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Browsing by master's degree program "Globaalin politiikan ja kommunikaation maisteriohjelma"

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  • Cámara Castillo, Laura (2019)
    The interactive features of social media platforms facilitate communication between political institutions and citizens and are said to enhance democracy by strengthening the public sphere. On the other hand, the commercialization of social networks and fragmentation of the public, together with the current mediatization of political communication, undermine the democratic possibilities of online platforms. Nowadays, the main social media platforms are owned by large US-based corporations with economic interests that often come into conflict with the public values promoted by EU institutions. Moreover, European institutions have the challenge of being often portrayed as non-transparent and remaining underrepresented in mass media. For that matter, analyzing how EU institutions present themselves on social media is relevant to understand which values they intend to promote and how do they interact with citizens, especially young people. The purpose of this thesis is to analyze how the European Parliament and the European Commission use visual communication on Instagram to portray themselves and in which ways they use the interactive possibilities available in the Stories feature to communicate with citizens. In particular, this case study focuses on Instagram because it is a visually-centered social media platform, which allows analyzing the visual aspects of political communication fairly easily. Based on Habermas’ concept of public sphere, the analysis also considers whether democratic deliberation is part of the communication strategy of European institutions. Qualitative content analysis and thematic analysis have been used as methods to assess the images and videos published on the Instagram accounts of the European Parliament and the European Commission during a period of 30 days, between January and February 2019. The clusters of analysis presented by Russmann and Svensson (2016), including perception, image management, integration and interactivity, have been selected as the main variables to analyze the content. The results of the analysis suggest that the communication strategy of the European institutions on Instagram is rather based on one-directional and top-down communication, accordingly with the findings of previous research. The European Parliament and the European Commission mostly use Instagram to inform citizens about their policy and to promote European values, instead of engaging in democratic deliberation and strengthening political participation. Furthermore, the building of the European identity appears to be a central aspect of the communication strategy of the analyzed institutions, often together with personalization and explicit reference to users.
  • Liukkonen, Jani (2021)
    This thesis aims at researching the recent history of the EMU and the monetary policy shift of the ECB in addition to its presidents roles in shaping the economy. This thesis will provide background information on the economic constitution of the EMU and how it has transformed over the course of Euro crisis and the years after. Additionally, the monetary policy actions of the ECB amongst Euro crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic will be studied. I argue that by transitioning to an expansionary monetary policy earlier than originally happened, some of the more severe economic impacts of the Euro crisis could have been prevented and it would not have led to a lost decade for the growth of the Eurozone. Additionally, I argue that the central bankers' implications for molding our future is enormous as it is clear that market actors react to their statements. My research questions are as follows: What problems or flaws have been identified within the EMU and how could they be improved? What are the presidents’ implications and effects on influencing the economy? Furthermore, how has the shift of the ECB monetary policy from hawks to doves happened over the years? This thesis utilizes critical discourse analysis in researching the materials, which comprise of the presidents annual hearings before the Plenary of the European Parliament, with the exclusion of the last nominated president as she has only been through one. In her case, quarterly Economic and Monetary Committee hearings will be utilized. The key findings suggest that the ECB presidents have viewed the EMU flawed and have emphasized the completion of the union as too much responsibility has been left for the ECB. The call for more fiscal capacity is repetitive for all three presidents. Furthermore, this research also suggests that the shift from hawks to doves happened because no other way was seen. Additionally, the roles of central bankers have been heightened during the recent history and it shows that they have a great influence on the economy based on the reactions by the market actors and the public.
  • Vuolle, Vesa (2020)
    Market reforms in the European Union (EU) are cramped between two connected, albeit divergent forces. First, policies are contested in the multilateral EU-sphere, and later refined and adjusted in heterogeneous national implementations. Neste, an industrial company, gained a monopolistic market position to a certain renewable diesel fuel in the aftermath of the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive 2 (RED II) implementation in Finland. This research aims to find out what led to this outcome. For the examination of these phenomena, this paper draws on the literature of market organization, policy implementation, and evolutionary economics, which offer us insights into market reforming in an era of marketization and climate change adaption. Also, in the course of the research text, the politically contentious nature of biofuels is unwrapped. This research aims at extending the understanding of unintended consequences of multiscalar sustainable regulations. This thesis applies an outcome explaining variant of a causal method called process tracing, which seeks to answer the question “what led to the outcome Y”. Through relevant causal process observations, this research is built into a context-specific and multifactor study. The data used here consists of secondary sources, including parliamentary reports, and the results of a stakeholder hearing that was organized around the directive implementation in Finland in 2018. Throughout the research, relevant counterfactual conditional questions are presented in light of the causal process. Asking these if-questions highlights the deliberative and political nature of the instalment of the RED II. The analysis shows that Finland’s commitment to the United Nations Paris Climate Agreement goals through the RED II is the likeliest cause for the resulting monopoly. However, we cannot fully exclude the 
Finnish parliament’s implicit motivation for monopoly-creation, but it is unlikely. The research also considers Neste’s successful entrepreneurial innovation activity as a contributing, although not an explaining factor. The study concludes that the outcome in question was an unintended, but not inevitable consequence of a sustainability directive implementation.
