Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta


Recent Submissions

  • 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.
  • Weiste, Elina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The quality of the therapeutic relationship is highly significant for treatment outcomes in mental healthcare. While the value of the relationship has been clearly documented, the various aspects of how the relationship is actualized in clinical practice have remained unclear. This dissertation breaks new ground in understanding how the therapeutic relationship is manifested in three forms of therapeutic interaction: psychoanalysis, cognitive psychotherapy and resource-centred counselling. The method of conversation analysis is applied to compare these approaches and reveal how specific aspects of the therapeutic relationship are managed in interaction: 1) how therapists express empathy and respond to clients talk on their subjective emotional experiences, 2) how therapists work with experiences that belong to clients personal domains of knowledge, and 3) how disagreements are expressed and relational stress managed in therapeutic interaction. The data comprise audio- and video-recorded encounters from each therapeutic approach (86 encounters in total). The data analysis reveals the fine-grained interactional practices used in the management of the therapeutic relationship. In all the therapeutic approaches, formulating the client s emotional experience allowed the therapists to display empathic understanding, and prosodic features were important for marking the formulation as either empathic or challenging. In psychoanalysis and cognitive psychotherapy, the client s emotional experiences were typically validated, interpreted or challenged. In the resource-centred approach, the clinicians sought to focus on successful experiences and praised clients agency and competence, while shifting the focus away from their difficult emotional experiences. The data analysis also highlights the complex relationship between emotions and epistemics and describes how a delicate balance between empathic and challenging interventions is manifested in therapists supportive and unsupportive moves during extended disagreement sequences. This dissertation contributes to three areas of research: 1) clinical research, as it underlines the importance of investigating the actions of the therapist and client in a relational way, furthering comprehension of how the processes associated with the therapeutic relationship appear in the context of interaction between therapist and client; 2) sociological studies on mental health, as this study illustrates some important institutional differences between psychotherapy and psychiatric outpatient care; 3) conversation analysis, as this research provides the first broader systematic comparison of interactional practices in different therapeutic approaches.
  • Uski, Suvi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The dissertation explores the experience of maintaining a social network service (SNS) user profile. This is topical, with 1.49 billion profiles on Facebook alone and the numbers only growing. The social dynamics of self-presentation have changed dramatically in SNS contexts. The dissertation, forming an attempt to understand the phenomenon via both qualitative and quantitative research methods, shows how the process becomes very complex for an individual. Three key changes in social dynamics are presented. The first involves the role dynamic: the role presented in an SNS is now a meta-role, touching several social circles. A second dynamic, temporality, reveals that all actions one takes with an SNS profile are managed so as to maintain consistency. A final core change is found in the communication realm, where the mediated nature of the interaction means that social cues are different and asynchronous. In light of these changes, self-presentation is directed toward a prolonged identity performance , which is a non-traditional phenomenon in ordinary people s lives and social psychology. Prolonged identity performance with these changed social dynamics is manifested in several challenges facing self and identity. For instance, overlapping identities, identity development, coherence and consistency, and the realness of the self seem threatened. Drawing from the work of Goffman (1959), Giddens (1991), Gergen (1991), and Mead (1934), a concept is developed to illustrate the phenomenon of strategic self-presentation for prolonged identity performance through an SNS user profile. This concept, profile work,illustrates the essence of maintaining an SNS user profile. The dissertation situates profile work within the field of social psychology and in SNS research and research into self and identity. The dissertation elaborates on profile work in relation to the notion of authenticity. As the analysis reveals, profile work has a central role in maintaining authenticity of prolonged identity performance across offline and SNS contexts. An SNS profile offers at its base the possibility of constructing a socially-defined profile self since it enables an efficient conduct for social validation and negotiation of identity claims. The profile self is composed and maintained in relation to the social realm in which one operates, not relative to the SNS context. For the future, this research into profile work opens new avenues for SNS research, personal and social psychology, and self and identity research. The message of this dissertation is clear: The social powers in SNSs are changing the conception of identity in a way that is reflected in the sociocultural zeitgeist and in the day-to-day lives of ordinary people.
