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  • Närvä, Jaakko (Helsingin yliopiston uskontotieteen laitos, 2008)
    The main question of my doctoral thesis is whether ufology and UFO experiences are or can be explained as religious phenomena. My research is theoretical in the sense that I combine and systematise cultural scientific knowledge concerning the religiosity of ufology and UFO experiences and complete this theoretical effort with empirical subject matter. The research material for my study consists of theoretical literature and empirical texts written by ufologists and those who have had UFO experiences. I defined the material in a way that it became full and extensive with regard to ufology, stories about UFO experiences and the cultural scientific literature concerning them. In addition, I present a source criticism for the literature because it is in part informal. The method is analysing and synthesising the material in the context of spiral of hermeneutic inferential process. Definitions of religion, ufology and UFO experience, developed by myself, serve as guide lines for the process. The conclusions of my research are as follows. For the most part, ufology and UFO experiences belong to the category of religion and only a fraction of these instances can be explained as something else, for example psychiatric phenomena. From the religious viewpoint I explain ufology and UFO experiences on four different but interlinked levels: historical, comparative, sociological and psychological. Historically ufology and UFO experiences include esoteristic, Christian and folk religious elements. In addition UFO experiences have significant similarities with folk religious stories and shamanistic experiences. From the perspective of the sociology, of religion ufology and UFO experiences can be analysed as products of our scientific and technological Western culture. Social crisis and social psychological group mechanisms affect the appearance of ufological ideas and UFO experiences. Psychologically, in the background of religious UFO experiences there can be found several factors, such as wishful thinking. Concerning UFO sightings these are misinterpretations of certain ordinary and some rare or exotic natural and technical phenomena. Intense UFO experiences, such as UFO abductions, are stimulated for the most part by hallucinations, sleep paralysis disorders, lively fantasies (in case of fantasy prone personalities) and false memories. In group cases social pressure, small group delusion and the guilt of exposing the true nature of a story come into play. A UFO experience can be traumatising because of certain inferential mechanisms and cognitive dissonance involved in the process of conversion as a UFO experiencer. UFO religiosity is a cross cultural, widespread and a significant field of phenomena, which can offer insight about religious developments in the future. However, UFO religiosity has not been studied extensively. This research is one effort to address this lack of documentation. The motivation behind my thesis was to make ufology and UFO experiences more understandable.
  • Segerståhl, Sinikka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Lullabies in Kvevlax. Linguistic structures and constructions. The study is a linguistic analysis of constructions that shape the texts used in lullabies in Kvevlax in Ostrobothnia in Finland. The empirical goal is to identify linguistic constructions in traditional lullabies that make use of the dialect of the region. The theoretical goal was to test the usability of Construction Grammar (CxG) in analyses of this type of material, and to further develop the formal description of Construction Grammar in such a way as to make it possible to analyze all kinds of linguistically complex texts. The material that I collected in the 1960s comprises approximately 600 lullabies and concomitant interviews with the singers on the use of lullabies. In 1991 I collected additional material in Kvevlax. The number of informants is close to 250. Supplementary material covering the Swedish-language regions in Finland was compiled from the archives of the Society of Swedish Literature in Finland. The first part of the study is mainly based on traditional grammar and gives general information about the language and the structures used in the lullabies. In the detailed study of the Kvevlax lullabies in the latter part of the study I use a version of Construction Grammar intended for the linguistic analysis of usage-based texts. The analysis focuses on the most salient constructions in the lullabies. The study shows that Construction Grammar as a method has more general applicability than traditional linguistic methods. The study identifies important constructions, including elements typical of this genre, that structure the text in different variants of the same lullabies. In addition, CxG made it possible to study pragmatic aspects of the interactional, cultural and contextual language that is used in communication with small children. The constructions found in lullabies are also used in language in general. In addition to being able to give detailed linguistic descriptions of the texts, Construction Grammar can also explain the multidimensionality of language and the variations in the texts. The use of CxG made it possible to show that variations are not random but follow prototypical linguistic patterns, constructions. Constructions are thus found to be linguistic resources with built-in variation potentials.
