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Browsing by study line "Humanities"

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  • Baker, Liv (2023)
    In response to the increasing need for an effective method to compare student performance on the international scale, the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) launched the Program for International Student Assessment, better known as the PISA, in 1997. As such, PISA not only establishes an internally agreed upon framework between countries, but it also binds the commitment of OECD member states to regularly assessing the impact of educational systems on student performance. According to the first published PISA results, PISA “aims at providing a new basis for policy dialogue and for collaboration in defining and operationalizing educational goals— in innovative ways that reflect judgment about the skills that are relevant to adult life.” In simple terms, PISA seeks to evaluate how well 15-year-olds are prepared for the challenges they will face in life. Finland has ranked among the top countries since the first administration of the triennial PISA in 2000. Despite measuring well against its OECD counterparts, Finland, which once topped the PISA ranks, has since experienced a relative decline in performance. The mediation of PISA results has undeniably affected Finland’s image of education. This media discourse analysis uses major American newspaper outlets to unearth how Finland’s image has been affected by PISA results. These newspapers’ presentations of Finnish PISA performance further reveal how the US understands its own academic system. Ultimately, PISA asserts that academic institutions can make a profound difference on the individual, country, and global levels. Since PISA results can influence the academic decisions and policies of a given country, then the assessment must also make a difference on the individual, country, and global levels. Since the OECD drives forward the PISA, then the OECD also has an influence on the beforementioned levels. Thus, the OECD not only shapes representations of countries, but it also hinges on media as a vehicle by which to deliver these representations internationally. Although commonly overlooked, the OECD is a relevant and power-wielding actor because its PISA index reinforces and challenges narratives of academic exceptionalism, as exemplified by the case of Finland in this study. Does the OECD’s positioning as an overlooked actor magnify its power?
  • Ristikangas, Vilma (2023)
    The institutional history of the Finnish Rescue Services dates back to the establishment of volunteer fire brigades in the 19th century, when Finland was a part of the Russian Empire. Throughout the 20th century, the rescue services have been institutionalized as public services. As of 2023, the Rescue Departments have been relocated to a new political and administrative context in the Wellbeing Services County reform. This recent structural reform of the rescue services on a public administrative level has inspired this thesis to explore the role of the Finnish Rescue Services personnel in public administration and policy process. The thesis investigates the applicability of street-level bureaucracy theory and politics-administration dichotomy in the rescue services personnel’s strategy implementation. While there is some research about the societal and cultural significance of the Finnish rescue services, its political and public administrative dimension has received only little attention in the scientific literature. The thesis is conducted as survey research. The research method is quantitative data analysis and theory-driven analysis. The questionnaire data measures the rescue services personnel’s features as classic public administrators and as street-level bureaucrats, and evaluates the personnel’s willingness to implement central strategies of the rescue services. It is argued that the FRS personnel’s involvement in public discussion as street-level bureaucrats is playing a decisive role in realising the rescue services-related strategies. The findings indicate that the rescue services personnel embody ideal-type bureaucratic features and street-level bureaucratic features. However, only the street-level bureaucratic features are dominant in explaining the variation in the personnel’s willingness to implement strategies. It is suggested that the personnel’s stronger participation in political discussion and policy process would result in better strategy implementation level. This thesis contributes to the development of the political and administrative position of the Finnish Rescue Departments and strengthens their role as active partakers in the public sphere.
  • Willis, Grant (2024)
    Finnish national identity in defense policy is a concept that is often less emphasized in academic research. By utilizing the historical research method to evaluate 8 Finnish security policy documents from 2001-2022, this thesis seeks to uncover how the idea of national identity is used within the documents. There is an extensive historical background which covers wars and foreign relations of Finland to note the formation of a national identity and its variations over time. Constructivism as an approach to international relations and history in a narrative format is used as a theoretical background to investigate these issues. National identity is found to have some influence upon action taken in Finnish defence policy and can prescribe a range of options for maneuver.
