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  • 1.
    Aidukaite, Jolanta
    Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).
    The Emergence of the Post-Socialist Welfare State: the Case of the Baltic States : Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania2004Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
    Abstract [en]

    This dissertation takes a step towards providing a better understanding of post-socialist welfare state development from a theoretical as well as an empirical perspective. The overall analytical goal of this thesis has been to critically assess the development of social policies in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania using them as illustrative examples of post-socialist welfare state development in the light of the theories, approaches and typologies that have been developed to study affluent capitalist democracies. The four studies included in this dissertation aspire to a common aim in a number of specific ways.

    The first study tries to place the ideal-typical welfare state models of the Baltic States within the well-known welfare state typologies. At the same time, it provides a rich overview of the main social security institutions in the three countries by comparing them with each other and with the previous structures of the Soviet period. It examines the social insurance institutions of the Baltic States (old-age pensions, unemployment insurance, short-term benefits, sickness, maternity and parental insurance and family benefits) with respect to conditions of eligibility, replacement rates, financing and contributions. The findings of this study indicate that the Latvian social security system can generally be labelled as a mix of the basic security and corporatist models. The Estonian social security system can generally also be characterised as a mix of the basic security and corporatist models, even if there are some weak elements of the targeted model in it. It appears that the institutional changes developing in the social security system of Lithuania have led to a combination of the basic security and targeted models of the welfare state. Nevertheless, as the example of the three Baltic States shows, there is diversity in how these countries solve problems within the field of social policy. In studying the social security schemes in detail, some common features were found that could be attributed to all three countries. Therefore, the critical analysis of the main social security institutions of the Baltic States in this study gave strong supporting evidence in favour of identifying the post-socialist regime type that is already gaining acceptance within comparative welfare state research.

    Study Two compares the system of social maintenance and insurance in the Soviet Union, which was in force in the three Baltic countries before their independence, with the currently existing social security systems. The aim of the essay is to highlight the forces that have influenced the transformation of the social policy from its former highly universal, albeit authoritarian, form, to the less universal, social insurance-based systems of present-day Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. This study demonstrates that the welfare–economy nexus is not the only important factor in the development of social programs. The results of this analysis revealed that people's attitudes towards distributive justice and the developmental level of civil society also play an important part in shaping social policies. The shift to individualism in people’s mentality and the decline of the labour movement, or, to be more precise, the decline in trade union membership and influence, does nothing to promote the development of social rights in the Baltic countries and hinders the expansion of social policies. The legacy of the past has been another important factor in shaping social programs. It can be concluded that social policy should be studied as if embedded not only in the welfare-economy nexus, but also in the societal, historical and cultural nexus of a given society.

    Study Three discusses the views of the state elites on family policy within a wider theoretical setting covering family policy and social policy in a broader sense and attempts to expand this analytical framework to include other post-socialist countries. The aim of this essay is to explore the various views of the state elites in the Baltics concerning family policy and, in particular, family benefits as one of the possible explanations for the observed policy differences. The qualitative analyses indicate that the Baltic States differ significantly with regard to the motives behind their family policies. Lithuanian decision-makers seek to reduce poverty among families with children and enhance the parents’ responsibility for bringing up their children. Latvian policy-makers act so as to increase the birth rate and create equal opportunities for children from all families. Estonian policy-makers seek to create equal opportunities for all children and the desire to enhance gender equality is more visible in the case of Estonia in comparison with the other two countries. It is strongly arguable that there is a link between the underlying motives and the kinds of family benefits in a given country. This study, thus, indicates how intimately the attitudes of the state bureaucrats, policy-makers, political elite and researchers shape social policy. It confirms that family policy is a product of the prevailing ideology within a country, while the potential influence of globalisation and Europeanisation is detectable too.

