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Browsing by master's degree program "Nyky-yhteiskunnan tutkimuksen maisteriohjelma"

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  • Ranta, Hertta (2020)
    Mental health problems are a major public health concern globally. Many developed countries are facing the challenge of ageing populations and simultaneously an increase in labour market inactivity due to mental health problems among the working-age population. To be able to prolong working careers, it is important to pay attention to the work ability of young adults. As working life has become more psychosocially demanding while the burden of adverse physical working conditions has diminished, it is important to gain a better understanding of the association between working conditions and mental health functioning among younger workers in order to find ways to enhance work ability and alleviate the social and economic burden of mental health problems. The aim of this study was to examine the association between adverse working conditions and poor mental health functioning among under 40-year-old employees of the City of Helsinki. The data (n=4 315) was collected in 2017 through survey questionnaires for the Helsinki Health Study. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to analyse the association of psychosocial working conditions (job control and job demands) and physical working conditions (physical workload) with mental health functioning. Mental health functioning was measured with the SF-36 measurement and was dichotomised from the lowest quartile. Sociodemographic characteristics and health behaviours were used as covariates in the analysis. The results showed that after full adjustments, respondents with high job demands were nearly twice as likely (OR=1.9; 95% CI=1.6-2.3) and those with low job control 1.5 times as likely (OR=1.5; 95% CI=1.2-1.7) to have poor mental health functioning than others. Adjusting for covariates did not affect the OR for job control, but adjusting for adverse health behaviours decreased the OR for high job demands slightly. High physical workload had a weak association with poor mental health functioning, which slightly decreased after adjusting for adverse health behaviours and was not statistically significant in the full model (OR=0.9; 95% CI=0.8-1.1). The results of this study highlight the significance of adverse psychosocial working conditions for poor employee mental health functioning. Thus, in order to increase individual wellbeing and work productivity, work organizations could consider ways to decrease employees’ job demands and enhance employee job control. As the present study was cross-sectional, further research is needed to investigate the long-term effects of adverse working conditions on mental health functioning among younger employees.
  • Heinonen, Sanna (2020)
    Refugees and asylum seekers and their employment is critical, contemporary topic and challenge in majority of European countries. The employment rates of refugees and asylum seekers are relatively low, yet refugees simultaneously face considerable structural challenges in attaining employment. Their large-scale unemployment is problematic both in political and economic terms, and crucially needs alleviation. Various factors significantly influencing refugees’ employment have been identified in previous academic research, but the role of social networks in relation to likelihood of employment is not clear despite research. Therefore, this study aims to provide statistical viewpoint on how social networks, particularly networks to Finnish-born people, are connected to the employment probability of refugees, and how strong and statistically significant the association is. This study uses data from Migrants’ health and wellbeing (Maahanmuuttajien terveys- ja hyvinvointitutkimus, Maamu) by Finnish Institute of health and welfare (Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos, THL), surveyed in 2010-2012. Maamu study was conducted to examine the living conditions, health, wellbeing and use of services of three immigrant groups of Somalis, Kurds and Russians, and covered 1846 respondents. Refugee group in this study consists mainly of Kurds and Somalis (99,5%), and non-refugee control group mainly of Russians (95%). Association between social networks and employment was analyzed with logistic regression analysis. Sociodemographic factors and measures of physical and mental health, length of residence, language skills, previous education, and ethnicity were used as covariates. Main results of the study indicate that bridging networks are positively and statistically significantly correlated to employment (OR 1.50, CI 95% 1.12-2.01, p 0.006) when refugee status, demographic factors and refugee-specific variables are controlled for. Networks to co-ethnic or other immigrants are not statistically significantly associated to employment. Interaction analysis (p 0.015) revealed that bridging networks are positively associated to employment among both non-refugees (OR 1.07) and refugees (OR 0.80), as without bridging network the likelihood of employment is considerably lower (OR 0.38). Therefore, bridging networks do seem particularly relevant in employment of refugees. Regression analysis examining associations with bridging networks showed especially strong connections to local language skills, and surprisingly, networks to other immigrants. These findings suggest that in Finnish context, immigrants’ bridging networks to Finnish-born people are positively and statistically significantly associated to employment, and the association is especially strong among refugees. Therefore, better enabling refugees to create ties to Finnish-born people could in turn improve their likelihood of employment. However, due to the cross-sectional nature of the study, further studies are needed to examine the causality of bridging networks and employment among refugees and other immigrants.
