The Well-being of Families with Russian Background in South

Well-being of Immigrant Families
with Russian Background
in South-eastern Finland
16.11.2012 ROUND TABLE
The Projects in a Process
 Empathos (ESR, 2003-2007, Palmenia)
 Empowerment of Families with Children (ENPI,
2011-2014, Palmenia)
 Reciprocal Relationships and the Construction of
Well-being during Critical Periods of Everyday Life
(Finnish Academy, 2012-2016, University of
 thematic interviews of 25 families: 31,5 h, 289 pgs
 questionnaire: 242 answers, 93 questions concerning
family life in Finland, partly comparable with
Suomalaisten hyvinvointi 2010 and Maamu
 fairy tales (8) and life stories (5) of children and
young people
 in addition: structured interviews of 25 family
workers in Finland and 81 (focus groups) in Russia
Theoretical Background 1: Main Concepts
and trust
context of
the child and
the family
Acculturation process
of the child and the family
Child and
and trust
Theoretical Background 2: Acculturation
 A community- and individual level as well as (especially) family level
process, which takes place when different cultural groups come to contact
each other and this contact changes the original cultural model of the
 A power of change that influences the inner interaction models of the
family, parenthood and the upbringing of children, well-being of all family
members and the development of children and youth.
 Different and changing process
 Affected by several factors: in case of immigration especially
the political decisions and attitudes of the host society,
the immigrants´ own human, economic and social capital and cultural distance
family structure, the roles of different family members and family dynamics
the ideals and values of child development and upbringing children.
(Alitolppa-Niitamo 2010, 45-61)
Theoretical Background 3: Well-being
 Antti Karisto’s research group has carried out in Päijät-Häme, in the
years 2002, 2005 and 2008 a well-being barometer, in which the
concept of well-being has been carefully formulated to meet the
criticism towards previous research on well-being and the new
emphases of theoretical discussion concerning everyday life.
 The central issue in this barometer has been that residents of a
municipality have been asked
how these preceding elements of well-being are realized in their current life and
how do they expect them to be realized in the future, and
what kind of meaning they give to each element of well-being.
 This barometer has been thought to make it possible to find, for
example, such elements of well-being that at the moment realize
poorly, but that are considered to be highly meaningful. This way,
services could be allocated exactly for these elements.
(Karisto et al 2003, Haapola et al 2009.)
Well-being (2)
1. Spouse and family
2. Relatives
3. Neighbours
4. Relationships
5. Appearance
6. Health
7. Physical condition 8. Sex life
9. Wealth
10. Consumption
11. Permanence of a 12. Meaningfulness of
a job
13. Amiability
14. Faith
15. Travelling
16. Physical exercises
17. Learning
18. Cultural interests
19. Entertainment
and recreation
20. Community
21. Organizational
22. Respect
23. Influence
24. Choices
25. Accommondation
26. Neighbourhood
27. Home
28. Closeness of
29. Pleasures of
everyday life
30. Homely
Theoretical Background 4:
Ecocultural context
 Weisner (2002, 277) emphasizes, in his ecocultural theory, the value
of a cultural context for the growth and development of a child.
 The living areas of a family and a community, health and
demographic issues, safety threats, nature of employees, (age and
gender), children´s tasks and jobs (domestic work, child care and
school work), roles of fathers and older siblings, plays and playing
groups of the children, the roles of women and girls in the
community and the support they get, cultural influences and
information available as well as the diversity of the community in
care and the hobbies of children are especially important subjects of
 Ecocultural theory is based on the theory of locally rational action.
Local situation is understood as everyday routines and activities.
Actors use complex, shared information in order to survive in the
local daily routines. Children learn these ways of cultural surviving
to be able to live in the community.
Theoretical Background 5: Reciprocity
 Psychological sciences have found the experience of reciprocity
most important to the development of self as well as to the
satisfaction of the need to live a relevant and meaningful life.