    The final essay takes into account the opinions of welfare users and examines the performances of the institutionalised family benefits by relying on the recipients’ opinions regarding these benefits. The opinions of the populations as a whole regarding government efforts to help families are compared with those of the welfare users. Various family benefits are evaluated according to the recipients' satisfaction with those benefits as well as the contemporaneous levels of subjective satisfaction with the welfare programs related to the absolute level of expenditure on each program. The findings of this paper indicate that, in Latvia, people experience a lower level of success regarding state-run family insurance institutions, as compared to those in Lithuania and Estonia. This is deemed to be because the cash benefits for families and children in Latvia are, on average, seen as marginally influencing the overall financial situation of the families concerned. In Lithuania and Estonia, the overwhelming majority think that the family benefit systems improve the financial situation of families. It appears that recipients evaluated universal family benefits as less positive than targeted benefits. Some universal benefits negatively influenced the level of general satisfaction with the family benefits system provided in the countries being researched. This study puts forward a discussion about whether universalism is always more legitimate than targeting. In transitional economies, in which resources are highly constrained, some forms of universal benefits could turn out to be very expensive in relative terms, without being seen as useful or legitimate forms of help to families.

    In sum, by closely examining the different aspects of social policy, this dissertation goes beyond the over-generalisation of Eastern European welfare state development and, instead, takes a more detailed look at what is really going on in these countries through the examples of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In addition, another important contribution made by this study is that it revives ‘western’ theoretical knowledge through ‘eastern’ empirical evidence and provides the opportunity to expand the theoretical framework for post-socialist societies.

  • 2.
    Ilves, Kristin
    Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).
    Seaward Landward: Investigations on the archaeological source value of the landing site category in the Baltic Sea region2012Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    There is a tendency in archaeology dealing with watercraft landing sites in a wider context to assume a direct relationship between sites in coastal and shore-bound areas and the practise of landing, without any deeper practical or theoretical exploration of the reality of any such relationship. This problem has its origins in the poor archaeological and conceptual definitions of watercraft landing sites obstructing any real understanding of the role of these sites in the maritime cultural landscape. Landing sites are taken for granted and they are undervalued as an archaeological source of explanation; notwithstanding, the concept of the landing site is readily used in archaeology in order to underpin archaeological interpretations on the maritime activities of past societies.

    In order to break away from the simplified understandings of past water-bound strategies based on the undefined concept of the landing site, this dissertation suggests a definition of watercraft landing sites in a wider social sense as water-bound contact zones; places of social interaction that can be archaeologically identified and investigated. This perspective integrates the understanding of the intentional character of human activity related to watercraft landing with the remaining archaeological traces. Archaeological definitions of landing sites that can be tested against the archaeological data are provided, and thereby, the dissertation contributes with the possibility to archaeologically evaluate and approach the social function of watercraft landing sites. This dissertation demonstrates that there can be an archaeology of landing sites.

  • 3.
    Jukkala, Tanya
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology. Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, SCOHOST (Stockholm Centre on Health of Societies in Transition). Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).
    Suicide in Russia: A macro-sociological study2013Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This work constitutes a macro-sociological study of suicide. The empirical focus is on suicide mortality in Russia, which is among the highest in the world and has, moreover, developed in a dramatic manner over the second half of the 20th century. Suicide mortality in contemporary Russia is here placed within the context of development over a longer time period through empirical studies on 1) the general and sex- and age-specific developments in suicide over the period 1870–2007, 2) underlying dynamics of Russian suicide mortality 1956–2005 pertaining to differences between age groups, time periods, and particular generations and 3) the continuity in the aggregate-level relationship between heavy alcohol consumption and suicide mortality from late Tsarist period to post-World War II Russia. In addition, a fourth study explores an alternative to Émile Durkheim’s dominating macro-sociological perspective on suicide by making use of Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social systems. With the help of Luhmann’s macro-sociological perspective it is possible to consider suicide and its causes also in terms of processes at the individual level (i.e. at the level of psychic systems) in a manner that contrasts with the ‘holistic’ perspective of Durkheim. The results of the empirical studies show that Russian suicide mortality, despite its exceptionally high level and dramatic changes in the contemporary period, shares many similarities with the patterns seen in Western countries when examined over a longer time period. Societal modernization in particular seems to have contributed to the increased rate of suicide in Russia in a manner similar to what happened earlier in Western Europe. In addition, the positive relationship between heavy alcohol consumption and suicide mortality proved to be remarkably stable across the past one and a half centuries. These results were interpreted using the Luhmannian perspective on suicide developed in this work. 