  • Lehtonen, Irma (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    English abstract This dissertation deals with the development process of bisexuality, identifying oneself as bisexual, acknowledging bisexuality in a heterosexual relationship, and the disclosure of bisexuality in a relationship assumed to be heterosexual. Bisexuality as a phenomenon is, to a large extent, both unacknowledged and invisible, and has been largely ignored in studies of relationships. Within the context of social work, customers who identify themselves as bisexuals often experience feelings of fear and anxiety because of their sexual orientation especially in terms of interacting with the social workers, being labelled as something different, and hence having to conceal their sexual orientation. Because of these anxieties, social workers need more diverse models and practices that enable them to help their customers with empathy and respect regardless of their sexual orientation. This dissertation is based on three main research questions: first, through what kind of a process does an individual disclose and identify bisexuality, second, what kind of phases does an individual go through when acknowledging bisexuality in someone close to them, and third, what happens in a relationship when it turns out that a person who identifies as bisexual has a relationship with a third party of the same gender. In addition to these, I am also interested in what emotions are experienced in a relationship when an individual´s bisexuality is disclosed to the partner, and how relationships are influenced and shaped by heteronormativity. One of the key concepts in this dissertation is heteronormativity, which describes a process dividing individuals into two separate genders and assuming romantic emotions to take place only between individuals of different genders. Heteronormative practices are experienced by and limited mostly to individuals whose sexuality deviates from the norm. For them, heteronormativity is regarded as imposing a set of norms regarding what is the status quo, natural, normative, and the only way to live a meaningful life. Within the public domain, heteronormativity is seldom questioned or challenged, and it is closely related to issues such as power and secrecy. Heteronormativity aims at shaping and maintaining our collective understanding of relationships in contemporary societies as something taking place between a man and a woman. As a counterforce to this, queer theories aim at challenging and questioning our norms and assumptions related to relationships by broadening the scope of relationships outside theas purely heterosexual. Methodologically, this dissertation approaches bisexuality from the narrative point of view. This dissertation thus assumes that bisexuality can be investigated through data collected from individual life stories. Life stories enable us to identify events and stories that shape an individual s understanding of bisexuality and relationships. The narrative approach served as a window to the authors of the life stories, their lives, as well as their life stories. Through the stories, the authors discussed their feelings and how they experienced the disclosure of bisexuality in their relationships. The data for this dissertation consists of sixty such life stories that deal with experiences related to bisexuality, its impact on the heterosexual relationship, and emotions and feelings closely related to bisexuality. This data was qualitatively analysed by means of both narrative and content analysis. Stories about bisexuality blend together numerous overlapping stories about relationships, emotions, memories, social relations, fears, secrecy, acknowledging and identifying bisexuality, as well as being bisexual. The authors narrate their stories through interactive processes by inviting the listener to be an active participant. Storytelling is inherently not only about making sense, but also about identity building and peer support. Within this context, narratives can either support or inhibit the emergence of stories. The main finding of this dissertation is that bisexuality develops over time. This development can be seen as a trajectory with separate, yet overlapping, phases. Bisexuality is seldom easily voiced or revealed to others, which is why secrecy closely shadows it. This is partially explained by flexibility: the ability to portray oneself either as heterosexual or homosexual. Bisexuality, then, seems to be something that is seldom publicly shared with other members of the society. People who identify themselves as bisexual often conceal it from their spouses and loved ones mostly because they are afraid of rejection and of being cast in the pariah class. However, it seems that a change is taking place in the Finnish society: especially younger generations especially are more open about their bisexuality, and it is becoming more common to share it with a prospective partner in the beginning of a relationship. Keywords: sexuality, bisexuality, heteronormativity, emotions, narratives