  • Pousi, Matti August Oskari (2021)
    The ecological crisis is ravaging the planet. Governments and businesses have set carbon neutrality targets as part of a necessary green transformation. One promising negative emission technology is based on biochar, which has created excitement in the voluntary carbon markets. However, the voluntary carbon markets and carbon sequestration with biochar both stand at a crossroads. There is currently no regulation that would govern the markets. Only voluntary standardizations and the sellers and buyers’ conscience provide directions for the quality of offsets and real carbon cuts achieved. In addition, the production of high-quality biochar remains at a low level. This thesis contributes to the research on green transformations by examining critically the expectations and promises related to biochar and voluntary carbon markets. The focus of this study is on the framings and discourses related to the role of biochar and the voluntary carbon markets in low-carbon pathways. The main research question is: What are the different narratives and perspectives on the role of biochar and voluntary carbon markets in sustainable low-carbon pathways? To answer this, I have identified and interviewed the main actors and stakeholders in the supply chain of biochar-based offsets as well as analyzed key policy and research documents that take part in the biochar offset related discourses. The research approach draws from two theoretical frameworks: the sustainable pathways approach developed by Melissa Leach, Ian Scoones, and Andy Stirling and Maarten Hajer’s critical discourse analysis on environmental policy. These frameworks are used to analyze the informant interviews and policy and research documents. It is found out that there are five discursive patterns shaping the discourses related to biochar and the voluntary carbon markets: biochar as a magic bullet, market-led low-carbon pathway, techno-managerialism, traces of more transformative greening, and climate-centrism. Techno-managerialism is the most distinctive feature of the biochar and voluntary carbon market discourse. Together, the five patterns shape the way in which biochar and the voluntary carbon markets are perceived, how policy problems related to them are defined and framed, and finally, what type of policy solutions are formulated.
  • Kitaba, Yuri (2020)
    Female migration has been widely studied in Europe. Previous studies had found that migration is gendered, thus, the experience of migrants differs depending on issues such as gender, class and ethnicity along with career and familial relations. The position of the migrants in the post-migration time period is influenced by the recognition of their skills and the assessment of human capital they possess in the host society, which has a considerable effect on the position of immigrant women. Thus, I employ a feminist extension of Bourdieu’s forms of capital in migration studies as a theoretical framework to examine the position of immigrant women and to better understand their experience in a host society. In addition, I utilize the ideas of emotional capital to discuss the importance of studying caring practice, including everyday activities and the caring work done for other family members, and its interactions with the outside of the household, the local community and, possibly, with integration. My focus is on the position of immigrant woman in Finland, a country where the Nordic welfare regime, which is built on egalitarian practices, creates a paradox for immigrant integration, as national belonging is built on labour market participation and the idea of gender equality. I pay specific attention to the Cash for Care scheme in relation to high female labour participation and the choices of childcare provision. Thus, my intention is to explore immigrant women’s decision making on childcare, what kind of activities the women engage in while taking care of their child, and their progress in integration. My research questions are: 1) do immigrant women utilize caring practice in capital accumulation; and if so, how? and 2) how do they generate various forms of capital and transform them into other types of capital and, ultimately, into economic capital? The sub-questions include: how does the notion of national belonging related to labour market participation and gender equality in Finnish society intertwine with individuals’ decision making with regards to the process of capital accumulation and transformation? I employed a feminist standpoint to conduct 6 in-depth interviews using a narrative approach. The interviewees are all from outside of the European Union, are highly skilled, have at least one child whose age is under three years old, have experienced staying at home with a child and currently live in the Helsinki metropolitan area. I utilized thematic analysis to explore the experiences of the immigrant women. The results show the potential for immigrant women to be subjects of capital accumulation, as well as objects where their capital is utilized in supporting and enhancing the lives of other family members. First, the results establish the importance of a local and neighbouring context in capital accumulation in relation to how caring for a child goes beyond the household, and is linked to the generation of social and cultural capital. The choice on the length of stay with one’s child at home intertwines with the social and economic statuses of the interviewees, but remains primarily a matter of individual preference. Second, two of the cases demonstrate the transformation of accumulated capital into economic capital through caring for other members of the family, which works as a resource of emotional capital. At the same time, the position of these women is constrained by social and cultural barriers, as they lack appreciated capital, the most important of them being a sufficient knowledge of Finnish language and culture along with relevant social networks. The position of immigrant mothers can also be observed from an objective viewpoint: there are limitations on the women’s ability to accumulate capital for themselves due to them taking care of the child. However, at the same time, the women can engage in transmission of capital and enhancing their children’s capital development. This thesis shows that the caring work of mothers goes beyond the household, contributing to the generation of capital in their integration process as well as for their children. Caring practice in research demands further investigation to better understand the paths of immigrant women and, possibly, the involvement of their spouses in this practice, in order to improve the women’s social and economic positioning in Finnish society.