  • Mustakallio, Vili (2020)
    This study examines the climate responsibility, a sub-category of corporate social responsibility (CSR), of two oil companies, ExxonMobil and Shell. The study is a comparative case study of the climate responsibilities of two private oil companies, that makes use of academic literature and recent primary sources of the case companies, such as sustainability reports and statements. The study has a theoretical emphasis, and at first, it discusses the theoretical debates involving CSR. The separation of ownership and control in corporations that occurred in the early 20th century enriched the later discussion about the contradictions between capitalism and CSR, which was emerging slowly. From the 1970s, the practice of CSR became more familiar, and for instance, the orthodox liberal viewpoint became more positive about it: It was possible to combine profit-maximizing and CSR. Later, in the 21st century, governance studies gave a new perspective on interdisciplinary CSR studies. The study shows that climate responsibility might differ extensively between two same-sized oil companies. ExxonMobil’s climate responsibility has changed in the past twenty years: First, the company doubted whether climate change was true. Later, it admitted that it is a fact, and the company has committed to the Paris Climate Agreement. However, it commits to greenwashing regarding finding solutions. The company emphasizes its expertise and authority and is against government climate regulation. For ExxonMobil, the responsibility remains on the level of talk. It is not attempting to withdraw from oil. Shell’s climate responsibility, however, materializes in practice, too, even though the company has committed to greenwashing in the past. Shell has invested substantially in renewable energy sources and states that it aims to transform its business model to correspond with ambitious climate objectives. Further, contrary to ExxonMobil, Shell relies on a climate scenario, which follows an estimate that global warming from the pre-industrial era will not exceed 2°C. The study underlines that instrumental factors can explain the forms of corporate climate responsibility. However, the study does not exclude institutional, relational, nor philanthropic reasons for climate responsibility. This study discusses broad instrumentalism, which includes profit-maximizing and pursuit of corporate power. Profit-maximizing explains the form of climate responsibility that both companies practice. ExxonMobil’s climate responsibility speech is explained by maintaining a reputation and advertising matters, that is, short-term profits. However, its climate responsibility in practice remains modest, even irresponsible: The company is not withdrawing from oil nor investing in renewable energy sources. That is because, whereas the new oil resources are becoming harder and harder to exploit, ExxonMobil has relatively large oil resources compared with other oil companies. In turn, Shell’s climate responsibility is explained, especially by the long-term profits. Shell has relatively low oil reserves. Thus, it prepares for future regulation and positions as a progressive actor regarding energy transition to maximize profits in the 22nd century. Also, the case companies differ in the way they pursue corporate power. In the case of ExxonMobil, its climate responsibility speech is an attempt to pursuit corporate power against government regulation and to obtain autonomy. On the other hand, in climate issues, Shell highlights cooperation with the government and other stakeholders instead of self-regulation through its CSR. In the end, the thesis discusses the implications of the results to a broader question of global climate governance. When sustainability has become a growing business, and there are challenges in global climate governance, it is important to recognize the limits of climate responsibility, and more broadly, the limits of corporate social responsibility as a long-term solution. However, in the short term, the climate efforts of corporations are necessary to fill the regulatory gaps of global climate governance.
  • Moreno Ramírez, Francisco (2017)
    As in many countries, education in Chile has been a huge problem for authorities and researchers. Over time, there have been many attempts to improve quality, but with little to no success. It is difficult to find the main reason why Chilean education faces many problems. One reason could be the way teachers understand the policy instruments; the national curriculum, and how clear it is. However, it also could be related to the way of using skills related to communication in general, and teacher-student interaction in particular. My assumption is they have been ignored or under considered as part of the teaching process. Some experts have recognized the relevance of communication and teacher- student interaction, because of the significance of reciprocity. It has a very crucial role for effective teaching and learning to take place (Arthur, Gordon, & Butterfield, 2003). This is an in-depth research into both systems of education, a comparative and qualitative investigation that aim to analyse guidelines for teachers and principals. This research will collect data through the analysis of both national curriculums, to see how these terms are mentioned and described in them as part of the guidelines of every taught subject, and how many of these teaching methods include teacher-student interaction. For this reason, the purpose of my thesis is to analyse how the elements of communication and teacher-student interaction are presented in the official curriculums of Chile and Finland. Although the analysis of documents is the main source of data, this investigation considers also the observation to understand the dynamics in the classroom, despite being only an illustration.