Reciprocity has been examined as a symptom for example through
symmetry or asymmetry or the relationship to self. (Keysar et al
2008, La Caze 2008)
The principal of giving and taking and the culture of exchanging
gifts have been considered to be the most important sociological
functions, the premise of the mechanism of social relations.
(Malinowski 1950, Simmel 1950, Gouldner 1960)
The thought of giving creating more giving leads to continuous
exchange and durable co-operation.
Reciprocity can be very asymmetrical, so that only the other part is
giving and the other taking, all the way to the altruistic "pure gift".
Reciprocity can also vary in time, for example be delayed.
All human relations can, however, be thought to be based on
different types of reciprocity. (Komter & Schans 2008, 294)
Reciprocity (2) and family life
 Reciprocity has been examined as a factor that influences family life but it has also
been examined as a result of it.
 The concept has been used in the field of family studies in order to define both the
relationship between parents and children and the relationship between the elderly
and the society.
 Sahlins (1972) was the first one to classify family reciprocity into generalized,
balanced and negative types: giving to the close and beloved ones without the
expectations of receiving, pure exchange and the attempt to get something without
giving anything in return.
 The quality and amount of reciprocity inside a family is influenced by
time and phase of life,
ethnic differences,
geographic distances,
marrietal status of the parents,
family structure,
socio-economic status and
cultural factors.
(Komter & Schans 2008, 279-294)
Theoretical Background 6: Trust
 Trust and reciprocity are connected through the concepts of
knowledge and predictability.
 In the modern society a person has to have more and more
relationships with people and institutions that are totally
strange to him/her. In these situations interaction is risky and trust covers that risk, including at the same time an
element of instability because of the lack of information.
 The abstract systems of the modern society need three kinds
of trust in order to be able to function: person-to-person trust,
professional trust between institutional relationships and
trust in the functionality of abstract systems.
(Seligman 2000, 49-50; Jalava 2001, 112)
Qbjective and Problem
 The objective of this research study is creating a wide and
versatile picture of the well-being of Russian immigrant
families with children in Finland.
 This research study seeks for an answer to the research problem:
What does the everyday well-being of Russian immigrant
families in Finland look like?
 The problem is qualitative and attached to the research fields of
well-being, immigration and families. The problem is defined,
concerning its versatile character and the researcher´s background,
mostly from a social sciences point of view, however not forgetting
the different possibilities that for example the developmental
psychology and cultural anthropology points of view can offer.
Following questions are asked in order to find a
solution to the problem:
 How do immigrant children and their families
construct the well-being of the children?
 How do families with Russian background in Finland
see their everyday well-being during their
acculturation processes?
 How are reciprocity and trust situated in the
acculturation processes constructing the well-being
of immigrant families?
 Phase 1: 1.10.2011–31.12.2011 Specifying the research plan, applying for
research permissions.
 Phase 2: 1.1.–31.12.2012 Collecting data, analyzing the child
perspective, paper 1: The Power of a Child. The Construction of Wellbeing of Immigrant Children with Russian Background in SouthEastern Finland. In Törrönen, M., Borodkina, O., Samoylova, V. &
Heino, E. 2013. Empowering Social Work, Research and Practise.
 Phase 3: 1.1.–31.12.2013 Analyzing questionnaire data, paper 2:
Reciprocal Relationships and the Well-being of Immigrant Families
with Russian Background in the Finnish-Russian Border Area. With
Törrönen and Vauhkonen.
 Phase 4: 1.1.–31.12.2014 Analyzing interview data, paper 3: The Power
of Families. The Construction of Well-being of Immigrant Families with
Russian Background in South-Eastern Finland, and Conclusion
Open questions
 Analysing the data:
 Questionnaire: Well-being profiles?
 Interviews: Families as communities? Social capital?
 How to analyze the stories?
 Should I ask: how do reciprocal relationships
construct well-being? Is this too simple?
 Well-being is a complexed concept – should I e.g. try
to use Sen even though his thinking is hard to
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