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Browsing by study line "Teologian opintosuunta"

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  • Latvala-White, Heidi (2022)
    This thesis investigates the transnational identities among current-day expatriate Finns around the world. It asks, what is the nature of transnational identity among these individuals who have emigrated from Finland? What is the level of their connectedness to their own Finnishness, on one hand, and to supranational identities such as Europeanness and internationality, on the other? The motivation to investigate the topic rises from the notion that the issues related to Finnish people in various expatriate communities, as well as their potential return migration, appears to have growing interest in Finland. The aim is also to contribute to the existing research literature by adding more contemporary theoretical approaches of migration studies to the investigations of expatriate Finns. The data (n=3195) was collected through a survey carried out in research project titled "The Changing Nature of Being an Expatriate Finn: Survey on Emigration and Expatriate Finns" (The Migration Institute of Finland, 2020-2021). Cluster analysis as an example of the so-called person-centered analyses was chosen as a method. The benefits of cluster analysis go hand in hand with the awareness that the focus group, expatriate Finns, is not a homogenous group but that the motivations of these people to move abroad as well as their lifestyles and circumstances vary greatly. Cluster analyses revealed three clearly different groups of people with respect to their Finnishness, Europeanness and internationality. In the first cluster, the three different identity markers were not seen as exclusionary, and a strong attachment to both the country of origin and the host country was not viewed to be incompatible. These individuals possessed the freedom to maintain and reject different sides of their identities depending on the context. The perspective of privilege was also considered, as their mobility was possible due to their relatively high quality of life and the social and human capital obtained over the years. Individuals in the second cluster gave high regard to Finnish identity which had often activated outside of Finland. Negative feelings, such as home sickness and disappointment in the life abroad, were also reported. These individuals also defined Finnishness in rather stereotypical ways and reduced the concept to a few well-known traits. This way, it was easy for them to emphasize their own belongingness to this homogenous category of Finns. Lastly, the individuals in the third cluster rejected the affiliation to the national identity of Finnishness altogether, their perceptions about Finland and other Finns varying from casual indifference to an apparent hostility. Instead, Europeanness and internationality were embraced as identities more inclusive and less particular.
  • Nikkilä, Emma (2022)
    Counter-terrorism discourses have been increasingly studied during the recent decades but still mostly in the context of the Global North. One of the key researchers in this area is Elizabeth Shakman Hurd whose ‘Two Faces of Faith’ conceptual framework shows the tensions and consequences that arise when religion becomes an object of international public policy. The current study uses critical discourse analysis to apply this framework to two West African cases, ECOWAS and the G5 Sahel, to see how they construct the role of religion and religious actors in conflicts and peacebuilding. The data consist of 10 publicly available counter-terrorism and peacebuilding policy documents of the two organizations. The findings indicate that the ‘two faces’ framework is a relevant and useful analytical lens for investigating the role religious actors are given within the context of counter-terrorism and prevention of violent extremism. However, the documents are not a reproduction of Hurd’s arguments and often, the discourses do not follow the secularist dichotomies of the ‘two faces’ framework. Instead, religion is conceptualized through its role and position in the complex historical, cultural, and social systems in the region. Thus, even though the ‘two faces’ framework has been successfully used to explain the US-led political discourse on religion, more complex approaches based in systems thinking might be needed to conceptualize the West African understanding of the issue.