  • Kasi, Marianna (2021)
    Intelligence agencies have become a significant element of security in contemporary societies. While new, more expansive intelligence methods have been utilised to contain potential security threats, national intelligence cultures have been challenged by more democratic understandings of intelligence and security on a societal level. As part of this transformation, intelligence agencies have encountered growing demands in the public sphere to strengthen their transparency and accountability. In this process, news media have a special role as an arena and an intelligence stakeholder to promote the democratisation of intelligence. The aim of this thesis is to study the democratisation of intelligence by analysing the shaping of national intelligence culture in news media discourses that covered the intelligence reform in Finland. Its theoretical framework is anchored to the concept of national intelligence culture and intelligence stakeholder theory which are linked to security and human security intelligence paradigms. The theoretical framework is complemented with Hallin’s theory on news media coverage in the spheres of consensus, legitimate controversy, and deviance to study how the news media discourses regarding Finnish intelligence reform have shaped the national intelligence culture in Finland. The qualitative case study is based on a data set of 216 online news articles published between August 2015 and June 2019 in a national news media outlet Helsingin Sanomat. The news content is analysed using qualitative content analysis and Fairclough’s approach to critical discourse analysis. The results of this study imply that the intelligence stakeholders represented in news media discourses can agree on the foundations of Finnish national intelligence culture. The study findings indicate that in the sphere of consensus, the stakeholders agreed on the necessity of intelligence reform, the existence of new threats in the security environment and the stagnant development of Finland’s intelligence powers compared to its Western counterparts. However, in the sphere of legitimate controversy, several intelligence stakeholders including news media considered constitutional rights more important than national security interests, demanded more transparency and accountability in intelligence operations and challenged the public trust in the legislative process. Finally, the findings in the sphere of deviance revealed that significant stakeholders, such as citizens, civil society organisations and businesses, were excluded from the news media discourses. Thus, the results indicated that the stakeholders who were strongly represented in the news media have been able to significantly influence the discourses on the purpose and future of intelligence in Finland.
  • Marjomaa, Anni (2020)
    This thesis aims at developing plausible visions of future for the eurozone, based on a literature review and scenario methodology. The starting point of the analysis is the global financial crisis of 2008, which turned into a European balance-of-payment crisis in 2010. In the early 2020, COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a new crisis for the eurozone. The survival of the euro seems more uncertain than ever before. Thus, it is a timely effort to explore the various theories of the root causes for the troubles of the eurozone. The research question of the thesis is the following. Utilizing scenario methodology, what kind of plausible futures can be envisioned for the eurozone? Is there a viable future for the EMU or is it doomed to fail due to its alleged flaws? What are the conditions in which the eurozone can prosper and the euro to become a well-functioning common currency? The hypothesis is that the future of the eurozone is extremely uncertain without significant social and fiscal reforms. To tackle these questions, various theories and perspectives on the problems of the euro are reviewed. Despite the different views, there seems to be a consensus regarding the fact that the euro has failed in terms of the main objectives of the common currency, namely bringing prosperity and stability through economic integration and accelerating political integration. Quite the contrary, it has worsened the standards of living and created instability and deep political fragmentation across Europe. The thesis utilizes scenario methodology as it is particularly suitable method for examining uncertain contexts. The scenarios are based on a literature review, which is further analysed from the author’s perspective and developed into plausible scenarios for the future. It is argued that scenario methodology is a fruitful way to conceptualize uncertain future and potential shocks it may hold, while producing novel academic insights and interesting research. The scenario-building exercise demonstrates how the different theories and views on how the EMU should be governed and reformed may play out in practice. Each scenario reflects certain school of thought that entails specific elements of reform and governing principles for the EMU. The paper demonstrates that there are conditions in which the euro can survive and even prosper. On the other hand, there are conditions in which the euro is doomed to fail due to its design flaws and lack of social integration within the eurozone. The scenarios in which the EMU prospers include aspects of social integration and banking integration. Vice versa, the scenarios in which the EMU cannot survive are characterized by lack of social and banking integration. The key finding is that for the euro to survive, social integration in Europe must deepen. In other words, any meaningful reform in the eurozone structure requires increased solidarity within the union. There is a growing consensus between leading economists that the most important structural reform would be some level of debt mutualization and restructuring. The second conclusion is the importance of banking integration, which would enhance financial stability in the eurozone through common standards and harmonize the banking regulation between the member states. Banking integration also requires deepening solidarity in the EMU, so it cannot fully realize before social integration moves forward.