  • Relas, Jukka (Suomen Muinaismuistoyhdistys, 2013)
    Power, style and space. Emperors and Presidents residence in Helsinki 1837 1940 The subject of this research is the Imperial Palace of Helsinki. It first served the Grand Duchy of Finland, which belonged to the Russian Empire, and later became the Presidential Palace of independent Finland. The primary focus of this research is the interior design of the Palace between 1837 1940. The research is based on facts about the building, its preserved objects and furniture and existing documents. These have been combined and studied in relation to different historical contexts. The fundamental concepts of the research are power, style and space. In 1837, Emperor Nicholas I ordered the buying an old merchant s house to serve as the Imperial Palace of Helsinki. The alterations, designed by architect Carl Ludvig Engel, were finished in 1843. The palace was decorated partially with the furniture that had been acquired in 1819 from St Petersburg for the old residence of the Governor General, and partially with new furniture bought in St Petersburg and Helsinki. The interior of the palace would bear a strong similarity to that of the much larger Winter Palace of St Petersburg, whitch was redecorated around the same time. Later in the 1860s the furniture was complemented with acquisitions from Berlin. In the second half of the 19th century 28 pieces of mainly Finnish art were acquired. In the end of 1890s the interior of the palace was renovated, and the building was enlarged in 1907. Both of these projects were designed by architect Jac. Ahrenberg. The Emperor very seldom visited the palace and it was infrequently used for ceremonial purposes. Nevertheless, it was a reminder of the existence of the Emperor in Helsinki. During the First World War the Palace served as a military hospital and in 1917 during the Russian Revolution it was taken over by the Russian military committee. Finland gained independence during the same year, but the building became the Presidential Palace only after many phases in 1919, when it was transformed into one of the central buildings of political activity in the country. New traditions of a now independent Finland were developed there on top of the heritage of the period of Finnish autonomy in the Russian Empire. The history of Finland s autonomy and independence are interestingly intertwined in the Palace. The building and its interior were not originally designed for its future purpose, but they developed gradually under different emperors, political systems and art style periods into a multilayered cultural and architectural structure.
  • Vänskä, Annamari (Taidehistorian seura, 2006)
    The PhD dissertation "Bucking Glances: On Body, Gender, Sexuality and Visual Culture Research" consists of theoretical introduction and five articles published between 2002-2005. The articles analyze the position of visual representations in the processes of knowledge production on acceptable genders, bodies, and sexualities in contemporary Wes¬tern societies. The research material is heterogeneous, consisting of representations of contemporary art, advertisements, and fashion images. The ideological starting point of the PhD dissertation is the politics of the gaze and the methods used to expose this are the concepts of oppositional gaze, close reading, and resisting reading. The study situates visual representations in dialogue with the concepts of the grotesque and androgyny, as well as with queer-theory and theories of the gaze. The research challenges normative meanings of visual representations and opens up space for more non-conventional readings attached to femininity and masculinity. The visual material is read as troubling the prevailing heteronormative gender system. The dissertation also indicates how visual culture research utilizing the approach of queer theory can be fruitful in opposing and re-visioning changes in the repressive gender system. The article "A Heroic Male and A Beautiful Woman. Teemu Mäki, Orlan and the Ambivalence of the Grotesque Body" problematizes the concept of heroic masculinity through the analysis of the Finnish artist Teemu Mäki's masochistic performance The Good Friday (1989). It also analyzes cosmetic surgery, undertaken by the French artist Orlan, as a cultural tool in constructing and visualizing the contemporary, com¬mercial ideals of female beauty. The article "Boys Will Be Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Girls. The Ambivalence of Androgyny in Calvin Klein' Advertisements" is a close reading of the Calvin Klein perfume advertisement One (1998) in reference to the concept of androgyny. The critical point of the article is that androgynous male bodies allow the extension of the categorical boundaries of masculinity and homosexuality, whereas representations of androgynous women feed into the prevailing stereotypes of femininity, namely the fear of fat. The article "See-through Closet: Female Androgyny in the 1990s Fashion Images, New Woman and Lesbian Chic" analyzes the late 1990s fashion advertisements through the concept of female androgyny. The article argues that the figures of the masculine female androgynes in the late 1990s fashion magazines do not problematize the dichotomous gender binary. The women do not pass as men but produce a variation of heterosexual desirability. At the same time, the representations open up space for lesbian gazing and desiring. The article "Why are there no lesbian advertisements?" addresses the issue of femme gaze and desire in relation to heterosexual fashion advertisements from the British edition of the mainstream fashion magazine Vogue. The article considers possibilities for resistant femme visibility, identification, and desire. The article "Woman, Food, Home. Pirjetta Brander's and Heidi Romo's Works as Bucking Representations of Femininity" analyses the production and queering of heteronormative femininity and family through the analysis of art works. The article discusses how the term queer has been translated into Finnish. The article also introduces a new translation for the term queer: the noun vikuuri, i.e. faulty form and the verb vikuroida, i.e. to buck. In Finnish, the term vikuuri is the vernacular or broken form of the term figure, i.e. figuuri. Vikuuri represents all forms situated outside the norm and the normative.
