Browsing by Organization "Aleksanteri Institute"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-3 of 3
  • Salmenniemi, Suvi (2007)
    This study analyzes civic activity, citizenship and their gendered manifestations in contemporary Russia. It is based on a case study conducted in the city of Tver , located in the vicinity of Moscow, during 2001-2005. The data consists of interviews with civic activists and municipal and regional authorities; observations of civic organizations; and a quantitative survey conducted among local civic groups. The theoretical and methodological framework of the study draws upon a micro perspective on organization, discourse analysis, gender and citizenship theories and Pierre Bourdieu s theory of fields and capital. This study develops theoretical understanding of the characteristics and logic of civic organization in Russia. It shows that social class centrally structures the field of civic activity. Organizations can be seen as a vehicle of the educated class to advocate their interests, help themselves and seek both social and individual-level change. The study also argues that civic organizations founded during the post-Soviet era are often an institutionalized form of informal social networks. Networks, which were a central element of everyday interaction in Soviet society, are a resource and often the only resource available that can be made use of in contemporary organizational activities. The study argues that gender operates as a key structuring principle in the Russian socio-political community. Civic activity is often discursively associated with femininity and institutional politics with masculinity. Women tend to participate more than men in civic organizations, while men dominate the formal political domain. The study shows that civic organizations are important loci of communality. This communality, however, differs from the communality envisioned in the communitarian and social capital debates in the West. It is selective communality , as it is restricted to the members of the organizations and does not create generalized reciprocity and trust. Civic organizations tend to build upon and reproduce the traditional Russian organizational form of circles , kruzhki. Along with the analysis of civic activities, the study also examines the redefinition of the role and functions of the state. The authorities interviewed in this study understand civic organizations as serving those goals and interests determined by the authorities, instead of viewing them as sites of citizens self-organization around interests and problems citizens themselves deem important, or as a counterforce to the state. By contrast, civic activists understand the core of organizational activity to be advocacy of their interests and rights, tackling social problems, the pursuit of wider social change and self-help. Co-operation between authorities and organizations tends to be personified and based upon unequal, hierarchical patron-client arrangements, which inhibits the development of democratic governance. The study will be published in Routledge Contemporary Russia and Eastern Europe Series later this year.
  • Jutila, Matti (Department of Political and Economic Studies, 2011)
    For the past two centuries, nationalism has been among the most influential legitimizing principles of political organization. According to its simple definition, nationalism is a principle or a way of thinking and acting which holds that the world is divided into nations, and that national and political units should be congruent. Nationalism can thus be divided into two aspects: internal and external. Internally, the political units, i.e., states, should be made up of only one nation. Externally each nation-state should be sovereign. Transnational national governance of rights of national minorities violates both these principles. This study explores the formation, operation, and effectiveness of the European post-Cold War minorities system. The study identifies two basic approaches to minority rights: security and justice. These approaches have been used to legitimize international minority politics and they also inform the practice of transnational governance. The security approach is based on the recognition that the norm of national self-determination cannot be fulfilled in all relevant cases, and so minority rights are offered as a compensation to the dissatisfied national groups, reducing their aspiration to challenge the status quo. From the justice perspective, minority rights are justified as a compensatory strategy against discrimination caused by majority nation-building. The research concludes that the post-Cold War minorities system was justified on the basis of a particular version of the security approach, according to which only Eastern European minority situations are threatening because of the ethnic variant of nationalism that exists in that region. This security frame was essential in internationalising minority issues and justifying the swift development of norms and institutions to deal with these issues. However, from the justice perspective this approach is problematic, since it justified double standards in European minority politics. Even though majority nation-building is often detrimental to minorities also in Western Europe, Western countries can treat their minorities more or less however they choose. One of the main contributions of this thesis is the detailed investigation of the operation of the post-Cold War minorities system. For the first decade since its creation in the early 1990s, the system operated mainly through its security track, which is based on the field activities of the OSCE that are supported by the EU. The study shows how the effectiveness of this track was based on inter-organizational cooperation in which various transnational actors compensate for each other s weaknesses. After the enlargement of the EU and dissolution of the membership conditionality this track, which was limited to Eastern Europe from the start, has become increasingly ineffective. Since the EU enlargement, the focus minorities system has shifted more and more towards its legal track, which is based on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (Council of Europe). The study presents in detail how a network of like-minded representatives of governments, international organizations, and independent experts was able strengthen the framework convention s (originally weak) monitoring system considerably. The development of the legal track allows for a more universal and consistent, justice-based approach to minority rights in contemporary Europe, but the nationalist principle of organization still severely hinders the materialization of this possibility.
  • Salmi, Anna-Maria (Kikimora Publications, 2006)
    My doctoral dissertation in sociology and Russian studies, Social Networks and Everyday Practices in Russia, employs a "micro" or "grassroots" perspective on the transition. The study is a collection of articles detailing social networks in five different contexts. The first article examines Russian birthdays from a network perspective. The second takes a look at health care to see whether networks have become obsolete in a sector that is still overwhelmingly public, but increasingly being monetarised. The third article investigates neighbourhood relations. The fourth details relationships at work, particularly from the vantage point of internal migration. The fifth explores housing and the role of networks and money both in the Soviet and post-Soviet era. The study is based on qualitative social network and interview data gathered among three groups, teachers, doctors and factory workers, in St. Petersburg during 1993-2000. Methodologically it builds on a qualitative social network approach. The study adds a critical element to the discussion on networks in post-socialism. A considerable consensus exists that social networks were vital in state socialist societies and were used to bypass various difficulties caused by endemic shortages and bureaucratic rigidities, but a more debated issue has been their role in post-socialism. Some scholars have argued that the importance of networks has been dramatically reduced in the new market economy, whereas others have stressed their continuing importance. If a common denominator in both has been a focus on networks in relation to the past, a more overlooked aspect has been the question of inequality. To what extent is access to networks unequally distributed? What are the limits and consequences of networks, for those who have access, those outside networks or society at large? My study provides some evidence about inequalities. It shows that some groups are privileged over others, for instance, middle-class people in informal access to health care. Moreover, analysing the formation of networks sheds additional light on inequalities, as it highlights the importance of migration as a mechanism of inequality, for example. The five articles focus on how networks are actually used in everyday life. The article on health care, for instance, shows that personal connections are still important and popular in post-Soviet Russia, despite the growing importance of money and the emergence of "fee for service" medicine. Fifteen of twenty teachers were involved in informal medical exchange during a two-week study period, so that they used their networks to bypass the formal market mechanisms or official procedures. Medicines were obtained through personal connections because some were unavailable at local pharmacies or because these connections could provide medicines for a cheaper price or even for free. The article on neighbours shows that "mutual help" was the central feature of neighbouring, so that the exchange of goods, services and information covered almost half the contacts with neighbours reported. Neighbours did not provide merely small-scale help but were often exchange partners because they possessed important professional qualities, had access to workplace resources, or knew somebody useful. The article on the Russian work collective details workplace-related relationships in a tractor factory and shows that interaction with and assistance from one's co-workers remains important. The most interesting finding was that co-workers were even more important to those who had migrated to the city than to those who were born there, which is explained by the specifics of Soviet migration. As a result, the workplace heavily influenced or absorbed contexts for the worker migrants to establish relationships whereas many meeting-places commonly available in Western countries were largely absent or at least did not function as trusted public meeting places to initiate relationships. More results are to be found from my dissertation: Anna-Maria Salmi: Social Networks and Everyday Practices in Russia, Kikimora Publications, 2006, see