  • Kupiainen, Susanna (2021)
    The purpose of this thesis is to examine the Finnish state monopolies, Alko and Veikkaus, as hybrid organizations from an institutional plurality viewpoint, since their duty is to decrease the consumption-related harm of their products. Hybrid organizations have existed for long, but societal changes have induced an increase in institutional pluralism. Hybrid organizations have not been studied very thoroughly despite a recent growing interest. State-owned organizations have been examined from a hybridity viewpoint specifically regarding mixed ownership, but constitutional monopoly research is scarce. Research questions inspect what kinds of pluralistic tensions Alko and Veikkaus face, and how the organizations cope with them. Data collection first included background interviews for confirming relevant research themes. One interview was conducted in each company, with employees whose position includes stakeholder contact. Next, annual reports and responsibility reports for 2015 and 2017-2019 were retrieved from the companies’ websites, and processed with qualitative content analysis, which utilized themes identified in both previous research and background interviews. Results showed that the monopolies faced distinct tensions due to different operating environments. The organizations used different coping mechanisms, which is partly due to differences in the core products. Veikkaus’ mechanisms slightly favored responsibilization and decoupling, while Alko benefitted from a strong organizational identity and collaboration with other organizations. This thesis identifies some specific challenges and tensions related to the monopolies in industries of addictive products and contributes to the understanding of coping mechanisms in hybrid organizations.
  • Krug, Anna-Lena (2020)
    The world in which we live and communicate is complicated and complex. This is also true for political communication, which has moved, in some part, to newer forms of media, such as social media platforms. Politicians have gained the opportunity to communicate directly with their followers online, without any mediators. This allows political actors to present the image of themselves and the version of reality they want to convey. Twitter is one example of such a platform, which provides an interactive channel of communication between political actors and their audience. This thesis aims to analyse how the 280 characters long tweets are used as forms of communication by employing and combining Erving Goffman’s concepts of framing and self-presentation. Frames are interpretative frameworks which are activated by our brains to make sense of situations and events and the understanding of self-presentation describes how actors portray themselves in social settings. (Political) actors can change the way the narrative is framed, depending on which frame of reference they are highlighting in their communication. For the case sample, 1785 tweets by the German party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) have been collected over a period of four weeks at the beginning of 2020. Their categorisation as a right-wing party as well as their active presence on Twitter makes them an interesting subject of study. To structure the collected data, the tweets are divided into 12 categories of framing strategies, which are based on the differentiation between a Positive Self-Presentation and a Negative Other-Presentation. The analysis of the tweets and the employed framing strategies showed that the party emphasised the (perceived) differences between themselves and the other, which ranges from political elites, oppositional political parties and their supporters to civilian groups such as activists, migrants or critics of the party. Language is important for the portrayal of the framing strategies, either through the usage of personal pronouns – for example, “us” or “them” – or through the invention of mocking names classifying the other. The self, here the AfD, is always presented positively and the others are depicted in a negative light. It has been found that the combination of different framing strategies can lead to a stronger emphasis on the positive self and the negative other. The tweets generally portray one version of reality or one version of the narrative that fits best to the objective the party wants to portray. The data sample and the period of data collection are rather limited and would need to be expanded for further analysis. Nonetheless, the results give an indication of how framing strategies can be used daily in political communication, which can add to the knowledge of political researchers and communicators.
  • Lai, Cheuk Tung (2019)
    This study aims to explore how family influences graduates in higher education and occupation markets, in the processes of opportunity, selection, purpose and motivation and performance in Hong Kong and Helsinki, Finland by applying the economic, cultural and social capitals introduced by Bourdieu and Coleman. Interviews (N=20) have been conducted to analyse the personal experiences of interviewees in both cities. However, results show that only cultural capital is the most influential resource provided by particularly parents in both Hong Kong and Helsinki. And the way of how parents in both cities contribute to and affect graduates is different from the claims of Bourdieu and Coleman. Thus, some sources of errors i.e. interview questions and interviewee’s answers and limitations are identified to support why results are not strong enough when applying Bourdieu’s and Coleman’s ideas of capitals. Also, diploma disease (Dore, 1976) is identified as one of the key problems in the education system, specifically in Hong Kong, which will be discussed at the end of this study.