  • Happonen, Sirke (WSOY, 2007)
    Tove Jansson (1914--2001) was a Finnish illustrator, author, artist, caricaturist and comic artist. She is best known for her Moomin Books, written in Swedish, which she illustrated herself, and published between 1945 and 1977. My study focuses on the interweaving of images and words in Jansson s picturebooks, novels and short stories situated in the fantasy world of Moomin Valley. In particular, it concentrates on Jansson s development of a special kind of aesthetics of movement and stasis, based upon both illustration and text. The conventions of picturebook art and illustration are significant to both Jansson s visual art and her writing, and she was acutely conscious of them. My analysis of Jansson s work begins by discussing her first published picturebooks and less familiar illustrations (before she began her Moomin books) and I then proceed to discuss her three Moomin picturebooks, The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My; Who Will Comfort Toffle?, and The Dangerous Journey. The discussion moves from images to words and from words to images: Barthes s (1982) concept of anchoring and, in particular, what he calls relaying , form a point of reading and viewing Moomin texts and illustrations in a complementary relation, in which the message s unity occurs on a higher level: that of the story, the anecdote, the diegesis . The eight illustrated Moomin novels and one collection of short stories are analysed in a similar manner, taking into account the academic discourse about picturebooks which was developed in the last decade of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st century by, among others, scholars such as Nodelman, Rhedin, Doonan, Thiele, Stephens, Lewis, Nikolajeva and Scott. In her Moomin books, Jansson uses a wide variety of narrative and illustrative styles which are complementary to each other. Each book is different and unique in its own way, but a certain development or progression of mood and representation can be seen when assessing the series as a whole. Jansson s early stories are happy and adventurous but her later Moomin novels, beginning from Moominland Midwinter, focus more on the interiority of the characters, placing them in difficult situations which approximate social reality. This orientation is also reflected in the representation of movement and space. The books which were published first include more obviously descriptive passages, exemplifying the tradition of literary pictorialism. Whereas in Jansson s later work, the space develops into something that is alive which can have an enduring effect on the characters personalities and behaviour. This study shows how the idea of an image a dynamic image -- forms a holistic foundation for Jansson s imagination and work. The idea of central perspective, or frame, for instance, provided inspiration for whole stories or in the way that she developed her characters, as in the case of the Fillyjonk, who is a complex female figure, simultaneously frantic and prim. The idea of movement is central to the narrative art of picturebooks and illustrated texts, particularly in relation to the way that action is depicted. Jansson, however, also develops a specific choreography of characters in which poses and postures signify action, feelings and relationships. Here, I use two ideas from modern dance, contraction and release (Graham), to characterise the language of movement which is evident in Jansson s words and images. In Jansson s final Moomin novels and short stories, the idea of space becomes more and more dynamic and closely linked with characterisation. My study also examines a number of Jansson s early sketches for her Moomin novels, in which movement is performed much more dramatically than in those illustrations which appeared in the last novels to be published.
