sosiologia

Abstracts 2012

Sosiologia vol. 49, 2012, 1

Steven Shapin and the historical construction of scientific knowledge

Jouni Huhtanen,Master of Philosophy, University of Oulu

This article focuses on the methodological ideas of Steven Shapin, an American sociologist of science. In several contexts he has proposed that science studies should separate the statuses of actors and the relations of infl uence between them and thus acknowledge their temporal and social context as a signifi cant part of the research setting. In his research Shapin has supported the principle of symmetry developed by The Strong Programme based in Edinburg, which claims that all scientifi c knowledge is formed, in principle, in similar social processes. In this article the method used by Shapin is compared with the actor-network theory of Bruno Latour. It is suggested that there is a clear epistemological and ideological difference between the methods used by these two intellectuals. Latour stresses the networking and structural unity of various entities that take part in the study, as the principle of creation of scientifi c knowledge. Shapin, on the other hand, is closer to the classical interpretation of the Strong Programme in emphasising the societal interface of the construction of natural scientifi c facts and the intellectual and moral interaction between man and nature. This understanding is discussed through Shapin's research on the history of science while refl ecting on some of the philosophy of science problems related to this method.

Keywords: Bruno Latour, the Edinburg Strong Programme, sociology of scientifi c knowledge, research on science and technology, methodology of the study of science, social constructionism, Steven Shapin

From an environmental problem to the managed risk. A case study of polluted soil in the city of Helsinki

Paula Saikkonen, Master of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki

In the studies of Russian civil society and politics the emphasis tends to be on the lack or defi cit of something in comparison with Western countries. This article analyzes the differences between Russian and Finnish urban activism through the notions of grammars of commonality and regimes of engagement developed by Laurent Thévenot. It draws on the data collected about two movements organized by local dwellers against new building projects at Komendantskii prospekt 40 in the Primorskii district of St. Petersburg, and in the Kumpula district of Helsinki in 2009. Thévenot´s notions give new tools for examining the relationship between personal, intimate attachments and public action.

Keywords: discourse analysis, historical analysis, protests, radicalism, social movements

The gatecrasher demonstrations and the gatecrasher publicity. Societal interpretations concerning a protest event

Samu Lindström, Master of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki

Protest celebrations of the gatecrasher movement consist of demonstrations arranged in the years 1996–2003 and later in 2006 and 2007. These demonstrations provoked a wide public debate especially because of the relatively radical forms of action that were taken. The article examines the publicity concerning the case and assesses its effects on the gatecrasher movement. The different ways of representing the gatecrashers in the public media are described as several perceivable and independent representational systems that could also be called the discourses of the gatecrasher publicity. Furthermore, the article shows, how the publicity, that originally reacted aprovingly towards the protest, transformed subsequently to the assumed escalation of radicalism. After the favourable phase the gatecrashers were represented as threatening, then trivial and fi nally as an institutionally conquered phenomenon without any political signifi cance. The Finnish tradition of calm political action affected to the rejection of the gatecrasher protest. However, even though the gatecrashers imported new forms of protest into the Finnish fi eld of political conduct, their actions were adapted to fi t within that framework. The protestors acted cautiously, refl ectively and in an orderly fashion. The same relatively radical forms of action that gave the publicity to the movement, eventually gained so much general opposition that gatecrashers lost their momentum. The article presents an example of the ways in which societal movements are treated in the publicity by building and by deconstructing their legitimacy.

Keywords: discourse analysis, historical analysis, protests, radicalism, social movements

Sosiologia vol. 49, 2012, 2

What is social theory?