  • Hoppania, Hanna-Kaisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This dissertation investigates the politics of care. Providing care, particularly for the elderly, is becoming a major problem in many European countries. Dependency ratios are weakening while resources for the welfare state appear to be limited in the prevailing economic conditions. In this research I analyze how this situation was acknowledged and addressed in Finland through the Act on Care Services for Older People (Act on Supporting the Functional Capacity of the Older Population and on Social and Health Care Services for Older Persons [980/2012]) which came into force in 2013. The research explores the subtext and roots of the issue, and examines why the law turned out the way it did by analyzing the processes whereby the Act was initiated, drafted and finally passed. It considers how care and the problems around it were represented in the political process following media scandals which highlighted serious problems regarding the quality of elder care. This case study is situated in its wider historical context, and the nature of the subject matter itself care is investigated to illuminate what is at stake in the reforms of elder care service provision. I argue that this reform project, and the situation it stemmed from, presented a moment of political openness to debate, and an opportunity to transform the societal commitments regarding elder care. This potential however was lost. A problem which was largely about resource scarcity became one of regulation, thus limiting the issues on the political agenda and the scope of the legislation passed. A seemingly apolitical governance of care is becoming the key site in which power over care relations is exercised, effectively undermining democratic control of care policy. Theoretically and methodologically the research links Nancy Fraser s framework of recognition, redistribution and representation and Michel Foucault s concept of governmentality with a post-structuralist discourse approach. It also draws from multidisciplinary feminist care research. Through the deployment of this multidimensional perspective in the analysis of elder care politics in Finland, a discussion of care is brought into the discipline of politics where to date it has not received much attention. The complex character of care is moved from the somewhat abstract ethics of care literature into the specific question of how care is understood and managed in the political process. This research explains how an issue which appeared to have widespread societal support bypassed the central question of redistribution, preventing the Act from leading to any transformative changes in elder care. The nodal points of dwindling resources and the bureaucratic division of labour functioned to limit the scope of the law. The imprecise content of various floating signifiers, such as quality of care, meant that these were understood differently by the various actors involved in the process. Through the functioning of a logic of difference, alternative or challenging framings of the issue at hand were sidelined and contained during the process and within the Act. When finalized, the Act only led to an affirmation of existing levels of care provision albeit with new regulatory procedures. Symbolic recognition, procedural clarifications and preventative measures were emphasized at the expense of securing better resourcing. Despite a rhetorical commitment to welfare state principles across the political spectrum, in the background neoliberal policies were pushed ahead as the solution to the challenges of care. These programmes and schemes, however, rely on the maintenance and reproduction of unequal, gendered care relations.
  • Nykäsenoja, Jaakko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Mental health work has emerged as an important social issue over the past few decades. The reduction of institutional care, the development of outpatient treatment, the growth of diagnoses of depression, the introduction of new psychopharmaca and the increase in the number of organisations active in the field have been and remain key factors in mental health work, mental health and the treatment of related disorders. This study examines the involvement in mental health work of three social sectors – the public sector, the private sector and the NGObased third sector. Mental disorders pose challenges for public health and the economy, so it is important to understand their causes and effects as well as governance. Mental health work is an extensive and multifaceted field with a tradition of interdisciplinary research. No field of science has sole “ownership” of mental health as a research area; rather, issues related to mental health are regularly explored in fields as diverse as medicine, social policy, psychology, political science and administrative studies. Gaining a comprehensive overview of the field is therefore practically impossible. The purpose of this study is to investigate the sector-specific and cross-sector governance of mental health work.   As a concept, governance is close to the idea of overall social interest. How can different parties be guided so that an “ideal” or at least a feasible solution can be achieved, for example, for mental health work? For this purpose, the operating conditions of different sectors must be recognised, and responsibilities must be clearly distributed and coordinated. A third sector of mental health work appeared when local NGOs were established as a result of the rundown of institutional care in the 1980s and 1990s. The work of such NGOs includes both professional and voluntary efforts and encompasses those who provide assistance and those who need it, the latter also being linked through peer support. Mental health associations as well as social and health organisations more generally have been largely overlooked as a research topic. The results of this study also offer perspectives on the practical development and governance of mental health work.