  • 4.
    Jurkane-Hobein, Iveta
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS). Uppsala universitet, Sociologiska institutionen.
    I Imagine You Here Now: Relationship Maintenance Strategies in Long-Distance Intimate Relationships2015Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Today, individuals can relatively easily meet and communicate with each other over great distances due to increased mobility and advances in communication technology. This also allows intimate relationships to be maintained over large geographical distances. Despite these developments, long-distance relationships (LDRs), i.e. intimate relationships maintained over geographical distance, remain understudied. The present thesis aims to fill this knowledge gap and investigates how intimate partners who live so far away from each other that they cannot meet every day make their relationship ongoing beyond face-to-face interaction.

    Theoretically, this study departs from a symbolic interactionist viewpoint that invites us to study phenomena from the actor’s perspective. Conceptually, the thesis builds on the recent development in sociology of intimate lives that sees intimacy as a relational quality that has to be worked on to be sustained, and that focuses on the practices that make a relationship a relationship. Empirically, the thesis is based upon 19 in-depth interviews with individuals from Latvia with long-distance relationship experience.

    The thesis consists of four articles. Article I studies the context in which LDRs in Latvia are maintained, focusing on the normative constraints that complicate LDR maintenance. Article II analyses how intimacy is practiced over geographical distance. Article III examines how long-distance partners manage the experience of the time they are together and the time they are geographically apart. Article IV explores the aspect of idealization in LDRs. Overall, the thesis argues for the critical role of imagination in relationship maintenance. The relationship maintenance strategies identified within the articles are imagination-based mediated communication (creating sensual/embodied intimacy, emotional intimacy, daily intimacy and imagined individual intimacy); time-work strategies that enable long-distance partners to deal with the spatiotemporal borders of the time together and the time apart; and creating bi-directional idealization. The thesis is also one of the few works in the field of intimate lives in Eastern Europe and analyses the normative complications that long-distance partners face in their relationship maintenance in Latvia.

  • 5.
    Kellner, Martin
    Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).
    Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors in the environment: Effects of citalopram on fish behaviour2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of anxiolytic and anti-depressant drugs. SSRIs act on the evolutionarily ancient serotonergic system which is virtually identical throughout the vertebrate phylum. Serotonin is involved in a wide range of processes ranging from neuronal and craniofacial embryonic development to regulation of behaviour. However, SSRIs are also emerging pollutants, mainly entering the environment via sewage treatment plants. Since the serotonergic system is virtually identical in humans and other animals, exposed animals will be affected in similar ways as humans and suspicions are rising that ecologically important behaviours may be affected in subtle ways. Using the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) and zebrafish (Danio rerio) as model organisms, this thesis focuses on the behavioural effects of SSRIs in fish. The SSRI used throughout this thesis is citalopram, which has been found in fish in coastal areas of the Baltic Sea and other parts of the world.

    Effects on behaviour were investigated using several different tests measuring stress response, feeding behaviour, aggression and locomotor activity. Anxiolytic effects of 0.1 μg/l, 1.5 μg/l 15 μg/l were investigated as well as effects of 0.15 μg/l and 1.5 μg/l on feeding behaviour. Because serotonin is involved in the development of the nervous system, the effects of developmental exposure to 1.5 μg/l was studied after 100 days of remediation. Finally, because SSRIs rarely occur alone in natural waters, the effects on zebrafish of citalopram in a cocktail scenario, with the anxiogenic compound 17α-ethinyl estradiol (EE2 ) was also investigated. Citalopram was found to have anxiolytic effects on the three-spined stickleback at 0.1 μg/l, 1.5 μg/l and 15 μg/l.