  • Tseruashvili, Meri (2024)
    Both immigration and gender equality are crucial topics in contemporary Swedish socio-political discourse and reflect the nation's commitment to progressive values. However, as this thesis argues, the intersection of these two domains and their impact on marginalized communities, particularly women of different racial/ethnic backgrounds, requires deeper investigation. This thesis examines the landscape of Swedish gender equality strategies with a focus on addressing racial/ethnic disparities within the realm of gender equality. It uses Carol Bacchi's six-question approach and draws theoretical framework from Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), Norman Fairclough's and post-structuralist discourse theories. The study analyses documents such as the “Handbook: Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy” and the “Implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Sweden: Statistical Review 2019, 2020, 2021” documents. Through a systematic exploration of language use, problem representations and discursive strategies, the research uncovers both commendable efforts and inherent limitations within Swedish gender equality policies. The analysis reveals that although Swedish gender equality strategies demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity, they often fail to fully incorporate the diverse experiences of women from various ethnic and racial backgrounds. While recognizing intersecting discriminations, the Swedish feminist foreign policy tends to adopt a Western-centric perspective and overlook crucial cultural nuances. Similarly, the statistical reviews highlight challenges faced by immigrant women but perpetuate overly simplistic narratives that attribute these problems to immigrant communities alone, thereby ignoring foreign women's agency and resilience in their cultural identities. The research also identifies a "we-for-them" narrative that is embedded within Swedish societal dynamics and is subtly reinforced through language and representations used within policy discourse. This narrative frames the Swedish institutions and values as inherently superior and, as a result, reinforces existing power dynamics and undermines genuine efforts toward inclusivity and equality. The thesis discovers that while Swedish gender equality strategies hold promise, their effectiveness depends on a nuanced understanding of the context and a commitment to inclusivity. The portrayal of vulnerability attributed solely to cultural norms oversimplifies complex realities and risks the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes. Moving beyond simplistic narratives and embracing more comprehensive and inclusive approaches seem to be essential for realizing genuine empowerment and social change for all women in Sweden.
  • Gärkman, Heidi (2021)
    One of the key characteristics of the Nordic sense of affinity and cohesion is the idea of a shared and common language community. The Nordic language community is based on the concept of inter-Nordic language comprehension, meaning that all members of the community ideally rely on the use of a Scandinavian language when in contact with one another, either as a first or a second (foreign) language. Another feature of this sense of community is the common Nordic efforts in language policy and planning, which, since the establishment of the Nordic institutions, have manifested themselves through various political endeavours, all with the aim to preserve and promote the use of Scandinavian as a lingua franca in Norden. Using a motivational, discursive, intertextual and interdiscursive approach to language policy and planning research, the purpose of this study is to uncover the motivation (goals, attitudes and motives) behind as well as the policy discourses (and their potential connections and discrepancies) used in the formulation of two central Nordic language policy agreements: the Nordic Language Convention, signed in 1981 and ratified in 1987, and the Declaration on a Nordic Language Policy, signed in 2006. In doing this, the study relies on the underlying assumption that language policy and planning is a socio-cultural construct of both explicit and implicit character. The analysis further explores how the uncovered motivational and discursive elements might mirror the linguistic complexities and diversities of the Nordic language community. The temporal range of this study is determined by the two selected language policy agreements, dividing the analysis into two historical eras of official Nordic language policy and planning which represent the socio-political, -cultural and -historical context of each respective language policy agreement: the early era of 1971–1987 and the late era of 1988–2006. The analysis suggests that there was no marked motivational or discursive ideological shift between the two language policy agreements. The narrower national language discourse of the Convention, motivated by early era socio-political issues of linguistic integration and freedom of movement, was somewhat expanded upon by the broader multilingual and democratic discourse of the Declaration, in turn motivated by the late era need to define the Nordic language community in and for the 21st century global community. Yet, the power, ideological and normative pendulum of both agreements still shifted towards the Scandinavian languages and the idealistic vision of effortless inter-Scandinavian communication in the region – forming the very basis of the symbolic integration of Norden through the concept of Nordic ideology.
  • Turaglio, Elisabetta (2023)
    As the rise of popularity of the Nordic model in academia and through the newspapers reached different kinds of audiences and reached a peak during the mid 2010s, Nordic cooperation passed through an idyllic moment for its expansion and gained strength. The policymaker adopted a discursive element called “Nordic Added Value” to capitalise on the popularisation of the Nordic Model and started to use it for the enhancement of some achievements in different sectors touched by Nordic cooperation. The aim of this thesis is to inquire on the use of Nordic Added Value in the working context of the Nordic Culture Point, institution part of the cooperation framework, that deals with the promotion of culture and artistic and innovative collaborations between the actors living on both coasts of the Baltic Sea. More precisely, the thesis inquires on the rationale and context of birth of Nordic Added Value and its application in the context of Nordic-Baltic cultural cooperation. Finally, the dissertation aims to detect the presence of narratives describing the concept and its endorsement by Nordic cooperation. The thesis makes use of Grounded Theory, and a theoretical framework utilising Soft Power theory and the concept of Added Value coming from Business Studies and European Studies. The method and theoretical framework then apply to the analysis of a dataset of approved applications from the Nordic Culture Point. The results narrate of a concept used as an evaluative tool of the quality and effects of cooperative endeavours for Nordics and Baltics alike. Positive externalities which have affected both the discursive construction of the Nordic and Baltic cultural management models relate to the employment of cultural tools affecting the cohesion as regional block. Positive effects of the uses of Nordic Added Value for Nordic-Baltic relations can translate to the implementation of successful strategies for the creation of work, innovation and revenues for their respective cultural and creative industries. Policymaking gains and learning added value arguably benefit the Baltic block the most.