  • Rissanen, Päivi (Kuntoutussäätiö, 2015)
    Päivi Rissanen, A Hopeless Case? An Autoethnography of Getting Mentally Ill and Re-habilitation of It The starting point of this doctoral thesis is my personal experience of falling mentally ill, being rehabilitated and getting treatment. I have analyzed my story through and with the help of the considerations used in social work, mental health nursing, psy-chotherapy and rehabilitation. My research setting is multi-layered. I am studying, firstly, the experience of falling ill and being rehabilitated and the changing identity in the process. The second viewpoint has been shaped from the client-worker rela-tionship, co-operation and the meaning of working habits. The third position enlight-ens the meaning of peer support and being an expert by experiment. For the fourth, I consider the changes in the Finnish service system. My research also includes a meta level reflection of the meaning of studying one s own experience. This study is aimed to clarify in narrative description my own experiences as a pa-tient, a service user, a peer counsellor, and an expert by experiment. Thus, the re-search method can be called an autoethnographic service user research. Autoethnog-raphy is a form of research that seeks to describe and analyse systematically personal experience in order to understand cultural experience. Also, the service user research is linked to research methodology, which strives for the participation and empower-ment of the service user. It concerns the close relationship between knowledge and the firsthand experience, which it may be based on. Data in this research has been collected from different kinds of texts. I have mainly used dialogical evaluation with the other researcher, Ms. Susanna Hyväri. The second source of data is the autoeth-nographic material of my diaries in addition to letters to friends, nurses, and my psy-chotherapist. The research opens up new viewpoints into mental illness, and provides new insights into analysis and interpretation. This research provides new knowledge regarding the rehabilitation process as an identity issue. Key words: mental illness, rehabilitation, service user involvement, expert of exper-tise, identity
  • Pyrhönen, Niko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    At the beginning of the millennium, a concern for the future of the welfare state in the globalized era was widely shared across the Finnish political spectrum. Further politicizing the question of immigration, neo-populist advocates mobilized a markedly heterogeneous constituency to support the right-wing populist Perussuomalaiset party, establishing the previously minor party among the three largest ones in the parliament. Employing a wide range of narratives, specifically tailored to different arenas of public debate, neo-populism soon acquired a chameleonic character that allowed front-line politicians and grassroots level advocates to secure support from constituencies in the blue-collared working-class, the middle classes and the generation. Instrumental in the expansion of the Perussuomalaiset voter base was the neo-populists ability to consistently facilitate exposure in the media for a welfare nationalist political agenda that framed their exclusionary immigration critique as part of a mundane socio-political debate aimed at saving our welfare state. In order to examine the consolidation of neo-populism into a resonant collective identity, the present study operationalizes theoretical contributions from critical nationalism studies a compound body of literature in sociology, political science and media studies into three analytical lenses. Triangulating between these lenses, the empirical analysis focuses on the narrative agency of neo-populist advocates, uncovering how the seedbed of favorable political opportunity structures was harnessed in their political mobilization. The collection of narrative data from a variety of arenas of public debate, and its subsequent analysis, is structured by a historical reconstruction of three critical turning points taking place before, during and right after the electoral victory of the Perussuomalaiset in 2011. The results of this doctoral study point to a conclusion that neo-populist mobilization was first advanced through narratives of exclusionary boundary-work, employed for the purpose of justifying a welfare nationalist focus on immigration politics as the panacea for the ailing welfare state. Constructing an idealized legacy of an empowering welfare state and harmoniously homogeneous civil society, neo-populists proliferated public stories that place the blame for the welfare state s globalized challenges on immigration. Moreover, through strategic social action in various online arenas of contested media space, the neo-populists sought to further personalize and emotionalize the debate on immigration. This served to consolidate a collective identity based on victimized self-understanding, whereby their political opponents and public critics were positioned into distinct enemy categories, such as the elite controlled media, irresponsible Green Khmers and detached ladies with flowery hats.