Risto Heiskala, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Tampere

The article brings light to the question of the title by examining firstly the relationship of social theoretical conceptions to everyday thought and secondly by analysing different types of social theories. Thirdly social theory is examined as a social field among the other fields of society and finally the problem of evidence is discussed in social theory. The article sees social theory as a practice and a province of meaning that has been differentiated in the structure of the societal division of labour. Its particularity lies with its capacity to examine the common sense folk models as well as the theoretical models produced by the differentiated provinces of meaning to systematize and abstract an ontology of society that can either entail or not entail normative statements. As a social theory it has an intimate relationship with the newest results of the social sciences but yet they do not limit its sphere of action. It can observe the social sciences also from the outside and introduce material based on common sense folk models and other provinces of meaning to its theoretical models. Ideally social theory can produce a general vocabulary that is abstract and pruned to be systematic, and thus useful for these sciences and lay actors. It helps with holistic perception and in integrating single facts and research results onto the wider picture as well as in orientating future research and action. Contrary to popular beliefs social theory relies upon claims that can be empirically tested and social theoretical concepts can thus be evaluated, accepted or rejected largely through the same criteria as results of empirical research. However, the element of normative and aesthetic choice cannot be fully abandoned in social theory.

Keywords: social theory, data, evidence, field

From the male ideal to the golden cage of the customer - the contradictions of women's lives in the portrait interviews of the Anna magazine in 1988 and 2008

Vienna Setälä, Licenciate of Philosophy, University of Helsinki

The article examines the way the reader is addressed and what kinds of values are present in the portrait interviews of a women's magazine. The data of the article consists of 36 portraits, i.e. personal interviews of role models from the 1988 and 2008 volumes of the magazine called Anna. The analysis is construed through the contradictions of the women's work-family conflict. The self-understanding of the interviewed persons is analysed through their self-representations and premises. The article examines how the solutions to this conflict, with which the reader is presented, are related to time and what kinds of value judgements on these choices the reader is expected to see as good choices or as selfevident. The analysis is founded in critical discourse analysis and the study of rhetoric. The results are interpreted in relation to psychoanalytical developmental psychology through two biological analogies. The research highlights the fact that values are built upon the vocabulary and time perspective related to the characteristics and ways of being of such role models. In 1988 the address emphasises the ideal of paid employment and presents the life of the role models as a series of choices framed by social policy and their childhood backgrounds. In 2008 the data addresses the balance between the ideals of paid employment, family and leisure so that ahistorical narratives and factual rhetoric justify the unlimited realisation of the self and setting aside responsible consideration.

Keywords: portrait interview, media publicity, portrayal of women, self-representation, discourse analysis

The circle makes a community. Countercultural spirituality and organization in the Nordic ting gatherings

Janne Juhana Rantala, Master of Arts, University of Eastern Finland

This article focuses on a ritual talking circle in the Nordic (neo)spiritual Ting Community, which is constituted in annual summer and winter gatherings. The aim of the article is to describe how the community organizes itself using its circle and how the circle builds strong associations between the participants. Another aim is to locate the community into the social world: on one hand to examine its' relation to the new social movements and on the other hand to the wider society. The research material consists of field material collected between 2003 and 2009 and the info bulletins produced by the community itself. Two empirical cases are represented of two phases of the history of the community. The first is from the construction phase in 1979 and the second describes a circle particularly concerned with current environmental struggle in Iceland in 2007. The article wishes to provoke and initialize a discussion between the sociological research tradition on new social movements and the anthropological theory of liminality. The research shows that spiritual activity in the Ting Community is less target oriented in its' rationality than activities of social movements. However, the actors and thematic turns of the community are connected to the social movements and their thematic turns. Yet the countercultural Ting Community is more liminal than the social movements, since many characteristics observed even in the countercultural social movements that share the mainstream culture's rationality, are absent in the Ting Community. Shared ritual experience, particularly in the circles of the Ting Community, is an essential part of the community's social constitution. However, shared goals and beliefs play a very insignificant role in the reproduction of the community. Based on this it would be highly advisable to focus more on rituality also in the research on social movements.

Keywords: countercultural, liminality, social movements, ritual, spirituality, participant observation

Sosiologia vol. 49, 2012, 3

The precarious labour force and the new hierarchies of work in a metropolis. Foreigners in the low paid service sector