  • Kivilahti, Riina (2022)
    Participatory budgeting is a democracy innovation that has become popular around the world during the past decades. The capital of Finland is one of the many actors running participatory budgeting. The Helsinki participatory budgeting initiative – called MyCity – defines equal opportunities for participation as one of the main principles and improving parity as one of the key goals for the initiative. This MA Thesis focuses on themes of parity in Helsinki participatory budgeting. The attention is on different parity goals set for the initiative as well as the realization of these principles. According to the literature, inclusion is vital for all democracy innovations, and can be approached in two ways: from equality and equity perspectives. The first emphasizes everyone’s right to be treated similarly in society. The latter one acknowledges that fairness in access and contributions can be achieved only when tuning into each individual’s background differences. The data for the study is twofold, it consists of public documents and interviews. Through document analysis of key policy documents, different equality and equity goals and actions are identified. Further analysis on how these goals complement and contradict is taken. In addition, five qualitative interviews of MyCity cooperation organization representatives were conducted. The methods used are qualitative. Both the policy documents and interviews are analyzed with content analysis. The analysis of the study demonstrates a harmony of equality and equity actions in the recruitment, ideation and co-creation phases of MyCity. In the latter two phases of the process, voting and implementation, equality and equity actions are contradictory. Equality holds the main emphasis in the cost of equity. The study discusses two scenarios for the result: firstly, dismissal of equity goals and the downsides of it: risking tokenism and increasing inequalities. And secondly, an alternative explanation is discussed: unintended lack of clarity in parity priorities. The cooperation organization interviews present the reality of participation for the least privileged citizens: participatory budgeting is largely inaccessible. Main themes identified from the interviews are: employee supported participation was possible for the least privileged, fears on majority citizen’s preferences surpassing the less privileged voices and superficial equality projects as hindrance. In the end, three recommendations to improve equity in MyCity are made: renewal of equity guidelines for the initiative; forming stronger cooperation alliances with the minority organizations; and adjusting the rules and scope of MyCity.
  • Vanhanen, Katja (2019)
    For long energy trade has been viewed as an important element of EU– (Soviet) Russia relations. The West European energy engagement with what was then Soviet Union that emerged in late 1960s over the next decades evolved into an important strategic partnership in between the European Union (EU) and the Russian Federation (Russia), with considerable degree of interdependence surrounding their energy ties. Although the EU-Russia energy relations are, in general, concerned with both oil and natural gas, in the present research the author narrowed down the notion of energy to natural gas assigning this commodity a unique importance in the analysis of energy politics between the two. This is given the difference in the structural and economic terms of its trade when compared to other types of fossil fuels, which leads to path-dependent nature of energy relations between the actors involved. The disruptions of Russian natural gas supplies to Europe in 2006 and 2009 as a result of Ukraine-Russia gas disputes already contributed to concerns in regards to security of Russian energy supplies and corresponding natural gas demand from the side of the EU in the light of long-standing interdependence of the energy trade between the two. That being said, the subsequent 2014 Ukrainian crisis involving Russia’s annexation of Crimea and yet another Ukraine-Russia gas dispute can be seen as a turning point in the EU-Russia relations in the context of energy trade. The present study drew from previous research on the topic and, using a securitization theory coined by Copenhagen School of Security Studies as an analytical framework, deploys discourse analysis as a methodological tool in order to examine series of political rhetoric over the years 2014-2017 pertaining to the issue of EU-Russia relations when it comes to security of energy supplies. The analysis of the content of both EU’s and Russia’s energy securitization discourses revealed a presence of some cross related key themes that demonstrate certain similarities as well as differences in actors’ interpretations of their mutual energy trade and the implications of such for each of the party’s respective energy securities. It may be argued that over the years 2014-2017 Russia has been going through the process of de-securitization of its energy relations with the European Union. That being said over the same period the EU has been going through the processes of securitization of its relations with Russian Federation.
  • Kehn, Carolyn (2020)
    Gender in the military is a critical yet controversial topic both socially and scholastically. However, in review of the literature regarding servicemembers’ transitions out of the military organization, the experience of women is often excluded or generalized from the experience of their male peers. This thesis applies a gender constructivist lens to military sociology and explores the narratives of women officers who have served in the Finnish Defence Forces. It adapted the Critical Incident Technique, as well as graphic elicitation, to conduct qualitative interviews with five respondents. Subsequent analysis revealed four types of critical events that illustrate entry into and exit from the Finnish Defence Forces during a career: prompting, retaining, bridging, and affirming events. These events, as well as participants’ descriptions of identity work, cannot be understood merely through factors relating to the Institutional/Occupational Thesis, but necessitate an understanding of the negotiation of gender throughout a career in the Finnish Defence Forces. The conclusions of this work refute the simplified perspective of gender equality in Finland and demand a gender-nuanced approach to future theoretical conceptualizations of military organizations, as well as the identities of individual servicemembers.
  • Luostarinen, Marika (2022)
    This master’s thesis focuses on exploring the impact of basic income experiments and pilots in the Global North on the social dimension of well-being and their implications for families. The background to this research is that basic income has a definition but often basic income experiments do not fully fulfil this definition. Studies indicate that a good economic situation has a positive effect on well-being. Studies also suggest that social relationships, social activities, a sense of belonging, and good interpersonal relationships can increase well-being. By supporting families, society supports individuals and the people close to them. Supporting parents in particular often has a direct impact on the well-being of their children. However, previous studies have focused more on the effects of basic income on employment. The aim is to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of basic income experiments on the social dimension of well-being and the impact on families. Previous research on the effects of poverty on the well-being of families and individuals through social relationships and a sense of belonging serve as a frame of reference for this thesis. The research questions were: What are the results of basic income experiments in the Global North regarding the social dimension of well-being? Based on these results, what kind of problems could basic income address? News articles from the Basic Income Earth Network website (BIEN, from January 9, 2014 to May 31, 2022 (n=2250) are used as the data for this thesis. The methods of the thesis were web scraping and a scoping review. The material of the thesis consisted of the analysis of the results of ten different experiments. Therefore, the final results from the experiments were collected through a scoping review of ten reports for more in-depth analysis (n=10). The results of the thesis indicated that basic income helped those who participated in basic income experiments to deepen their social relationships, improved their sense of belonging, relieved stress, and had a positive effect on family relationships. However, the results also suggested that well-being may be a subjective experience and many factors may have influenced these outcomes. In addition, the results showed that the effects on individuals as well as families were positive and similar, but there were also differences. Future research could focus on a more in-depth study of the effects of the basic income experiment on social well-being and sense of belonging. In addition, the long-term effects should be examined, in particular the impact of basic income on the increased risks of poverty over the course of life and at different stages of life.
