work and in rehabilitation supporting daily life. The research questions are: 1. What kind of agency is developed in such a person with relation to the illness and rehabilitation, and how does the agency change as the illness progresses and as time passes from the diagnosis? 2. What are the options for such a person to self-determination in planning their rehabilitation and how do these options change as the process of accepting the illness progresses? 3. How does the agency of such a person in relation to work change as the illness and the process of accepting it progress? 4. How is the course of life related to the development of the agency of such a person? The study is based on three sub-studies, from which empirical articles have been written. The research method of the first and third sub-studies was theory-driven content analysis, and that of the second sub-study is narrative actantial analysis. Accepting the diagnosis of a chronic illness is a sensitive process, which requires time. The process comprises the person’s desire, knowledge, abilities and opportunity to process their falling ill and to promote their own cause in social and healthcare services. Significant factors for the acceptance process are the time elapsed since the diagnosis and being admitted to rehabilitation or being left out of it. A recurring experience in the study has been the experience of the interviewees as being left alone without the long-term support of social and healthcare professionals immediately after the diagnosis. The lack of long-term early psychological rehabilitation is related to the difficulty of developing a rational agency to promote one’s own cause in social and healthcare services. Instead, strong emotions dominate the agency of the interviewees in relation to their own illness and rehabilitation soon after the diagnosis. Changing doctors made it more difficult for the interviewees to be admitted to rehabilitation and to initiate it. The difficulty participating in rehabilitation and the rehabilitees’ inadequate understanding of the content, objective and purpose of rehabilitation are related to the paucity of interaction between professionals and the rehabilitees, to missing rehabilitation plans, to beginning rehabilitation too late and to the prejudices associated with rehabilitation and the fears of its stigmatising effect. These are problems of the multi-sectoral rehabilitation service system that are difficult to discern. They also reduce the opportunities of persons with chronic illness or disabilities to self-determination in planning their own rehabilitation. The agency of the interviewees in relation to work changes as the symptoms of chronic illness and the process of accepting it progress individually. The change can be explained by the ability of the interviewees to accept the decline of their abilities and the options to adjust their existing work to it, part-time work or the opportunity to change their job description or line of work. Confidence in staying in work is provided by the support of the employer and work community, whereas distrust in the employer experienced by the interviewees reduces most their desire to negotiate on reconciling their chronic illness and work. Occupational and medical rehabilitation maintain the person’s capacity to function and work, even when the illness progresses or when changes take place at work. In contrast, staying outside rehabilitation creates uncertainty to the chronically ill or disabled person on the sufficiency of their own abilities and reduces their opportunities to negotiate in the workplace. Due to their education and social background, persons with a chronic illness or disabilities are in unequal positions with each other both in work and in social and healthcare services. A severe chronic illness or disability cannot be separated from other parts of life. Instead, agency in work and rehabilitation are built on the basis of their agency in relation to the surrounding community that these persons had before suffering from the illness or disability. People with a strong foundation for life are best able to process their own illness, being disabled or being a rehabilitee. Similarly, they have an opportunity to realise their self-determination in planning their rehabilitation and they are in an easier position to negotiate at work. The situation is weakest for persons with multiple chronic illnesses, depression and economic or emotional needs, and no support from their employer. These factors hinder implementing self-determination in planning rehabilitation and the negotiation of options at work. Keywords: agency, chronic illness, disability, life in the workforce, rehabilitation, course of life, longitudinal study  
  • Nortio, Emma (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Social psychological research on multiculturalism has demonstrated its potential to promote ethnic equality and reduce interethnic conflicts in society. However, it has also shown that ethnocultural majorities tend to support multiculturalism less than minorities. This result has been explained through the majority members’ uneasiness, which is related to minorities’ claims for cultural maintenance. While the dilemmas of multiculturalism—especially in regard to politics, policies and ideology—have been widely discussed in social psychological and social scientific research, there has been a limited interest in studying the accounts of those who live multiculturalism in their everyday lives. In this research, I focus on multiculturalism as a lived ideology. I argue that understanding the ways in which multiculturalism is oriented in the lay discourse could shed more light on its potential to promote harmonious intergroup relations. To foster this understanding, this research examines the lay discourse of multiculturalism in Finland, a country that ranks as one of the world’s most policy-wise multicultural societies, which concurrently is witnessing the mainstreaming of anti-multiculturalism and xenophobic political discourses. More specifically, this research