TAHTO2 research project is seeking new approaches to looking at the concept “relationship with national defence”
“If Finland were attacked, should Finns, in your opinion, take up arms to defend the country in all situations, even if the outcome seemed uncertain?” Seven respondents out of ten answer “yes”. Eight out of ten are for general conscription. Still, the relationship between citizens and national defence goes far deeper than that. TAHTO2, a research project of the National Defence University, shifts its focus from one’s willingness to defend one’s country to the relationship one has with regard to national defence.
The TAHTO2 research project is a continuation for research conducted in 2016-2018 which charted the views on national defence of persons doing non-military service and reservists wishing to transfer to non-military service. Interviews thus conducted provided a good overall picture of the make-up of the concept "relationship with national defence": on the one hand, the concept "national defence" is strongly linked to one’s own military service experiences, on the other hand, "national defence" is seen as an encompassing guarantor of comprehensive security.
The central result of the first part of the TAHTO2 research project consists in understanding how multidimensional the concept "relationship with national defence" is. It involves the following aspects: attitude toward national defence, confidence and participation in national defence, and know-how related to national defence. The second part of the research project being launched looks at how these aspects are connected to each other. The leader of the research project, Professor of Military Sociology, Doctor of Philosophy Teemu Tallberg does not wish to make any prior assumptions regarding the results of the research but, instead, hopes that the research will provide new approaches to examining the subject.
– True enough, how the different dimensions of the concept "relationship with national defence" connect to each other counts as one of our research topics. As we obtain the results of our citizens’ survey, it will be interesting to see the position these dimensions come to take with regard to each other. Do the concepts "know-how related to national defence" and "confidence in national defence" influence each other? Is active participation in national defence connected only to positive attitude toward national defence, Tallberg wonders.
National defence motivation is a subject that has been studied in a number of cases over the years. The objective of the TAHTO2 research project, in addition to generating statistical data, is to bring up perspectives for discussion on the national defence theme directly from citizens.
– In order to be able to develop the role of citizens in the distribution of security work in society, more research information is needed about their relationship with national defence.
This part of the research project aims at a synthesis of different research materials. Citizens’ views are collected by means of interviews and participative observation. In addition, a survey targeted at a large number of citizens is being designed in hopes of generating the thoughts of a larger group of people. What is also worth noting is that the TAHTO2 project focuses with increasing precision on the relationship women have with national defence. Research information permits the TAHTO2 working group to participate in discussions involving equality in general conscription and various models of national and community service regardless of gender.
The TAHTO2 research project will continue until autumn 2019 and it will be realised with funding provided by foundations outside the National Defence University. Publications involving the research may be expected in autumn 2019. Doctor of Philosophy Teemu Tallberg leads the research project assisted by a working group including Doctor of Philosophy Teija Norri-Sederholm and Doctor of Political Science Linda Hart.
Sources for the statistical information presented in the article: