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Browsing by study line "Humanities"

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  • Baker, Liv (2023)
    In response to the increasing need for an effective method to compare student performance on the international scale, the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) launched the Program for International Student Assessment, better known as the PISA, in 1997. As such, PISA not only establishes an internally agreed upon framework between countries, but it also binds the commitment of OECD member states to regularly assessing the impact of educational systems on student performance. According to the first published PISA results, PISA “aims at providing a new basis for policy dialogue and for collaboration in defining and operationalizing educational goals— in innovative ways that reflect judgment about the skills that are relevant to adult life.” In simple terms, PISA seeks to evaluate how well 15-year-olds are prepared for the challenges they will face in life. Finland has ranked among the top countries since the first administration of the triennial PISA in 2000. Despite measuring well against its OECD counterparts, Finland, which once topped the PISA ranks, has since experienced a relative decline in performance. The mediation of PISA results has undeniably affected Finland’s image of education. This media discourse analysis uses major American newspaper outlets to unearth how Finland’s image has been affected by PISA results. These newspapers’ presentations of Finnish PISA performance further reveal how the US understands its own academic system. Ultimately, PISA asserts that academic institutions can make a profound difference on the individual, country, and global levels. Since PISA results can influence the academic decisions and policies of a given country, then the assessment must also make a difference on the individual, country, and global levels. Since the OECD drives forward the PISA, then the OECD also has an influence on the beforementioned levels. Thus, the OECD not only shapes representations of countries, but it also hinges on media as a vehicle by which to deliver these representations internationally. Although commonly overlooked, the OECD is a relevant and power-wielding actor because its PISA index reinforces and challenges narratives of academic exceptionalism, as exemplified by the case of Finland in this study. Does the OECD’s positioning as an overlooked actor magnify its power?
  • Ristikangas, Vilma (2023)
    The institutional history of the Finnish Rescue Services dates back to the establishment of volunteer fire brigades in the 19th century, when Finland was a part of the Russian Empire. Throughout the 20th century, the rescue services have been institutionalized as public services. As of 2023, the Rescue Departments have been relocated to a new political and administrative context in the Wellbeing Services County reform. This recent structural reform of the rescue services on a public administrative level has inspired this thesis to explore the role of the Finnish Rescue Services personnel in public administration and policy process. The thesis investigates the applicability of street-level bureaucracy theory and politics-administration dichotomy in the rescue services personnel’s strategy implementation. While there is some research about the societal and cultural significance of the Finnish rescue services, its political and public administrative dimension has received only little attention in the scientific literature. The thesis is conducted as survey research. The research method is quantitative data analysis and theory-driven analysis. The questionnaire data measures the rescue services personnel’s features as classic public administrators and as street-level bureaucrats, and evaluates the personnel’s willingness to implement central strategies of the rescue services. It is argued that the FRS personnel’s involvement in public discussion as street-level bureaucrats is playing a decisive role in realising the rescue services-related strategies. The findings indicate that the rescue services personnel embody ideal-type bureaucratic features and street-level bureaucratic features. However, only the street-level bureaucratic features are dominant in explaining the variation in the personnel’s willingness to implement strategies. It is suggested that the personnel’s stronger participation in political discussion and policy process would result in better strategy implementation level. This thesis contributes to the development of the political and administrative position of the Finnish Rescue Departments and strengthens their role as active partakers in the public sphere.
