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Diakoniatyön paikka ihmisten arjessa

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Title: Diakoniatyön paikka ihmisten arjessa
Author: Jokela, Ulla
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Belongs to series: A-tutkimuksia 34 - URN:ISSN:1455-9919
Abstract: This study examines the diaconia work of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church from the standpoint of clients. The role of diaconia work has grown since the early 1990s recession, and since it established itself as one of the actors along with other social organizations. Previous studies have described the changing role of diaconal work, especially from the standpoint of diaconia workers and co-operators. This research goes back to examine, beyond the activities of the diaconia work of everyday practices, its relations of ruling which are determining practices.

The theoretical and methodological framework rises from the thinking of Dorothy E. Smith, the creator of institutional ethnography. Its origins are in feminism, Marxism, phenomenology, etnomethodology, and symbolic interactionism. However, it does not represent any school. Unlike the objectivity-based traditional sociology, institutional ethnography has its starting point in everyday life, and people s subjective experience of it. Everyday life is just a starting point, and is used to examine everyday life s experiences of hidden relations of ruling, linking people and organizations. The level of generalization is just on the relations of ruling.

The research task is to examine those meanings of diaconia work which are embedded in its clients experiences. The research task is investigated with two questions: how diaconia work among its clients takes shape and what kinds of relations of ruling exist in diaconia work. The meanings of diaconia work come through an examination of the relations of ruling, which create new forms of diaconal work compared with previous studies.

For the study, two kinds of data were collected: a questionnaire and ethnographic fieldwork. The first data set was collected from diaconal workers using the questionnaire. It gives background information of the diaconia work process from the standpoint of the clients. In the ethnographic study there were two phases. The first ethnographic material was collected from one local parish by observing, interviewing clients and diaconal workers and gathering documents. The number of observations was 36 customer appointments, and 29 interviews. The second ethnographic material was included as a part of the analysis, in which ruling relations in people s experiences were collected from the transcribed data.

Close reading and narrative analysis are used as analysing methods. The analysis has three phases. First, the experiences are identified with close reading; the following step is to select some of the institutional processes that are shaping those experiences and are relevant for the research. At the third stage, those processes are investigated in order to describe analytically how they determine people s experience. The analysis produces another narrative about diaconia work, which provides tools for examining the diaconal work from a new perspective.

Through the analysis it is possible to see diaconia as an exchange ratio, in which the exchange takes place between a client and a diaconia worker, but also more broadly with other actors, such as social workers, shop clerks, or with other parishioners. The exchange ratio is examined from the perspective of power which is embedded in the client s experiences. The analysis reveals that the most important relations of ruling are humiliation and randomness in the exchange ratio of diaconia work; valuating spirituality above the bodily being; and replacing official social work.

The results give a map about the relations of ruling of diaconia work which gives tools to look at diaconia work s meanings to the clients. The hidden element of humiliation in the exchange ratio breaks the current picture of diaconia work. The ethos of the holistic encounters and empathic practices are shown to be of another kind when spirituality is preferred to the bodily being. Nevertheless, diaconia appears to be a place for a respectful encounter, especially in situations where the public sector s actors are retreating on liability or clients are in a life crisis. The collapse of the welfare state structures imposes on diaconia work tasks that have not previously belonged to it. At the local level, clients receive partners from diaconia workers in order to advocate them in the welfare system. Actions to influence the wider societal structures are not reached because of lacking resources.

An awareness of the oppressive practices of diaconia work and their critical reviewing are the keys to the development of diaconia work, since there are such practices even in holistic and respectful diaconia work. While the research raises new information for the development of diaconia work, it also opens up new aspects for developing other kinds of social work by emphasizing the importance of taking people s experiences seriously.

Keywords: diaconia work, institutional ethnography, Dorothy E. Smith, experience, customer, relations of ruling.Asiakkaiden kokemusten tarkastelu haastaa kehittämään diakoniatyötä

Diakoniatyön paikka ihmisten arjessa -tutkimuksen tuloksena diakoniatyöstä hahmottuu kahtalainen kuva. Yhtäältä diakoniatyö näyttäytyy asiakastaan kokonaisvaltaisesti kohtaavana, häntä puolustavana ja hänen rinnallaan kulkevana. Diakoniatyöntekijät ajavat asiakkaittensa asioita erityisesti suhteessa viralliseen sosiaaliturvaan. Toisaalta diakoniatyössä on myös omat särönsä. Asiakkaat joutuvat osallisiksi nöyryyttävistä mekanismeista tehdessään ostoksia avustuksena saamillaan osto-osoituksilla. Avusta ei tiedoteta systemaattisesti, joten diakoniatyön avun piiriin hakeutuminen on sattumanvaraista. Asiakkaiden hengelliset ja henkiset kysymykset arvottuvat diakoniatyössä taloudellisia vaikeuksia korkeammalla, mikä näkyy diakoniatyöntekijöiden halukkuutena suunnata työtään juuri tämänkaltaisiin asiakkaisiin.

Diakoniatyön asiakastyöllä ja sosiaalityöllä näyttää tutkimuksen perusteella olevan paljon yhtäläisyyksiä. Näitä ovat esimerkiksi asiakas-käsitteen käyttö, viranomaiset vastaanotot, asiakastietojärjestelmän käyttö, taloudellisen avustamisen ehdot, niihin vetoaminen avustusten rajoittamisessa ja väärinkäytösten ehkäisemisessä, kiire, asiakasvalikointi siinä, ketkä pääsevät syvempään asiakaskontaktiin sekä ruohonjuuritasolta lähtevän yhteiskunnallisen vaikuttamisen vähäisyys.

Tuloksiin on päästy tarkastelemalla diakoniatyötä Dorothy E. Smithin luoman institutionaalisen etnografian avulla. Siinä lähdetään ihmisten kokemuksista, mutta tarkastellaan kuitenkin kokemusten takana olevia hallinnan suhteita ja käytäntöjä (valtaa). Tärkeä tutkimuksellinen valinta on ollut tarkastella aineistoa asiakkaan tulokulmasta. Aineistoa on kerätty etnografisin menetelmin eräästä pääkaupunkiseudun seurakunnasta. Tutkimuksen metodologiaa on mahdollista soveltaa muissa auttamisen instituutioissa.
URI: URN:ISBN:978-952-493-148-9
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/27857
Date: 2011-10-28
Copyright information: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.
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