  • Fewster, Derek (SKS, 2006)
    The study is an examination of how the distant national past has been conceived and constructed for Finland from the mid-sixteenth century to the Second World War. The author argues that the perception and need of a national 'Golden Age' has undergone several phases during this period, yet the perceived Greatness of the Ancient Finns has been of great importance for the growth and development of the fundamental concepts of Finnish nationalism. It is a question reaching deeper than simply discussing the Kalevala or the Karelianism of the 1890s. Despite early occurrences of most of the topics the image-makers could utilize for the construction of an Ancient Greatness, a truly national proto-history only became a necessity after 1809, when a new conceptual 'Finnishness' was both conceived and brought forth in reality. In this process of nation-building, ethnic myths of origin and descent provided the core of the nationalist cause - the defence of a primordial national character - and within a few decades the antiquarian issue became a standard element of the nationalist public enlightenment. The emerging, archaeologically substantiated, nationhood was more than a scholarly construction: it was a 'politically correct' form of ethnic self-imaging, continuously adapting its message to contemporary society and modern progress. Prehistoric and medieval Finnishness became even more relevant for the intellectual defence of the nation during the period of Russian administrative pressure 1890-1905. With independence the origins of Finnishness were militarized even further, although the 'hot' phase of antiquarian nationalism ended, as many considered the Finnish state reestablished after centuries of 'dependency'. Nevertheless, the distant past of tribal Finnishness and the conceived Golden Age of the Kalevala remained obligating. The decline of public archaeology is quite evident after 1918, even though the national message of the antiquarian pursuits remained present in the history culture of the public. The myths, symbols, images, and constructs of ancient Finnishness had already become embedded in society by the turn of the century, like the patalakki cap, which remains a symbol of Finnishness to this day. The method of approach is one of combining a broad spectrum of previously neglected primary sources, all related to history culture and the subtle banalization of the distant past: school books, postcards, illustrations, festive costumes, drama, satirical magazines, novels, jewellery, and calendars. Tracing the origins of the national myths to their original contexts enables a rather thorough deconstruction of the proto-historical imaginary in this Finnish case study. Considering Anthony D. Smith's idea of ancient 'ethnies' being the basis for nationalist causes, the author considers such an approach in the Finnish case totally misplaced.
  • Jonas, Michael (2009)
    This dissertation explores the role of the German minister to Helsinki, Wipert von Blücher (1883-1963), within the German-Finnish relations of the late 1930s and the Second World War. Blücher was a key figure – and certainly one of the constants – within German Finland policy and the complex international diplomacy surrounding Finland. Despite representing Hitler’s Germany, he was not a National Socialist in the narrower sense of the term, but a conservative civil servant in the Wilhelmine tradition of the German foreign service. Along with a significant number of career diplomats, Blücher attempted to restrict National Socialist influence on the exercise of German foreign policy, whilst successfully negotiating a modus vivendi with the new regime. The study of his political biography in the Third Reich hence provides a highly representative example of how the traditional élites of Germany were caught in an cycle of conformity and, albeit tacit, opposition. Above all, however, the biographical study of Blücher and his behaviour offers an hitherto unexplored approach to the history of the German-Finnish relations. His unusually long tenure in Helsinki covered the period leading up to the so-called Winter War, which left Blücher severely distraught by Berlin’s effectively pro-Soviet neutrality and brought him close to resigning his post. It further extended to the German-Finnish rapprochement of 1940/41 and the military cooperation of both countries from mid-1941 to 1944. Throughout, Blücher developed a diverse and ambitious set of policy schemes, largely rooted in the tradition of Wilhelmine foreign policy. In their moderation and commonsensical realism, his designs – indeed his entire conception of foreign policy – clashed with the foreign political and ideological premises of the National Socialist regime. In its theoretical grounding, the analysis of Blücher’s political schemes is built on the concept of alternative policy and indebted to A.J.P. Taylor’s definition of dissent in foreign policy. It furthermore rests upon the assumption, introduced by Wolfgang Michalka, that National Socialist foreign policy was dominated by a plurality of rival conceptions, players, and institutions competing for Hitler’s favour (‘Konzeptionen-Pluralismus’). Although primarily a study in the history of international relations, my research has substantially benefited from more recent developments within cultural history, particularly research on nobility and élites, and the renewed focus on autobiography and conceptions of the self. On an abstract level, the thesis touches upon some of the basic components of German politics, political culture, and foreign policy in the first half of the 20th century: national belonging and conflicting loyalties, self-perception and representation, élites and their management of power, the modern history of German conservatism, the nature and practice of diplomacy, and, finally, the intricate relationship between the ethics of the professional civil service and absolute moral principles. Against this backdrop, the examination of Blücher’s role both within Finnish politics and the foreign policy of the Third Reich highlights the biographical dimension of the German-Finnish relationships, while fathoming the determinants of individual human agency in the process.
