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  • 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.
  • Ylivuori, Soile (2015)
    My doctoral dissertation examines the complex relationship of gender construction and politeness in eighteenth-century England. It contributes to a vibrant field of historical research, examining politeness as an intellectual and cultural construct that was used to create individual and group identity. The study combines intellectual and cultural-historical methods with poststructuralist gender studies; through this interdisciplinary methodology, my goal is to introduce a novel approach to the historical research of politeness traditionally reluctant to utilise theoretical apparatuses as an aid of analysis and to suggest that such methods provide fruitful new readings of politeness and its intersection with gender, thus opening up new areas of research. The dissertation is divided into two parts. In the first part, I analyse politeness as a disciplinary practice that produced polite femininity defined in terms of softness, gracefulness, and modesty by regulating the movements and appearances of individuals bodies. This analysis is based on a wide selection of printed source material, such as conduct books, periodicals, sermons, and novels. My main argument is that the female body had a central role in the construction of normative polite femininity, both on a discursive and an individual level. Women of the social elite were urged to internalise a gendered polite identity by exercising and disciplining their bodies to meet the norms of polite femininity deemed natural despite the fact that within the heterogeneous politeness discourse, there was no consensus on what these natural norms exactly were. Moreover, I want to suggest that the ambiguous position of the body as both the means through which an identity is produced and worked on, as well as the allegedly truthful and unerring indicator of an individual s level of polite ideality created a fundamental conflict within the culture of politeness, forcing women into hypocritical positions in practice while simultaneously advocating honesty as the essential emblem of femininity. However, seeing politeness solely as a disciplinary regime provides a one-sided understanding of politeness, since it ignores individual subjectivity. Therefore, the second part of my dissertation examines the journals and letters of four eighteenth-century elite women Catherine Talbot, Mary Delany, Elizabeth Montagu, and Fanny Burney and looks at how these women dealt with the discursive ideals and demands imposed upon them. I argue that individuals had a complex relationship with discursive ideality, and that politeness was not solely a disciplinary regime that lorded over women s behaviour and identity. The profound heterogeneity of the culture of politeness gave, in itself, individuals some freedom of movement within it. More importantly, individuals engaged in specific strategies, or techniques of the self, in order to gain freedom from and within the restrictive norms of polite femininity. These strategies can be seen as clever utilisations of some of the central aspects of politeness with a subversive intent. They concentrate on challenging and redefining the naturalised formulations regarding authenticity, identity, femininity, and politeness, and include such practices as self-discipline, multiplicity of identity, play between exterior and interior, and hypocrisy.
  • 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.