  • Ketola, Tarja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    ABSTRACT Western democracy is based on civil society and on the non-governmental organizations and social movements that operate at its core, offering opportunities for people to act, influence and network. Although interest in civil society has increased of late and research on the topic has become more active, the management and communications of non-governmental organizations remains a scantily researched area. This study examines the strategic management and related communications of a non-governmental organization from the point of view of management, members and clerical workers. Strategy, vision and other strategic management concepts and planning models have spread from companies to non-governmental organizations. Transferring the concepts and schemes of thought developed for companies to a non-governmental organization without alteration is, however, problematic, because of the different context and the related differences in values and ideologies. The premises of operation for a non-governmental organization are the pursuit of common good, volunteer agents, democratic decision making and administrative independence from external parties. The research data were generated in different phases of The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation s strategic working process during 1998 2010. The study is ethnographic and combines case study and (participative) action research methods. The method of analysis is content analysis. The theoretical background is formed of the theories related to organizations social, cultural and political reality, different models and theories of communication and the theory of communicative action. Of the various schools of strategic management studies, the framework especially leans toward examining culture, incremental learning, power and politics, and discursive and social practices. The study also contributes in part to critical management studies by offering a critical point of view on conceptions about organizations and management that have been considered self-evident. Citizenship and non-governmental organizations are examined especially through the concept of identity. The results of the study challenge the transfer of corporate language, concepts and planning models as such into non-governmental organizations and clearly highlight the meaning of context in an organization s strategy work and its success. The results are crystallized as a model of the future work and communications of a proactively operating non-governmental organization, taking into account the characteristics of such an organization as a social and administrative unit. The model is based on openness, extensive participation and equal treatment of the organization s members, and on dialogic communications. The model pays special attention to concepts; for instance, it proposes the concepts of future work, a dynamic view of the future and dreams as replacements for the corporate concepts of strategy and vision. The ritual and community-creating functions of communication and its facility to produce common meanings are emphasized in a non-governmental organization and ascend to greater import than formal structures and processes. Common discussions and negotiations about the direction and content of operations and emotional commitment enable the strengthening of collective identity and thus maintain the motivation of volunteers and other agents. As a practical contribution, the study also brings out factors that should be taken into account when constructing future work processes at non-governmental organizations. Keywords: community communications, non-governmental organization, strategy, future work
  • Buchert, Ulla (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    In Finland the work that public welfare service professionals do with immigrants is being studied increasingly. In these studies, it is common to first define on what basis people are categorized as immigrants, and subsequently to analyze professionals work with this group of people. However, I have chosen to take a different approach in this study. In my study I aim to find out what kind of divisions of work professionals currently carry out and have earlier carried out in the public welfare services by means of institutional categories of immigrancy as well as what kind of implications these divisions of work produce for clients, professional work and service system. My research questions are: What kind of definitions are constructed on immigrancy in the institutional categories established by professionals? What kind of professional meanings are constructed on immigrancy in these categories? How have the definitions and professional meanings associated with immigrancy in these categories changed? With regard to previous research, my study is related to that dealing with states as categorizers of ethnicity, race and nationalities, professional work done with clients categorized as immigrants, as well as the relationship between professionals and the Finnish welfare state. The theoretical framework of my study deals with institutional categories, professional work and the relationship between professions and the welfare state. The source data of this study consists of thematic interviews of professionals who work in public welfare services and some third sector organizations (n=56). The professionals work within the fields of integration, vocational rehabilitation and mental health rehabilitation in social work, health care and employment services. In the analysis of the data, I use theory-oriented content analysis based on conceptualizations of categories and categorization. The results of my study demonstrate that definitions and professional meanings constructed on immigrancy vary within the institutional categories established to it. In addition, the results demonstrate that these definitions and meanings have changed in numerous ways. According to my interpretation, professionals working in the public welfare services perform constant border work with regard to definitions and professional meanings of immigrancy. Moreover, I interpret that the institutional categories of immigrancy function in the welfare service professionals work as border objects, which help professionals to bring atypically constructed clienthood and professional work to the services. My study demonstrates that by using the institutional categories of immigrancy professionals currently carry out and have earlier carried out various divisions of work. By the help of these categories professionals are able to integrate into the public welfare services clients who are otherwise in danger of being excluded. Additionally, professionals use categories to develop their work and to specialize. On the other hand, by using these categories, professionals end up dividing the public welfare service system into two immigrancy- and non-immigrancy-related parts. The division in a way liberates the latter from the need to adjust to a multiplicity increased by immigration, produces clients related to immigrancy stigmas and otherness, as well as creates dead-ends in the service system. Based on the results of my study, I recommend that the institutional categories of immigrancy should be deconstructed by separating from each other the immigrancy-related names of the categories, and their contents i.e. clienthood and professional work defined as untypical within the Finnish public welfare services. It is unnecessary to name clients, professional work and services as related to immigrancy, even though the public welfare services are obliged to better adjust to the increased diversity due to immigration, and to treat all clients equally. Keywords: immigrant, immigrancy, immigration, institutional category, professional, professional work, public welfare services, universal welfare state.