  • Glushkova, Tatiana (2021)
    The number of older migrants has been increasing in the world. Immigration to Finland has also been growing with Russia as one of the biggest nationalities. Older migrants are one of the most vulnerable groups since they might receive less attention than younger migrants, feel more insecure in a new environment, and deal with age-related processes, such as retirement, loss of a spouse, and declining health. Additionally, migration leads to relocation to a new society and adjustment to it, a language barrier, separation from family and friends, and other difficulties. A sense of belonging is crucial for migrants since it provides a feeling of comfort and affects their well-being, and negotiating cultural identity and belonging remains relevant even for those who lived in the country of settlement for decades. Creating a sense of belonging in the receiving society may be challenging for older people due to difficulties in learning a language, declining health, and socialization into origin ethnic culture long before migrating. That is why older migrants’ sense of belonging is a primary interest of this study. This thesis focuses on belonging through identity, which is defined as identification with a certain community, and on individual-level factors of belonging. In addition, the association between cultural orientations and types of belonging is examined. The thesis uses a quantitative approach and data from CHARM research. CATPCA is used to identify types of belonging and cultural orientations, and regression analysis is employed to examine the association between factors and types of belonging. Three types of belonging were found among older Russian-speaking migrants (50 years and above) in Finland : national belonging to Russians and Russian-speaking people in Finland, emotional belonging to communities of colleges, friends, neighbours in Finland, and belonging to Ingrian Finns. Worth noting that a core element of belonging to Ingrian Finns is a religion since it is one of the indicators of Ingrian Finns' identity. Similar to previous studies, local language may be one of the barriers to emotional belonging. However, “poor” Finnish or Swedish skills contribute to national belonging to Russians. Other significant predictors for all types of belonging health, religion, and economic situation. Additionally, orientations to Russian and Finnish culture are moderately and positively correlated, which indicates that migrants may orientate to both Finnish and Russian cultures simultaneously, and their cultural identities may be compatible. Orientation to Russian culture contributes to national belonging and belonging to Ingrian Finns. On the other hand, orientation to Finnish culture and belonging to Ingrian Finns are negatively associated. This thesis shows that older Russian-speaking migrants in Finland may have multiple types of belonging, and some of the most significant factors of national and emotional belonging as well as belonging to Ingrian Finns include language, health, and religion. Furthermore, the concept of cultural orientations is significant for migrants' sense of belonging, and the association between cultural orientations and a sense of belonging should be investigated in more detail
  • Yamazaki, Wataru (2019)
    The legacies of WWI often have central position in shaping national memory and in many occasions create national myth that shapes historical understanding in certain ways. The issues often trigger heated debate on how to interpret history in national and transnational context. Such is true for Finland. The history of the historiography of Finnish participation in WWII is a process of national interpretations being challenged from outside, notably researchers from Anglophone regions. The debate surrounding such challenges made from external perspectives are still topic of debate in the current context and calls for deconstructing the national myth to incorporate national history into European context are made. While the details of the Anglophone challenges are found in previous literature, how other researchers outside of Finland explained Finnish history of WWII are not well documented. To expand the landscape of the Finnish history research in other regions, this research will focus on the history writing of Japanese historians on Finnish WWII history. The literature that will be analysed are those published in Japan between 1951 and 2017, which includes works aimed at academic and public audience. Analysis will be made using conceptual history approach to understand the text “as they were written” through comparing them with the context within which it was written. The context includes both historiography of the Finnish WWII in available literature in English by Finnish and Anglophone authors, as well as Japanese sociopolitical and historiographical context of seiyōshi (Western History). Through the analysis, several findings were identified. Key findings include the shift in the nomenclature of the wars from wartime names, Soviet Finnish War, to translation of Finnish names, shift in the “problem space” of the Finnish history in Japanese literature, both of which originates to the clarification of the niche by the contributions from early historians. Another feature was relatively quick presentation and acceptance of Anglophone interpretations regarding the origins of the wars, though with variations between historians. This is most likely due to external perspective they share with those from Anglophone regions. The central finding of this research was the very strong emphasis on the small state in virtually all Japanese literature. While the notions appear in Finnish and Anglophone literature, the genre trope of the Western History research resonates strongly in the literature, especially the notions to “learn from the Occident”.
