How does foreign aid look in Finland?

Miro board for mapping the topics, can be found here.

For the third assignment of this course I decided to focus on my thesis topics. The above created mapping of the topics shows where I am right now in the process. This is a draft and an initial idea to understanding better crisis management in Finland. I am not referring to any existing data on the topics yet in this draft.

The background to this thesis comes from a critical viewpoint on aid from developed (often Western-minded) countries to developing countries with harmful power dynamics and top-down relations from the West/Global North, where Western ideas and values are imposed on developing countries/the Global South. I am curious to turn the discourse upside down and see if there is such a thing called “aid” coming to Finland, and how that looks in practice. My hypothesis is, that Finland does receive help or “aid” from abroad in crisis or disaster context, but this help is not called “aid” and it is on the terms of the Finnish stakeholders, rather than the other way around (which it could be in traditional development aid context). With the thesis I also want to point out the power of language and criticise the use of “aid” in developing country contexts, as this indicates a passive receiver of help rather than empowering the receiver to take things into their own hands in crisis management.

The main themes of my thesis are foreign (particularly “non-Western”) aid in crisis context in Finland. I am interested to understand what kind of aid or possible collaboration and relations Finnish crisis management stakeholders have to foreign crisis management stakeholders during a crisis or disaster. I will still have to determine what exactly these terms (“foreign”, “Western”, “non-Western”, “aid”, “crisis”) mean, but this is how I have defined my thesis scope for now. My initial research questions are: What kind of “aid” does Finnish stakeholders working in crisis receive from abroad? How does the “receiving of aid” work in practice (including questions such as, what roles do the different stakeholders have in the interaction? What power dynamics exist between these? On who’s terms is the aid organised?). My point with the research is to understand, how the aid discourse is working in a developed country context such as Finland.

In my next blog post (will be published next week) I will go more in depth on my thesis scope, discussing each part of the map (that will potentially be elaborated) and open up my own personal motivations and aims with the thesis process.


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