  • Levänen, Jarkko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The circular economy is a topical issue in public policy and environmental social science. This dissertation offers a critical study of operations intended to develop a circular economy and industrial recycling of materials. The study identifies obstacles that prevent or delay the development of industrial recycling and seeks new solutions for overcoming these obstacles. Institutional obstacles are at the core of this work. They can be identified either as formal obstacles, such as legal or administrative problems, or as informal obstacles, such as problems related to routines or established practices. Traditionally, institutional obstacles have been considered either formal or informal. This dissertation challenges that conception and claims that often the most difficult obstacles are those that operate between the formal and the informal. Operating in between disconnects formal (administrative) institutional reality from informal (operative) institutional reality. It is challenging, if not impossible, to develop formal rules or ways of doing things related to a particular issue once the connection related to that issue has been cut off, because formal and informal realities are structurally dependent on one another. At the same time the dissertation points out that once the disconnection has been identified, it is possible to reunite formal and informal realities. This can be done by means of an institutional feedback mechanism that fits the local circumstances. Institutional feedback means maintenance of knowledge exchange between actors and groups of actors operating in different realities. In an industrial context, institutional feedback may, for example, enable the development of new kinds of recycling opportunities and continuous intensification of the materials utilization. Novel institutional feedback mechanisms may also offer new possibilities for overcoming obstacles in the development of recycling and the promotion of the circular economy in different sectors of society. This dissertation consists of four case studies that investigate the management of materials and other resources in industrial units located in the Bothnian Arc region of northern Finland. The industrial units studied cover the fields of Finland s traditional basic industries: the metal, wood-processing, and chemical industries. The primary data for this study consist of interview materials, questionnaires, and documentary sources. The main points of interest are two types of recycling: 1) the utilization of different leftover materials as replacements for existing products or as raw materials, and 2) the development of completely new kinds of recycling products and innovative recycling processes. Both types are considered especially from the perspectives of institutional obstacles and feedback mechanisms aimed at overcoming the obstacles. The key result of this study is a theoretical presentation of the structure and functioning of an institutional feedback mechanism. To function in a complex operational environment, an institutional feedback mechanism should consist of two components: the production of the right kind of knowledge (knowledge networking) and the management and maintenance of a network of actors that are central to the specific aims (network governance). This dissertation shows different ways to identify, conceptualize, and study these two components of institutional feedback mechanisms. By means of an example, the study also demonstrates how an institutional feedback mechanism can be constructed and how it can be utilized to overcome practical problems and profound institutional obstacles. Policy recommendations for the management of complex operational environments and for the promotion of a circular economy and material efficiency are also presented.
  • Rolando, Sara (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    The aim in this study is to narrow the gap in knowledge about how young people understand their direct (personal) and indirect (others ) drinking experiences by investigating images of alcohol (Sulkunen, 2007) among Italian and Finnish adolescents and young people on the threshold of adulthood. Italy and Finland are considered examples of geographies (Sulkunen, 2013) characterised by different social values and socialisation practices, but also facing common global challenges (Beck, 2005). The concept of individualistic and collectivistic cultures is used as a framework to describe the variations observed in young people s images of the risks related to alcohol consumption and responsible drinking. Individualistic cultures represent a socio-cultural system in which individuals are expected to develop an independent personality, and autonomy and self-maximisation are the prominent values, whereas collectivistic cultures encourage adherence to norms, values, roles and familial authority (Dwairy 2002). Within this framework, Finnish and Italian cultures are perceived as exemplifying individualism and family-oriented collectivism, respectively. The six published research articles, which together with this summary comprise the whole work, were co-authored by various Italian and Finnish researchers and are based on three main sets of data collected in focus-group (FG) interviews: 1) 32 FGs involving 191 participants from four different cohorts organised in Helsinki (FI) and Turin (IT); 2) 40 mixed-gender FGs involving 220 pupils aged 15-16 organised in Turin and Cosenza (IT) and Helsinki, and 10 FGs involving 30 parents and 32 teachers organised in Italy; 3) 32 FGs including 105 male and female pupils aged 13-14 and 15-16 and living in urban (Milan and Helsinki) and rural areas (Ciriè and Orivesi). The Reception Analytical Group Interview (RAGI) technique was used for collecting most of the data (sets 2 and 3), with visual images as stimuli, the aim being to enhance comparability in qualitative research (Sulkunen and Egerer 2009). Data set 1) was collected by means of verbal questioning and photographic stimuli. The results indicate that collectivistic, and particularly family-oriented cultures have thus far contributed to shaping less risky drinking patterns among young people. There are many reasons for this, including the more coherent and active role of parents in the socialisation process, the presence of shared social norms, and a greater awareness of the risks of drinking that are beyond the individual s control. Conversely, a parenting model that places more emphasis on independence and self-efficacy, which is typical of the more individualistic geographies, conveys trust in an individual s own competence to handle drinking, which in turn leads to a lack of attention to risks that are beyond the individual s control, in other words risks that are contextual, social and inherent in the substance. However, the global trend towards individualisation and the complex nature of the transition to adulthood could soon undermine the more protective collectivist images of alcohol.