  • Gondolph, Nadia (Peter Lang Verlag, 2011)
    The main objects of the investigation were the syntactic functions of adjectives. The reason for the interest in these functions are the different modes of use, in which an adjective can occur. All together an adjective can take three different modes of use: attributive (e. g. a fast car), predicative (e. g. the car is fast) and adverbial (e. g. the car drives fast). Since an adjective cannot always take every function, some dictionaries (esp. learner s dictionaries) deliver information within the lexical entry about any restrictions. The purpose of the research consisted of a comparison in relation to the lexical entries of adjectives, which were investigated within four selected monolingual German-speaking dictionaries. The comparison of the syntactical data of adjectives were done to work out the differences and the common characteristics of the lexical entries concerning the different modes of use and to analyse respective to assess them. In the foreground, however, were the differences of the syntactical information. Concerning those differences it had to be worked out, which entry is the grammatically right one respective if one entry is in fact wrong. To find that out an empirical analysis was needed, which based on the question in which way an adjective is used within a context as far as there are no conforming data within the dictionaries. The delivery of the correctness and the homogeneity of lexical entries of German-speaking dictionaries are very important to support people who are learning the German language and to ensure the user friendliness of dictionaries. Throughout the investigations it became clear that in almost half of the cases (over 40 %) syntactical information of adjectives differ from each other within the dictionaries. These differences make it for non-native speakers of course very difficult to understand the correct usage of an adjective. Thus the main aim of the doctoral thesis was it to deliver and to demonstrate the clear syntactical usage of a certain amount of adjectives.
  • Brenden, Randi (Nordica Helsingensia, 2013)
    This thesis deals with literature written by the Norwegian writer Åsta Holth (1904-1999). Holth was particularly known for her texts about the so called forest Fins , i.e. descendents from Finnish immigrants in Norway (and Sweden), and for her work to make this ethnic group recognized among ethnic Norwegians. Her writing also reveals a deep interest in feminism. The material that is used consists of one short story, Tomasdagen (1941), two novels, Gullsmeden (1958), and Volva (1987), together with Holth s self biography, Piga (1979). The basis of this dissertation is articles about each of these chosen texts, (published in Norsk litterær årbok 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012). The perspective in reading Holth s texts is double: From one point of view the ethnical aspct is studied, founded on post-colonial theories. Equally important is the feministic viewpoint: based upon the French feminist writers Hélène Cixous, Julia Kristeva, and Luce Irigary, the material is examined in order to focus on the feminist aspect in Holth s writing. Methodologically the basis of this dissertation is perspectivated readings where theoretical clusters are read together with the chosen parts of Holth s publications. Newer theory within the fields postcolonialism and feminism is applied as a foundation in these hermeneutic readings. The approach to the problem is to explore how the implementation of such theory in the reading of Holth s texts can highlight her literary work in a new way. The result of the investigation is that these readings tend to reactualize Holth s texts. The reactualization derives from the implementation of French feminists, which shows that Kristeva s conception of abjection is a central theme in connection with specific female experiences, such as female sexuality, birthing, and the dyade between mother and child. As to post-colonial theory, this thesis is based upon Foucault s theory concerning the discourse of power, and his idea of the contrast between dominant and dominated. The dissertation concludes that the gap between dominant and dominated, or elite and insurgent, can be overcome by individual, intimate meetings resulting in a productive hybrid, containing the possibility of thinking and acting independently, not being bound by old traditions.