  • Noroila, Miina (2022)
    Finnish society is increasingly pluralistic regarding religion, and especially Muslims are rapidly growing in numbers. The population structure of Muslims in Finland is increasingly young, yet young Muslims’ experiences are currently under-studied. Muslims have been present in Finland since the early 19th century, along with other ethnic and religious minorities. Still, ever since then, Finland has been viewed as culturally homogeneous. This is connected to the view of Lutheranism as an intrinsic part of the Finnish national identity. This has led to an exclusion of people who do not belong to the category of Finnishness, and thus resulted in anti-Muslim racism. The objective of this master’s thesis is three-fold. The first aim is to contribute to the currently scarce research on social media representations of Islam and Muslims. Secondly, the existing media research on Islam and Muslims is heavily concentrated on media produced by non-Muslims, rather than media produced by Muslims themselves. Especially, research on media representations produced by young Finnish Muslims themselves are next to none. Thirdly, previous research shows that young Muslims in Europe are mostly studied in relation to issues of extremism, radicalization and violence. The manifolded nature of Muslim identities is not considered enough in the academia, and thus it is important to adopt an intersectional research approach that considers Muslims’ different identity categories, such as religion, ethnicity and age. This is done through qualitatively examining young Finnish Muslims in a previously unstudied social media environment: podcasts. The thesis answers two research questions: 1. ‘How do young Muslims negotiate their identities, especially in relation to Finnishness?’ and 2. ‘How are experiences of racism discussed in podcasts produced by young Muslims in Finland?’ The data of the thesis consists of four episodes from three different podcasts produced by young Finnish Muslims, ‘Ramadan Radio: Limitless Talks’, ‘Kahden kulttuurin väkeä’ and ‘Kh4nVision Podcast’. The thesis adopts a social constructionist approach to studying identity, based on the assumption that knowledge is produced in interaction with others. The chosen analytical methodology is critical discourse analysis (CDA). Six dominant discourses emerged from the data in the analysis: 1) intersectional identities as problematic; 2) code-switching between different identities; 3) Islam as an identity marker; 4) agency in change; 5) assigning responsibility of racism to the structures; and 6) internalized racism. The results reflect a complicated reality of being a young Muslim in Finland. In the podcasts, young Muslims negotiate their intersectional identities in relation to Finnishness from a problem-based perspective. Experiences of racism are manifested in the podcasts in numerous ways, from code-switching to reproducing racist language. The results of the study indicate that young Finnish Muslims’ identity is socially constructed and religious and ethnic identities are interconnected. The results of the thesis also show that discourse of identities is tightly connected to the context of production and the assumed audience of the content. The results support previous research findings, demonstrating that Muslims choose to emphasize different parts of their identity in contexts where Islam is not at center stage.
  • Ojala, Camilla Marjaana (2021)
    This thesis explores the connection between interfaith dialogue and building positive peace through the case study of Together for Finland (TFF), a youth-led interfaith dialogue program. It does so through the main research question ‘How does TFF understand and utilize interfaith dialogue and to what end?’ In this way the thesis also seeks to contribute to the understanding of how and why youth in particular engage in interfaith dialogue and peacebuilding. Arising from the data of the study, the thesis also examines the role of non-religious participants in interfaith dialogue. To achieve these goals, this thesis builds on two main theoretical foundations. The first is a wider understanding of peace and peacebuilding reliant on Johan Galtung’s concept of positive peace. The relation of this to religious peacebuilding and peace education is also explored to better understand how it connects to the work of TFF. The second relies on the social identity theory by Tajfel and Turner to examine the role of identities and intergroup relations in TFF’s work. In connection, concepts and models of interfaith and intergroup dialogue are explored to reflect on how TFF’s format of interfaith dialogue relates to existing theoretical models of dialogue. The particularities present in TFF’s work, mainly that the participants are youth and some identify as non-religious, are examined in relation to previous research on the topic. The main data set for this thesis is interpersonal semi-structured interviews with six active members of TFF, whose selection is based on purposeful sampling. A secondary data set is an exhibition TFF held on the topic of their work. The study takes a constructionist and qualitative approach to gain a comprehensive understanding of how the interviewees, and through them TFF, construct their understanding of the concepts of interfaith dialogue and peacebuilding along with their work. The data is analysed using qualitative content analysis as a method. The study found that active members of TFF construct their understanding of their work through four main categories. Firstly, majority of their work relies on a storytelling method based on personal narratives. Secondly, identities feature prominently in their work through a focus on facilitating identity exploration and breaking prejudices and TFF has found a way to successfully include non-religious participants and values their participation. Thirdly, the main focus of their dialogue format is to bring people together to learn from each other and to improve intergroup relationships. And fourthly, they seek to build peace through increasing awareness of inequalities and subsequent motivation to engage in social justice work. Through all of this youth are viewed as key actors, both in engaging in dialogue and in creating change, and the youth perspective shapes their work.