asks, what kinds of discursive tools and resources do ordinary people living in Finland use to account for multiculturalism. In other words, how they construct, negotiate, and manage ethnocultural diversity and intergroup relations in their talk. This study consists of four sub-studies, all of which draw from discursive social psychological approaches stemming from social constructionism. Study I analyses focus groups held among majority Finns; Studies II and III analyse focus group discussions held among minority and majority Finns; and Study IV combines frame analytic and discursive psychological perspectives to examine the accounts of multiculturalism in a popular online forum. This dissertation contributes to social psychological research of multiculturalism in four ways. First, by analysing minority and majority discourses together, it shows how they are intertwined instead of contradictory. Second, it demonstrates the central role that justifying hierarchical relations between the majority and immigrants plays in the lay discourse of multiculturalism. Third, by examining the interplay between political, media, and the lay discourse online, it exemplifies how negotiations of multiculturalism are situated in wider political and cultural discourses. Finally, by employing a discursive approach, this research shows the complexities and dilemmatic aspects of the lay discourse of multiculturalism. More specifically, these complexities relate to three discursive constructions of multiculturalism and their functions. The first construction, threatening multiculturalism, served to represent majority and immigrants as essentially different groups and to justify their inequality. The second construction, valuable multiculturalism, enabled accounts celebrating diversity, and served as a tool to demonstrate a speaker’s open-mindedness. Third, the construction of limiting multiculturalism enabled the criticising of the essentialist and hierarchical categorisations of “us” and “them”, and the claiming of immigrants’ cultural citizenship.
  • Kutkina, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This dissertation is a study of (post)Euromaidan Ukraine as a socio-political and cultural space which undergoes a multilayered process of struggle over meanings. As a physical and political domain that emerged in a see-saw between Europe and Russia, the Euromaidan revolution was a unified protest that exposed multiple, at times contradictory beliefs: dreams of a just Europe, ultra-nationalist, Far-Right values, demands for prompt democratic transformation, hatred of authoritarian, corrupt government and naming of the ‘enemies’ or the ‘other.’ This research is a critical analysis of the articulation of such socio-political multivocality of the Ukrainian population, which found its physical and discursive expression within the process of post-2013 decommunization. This dissertation examines the evolution of post-Euromaidan de-Sovietization beyond the framework of passing and implementation of the 2015 decommunization laws. I address the process of decommunization as a political and cultural phenomenon at both the regional and national level, where the ordinary citizens and the government are involved in diverse forms of the meaning-making (e.g. political poster exhibitions, preservation or demolition of communist symbols, or renaming of the streets). I examine the process of de-Sovietization of (post)Euromaidan Ukraine as both fragmented and unified in its multivocality, where old symbols and/or judicial structures such as the statues, posters or laws are being replaced by new physical (e.g. architectural) and narrative formations. This dissertation consists of nine chapters, and is an outcome of 4.5 years of fieldwork conducted in western, central, southern, northern and eastern regions of Ukraine. It is an ethnographic study of data that includes 64 interviews, images and videos with the protestors, civic activists, members of non-governmental organizations, politicians, soldiers, artists, and ordinary citizens. To provide comprehensive understanding of different types of material, the method of ‘layered textual analysis’ (Covert 2014) is used. It involves structural analysis of the narratives present in the interview text, visual analysis of the photos, and guiding questions related to the content and relationship of the photos, objects and narratives. In this work, I use the concept of narrative to create a broader framework for categorization of the collected data-- to analyse, for instance, interviews, images, or videos of the protest or toppling of the communist statues as means of construction of the discursive narratives at both the grassroots and state level. As means of examining the empirical data, this work draws theoretical parallels between theory of hegemony (Laclau and Mouffe 1985; Cox 2019; Modelski 1991; Thompson 2015), Mikhail Bakhtin’s (1981) theory of heteroglossia and monologism, and Benedict Anderson’s (1983) idea of the imagined communities. The primary objective of bridging these theories is to examine multivocality in decommunization as both the process and outcome of articulation of polyglossic or multi-voiced practices of civic dialogical interaction. A broader purpose of ‘hegemonic’ reading of the collected data is to explore (post)Euromaidan decommunization as a social phenomenon which is mediated through discourse, where political meanings are articulated, contested, and, as a whole, never permanently fixed. As that of discourse analysis theory, the aim of this work is not to discover which groups exist within the society, or to unravel particular formations that object or support the process of decommunization. The primary objective of this research is to examine multiple mechanisms of selection of the discursive and physical elements that were included (or erased) from the physical space of (post)Euromaidan Ukraine (2013-2018), as well as to identify political and cultural means of the citizens’ and ruling elites’ consolidation of a politically and culturally diverse state.