  • Marionneau, Virve (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Public and academic discussion of gambling has been characterised by numerous contradictions. Although definitions of gambling as a sinful activity or even as a crime are now things of the past, the contemporary debate on whether gamblinkö-g is actually a social problem, an individual problem, a socially beneficial activity or perhaps just another form of consumption has been heated. This study maintains that no such conclusive definition of the social role of gambling can be found because societies discuss gambling differently based on contextual conditions. The research question asks whether the understandings of gambling differ between two European societies, Finland and France, and if so, how these differences are manifested. To answer this question a comparative study has been conducted. The research data consist of group interviews conducted among gamblers in Finland and in France, along with legal texts that regulate gambling in each country. Finland and France were chosen for this study owing to practical constraints but also to represent two European countries with differing gambling traditions but with similar overall availability of gambling opportunities. This made it possible to analyse institutional differences related to provision and legislation, as well as to compare cultural differences related to habits of thought and deep cultural structures. The study argues that social contexts influence not only the kind of gambling offers made available, but also how gambling is discussed, how it is justified, how it is understood and even how ensuing problems are conceptualised. Sociological theory is used to show that the way we understand social concepts such as gambling is specific to a particular cultural and institutional context. The results show that Finland and France differ in terms of how their gambling legislation has been justified and in how gamblers themselves discuss the activity. Differences were found in relation to what was considered an acceptable reason to gamble, what was considered the cause of problem gambling and how well the gambling offers of their respective countries were accepted. It is argued here that these differences reflect separate historical traditions of gambling, varying institutional organisations providing gambling opportunities, cultural differences in how blame is assigned, and varying conceptualisations of individuality in Finland and France. The analysis supports the hypothesis, showing that the way gambling is understood depends on the social context. The comparative analysis also demonstrates that gambling is a social issue and should be treated as such when its consequences, its availability or its importance to societies are discussed.
  • Niska, Miira (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Entrepreneurship is expected to serve a multitude of societal interests. It is assumed to enhance competitiveness, create jobs and services, and contribute to social and ecological development. As such, enterprise promotion has become an integral part of Finnish policymaking. In the rural context, enterprise promotion is an essential part of regional, agricultural and rural policies. Considering the governmental interests in entrepreneurship, a problem noted by both scholars and policy actors is that business owners do not make the most of public enterprise promotion. The present dissertation studies enterprise promotion in rural Finland from a relational social psychological perspective, by focusing on agency and interests. Previous studies have commonly assumed that interest conceptualised as goals, values or motives are internal and fairly stable dispositions which, at least partly, guide peoples agency. It is commonly assumed that business owners agency needs to be driven by economic interests in order to serve society. Public enterprise promotion, thus, aims at encouraging small business owners and potential business owners to adopt an entrepreneurial mind-set and work towards business growth. Recently, however, policy actors have also noted the importance of social entrepreneurs, whose agency is driven by societal common good not economic profit. Although commercial, growth entrepreneurs serve their own self-interests and social entrepreneurs serve the common good, both entrepreneur types are considered to serve society, with the former type contributing to economic development and the latter to social and ecological development. One problem recognised by scholars and policy actors is that business owners interests in doing business do not necessarily align with the interests of policy actors. For example, in the rural context, empirical studies have demonstrated that small business owners agency is driven by interests such as personal autonomy, modest upkeep and the continuation of the family farm. Furthermore, studies have suggested that small business owners internal dispositions especially an interest in personal autonomy make them withdraw from public enterprise promotion. The present dissertation takes a different approach on business owners agency and interests, and studies them from a relational social psychological perspective, drawing on Goffmanian frame analysis and social constructionism. Instead of individual dispositions, business owners agency and interests are approached as situated and embedded phenomena. Social scientific research on agency has mainly focused on the