  • Engström, Olivia Emelie (2019)
    In my thesis, I investigate how the allyship between UN Women and HeForShe Champions - male leaders, representatives of different countries and communities, make a significant shift in the universal UN gender equality discourse. I show how such allyship helps to modify the abstract UN gender equality rhetoric into change in cultural practices. My data is the UN documents representing gender equality discourse and is chosen within chronological frame between 1945 and 2018. My research answers questions What impact does the HeForShe movement has on the UN gender equality discourse? How does rhetoric of the UN gender equality discourse changes when male leaders are invited to participate as allies in efforts to solve gender inequality issues? I apply Kevin C. Dunn’s and Iver B. Neumann’s post-structuralist discourse analysis to trace the development of the rhetoric of men’s agency and to detect significant shifts in the UN gender equality discourse. I utilize Peter Hedström’s and Richard Swedberg’s analytical mechanism-based approach to explain the possibility of social change through the application of specific social mechanisms. I show how situational, action-formation and transformational mechanisms initiate the change in cultural practices, which further spread by means of social network diffusion effect, described by James S. Coleman. My findings show that the Champions interpret the UN global universal rhetoric of gender equality into the local cultural contexts. UN Women utilizes the knowledge and the positions of local leaders in order to implement the UN gender equality strategies in a way that they would work in the local contexts of different communities. New set of the ideas and the values incorporated into the exemplary actions of HeForShe allies, modifies patterns of attitudes and behavior. It spreads further through the next level of social networks, through social contacts. Such allyship approach transforms the rhetoric of men’s role in the UN gender equality discourse into practices. UN Woman strategy to leverage social and cultural capital of local leaders makes a significant shift in the UN gender equality discourse from the rhetoric to the path of cultural change.
  • Udeh, Eva (2022)
    This research aims to examine the identity construction processes of sexual and gender minorities who are also a part of visible ethnic minorities. There is very little research conducted on the topic by social psychology scholars in the Finnish context. The present research is interwoven with critical social psychology drawing its’ framework from intersectional theory, queer theory, and notions of hybrid identity, theorized by Ang (2001), Bhabha (2012) & Hall (1999). The main framework of the study is constructionism which treats the established understandings of the social world and identities as phenomena that are constructed in social practices, rather than as natural truths (see e.g. Gergen, 1985). This research examines how and in relation to which social environments BIPOC and queer identities are constructed, whilst considering how local and global interlocking systems of oppression and privilege challenge and enable such identity negotiations which are done from a state of “in-betweenness” of cultural identities as visible ethnic minorities often describe, and hybridity theories suggest. Using the framework of intersectionality and hybridity capacitates the examination of both, challenges, as well as possibilities of identity construction from the intersections of BIPOC and queer identities in the Finnish context. The research questions are: 1. What kind of challenges and possibilities of cultural identity construction do BIPOC and queer people face in the Finnish context? a. How were the intersections of their identities negotiated? b. How did hybridity figure in their identity negotiations? The data consists of three focus group interviews conducted in the context of insider research. The analysis method used was Reflexive Thematic Analysis. As a result, three themes were generated from the data: (1) Hybrid identity as a necessity, (2) Queerness is white, and (3) Hybrid identity is inherently queer. The analysis suggests that queerness and BIPOC:ness create an intersection of identities, which demand and enable hybrid construction of identities, not only in terms of cultural or BIPOC identity but also in terms of queerness. However, identity construction is done in relation to the available communities which either support and enable exploring and constructing such identities or challenge and limit these processes.
  • Sun, Lianyi (2022)
    Employment is important for the immigrants’ legal stays and subsistence. This research detects the effects of bonding and bridging social capital in achieving immigrants’ job-seeking goals. In this thesis, social capital is defined as resource which are embedded in immigrants’ intra-ethnic and inter-ethnic relationships for immigrants to achieve job-seeking goals. Loosely defined, bonding social capital refers to resource that embedded in within-group connections, while bridging social capital refers to resource that embedded in between-group connections. This group is ethnic immigrant group in this thesis. Further, this thesis observes how the interactions between bonding and bridging social capital impact on immigrants’ accesses to jobs. Moreover, this thesis explores immigrants’ intimacies with social capital through comparing their age and career fields. In-depth interview was adopted to collect data. Data analysis was conducted through line-by-line coding. This research finds out that both bonding and bridging social play the role of broker who link immigrants to the local labour market. However, their roles as the brokers vary by when and how. Bonding social capital makes efficient influences on immigrants’ job-seeking goals at the very early stage of immigration. The unconditional ethnic-based supports from bonding social capital are highly steady. However, compared with the bridging contacts, the quality of job referrals made by bonding contacts are less appreciated. Bridging social capital accelerates the process of immigrants’ job-seeking through helping them earn local work experiences, which are vital for finding the following full-time job. Bonding and bridging social capital impacted each other mutually. When bonding and bridging social capital cooperate, immigrants are likely to attain accesses to richer resources. When bridging contacts witness immigrants becoming estranged with bonding contacts and become close with bridging contacts, immigrants’ bridging social capital tends to be enriched. Younger immigrants are less intimate to vertical bonding social capital, which is embedded in the immigrants’ powerful contacts inside of the immigrant community. Immigrants whose career fields require highly quantifiable career skills tend to have short-term needs of social capital for pursuing jobs.