  • Wilenius, Heikki (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The thesis is a study of the public activities of East Javanese regional councillors. Analysing the communication of these politicians, the thesis focuses on the ways they authorize their status as representatives of their constituency. The study finds that politics in East Java has a wide selection of authorizations, the use of which depends on the party, the political history, the age, and the gender of the politician. For the councillor, the most decisive factor for the choice of authorizations, however, is the political context. Different public institutions of politics are examined: meetings with the constituency during council recess, public hearings on draft bylaws, election campaign events, and regional council plenary sessions. The authorizations used in these contexts vary greatly, for example, concerning their aspect of ritualization, style of oratory, or way of evidence presented. A central theoretical contribution of the thesis concerns the idea that democracies have varying semiotic ideologies, that is, understandings of how signs work and what kinds of consequences are possible for them in the context of political practices. Using this analytical framework, different political traditions and ways of communicating with voters are compared. Another central theme of the thesis is the mixed legacy of the Orde Baru regime (1966–1998) in politics. While the plenary sessions of the regional councils evidence a lot of continuities from the Orde Baru in their focus on the celebration of consensus and ritualist oratory, other political contexts demonstrate how new political practices have institutionalized since the onset of the Reformasi era (1998–). Finally, the study argues that Indonesian democratic practices should be analysed from a perspective that does not postulate a liberal democracy as a normative yardstick, but instead, by examining the way politicians use authorizations and are made accountable for their actions. The thesis contends, against recent literature on the quality of democracy in Indonesia, that a more refined understanding is needed of the ways hierarchical and egalitarian aspects of democracy are intertwined in political practice. For example, by analysing on how hierarchical positions are authorized and ritually reproduced in politics, the contemporary challenges for politics in East Java and elsewhere are understood better.
  • Sihvonen, Ella (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This study aims to examine parenting support as provided through family support projects. The need to support parenting arose out of parenting-related anxiety, along with public and political attention regarding proper parenting and the wellbeing of children and youth in the late 1990s and early 2000s in Finland. In political and public debates, parenting was perceived as a source of many social troubles, causing multiple problems for children and youth, ranging from depression and irresponsible behavior to social exclusion. Par¬enting-related anxiety became a concrete issue in numerous projects aimed at supporting parenting, of which 310 projects are analysed in this study. The projects examined here were implemented by public organisations as well as non-governmental organisations, and were carried out between 2000 and 2010 in Finland. The data analysed in this study draw upon diverse project management documents, such as funding applications, midterm and final reports, as well as other project documents, including project plans and brochures. The documents were analysed through qualitative text analysis. Considering the large amount of data, some of the central characteristics of the data were categorised and quantified in order to describe the data at a general level, although the main focus lies on the qualitative analysis. In this study, I examine how and why parenting support became such an important element in family policy in early twenty-first century Finland. The increased attention on parenting support within family policy is called here a ‘turn to parenting’. This turn to parenting is not a Finnish peculiarity, but was identified in other Nordic counties as well as in many other parts of Europe. This study contributes to the recent critical research discussions around parenting support and parenting determinism. Parental determinism refers to the uncomplicated idea regarding how the absence of particular parenting skills represent a cause-and-effect relationship linked to multiple childhood dysfunctions, and which relate to virtually all that parents do or which remains undone. This study was also motivated by the question regarding what exactly is supported in parenting support. In my assessment, ‘parenting’ is not taken as self-evident, but as something that needs to be closely scrutinised. By examining parenting support, we can enhance our understanding of what parenting itself signifies, as well as what kinds of responsibilities and com¬petencies parenting requires. Hence, I study how parenting is understood within Finnish family support projects and how it can be conceptualised from the sociological point of view. In this study, I also frame parenting and parenting support historically and place the ‘turn to parenting’ along a continuum within the long history of family, parenthood and childrearing. Furthermore, I emphasise ‘parenting’ as a unique concept in relation to, for example, parenthood, which denotes the kin relationship between a parent and a child. Moreover, parenting also contains certain new connotations different from those related to ‘childrearing’, which are also important