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Browsing by Author "Pöllänen, Joonas"

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  • Pöllänen, Joonas (2021)
    This master’s thesis attempts to examine views on Finland’s security environment among Finnish security experts and analyse these views through the framework of critical geopolitics. Theoretically, the thesis draws both from earlier literature on perceived state security threats to Finland and the research on security-geopolitics relationship within critical geopolitics. The thesis utilizes Q methodology, a relatively little-known approach with a long history and an active userbase in social sciences. The purpose of the methodology is to study personal viewpoints, in other words, subjectivities, among a selected group of people, the participants of the study. Q methodology employs both qualitative and quantitative methods, and the result of a Q methodological research is a number of discourses, which can be further analysed. The group of participants whose views were examined consisted of nine geopolitical experts and policymakers, all of whom were civil servants of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Finnish Defence Forces. Three separate discourse were distinguished in this group, on top of which there was a consensus in some issues examined. One of the resulting discourses, which was especially widespread among participants from the Defence Forces, viewed Russia as Finland’s geopolitical Other. According to this discourse, Finland’s security would be highly dependent on this Other, even though it may not be a realistic security threat at the moment. This view is in line with a traditional geopolitical discourse in Finland. Another discourse, which was common among the participants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized internal security threats and democracy’s role for security, while it seemingly downplayed Russia’s role. A third discourse, on the other hand, highlighted non-state security issues, such as terrorism. The consensus discourse among the group of participants viewed the European Union strongly as the primary geopolitical framework of Finland. Even though two of the three individual discourses did not highlight Russia’s role, there was an indirectly implied consensus that Finland should not seek close cooperation with Russia in important security matters, such as cybersecurity