  • Pulliainen, Merja (2021)
    Homelessness has been described as a wicked problem due to its complexity and persistence. In the past few decades, Finland has implemented strategies and measures to tackle homelessness and to prevent it. The results have been effective, and homelessness has decreased significantly. However, despite the success of these implementations, there are still thousands of homeless people in Finland who lack a place to call home. As it remains, homelessness is one of the most challenging problems facing Finnish society. In Finland the explanations for the homeless phenomenon have usually wavered between individual characteristics and structural factors. Substance abuse and mental health problems, divorce or a break-up, rent arrears and over-indebtedness are usually highlighted as individual factors for homelessness. In Finland, the most significant structural factor for homelessness is the inadequacy and shortage of affordable rental housing. There is a shortage of affordable housing especially in the Helsinki metropolitan area, where homelessness nationally is concentrated. This ethnographic study approaches the homeless phenomenon in Finland by exploring the daily lives of two homeless men who also suffer from substance use problems. The study is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on the men’s pathways to homelessness and factors that have contributed to these. This is followed by the men’s conceptualisations of home, what it means to them, and how they make home as homeless people. The second part of the results shed light on the men’s survival strategies, daily activities and their encounters with fellow street people. The data, which consists of fieldwork observations and unstructured interviews, were collected between autumn 2015 and winter 2016. Thematic analysis was applied to analyse the data. The results show that the men’s pathways to homelessness are complex, stemming from both individual and structural factors. Troubled childhoods, lack of education and employment, low levels of income, bad credit, lack of supporting social networks and addiction problems contribute to the men’s situations as homeless people. However, this study shows that many of these factors that are usually considered as individual, are actually more connected to structural factors such as insufficient level of social security and inadequate access to social and health care. The study illustrates that people who are in vulnerable positions to begin with, are more likely to be exposed to these structural factors, the main factor being the lack affordable housing. The participants’ conceptualisations of home show that not all housing is considered home. In adverse circumstances home can be for example a staircase or prison. Furthermore, the research findings show that the everyday life of a homeless person is occupied with attempts to meet basic needs such as eating, washing and finding a place to stay. Much of the men’s daily lives are also devoted to making money, which is usually acquired by stealing. The results indicate that the men’s social contacts consist mainly of people who use substances or are otherwise in similar situations, though encounters with fellow people are not always positive and the threat of violence is often present.
  • Mesimäki, Sakari (2020)
    For decades, Japan has experienced growing political disengagement. Political apathy is particularly pronounced among the youth, who see politics as quarrelsome, difficult and irrelevant to their lives. This thesis explores a movement by a community of young Tokyo creatives to counter such negative meanings by making politics a normal and ‘cool’ part of youth culture and everyday life. It focuses on three media projects through which this effort is pursued: NEUT Magazine, HIGH(er) Magazine and Making-Love Club. They represent continuities with an earlier effort to normalise political participation by the Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs) protest movement, which emerged briefly in 2015-2016 amidst what has been described as a resurgence of contentious politics following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. This thesis argues that political apathy in Japan is the result of a decades long process where confrontational partisan politics has been stigmatised, and where civil society has been depoliticised and made subservient to the agenda of the neoliberal state. It doubts whether the post-2011 resurgence of protest movements truly represents a renewal for popular political participation and argues that closer attention to how ordinary citizens perceive politics can produce a better understanding of political disengagement in Japan. It asks: How, in practice, does the creatives’ movement seek to normalise politics? What kind of political subject is presupposed by this process? And what is its significance for the political participation of youth in neoliberal Japan? Drawing on linguistic anthropology, the effort to normalise politics is conceptualised as a ‘metapragmatic project’ aiming to change the negative image of politics through ‘metapragmatic strategies’ that recontextualise political discourse to establish new meanings. The analysis is based primarily on data collected during approximately three months of field work in Tokyo, through interviews, participant observation at public events, and from print and online content published by the three media. The movement’s strategies avoid the marginalisation of its political discourse by accommodating existing language ideologies that privilege neutral and non-confrontational styles of discussion. By integrating political discourse within youth culture and everyday life, it makes politics attractive and accessible as a signifier of ‘cool’ to be consumed for constructing one’s identity and establishing social distinction. Appealing to the values of diversity and inclusion, and presenting everyday life contexts and experiences as grounds for political participation, the movement seeks to expand notions of legitimate political agency. The subject interpellated through these meanings and strategies is a liberal, individualist political consumer who sees politics as a field for pursuing self-actualisation and social distinction. It is a subjectivity that represents, effectively, a politicisation of how young, individualist neoliberal subjects already engage the world through consumption. In interpellating such subjects, the project to normalise politics creates a new space for critical political discourse. In politicising the consumptive practices of previously apolitical subjects, it demonstrates how neoliberal logics can provide the grounds for expansions of political agency, not only its curtailment. Continuing attention to the development of this discursive space, and how subjects come to engage with politics within it, can enable a more sophisticated understanding of political participation in Japan.