  • Toivonen, Kia (2021)
    The purpose of this research is to study how informal communication and information flow changed when the COVID-19 pandemic forced many organizations to transfer from working at the office to remote work at home. In the pre-pandemic world, informal communication occurred at the workplace on a daily basis, thus creating more opportunities for information exchange, whereas in the present, the new remote work mode has erased informal communication from the equation nearly completely. This research studies how the flow of information was impacted by the sudden lack of informal communication, and whether these changes were seen in the basic workflow of organization members. The study is conducted in collaboration with CSC – ICT Center for Science Ltd. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were used as the research method in this study. All interviewees worked in specialist positions, and the sample represented all units in CSC. The interviews were analyzed with qualitative content analysis, which was based on the coding frame built on themes that arose in the interviews. Such themes were meetings, silos, communicational environment and information flow. The results show that without informal communication, the organization members do not have as good of a comprehension of the organization’s projects and daily operation as they did before the pandemic. Furthermore, the individuals’ informal communication networks have reduced during the pandemic, and they no longer communicate with anyone who they do not work with consistently. The reduced communication network and informal communication have impacted the information flow to have become more formal and focused on the substance at hand. Information has become more difficult to access without informal communication to maintain an understanding of who works with what information. The results are corresponding with what is known by previous research. However, this study elaborates more on not only the relationship between informal communication and information sharing, but also on how the dynamics of that relationship works in a changing environment. Without informal communication, individuals are unaware of the information that is flowing elsewhere in the organization. This creates uncertainty and feelings of missing out on potentially relevant information.
  • Garcia Torres, Yvette Maria Vanessa (2021)
    This study aims to analyze institutional change and transparency practices of the National Audit Office of Peru (NAO), whose job is to promote accountability in public administration but paradoxically faced an accountability crisis in 2017. This study analyzes the combination of logics of explanation that fostered the changes in the NAO during 2010 to 2020, and the role of transparency practices in institutional change. This study answers two research questions about the logics of explanation that were decisive to promote institutional change and the role of transparency in institutional change at the National Audit of Peru during the ten-year study of 2010-2020. In that regard, this theory-based qualitative research is based on institutional change theories and the four logics of explanation proposed by Vivien Schmidt: institutional design, evolutionary, appropriateness, and communication, the perceptions of seven decision-makers, managers, authors, or participants who worked during the time of the study frame of ten years, plus the analysis of statistical data. Since only one logics of explanation cannot explain the changes, a combination of the four logics of explanation were necessary. Each of the logics of explanation merge with thematical axis proposed after coding the interviewees' perspectives to explain how the changes were produced and the role of the transparency practices that fostered the changes within an accountability public institution between 2010 2020. Moreover, theories of accountability, trustworthiness, transparency and communication are presented to answer the research questions. This study uses the content analysis method and other qualitative research tools such as document review, website review, and information from the organization, which is of public domain. Finally, the conclusions of this study show that the combination of the four logics of explanation was crucial for the changes at the National Audit Office, and the practices of transparency were effects of those changes.
  • Tsokkinen, Riku (2019)
    This study employs an exploratory look into the immigration policy in the contemporary Japan, in the light of an ongoing demographic transition. As the native Japanese population ages, the government officials have turned their attention towards foreign labor to fill the labor deficits in several working sectors. The scrutiny in the study focuses on examining the immigration policy environment and the government operations in increasing the international labor mobility in Japan. The exploratory approach in the study reflects the aspirations of the study to act as a groundwork for further research of the topic by creating hypotheses of the matters examined. Through the use of an analytical framework and a rational logic model based on policy analysis, the study analyzes the Japanese governments immigration policy plan from 2015 and the implemented policies until second quarter of 2019. The examined material is comprised of official publications from the Japanese Ministry of Justice. The results of the study show a set of distinguishable tendencies of the immigration policy in the second decade of the 21st century; a clear preference for highly skilled foreign labor over less skilled one, reluctance of major reforms in opening the labor market for foreign labor, lack of centralized support for multicultural coexistence, preferential treatment for Japanese descendants, and the election of time-limited measures to tackle labor deficits. The study concludes, that even after the realization of the demographic change and the labor deficits by the Japanese officials, the opening of the labor market for the foreign labor remains constricted. Of the immigration policies, the trainee programs show major potential in attracting the low and medium skilled labor, the type of labor most required, and the further revision of the program could promote it to be a cornerstone for increasing the international labor mobility in Japan.