    Citalopram also suppressed feeding behaviour within a week of exposure and at concentrations as low as 0.15 μg/l. Developmental exposure to 1.5 μg/l for 30 days was found to increase aggression and feeding behaviour and to reduce locomotor activity. The changes were persistent and remained in adult fish. In the cocktail scenario, citalopram in single-substance exposure had anxiolytic effects on one parameter in the novel tank test at 0.1 μg/l. Citalopram enhanced the anxiogenic effects of EE2 in the novel tank test, but in the scototaxis test citalopram appeared to counteract the effects of EE2. It is concluded that citalopram has the potential to affect behaviour in fish at concentrations that have been found in close proximity of sewage treatment plants.

  • 6.
    Polanska Vergara, Dominika
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).
    The emergence of enclaves of wealth and poverty: A sociological study of residential differentiation in post-communist Poland2011Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Since the fall of communism, some crucial political, economic and social changes have been taking place in the former communist societies. The objective of the thesis is to examine the processes of residential differentiation taking place in the urban landscape of the Polish city of Gdańsk after the introduction of the capitalist system. The focus is on different forms of residential differentiation and the social, economic and historical factors behind these forms. The empirical material that forms the basis of the thesis consists of interviews, newspaper articles, a questionnaire, official (national and local) reports and documents. Study I examines the way in which different social, economic, historical and physical conditions coincide in the formation of space and the processes of decline in the period of transformation in Poland. The focus lies on a specific residential area in the center of Gdańsk and the lack of improvements in this particular area, which would stop its successive decline. Study II explains the emergence of gated communities in the post-communist urban context and discusses the reasons for their increasing numbers and popularity. The main argument is that the popularity of gated communities is tightly intertwined with the communist past, emerging in reaction to the housing conditions that prevailed under communism. Study III investigates how social class markers are constructed in the discourse on gated communities in post-socialist Poland. The “new” capitalistic system, with its inherent social divisions, is described in the discourse as creating demands for “new” forms of housing, where gates function as separators, protectors and class identifiers. Study IV concentrates on the support for the formation of gated communities in the legal and regulatory framework in Poland since 1989. The paper asserts that the outcome of liberal politics and legal regulation in the country is the neglect of spatial planning and imprecise urban policies.

  • 7.
    Saar, Maarja
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).
    The answers you seek will never be found at home: Reflexivity, biographical narratives and lifestyle migration among highly-skilled Estonians2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis focuses on issues around reflexivity and highly skilled migration. Reflexivity has been an underused concept in migration studies and incurporating it has been long overdue. By reflexivity this thesis understands the capacity of an actor to evaluate his or her position in relation to social structures, to take action in managing those structures and, finally, to critically revise both the position and action taken.

    There are multiple reasons as to why incorporating reflexivity is a useful endeavor to migration studies. On one hand, using reflexive types in order to understand different migration motivations offers an alternative to otherwise mainly class based explanations behind migration objectives. Migration research has long relied on the idea that migration motivations can be coupled with societal and class background. Similarly, return migration has been described almost unanimously as a result of a homing desire. Both positions, as claimed in this thesis, are oversimplifications. On the other hand, I argue that, reflexivity helps to analyze the importance of class or even society on migration in 21th century. This is why I suggest to analyze all three in concurrence – migration, reflexivity and class.

    In the following pages I analyze how reflexivity can be operationalized for studying migration. So far, reflexivity has been either used as background concept – mobility studies or for explaining particular kind of migration – lifestyle migration. I argue, that with careful operationalization reflexivity could be useful tool for explaining wide-variety of migrations – family, labour, lifestyle etc. Three articles in this thesis focus on providing such operationalizations, analyzing the relationship between migration motivations and reflexivity. Finally, the first article in this thesis analyzes the background of my particular group of migrants – Estonian highly skilled migrants and positions them in relation to other groups in Estonian society. Moreover, the article also underlines that self-development and lifestyle, if you will, is an important motivation for Eastern European migrants as well.