  • Hattori, Mai (2020)
    This study aims to identify diverse masculinities of fatherhood and the subject positions in Japanese news media. In post-war Japan, Japanese men upheld breadwinning masculinity, also called Salaryman masculinity, which positioned the domestic sphere as the domain of women. In contemporary Japan, men are socially expected to play the care roles instead of solo financial provider roles within the household. However, conventional patriarchal ideology has persisted, assigning men as breadwinners and women as primal caregivers as complemental partners. Hybrid masculinity that adopts caring role but upholds the dominating power over women has been also observed. Since masculinity reconstructs patriarchal power relations, this study attempts to investigate the complex discourses of constructed masculinities of fatherhood and the subject positions that men can adopt in contemporary Japan. As this study focuses on the power dynamics of masculinity, this study is situated within the field of critical social psychology and is grounded in social constructionism. This study applies the concept of Hegemonic masculinity developed by Connell (1987). Foucauldian discourse analysis is adopted to approach the discourses and subject positions. The research questions are: RQ1) What kind of masculinities of fatherhood are constructed in Japanese news media? and RQ2) What kind of subject positions are provided for Japanese fathers in the news media? In total, 31 articles, provided by 14 news medias, are collected from Yahoo! News online news platform, of which the range of published date is May 2019 to October 2019. As a result, this study identifies five discourses: Men work discourse, Men are not good at childrearing discourse, Time with family is precious discourse, Men participate in childrearing discourse, and Equal parenthood discourse. The subject positions attached to the discourses are suggested as: Breadwinner, Secondary caregiver, Involved father, In a higher status than women, and Equal partner of women. Whereas breadwinning masculinity still has upheld the domination over women, the masculinity that explicitly rejects the traditional gender role is also identified. In addition to the traditional hegemonic salaryman masculinity, hybrid masculinity that exploits the femininity to maintain the hegemonical power is identified. Within several discourses, emphasized femininity is constructed by women by positioning themselves as primary caregivers. With the help of the analysis framework of Foucauldian discourse analysis developed by Willig (2008), this study illustrates the practices and possible psychological experiences by men. This study proposes to the government and public institutions to constitute gender-neutral discourses within the policies and services. This study contributes to critical social psychology by adding to articulated knowledge of possibilities for making sense of the relation between masculinity and domestic sphere. Furthermore, this study proposes the possible shifts of gender relations towards equality by identifying gender-equal discourse that has not been observed in other current masculinity studies in Japan.
  • Barbashina, Emma (2020)
    This study analyses the refugees’ activity during the integration period in Finland within the framework of acts of citizenship proposed by the British theorist Engin Isin. The purpose is to investigate what acts of citizenship refugees perform to constitute themselves as citizens and what factors prevent them from pursuing acts of citizenship as well as to examine the influence of moving to the Capital region on constituting refugees as citizens. The method of qualitative interview is used for this study. Thirteen interviews, including two paired ones, were conducted between June and October 2019. The interviewees were selected among the clients of the Immigrant Services of the city of Espoo on the criterion of moving to this city after living in another municipality outside the Capital Region of Finland. The results show that during their integration process, refugees are focused on performing the following acts that enable them to constitute themselves as citizens: Finnish language learning, job search, political activity and establishment of social relations. The analysis also shows that the lack of integration conditions outside the Finnish Capital Region and difficulties in obtaining available social services prevent refugees from constituting themselves as citizens during their integration. This research points to the differences in integration conditions in different regions of Finland and brings to the conclusion that although there are organizations providing guidance on access to the Finnish social security system, the understanding of Finnish bureaucracy among the refugee population remains a big challenge. The study also demonstrates that refugees are not passive, but rather put an effort to improve their situation, take the initiative, and thus change the common perception of a refugee.
  • Häggblom, Erasmus (2022)
    The diverse range of threats to contemporary states mean that a high level of commitment to national defence is required effectively implement defensive doctrine. States need an accurate picture of the commitment to national defence among their citizens. However, research on the topic has been sparse. There is also limited knowledge regarding the factors that can be used to predict expressed commitment to national defence. This thesis examines data from the 2020 Advisory Board for Defence Information (ABDI) survey (N = 1169) on Finnish opinions on national defence using binary logistic regression. The survey consisted of in-person interviews (N = 500) and an online questionnaire (N = 669). The response rate for the survey was 21.8% for online participants and not reported for in-person interviews. Commitment to national defence is operationalised through questions on general and personal will to defend the country, which are examined separately and combined to represent the concept of national defence thought. The rate of positive responses to the dependent variables is examined by hierarchically constructing four regression models for each dependent variable followed by a final, simplified model. The chosen predictors are organised thematically and utilise demographic, socioeconomic, personal circumstance and geographic background information on the respondents. The primary predictors are the participants’ gender (53.9% male, 46.1% female) and age (age range 15-79). The thesis finds that the respondents’ gender and age are key predictors of expressed commitment to national defence. Men and older participants express higher levels of commitment compared to women and younger respondents. The respondents’ socioeconomic status, personal circumstance and geographic location are inconsistently associated with their expressed commitment to national defence. The association between commitment to national defence and gender does not change when additional predictors are added to the model. The respondents’ age is found be more strongly associated with their personal will to defend the country when controlling for their retirement status. This effect has not previously been identified in the literature and warrants examination in future research. The key finding of the study is the important role of gender and age as predictors of commitment to national defence.
  • Mankinen, Katariina (2020)
    This thesis explores social representations of nature and happiness in nature among Finnish youth. Even though the concepts of happiness and nature are common in daily exchanges, they remain difficult to define, and little is known of their usage among laypeople. Similarly, nature’s effects on well-being are well documented, but how happiness occurs in nature has not been examined through social representations. Finland is an interesting country to study these phenomena, as Finland is often portrayed through its unique nature, and has been ranked as the happiest country in the world for three consecutive years. The purpose of this thesis is to examine how Finnish youth discuss happiness in nature, and whether there are distinctive shared social representations. The study used Moscovici’s Social Representations Theory as a theoretical framework. The theory’s purpose is to explore laypeople’s conceptions of everyday phenomena, making it suitable for this research. The research was part of a bigger LUODE-project, funded by the European Social Fund. LUODE aims to develop multidisciplinary collaboration and service innovations for youth. University of Helsinki’s role was to better understand the everyday lives of the youth and this research contributes to the latter aim. The participants consisted of 15-16-year-old Lahti 9th graders (n=355). They first saw a marketing video of Finland aimed at foreign visitors, in which the main theme was the experience of happiness in nature. They were then asked to write their responses to a paper questionnaire, with questions like “What does the video say about happiness in your opinion? Discuss, whether nature makes you happy? Why yes? Why not?”. Responses varied in length from one word to lists, and from sarcastic comments to personal, even poetic, descriptions of happiness in nature. This research will focus on their personal accounts, and when combined, these created shared social representations. The research questions were: What are the shared ideas the youth have about nature, and of happiness in nature? How are these social representations objectified or anchored? Do the youth have shared social representations about nature, and more specifically about happiness in nature? As a result of the research questions, the analysis identified two main themes. First, nature was defined through shared lay perceptions, and nature in the societal context of Finland. It was clear that there was not just one simplistic definition of nature among the youth. Instead, their descriptions varied from common objectifications of nature, like cleanliness, forests, and summer cabins, to societal issues including the national welfare system, and global issues like climate change. Second, happiness in nature was experienced in a holistic manner: nature was a place for peace of mind, for activities, and for sensory engagement. These representations of happiness revealed holistic, and multisensory experiences of happiness when spending time in nature. The results show that Finnish youth go to nature to relax, be active, and be mindful and that their experiences in nature involve multisensory approaches, which all contributed to their experiences of happiness. Multisensory experiences as social representations may offer new insights for future research. These representations explicate how detailed and varying the everyday terms of happiness and nature are. Nature served as an important milieu for daily moments of happiness among the youth. Finnish youth also criticized the claims in the video and discussed the influence of the Finnish welfare system as well as climate change in their responses. The current study proposes that these holistic and multisensory methods to experience happiness in nature should be taken into account when planning well-being interventions, city planning, and nature preservation.
  • Needelman, Ona (2021)
    Abstract Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences Degree programme: Master’s Programme in Contemporary Societies Study track: Sociology Author: Ona Needelman Title: “So it is… I don’t think that was racism either, but it was just a kind of ignorance.” – Providers’ perceptions on race, racism and addressing racism through School-based mental health support Level: Master’s Degree Month and year: December, 2021 Number of pages: 76 Keywords: Racism, white supremacy, mental health, education, critical race theory, anti-racism, critical discourse analysis Supervisor or supervisors: Elina Paju Where deposited: University of Helsinki Additional information: Abstract: This study explores how mental health providers at schools recognize, conceptualize and address racism and its impact on persons of colour (POC) students’ mental health. The aim was to produce knowledge on what kinds of challenges “white” structures of school-based mental health present for practicing and understanding anti-racism. The main research questions were: 1) How do mental health professionals in schools view the influence racism has on mental health and well-being of POC pupils? 2) How do school mental health professionals make sense of, and deal with, issues of racism faced by POC students and which challenges do they face in doing so? 3) How do school mental health professionals conceptualize anti-racism as part of their professional roles? The main goal for this thesis was to draw attention to and heighten awareness around the new ways in which both organizations and employees must develop and approach anti-racist student welfare services in schools. Knowledge on racism and mental health from Finland produced by POC writers and activists was utilized, as academic research of this topic in Finland is limited. Academic research on racism in Finnish society and schools, and on racism’s impacts on mental health from other countries are introduced in the literature review. The main theory used throughout the research process was critical race theory (CRT), including critical whiteness studies. Eight voluntary in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted, with five school psychologists and four social workers all working in basic education in the metropolitan area. Three main discourses emerged from conducting critical discourse analysis, which I labelled as follows: Equality and tolerance, personal awareness and belonging. Key findings were that colorblind ideology perpetuates white supremacy, anti-racism mainly relies on individuals’ awareness of racism, and reactive strategies surpassed proactive anti-racist practices Based on the findings, colorblind ideology and reliance on individual awakenings make anti-racism targeting both prejudice and structural racism vulnerable. Recognizing racism challenges all adults with power in schools. Anti-racism will require more activism and collective action within organizations to commit professionals practicing in the field to address racism through their work.