  • Bassett, Eli (2020)
    The platform economy has emerged in the past two decades to become a remarkably profitable and increasingly global industry. The explosive growth of platform firms can be attributed to the outsourcing of almost all aspects of business operations to minimize costs. This is coupled by their motivation to grow rapidly to capture disproportionately large market shares. Consequently, platform firms have become global behemoths, and the labor which sustains their growth has come to be known as “gig work”, in which self-employed contractors work whenever they please, without the traditional protections provided to formal employees. The goal of this dissertation is to explain these mechanisms in relation to their potential impacts on income inequality. This dissertation tests two hypotheses: the outsourcing hypothesis and market concentration hypothesis. Each hypothesis proposes a causal chain whereby outsourcing and market concentration in the platform economy lead to disproportionate economic power and greater economic insecurity, and consequently links these outcomes to a double movement in the U.S. income distribution. Methodologically, this research employs contrastive comparisons, whereby exemplary platforms are compared with their traditional competitors, namely Uber with the taxi industry, Amazon with Walmart, and DoorDash with Domino’s Pizza. From these contrastive comparisons, evidence is gathered to demonstrate key differences between platforms and their traditional competitors. Additionally, this research is contextualized in terms of historical and ideological trends, particularly the gradual re-emergence of income inequality and the development of neoliberal hegemony. The findings demonstrate that through unique combinations of the hypothesized mechanisms, platform businesses do proliferate greater economic insecurity, and generate disproportionate economic power between platform providers and platform managers and owners. However, evidence directly linking these outcomes to downward or upward pulls in the U.S. income distribution remains inconclusive. That said, substantial evidence was found for the rejection of the outsourcing hypothesis. Evidently, given the complexity of social systems, the findings from this research may be inherently difficult to generalize on a global or systemic level. As such, I conclude that further research is necessary to draw more decisive and generalizable conclusions regarding the interplay between income inequality and the platform economy.
  • Pagkratis, Niko (2020)
    The aim of the thesis is to explore whether John Rawls’ theoretical concept of property-owning democracy can potentially inform novel avenues in the current debate regarding economic inequality. This concept is used in the thesis to scrutinize the role of property ownership in liberal theory and advocate for a broader, and more equal, interpretation regarding the role of property. More specifically, the attempt is to show that in Rawls’ property-owning democracy there is a possibility for a more equal basis for ownership, which can also enhance broader economic equality. The methodology employed in the thesis is that of concept analysis, which is used to critically examine how some of Rawls’ theoretical concepts have been understood in the academic literature and whether there are more accurate interpretations regarding these concepts. Hence, the aim is to focus on Rawls’ theory’s economic component in the form of property-owning democracy. Furthermore, Rawls’ overall impact amongst mainstream economics is highlighted in order to disclose the narrow nature in which his theory is understood amongst most economists. This narrow interpretation of Rawls’ theory is exemplified by the focus on a single aspect of the theory, namely, the decision theory rule of maximin. However, closer scrutiny reveals that Rawls formulates a complex theoretical structure that aims to formulate macro principles instead of focusing on micro principles. One of the main findings of the thesis is that through Rawls’ property-owning democracy, one can see there to be more space in the liberal political tradition towards greater economic equality than traditionally supposed. This is manifested by the requirement in Rawls’ property-owning democracy for a significant degree of equality in the ownership of the means of production. The importance of equality in Rawls’ theory makes radical interpretations also possible. For instance, Rawls’s property-owning democracy is in accordance with John Stuart Mill’s idea of worker managed firms. Therefore, the ownership and organization of the means of production is potentially a concrete area of improvement where greater economic equality could be achieved. Another interesting finding is that mainstream economics, with utilitarian philosophy as its backbone, seems to have forgotten the question regarding the ownership of the means of production and assumes it to be naturally privately held. One explanation for this is that the paradigm change in economics, from classical political economy to neoclassical economics, also meant shifting focus from the question of ownership of production to other avenues. As a result, questions regarding utility maximization became the focus of attention. The thesis shows that questioning underlying assumptions regarding issues such as economic inequality are crucial in order to properly understand and analyze the issue further. Rawls’ input in this regard is that he emphasizes the normative context, namely, the need to have clear political and moral arguments regarding justice. Therefore, it is important to scrutinize and formulate clearly what are the underlying principles for a just society instead of assimilating principles at face value. In the context of concrete policy outcomes, assuming certain principles without scrutiny also informs policy outcomes that can be detrimental for greater economic equality.