Jukka Könönen, Master of Social Sciences, University of Eastern Finland

Immigrants play a central role in the dynamics of production in global metropolitan cities. In this article, I focus on the experiences of foreigners working in the low-paid service sector in Helsinki. I examine, how legal status affects their labour market position and precarisation. The article is based on thematic interviews with foreigners coming outside the EU area and who have arrived in Finland either as students or asylum seekers. In the interviews Helsinki appears as a space of both work and freedom. Despite having different life situations and durations of stay in the country, the interviewees have worked either as cleaners or as dish washers. Their employment situation is characterised by lack of choices, income insecurity but also temporal and spatial flexibility. The service sector includes different labour regimes ranging from temporary agency work to full time employment but also to black market work. Precariousness is connected to changes in work, but also to power relations outside the labour market, which increase vulnerability and have an impact on the organisation of work and production. The interviewees have worked under different legal statuses. The insecure residence status and limited social rights change the significance of the employment relationship and increases workers dependency on the employer. The data shows there is evidence of a new kind of legal hierarchisation of the labour markets. The insecure legal position also seems to have long-term negative impacts on the labour market positions of foreigners.

Keywords: immigration, residence permit, precarisation, metropolis, service sector, segmentation, thematic interview, content analysis

In the glocal markets of care work. The recruitment of Filipino nurses to Finland as a post-colonial practice

Lena Näre, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Helsinki

The article examines the glocalisation of care work in the context of international labour recruitment. The case analysed is the recruitment of Filipino nurses to Finland to work as practical nurses in private nursing homes for the elderly during 2008–2010. The data of the article consists of thematic interviews of Finnish nursing sector and recruitment company representatives on the one hand and of Filipino nurses on the other (N=19). International recruitment appears as a solution to demographic care deficit, i.e. the nurse shortage experienced in the aging and retiring Finland. The recruitment practices are constructed according to a post-colonial logic: The Philippines are seen as a country with infinite labour resources, from where Finland can acquire qualified care workers to patch the national nurse shortage. Examination of the recruitment reveals that Filipino nurses are seen as commodities, whose agency is disregarded both professionally and as human beings. The recruitment process is supported by Finnish immigration law as well as the relevant regulations on degree recognition. The article participates in the larger theoretical discussion on global care chains by highlighting the post-colonial logic as the key factor in the processes of creating transnational care networks.

Keywords: migration, glocalisation, care work, recruitment, post-colonialism, the Philippines, content analysis

Personnel reductions as the domesticators of the global recession

Anu Järvensivu, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Tampere, Heidi Kervinen, B.Soc.Sc, University of Tampere, and Tatu Piirainen, Master of Social Sciences, University of Tampere

The article discusses the domestication of the global recession in the personnel reductions of Finnish companies. The main target of interest is what kinds of ways of domestication are the personnel reductions: do the layoffs express submission into the global recession causing a need to reduce the numbers of employees or are they based on local corporate strategies? The study is based on interviews conducted in nine companies from the industrial, building and media sectors. 3 to 5 persons were interviewed in each case: representatives of higher management, shop stewards, and employees. Three of the companies employed less than 250 employees, while the rest were large companies. A majority of the interviews were conducted in the spring of 2010. Based on the research it can be concluded that the employee reduction practices of the companies do domesticate global recession, but only rarely through explicit submission. The recession and the personnel reductions are linked together in the strategies of manipulation, compromise, avoidance and defiance that the companies use. The companies examined searched room for manoeuvre for local agency also during the recession as their own layoff strategies were favoured. Also the actions of the Finnish state had an impact on the forms of layoffs and the codetermination procedure was guided by societal and union level regulations as well as the overall development of the business sector in question.

Keywords: recession, personnel reductions, globalisation, strategy, case study

The condensation of time and space. Glocalisation as experienced by corporate leaders in the experiential world of work

Mika Helander, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Helsinki

The article focuses on the experiential world of work of corporate leaders of Finnish-Swedish large companies, namely on the manifestation of glocalisation in their job descriptions and their understanding of the nature of their job. Localised processes that are related to globalisation change the nature of work of corporate leaders and business executives. Due to these changes the leaders are required new forms of intellectual preparedness, skills needed in international and multicultural interaction, willingness to travel more, and the capacity to cope with crises caused by fluctuations of the stock market. The article is based on 17 interviews conducted during my doctoral studies in 2001-2004. The interviewees work in five transnational corporations, the origin of which is in a Finnish-Swedish corporate fusion. The corporate leaders were asked to orally recollect the last ten years of their career. In addition ten interviews conducted with corporate leaders and business actors in 2008-2009 in connection with writing the history of the Hanken School of Economics were utilised. These interviews focused on the new challenges of corporate management and education in the business sector. The study uses qualitative content analysis and the methodological approach is the phenomenological analysis of the experiential world. The article demonstrates that glocalisation leads to a breach in the experiential world of work, where managing the big picture becomes more challenging than before and business leaders experience uncertainty in regard to the adequacy of their skills in the new circumstances. Glocalisation means a diffusion of geographically distant structural circumstances to the everyday action of the leaders in a way that creates new demands to their life and work.