  • 8.
    Stickley, Andrew
    Södertörn University College, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS). Södertörn University College, School of Social Sciences, Sociology.
    On Interpersonal Violence in Russia in the Present and the Past: A Sociological Study2006Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
  • 9.
    Velkova, Julia
    Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Media and Communication Studies. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).
    Media Technologies in the Making: User-driven Software and Infrastructures for Computer Graphics Production2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Over the past few decades there have emerged greater possibilities for users and consumers of media to create or engage in the creation of digital media technologies. This PhD dissertation explores the ways in which the broadening of possibilities for making technologies, specifically software, has been taken advantage of by new producers of digital culture – freelancers, aspiring digital media creators and small studios – in the production of digital visual media. It is based on two empirical case studies that concern the making of free software for computer graphics animation production in two contexts: by a loose collective of anime fans in Siberia, Russia, and by a small animation studio in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The case studies are presented and analysed in the scope of four journal articles and one book chapter which form the core of the dissertation.

    The dissertation draws on a media practice perspective and an understanding of software as an artefact that concentrates and mediates specific infrastructural arrangements that entangle politics of technological production, economic interests and practice-related concerns. The analytical focus of the research problematises in particular practices of software decommodification and its further repair and development by non-programmers; the anchoring of software development and repair in actual production practices of computer graphics animations; and a commitment to sharing software, animations and other artefacts online as commons. The thesis combines several concepts from anthropology and science and technology studies to theorise these practices: – politics and regimes of value (Appadurai, 1986); repair and artful integrations (Jackson, 2014; Suchman, 2000); gifting (Baudrillard, 1981; Mauss, 1925/2002) and autonomy (cf Bourdieu, 1993). Bringing together these concepts, the dissertation regards them as constitutive and indicative of what I refer to as ‘media-related infrastructuring practices’, or practices in which non-programmers generate infrastructures through creating and mediating arrangements around technical artefacts like software.

    The results of the dissertation indicate how making free software for computer graphics media is entangled in diverse conditions of technological unevenness that may enable, but also limit, the possibilities of aspiring media creators to improve their status or work positions in the broader field of digital media.

  • 10.
    Wesolowski, Katharina
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS). Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, SCOHOST (Stockholm Centre for Health and Social Change). Uppsala universitet, Sociologiska institutionen.
    Maybe Baby?: Reproductive Behaviour, Fertility Intentions, and Family Policies in Post-communist Countries, with a Special Focus on Ukraine2015Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis studies different aspects of reproductive behaviour on the international, national, and local levels in post-communist countries. The main focus is Ukraine, where fertility rates are very low and the population is in severe decline. The studies contribute new knowledge about the applicability of a family policy typology developed on the basis of Western countries’ experience for post-communist countries, and about the influence of family policies on fertility levels in these countries. Moreover, the studies investigate whether and how macro-level influences impact on individuals’ reproductive behaviour. Four articles are included in the thesis:

    Family policies in Ukraine and Russia in comparative perspective analyses the institutional set-up of family policies in both countries and compares the findings to 31 other countries. The results show that Ukrainian family policies support a male-breadwinner type of family, while the benefit levels of Russian family policies are low, compelling families to rely on relatives or the childcare market.

    Family policies and fertility - Examining the link between family policy institutions and fertility rates in 33 countries 1995-2010 comparatively explores whether family policies have an effect on fertility rates across the case-countries. Pooled time-series regression analysis demonstrates that gender-egalitarian family policies are connected to higher fertility rates, but that this effect is smaller at higher rates of female labour force participation.

    To have or not to have a child? Perceived constraints on childbearing in a lowest-low fertility context investigates the influence of the perception of postmodern values, childcare availability and environmental pollution on individuals’ fertility intentions in a city in Eastern Ukraine. It is shown that women who already have a child perceive environmental pollution as a constraint on their fertility intentions.

    Prevalence and correlates of the use of contraceptive methods by women in Ukraine in 1999 and 2007 examines changes in the prevalence and the correlates of the use of contraceptive methods. The use of modern contraceptive methods increased during the period and the use of traditional methods decreased, while the overall prevalence did not change. Higher exposure to messages about family planning in the media is correlated with the use of modern contraceptive methods.

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