  • Kopra, Jasmin (2020)
    This thesis examines how urban sustainability is constructed in the local implementation plans of Sustainable Development Goals, and whether a common discourse can be outlined of them. Cities and other local authorities are increasingly assuming the global responsibility for sustainable development actions alongside the nation-states. In this case, the commitment is demonstrated by voluntarily committing to monitoring progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals as part of a global city network. The potential reasons for cities to engage in such global city networks for sustainability are a disappointment to global cooperation efforts by nation-states, a possibility for peer learning, sharing new practices, and seeking branding possibilities. A sample of local commitments, Voluntary Local Reviews, are analysed in terms of their discursive construction. The analysis is based on the theoretical constructions of environmental policy discourses by Maarten Hajer and John Dryzek. By focusing on policy discourses, it becomes possible to understand how certain issues are organized into politics while others are organized out. The research focuses on nine Voluntary Local Reviews released in 2019 by Bristol, Buenos Aires, Hamamatsu City, Helsinki, Los Angeles, Oaxaca, Mannheim, New York City and Taipei City. The research shows that although cities have internalized the common principles of sustainable development, mainly deriving from the Agenda 2030, many of them are interpreted in various ways. The common framework by Voluntary Local Review offers only a vague guideline for the reviews which leads to cities rather resorting to copying the models from each other or developing their own. The inherent ambiguity that is connected to the term sustainable development is not addressed in any of the reviews, nor is an explicit definition of the used sustainability concept offered in any of them. This supports the notion that cities engage in the discursive construction of (urban) sustainable development with the reviews. Based on the reviews, the following Sustainable Development Goals are considered as most relevant for cities: goal 11 (Sustainable cities and communities), goal 8 (Decent work and economic growth), goal 10 (Reduced inequalities) and goal 16 (Peace, justice and strong institutions). Cities also actively position themselves as global sustainability actors in their reviews. They position themselves as eager to bear a global responsibility and as most relevant actors for citizens, close to their everyday lives. Furthermore, they express an urge to inspire other cities nationally and globally to also join in reporting and commit to sharing their progress on global arenas, such as in the United Nation’s High-Level Political Forum. In their connection to national sustainable development reporting, broadly two approaches can be identified. In some situations, national reporting is not mentioned in a review at all and, consequently, its role is highlighted. This applies mostly in situations where national actors are not considered as active as city actors. In other situations, cities see their reporting as complementary to the national one and even consider cooperation as their duty thanks to shared values with national actors. Voluntary Local Review reporting offers an interesting case of voluntary bottom-up commitment by cities to engage in global sustainability spheres and its significance is likely to only increase in the future. Based on results, reporting on the local level requires a careful balancing between adapting goals and indicators to locally relevant form, on one hand, and ensuring that they are general enough to allow for comparison, on the other hand. As sustainable development and Sustainable Development Goals are characterized by ambiguity concerning their precise definitions, the current local reporting offers considerable judgement for cities in terms of what to include in the reporting. More precise frameworks and indicators would allow that also cities with lesser resources could engage in this sustainability reporting.
  • Saikku, Katariina (2021)
    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that human rights are inalienable and belong to everyone without any large scale exceptions. Thus, supranational human rights bodies focus on monitoring human rights violations, instead of discussing to whom human rights in practice are seen to belong to. However, there are vast differences with how states view universal human rights, which is especially apparent when discussing the rights of sexual and gender minorities. This study set out to discover how states justify not including the rights of sexual and gender minorities under the protection of international human rights treaties by analysing statements made at the UN Human Rights Council. The material for this research were the statements made at the 41st meeting of the Human Rights Council’s 32nd session on the 30th of June 2016. This session voted for the establishment of an independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The session included 23 statements that were made either by a country representative who voted against the establishment, or by a representative whose country abstained from the vote. These statements were analysed with qualitative content analysis, by which nine justification categories were identified. These categories were titled Cultural Relativity, Imposing Values, Moral Grounds, Universality, Lack of Legal Basis, Sovereignty, LGBTI Definition’s Lack of Clarity, Human Rights Council’s Cohesion, and Resolution’s Lack of Clarity. These nine justification categories were further divided into three groups depending on the strength and aim of the argument. This research deduced that cover-up justifications (Lack of Legal Basis, LGBTI Definition’s Lack of Clarity, and Resolution’s Lack of Clarity) where used in arguments to divert the discussion from the root justifications, which were the arguments under Cultural Relativity and Moral Grounds. The statements in the third category (Universality, Sovereignty, Human Rights Council’s Cohesion, and Imposing Values) highlighted the differences with how universality and the mandate of the Human Rights Council is perceived. Understanding the justification categories identified in this research help to direct LGBTI advocacy and resources, and to critically asses the universality of human rights.
  • Pelkonen, Aleksi (2021)
    This thesis assesses the relative performance of different theories of money in the contemporary world economy. This thesis aims to qualify some of the claims of Modern Monetary Theory (hereafter MMT) by assessing how accurate the theory is as a description of money. Furthermore, it seeks to more precisely define ‘the state’ as a political entity in order to more fully qualify some of the constraints a state’s currency may face. Three theories of money are discussed: the commodity theory of money, the positioning theory of money, and the credit theory of money (the last of which is compatible with MMT). Three authors’ work are analyzed that each advocate for one of the three theories. These theories are assessed according to their relative concordance with historical evidence. It also assesses some of the consequences for economic analysis that emerge as a result of these different conceptions of money’s functions. A theory of the state postulated by Bob Jessop is adapted for identifying constraints on states’ currencies under the assumption that the credit theory of money (MMT) is accurate. The performative effects of the commodity theory of money and expectations of appropriate state behavior limit the fiscal policy space of states beyond that which is proposed by MMT. Further limiting the fiscal policy space of states is the global free-trade system, which imposes a structural need for some states to earn foreign currency reserves so that they can produce and procure essential economic goods. The thesis concludes by suggesting two paths forward to resolve these limitations. The first involves reframing public economic discussions by using MMT’s metaphors; the second suggests a return to discussions of managed global trade governance, for example John Maynard Keynes’ “Proposals for an International Clearing Union.”
  • Koistinen, Olga (2021)
    Media and power dichotomy in Russia present an interesting and multilateral context for research. The global pandemic of COVID-19 which started in 2019, raised the significance of the crisis communication in the media. Crisis communication is essential in regard to constructing and influencing the audience’s perception. The aim of this master’s thesis is to provide an analysis of the news frames used in two Russian newspapers and analyse how they are used in relation to influencing public’s perception. The aim is to identify how the news framing creates narratives and public discussion. Additionally, the analysis involves the question of how the relationship between Russia and the West is framed during this crisis. The research material consists of two different newspapers during the month of April 2021. Research data that involve news about COVID-19 includes all the articles, editorials and opinion pieces from this time. Research material consists of a total of 54 articles. The newspapers selected for the research are “Argumenty I Fakty” which is identified as a pro- government newspaper. The second newspaper is “Nezavisimaja Gazeta” identified as critical towards the Russian government. The framing analysis of research material is conducted. Research also draws from the theories of crisis communication. Results of the analysis indicate, that the political orientation of a newspaper, is significant in terms of the news frames used in them. The news frames construct the public discussion and influence the peoples actions. In “Argymenty I Fakty” was found four news frames and in “Nezavisimaja Gazeta” was found five news frames. Only one news frame was used in both newspapers. The news frames utilized in the pro-government newspaper amplified the political agenda of the Russian government. The narratives created in both newspapers were significantly different. In conclusion, the framing analysis provided an understanding of the news frames used in two different Russian newspapers. It is evident, that the political identity of the newspaper provides a significant impact which news frames are utilized and how crisis communication is conducted. The opposition of Russia and the West is visible in both newspapers and it is created through the news framing.
  • Lemieux, Noemie (2019)
    Different studies have assessed, in the past, the potential effects of showcasing inclusiveness of different identities in popular media. Those research often about TV series and movies, have shown the media’s potential to “participate in the construction of the imagined community, the nation, and the membership of that nation” (Nikunen, 2013, p. 307). However, too few of those studies concern video games, even though the relevance of researching that form of media is growing incessantly along with its popularity. The recent events of Gamergate and other criticism in the last years also highlighted that need. In the last years, some members of the gaming industries, touched by the awareness-raising campaigns on the potential effects of representation – or lack thereof – in video games, have attempted to improve the inclusiveness in their designs. That is the case of the Blizzard team creating the first person shooter Overwatch. Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch’s game director, has been explicit about the developers intend to send a message of “inclusiveness and open mindedness” through their game design (Kaplan, 2017), which is why the game was selected for the present research. This thesis includes theory drawn from social sciences concerning representation, visuality, and media effect. As the subject of analysis is a video game, a part of the theory comes also from the field of game research: game analysis essentials, and the notion of the transformativity of games. This basis allows a short analysis of the game Overwatch in order to evaluate partially the inclusiveness and the type of representation observable in the game. How are players reflecting on and reacting to developers’ attempt at inclusive design in the video game Overwatch? To answer the question, in-depth interviews were led with active players of the game. The participants told their first reactions to the game, then expressed their thoughts about the game’s level of inclusiveness, the necessity of that inclusiveness, and the potential effects it could have on themselves or other players. Their answers were compiled and analysed. Although the scope of this work doesn’t allow definite conclusions, it has been found that the interviews are welcoming the inclusiveness in the game Overwatch. Some of them were even to see more diverse representation added to it in the future. Most of the players are however making the distinction between Overwatch and other genre of games, saying that such inclusiveness should not be required from the developers, but encouraged; the participants give value to the developers’ creative freedom and don’t want to see it hindered by pressure from critics. Regarding the potential effects of the game’s values on the players, the participants were mostly unsure about the possibility at first. Yet, towards the end of the interview, as they became more comfortable, some of them shared personal experiences of media effect from Overwatch. Those testimonies were especially interesting as they are comparable to Bandura’s social cognitive theory, which is discussed in the thesis (Bandura, 1977; Kirsch, 2010). The results of this study invite interested researchers to investigate further in that direction.