issue of how agents make things happen, while the question for whom do agents make things happen has been largely ignored. Unlike social scientists, economists have widely discussed the agency relationships between agents and their principals. This dissertation adopts a relational social psychological perspective to elaborate economists ideas of agency relationships and the concept of agency-for. The dissertation consists of four independent sub-studies that examine rural business owners agency-for with a special focus on its relation to societal interests and public enterprise promotion. Both quantitative survey data as well as qualitative interview and group discussion data are analysed. The empirical results demonstrate that rural business owners, as modern agents, are both capable and willing to adopt a multitude of principals. Besides their self-interest in personal autonomy and (modest) upkeep, rural business owners seem keen on framing their business actions as agency for various local principals, such as their employees, nature and rural vitality. However, they do not seem keen on the growth entrepreneurship framing. Regarding public enterprise promotion when viewed as an interaction process business owners principals may pose a problem. The functional interaction between policy actors and business owners requires a mutual understanding of the principal that is being served. However, public enterprise promotion is legitimate only when it serves the interests of society, be they economic, social or ecological development. Since rural business owners seem eager to frame their business actions as agency for self but not in the sense of business growth it might be difficult for policy actors to serve business owners self-interests without losing the legitimacy of public enterprise promotion. Furthermore, when adopting external principals, rural business owners seem to prefer local over national ones. Unless policy actors are authorised to serve local sustainable development, it may be difficult to negotiate over a shared principal. The dissertation suggests that rural business owners agency-for aligns better with public enterprise promotion conducted within rural policy (with an emphasis on rural vitality) and multifunctional agricultural policy (with an emphasis on environmental and rural wellbeing), than within new regional policy or neoliberal agricultural policy which both emphasise competitiveness.
  • Yliruka, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This doctoral dissertation focuses on practices that support working and learning and that target knowledge creation in social work as a means to enhance the flexible, open and critical expertise of social workers and to promote their efforts to assist their clients practices known here as reflective structures. This dissertation explores the topic by studying the introduction, feasibility and development of the reflective Kuvastin ( Mirror ) method of self- and peer-evaluation. This doctoral dissertation 1) explores and expands the role of individual reflection and self-evaluation, and connects it to the organisation of reflection and evaluation as well as to the creation of reflective structures as part of practice-based innovation activities and competence management, 2) presents a research-based method of reflective self- and peer-evaluation of social work which members of an organisation can use together to examine and develop their work as well as to create practice-oriented organisational innovations, and 3) analyses the feasibility of the model, particularly the conditions required in a public sector organisation. The dissertation is based on five previously published empirical articles and investigates the Kuvastin method by incorporating both a case study and an action research study. The dissertation has both adopted this method and used a theoretical approach to study how and under which conditions self-evaluation can create approaches and meeting spaces that generate, analyse and enrich reflection to support not only ethically sensitive social work with clients, but also innovation activities, in addition to promoting reforms in social work. This dissertation uses qualitative analysis to identify themes and types in the empirical data, and utilises the methodological tools of actor network theory. The dissertation highlights how processes of reflection, the construction of operational knowledge and the development of tools for personal reflection can at best strengthen employees expertise, workplace wellbeing and sense of meaningful work, thereby promoting the potential of social work to respond to clients needs. The study also shows that the achievement of good results in implementing and maintaining the Kuvastin method requires certain elements, such as transformational leadership, a shared concept of knowledge, dialogic interaction and shared object-oriented work. The method helps superiors, together with the employees, create a permanent learning community, a reflective structure in which employees jointly explore their and their peers experiences, challenge their beliefs and develop new artefacts that support their learning and working as well as the supervision of their work. Thus, this dissertation promotes a new approach to learning, enhancing workplace wellbeing and creating knowledge in social work communities. These activities are important not only for the services provided to clients, but also for the viability of the public sector.