to delineate carefully. My results demonstrate that parenting support is either targeted towards supporting interactions between family members—more accurately, the relationship between the parent and the child—or towards (re)building community and strengthening parents’ peer relationships with other parents in their community. I suggest that there are two different approaches to par¬enting support identified within the family support projects: individualised parenting support and communal parenting support. These two approaches are employed in family support in order to increase the wellbeing of the family in general and specifically to prevent ill-being amongst children and youth. To carry out parenting support, family support projects employ particular techniques such as activation, responsibilisation, empowerment and highlighting parents’ own expertise. In this study, I indicate how in individualised parenting support these techniques aim to increase parents’ active awareness—their own inner expertise in parenting—and, hence, emphasise a kind of reflexive parental agency. As a consequence, good parenting seems to be connected to parents’ constant reflexive evaluation of all possible options related to childrearing, often from a child-centred perspective. Furthermore, in communal parent¬ing support, parents are encouraged to rely on their contemporaries when addressing parenting issues. This is what I have labelled the ‘horizontal expertise of parenting’, wherein the intention is to strengthen parenting with help from the community and peer relations. I raise the following sociologically intrinsic question in this study: How can we better study, conceptualise and understand ‘parenting’, ‘childrearing’ and the ‘socialisation of children’ from a sociological point of view? I propose that by turning our gazes from parenting and primary socialisation to the socialisation of children from a broader perspective, we can increase our understanding of childrearing and how the parent–child relationship is also constructed in relation to wider structures within contemporary society.
  • Novkunskaya, Anastasia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The system of healthcare in Russia since the 1990s undergoes perpetual and considerable transformation and has become a particular field of concern to the state. Maternity care services, in particular, appear to be even more symbolically significant to the authorities, provoking additional efforts to redesign their provision and organisation. This study addresses institutional changes that have occurred since 2006, when the most appreciable state measures to improve maternity care were taken and a new, ‘statist’ policy model emerged in Russian healthcare. It focuses on the perspective of healthcare practitioners, working in maternity facilities in small-town Russia. The research is designed as a multiple case study and allows comparison of the differing limits to and opportunities for professional agency emerging in formally similar institutional settings. Each case (n = 4) addresses a complex of antenatal and maternity care facilities located in one small Russian town, located in a distance from regional, economic and cultural centres. The data were collected between 2011 and 2017 years. The qualitative methods of in-depth interviews (N= 28) and participatory observations in two cases under investigation have been applied in the study. The main method of data analysis is common thematic content analysis. This study revealed the diversity of medical approaches, doctor–patient relations, dispositions toward change and notions of professional commitment in practices by a formally homogeneous social group of practitioners providing maternity services. Focusing on the provision, regulation and arrangement of maternity care, analysis of the health professionals’ narratives provided evidence of aggravated working conditions in terms of a growing domination of managerial and market institutional logics. In such conditions of the institutional complexity, healthcare professionals find some forms, in which professional agency can be practices in the field of maternity services. As a result, both organisational transformations and micro-scale changes took place in one of the cases under investigation over the course of a decade from 2007. The case of ‘stealthy innovators’ exemplified the substantial internal restructuring initiated by healthcare professionals in order to integrate a new, more patient-centred and family-friendly approach to childbirth. The study results confirm a top-down approach to change in the field of maternity care in Russia, and suggest that most recent state-led changes have been centralised in character and have resulted in the predominance of managerial and market logics of regulation. Different organisational settings present various combinations of institutional logics and their hybrids, and some of them favour institutional alterations initiated by health professionals, at least at the level of their practices. In spite of some positive examples of the institutional change occurred in the field of maternity care, this work has identified that some state reforms may have unintended consequences for healthcare professionals working in the maternity units of small Russian towns, and that there is a particular vulnerability of health practitioners in Russia. The key suggestion of the study is to consider healthcare professionals’ perspective in future reforms, in order to provide more space for their agency in terms of the institutional work they might accomplish to make the system of maternity care more safe, accessible and patient-friendly.