  • Gärkman, Heidi (2021)
    One of the key characteristics of the Nordic sense of affinity and cohesion is the idea of a shared and common language community. The Nordic language community is based on the concept of inter-Nordic language comprehension, meaning that all members of the community ideally rely on the use of a Scandinavian language when in contact with one another, either as a first or a second (foreign) language. Another feature of this sense of community is the common Nordic efforts in language policy and planning, which, since the establishment of the Nordic institutions, have manifested themselves through various political endeavours, all with the aim to preserve and promote the use of Scandinavian as a lingua franca in Norden. Using a motivational, discursive, intertextual and interdiscursive approach to language policy and planning research, the purpose of this study is to uncover the motivation (goals, attitudes and motives) behind as well as the policy discourses (and their potential connections and discrepancies) used in the formulation of two central Nordic language policy agreements: the Nordic Language Convention, signed in 1981 and ratified in 1987, and the Declaration on a Nordic Language Policy, signed in 2006. In doing this, the study relies on the underlying assumption that language policy and planning is a socio-cultural construct of both explicit and implicit character. The analysis further explores how the uncovered motivational and discursive elements might mirror the linguistic complexities and diversities of the Nordic language community. The temporal range of this study is determined by the two selected language policy agreements, dividing the analysis into two historical eras of official Nordic language policy and planning which represent the socio-political, -cultural and -historical context of each respective language policy agreement: the early era of 1971–1987 and the late era of 1988–2006. The analysis suggests that there was no marked motivational or discursive ideological shift between the two language policy agreements. The narrower national language discourse of the Convention, motivated by early era socio-political issues of linguistic integration and freedom of movement, was somewhat expanded upon by the broader multilingual and democratic discourse of the Declaration, in turn motivated by the late era need to define the Nordic language community in and for the 21st century global community. Yet, the power, ideological and normative pendulum of both agreements still shifted towards the Scandinavian languages and the idealistic vision of effortless inter-Scandinavian communication in the region – forming the very basis of the symbolic integration of Norden through the concept of Nordic ideology.
  • Hansen, Andreas (2019)
    This study is meant to tell the story of the Scandinavian Communist Federation and its threat to Moscow’s status within the Communist International. An organization of Nordic Communist Parties within the Communist International. The circumstances of its creation in 1924 coincide with the shift of politics within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the death of Lenin. The Scandinavian Communist Federation was not organized centrally by the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI) but by the member parties themselves. Forcing the ECCI to change its statutes and creating together with the Balkan Communist Federation a precedent. The initial assessment by the ECCI is that these two federations serve two different purposes. While it was clear that the Balkan Communist Federation longed to create a Yugoslavian/Pan-Baltic superstate, such is not clear for the Scandinavian Communist Federation. The only intent which is clear is the wish to organize as a “Scandinavian Battlegroup” and coordinate one struggle together. The Scandinavian Communist Federation was met with skepticism by the national Communist Parties and was therefore not fully fledged supported by its members. Only the Norwegians seemed seriously committed. Also, on the side of the ECCI, there have been some considerations about an ever-increasing fragmentation of the Communist International, due to contradiction with national ambition by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and its tighter grip on the ECCI. This paper examines the ideological Realpolitik of the Soviet state and its effect on the Scandinavian Communist Federation, but also the ideological feasibility of a Scandinavian nation-state.
  • Fukui, Honoka (2023)
    Finland has the highest per capita coffee consumption in the world. As one of the national drinks, drinking coffee is considered an essential cultural habit in Finland. Among them, coffee breaks at workspaces are a well-established and important cultural practice. This thesis tries to reveal what is represented to be Finnish about coffee breaks in Finnish working life. First, it analyses the background of the spread of coffee culture among Finnish people. Secondly, it assesses their experiences and opinions of the coffee break in recent years by using Oldenburg’s idea of “the third place” and previous studies about the coffee break. The survey was conducted on 18 Finnish people in the spring of 2021 and autumn of 2022. Moreover, it asked about changes and experiences caused by the corona pandemic. The Finnish coffee break substantially affects health maintenance, work efficiency, and social relationship/community formation. Remarkably, the role of social relationship/community formation is significant because the coffee break has provided cosy spaces for participants and opportunities to socialise since coffee was introduced to Finland. Recently, working life has become more individualised in Finland, as working hours and locations have become more flexible, and remote working has become more common after the corona pandemic. However, the coffee break has overcome such social changes and plays a role like a bond to keep people well connected, and many of them demand such opportunities.