Keywords: experiential world, corporate leaders, transnational corporations, ways of work, content analysis

Sosiologia vol. 49, 2012, 4

Gendered division of domestic work and socio-cultural structures

Anu-Hanna Anttila, Doctor of Social Sciences, University of Turku

Finnish time use research has shown that women work longer hours and spend more time doing domestic work. The argument concerning the 'double burden' that women carry is therefore not an exaggeration. There has been some development towards equality, but focusing on averages does not reveal the whole picture. Building on Hochschild's theoretical model on gendered division of labour Adkins and Jokinen claim that now predominates the fourth shift. It designates, for example, the increase in demarcations between gainful employment, family time and leisure time that blend in with each other, as well as in the emotions that are linked to these activities. In this article I ask: how are different orders visible in everyday negotiations? The time used on domestic work of 62 women in gainful employment has been analysed with the Statistics Finland Time Use Survey's diary data (1999–2000; 2009–2010). The research material includes altogether 398 time use diaries completed by the women and their family members. A micro-level analysis reveals socio-cultural structures and the multifaceted nature of everyday life. In addition to gender, also the nature of one's occupation, social class and life phase affect the division of domestic work. Five forms of domestic work are presented: 1. easily distributed routines; 2. long alternated working days; 3. conflicts caused by the gendered division of labour; 4. mom does alone and 5. the time famine of a single parent. Gender and class, as well as the gendered social order and the social contracts that relate to it, especially, gender-based and class-based habits explain the ways in which activities are construed, how situations turn into crises, as well as avoidance of conflicts.

Keywords: class, division of labour, domestic work, family, gainful employment, gendered social order, social contract, time use, women

Worlds of justification in the arguments for and against university working time management systems

Jenni Koskinen, Master of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki

This article analyses what kinds of claims are used in the public debate concerning the working time management system of Finnish Universities, and to which orders of worth they rely upon. The objective is to specify how different moral justifications are employed to support claims both for and against the new time management system. The data consists of two parts: the administrative texts (Ministry of Finance, University of Helsinki) and public discussion (blogs, articles). The method used is qualitative analysis based firstly on Boltanski and Thévenot's theory of orders of worth i.e. worlds of justification and secondly on governmentality discussions initiated by Foucault. The main results are the following. Condoning gestures are made by combining different worlds of justification. The most radical dispute lies between the industrial world (justification) and the world of inspiration (critique). In the administrative texts it is said and implied that the time management system measures actual work and is an answer to several actors' needs. Central to the public discussion are the claims of time management feeling like control. It is asserted that results should be measured instead of time.

Keywords: content analysis, orders of worth, public justifications, university, worlds of justification

The problem definition of Baltic Sea eutrophication and the politics of scale

Nina Tynkkynen, Doctor of Administrative Sciences, University of Tampere

Problem definition, including framing of relevant scales, is a crucial part of environmental policymaking. The ways in which an environmental problem is defined have implications on the distribution of responsibilities, resources and the relevant level of decision-making. This article examines the problem definitions and scale framings produced by Finnish scientists on the problem of the Baltic Sea eutrophication. It discusses the problem definitions in relation to a number of international and regional policy instruments and to the position of actors and stakeholders outside the scientific community. The main argument of the article is that problem definitions and scale framings produced by the scientific community shape governance efforts substantially. The current way of defining the problem of eutropication leads to the exclusion of actors and stakeholders who do not belong to the scientific community from policymaking, which hampers the integration of experience-based knowledge and application of local solutions in the efforts to prevent the Baltic Sea eutrophication.

Keywords: Baltic Sea, environmental policy, scale framing, sociology of knowledge