  • Hansen, Andreas (2019)
    This study is meant to tell the story of the Scandinavian Communist Federation and its threat to Moscow’s status within the Communist International. An organization of Nordic Communist Parties within the Communist International. The circumstances of its creation in 1924 coincide with the shift of politics within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the death of Lenin. The Scandinavian Communist Federation was not organized centrally by the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI) but by the member parties themselves. Forcing the ECCI to change its statutes and creating together with the Balkan Communist Federation a precedent. The initial assessment by the ECCI is that these two federations serve two different purposes. While it was clear that the Balkan Communist Federation longed to create a Yugoslavian/Pan-Baltic superstate, such is not clear for the Scandinavian Communist Federation. The only intent which is clear is the wish to organize as a “Scandinavian Battlegroup” and coordinate one struggle together. The Scandinavian Communist Federation was met with skepticism by the national Communist Parties and was therefore not fully fledged supported by its members. Only the Norwegians seemed seriously committed. Also, on the side of the ECCI, there have been some considerations about an ever-increasing fragmentation of the Communist International, due to contradiction with national ambition by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and its tighter grip on the ECCI. This paper examines the ideological Realpolitik of the Soviet state and its effect on the Scandinavian Communist Federation, but also the ideological feasibility of a Scandinavian nation-state.
  • Linderdahl, Sebastian (2024)
    This thesis investigates the phenomenon of security and defence political rapprochement between Finland and Sweden in 2009-2022, exploring the hypothesis of bilateral shelter-seeking in response to a deteriorating security environment. The study examines the changes in and alignment of threat perceptions, substantive security dimensions therein, and the formulation of policy objectives in bilateral cooperation, against the backdrop of the worsening security environment owing to the increasingly aggressive neighbour politics by Russia since 2008. This research problem posits two research questions: (1) “What kinds of security and defence political threat perceptions did the changing regional security dynamics invoke in Finland and Sweden, particularly in light of Russia’s increasingly aggressive neighbour politics, since 2008?”, and (2) “What roles did the Finnish-Swedish bilateral cooperation play in the security and defence policies of Finland and Sweden during the period under study?”. Qualitative answers to these questions are obtained through document analysis, process tracing, and content analysis of official government reports on security and defence policies issued between 2009-2022. Moreover, the study deploys an additional conceptual tool, drawing from the work of Christopher Daase, to analyse the substantive dimensions of security evident in the threats perceived. The theoretical framework of small states and shelter theory suggests that small states naturally seek alliances, patrons, and international organizations for political, economic, and societal shelter from external security threats. The findings of the analysis reveal a gradual convergence in threat perceptions, and in the substantive dimensions therein, and a notable development in bilateral cooperation objectives since 2015, suggesting a deliberate move towards seeking shelter amidst escalating security challenges. The study contributes to small state studies by applying small states and shelter theory to an unexplored case and sheds light on the role of bilateral cooperation as a source of shelter in navigating complex security threats. Limitations include the relatively niche policy focus, potential data constraints, and challenges in establishing causality between bilateral cooperation and perceived threats, indicating the need for further research in broader policy areas.
  • Budzisz, Karolina (2024)
    Immigration remains among the most salient topics in the socio-political debate in a dynamically transforming Europe, which is reflected in the scholarly interest in the theme. However, as this thesis argues, the attention paid to anti-immigration and pro-immigration poles of the debate is not equal and the agency of immigrants in providing knowledge on the issue pertaining to them directly is relatively neglected in academia. “Tales of Our Own” strives to explore the characteristics of pro-immigration and immigrant-made discourses and investigate their relationships with the dominant hostile narratives around immigration emerging in the context of the current populist upsurge. The thesis conceptualizes populism as an antagonizing mode of articulation that provides a stylistic framework for arguments inciting the process of othering. Immigrants in these circumstances constitute perfect ‘Others’, excluded through many novel narratives guising straightforward xenophobia under the mask of neoliberal values. Exploring an underdeveloped discursive frontier with regard for its authorship contributes to the study of the immigrant response and substantial argumentation in the debate. Moreover, it follows the objective of reclaiming immigration as it recuperates the voices of the very actors of it – those ‘on the move’. Finland is introduced as a specific case study for this research. Investigating its political climate, self-perception, and international reputation allows for an additional inquest into the studied discourse’s role in contesting the hegemonic narratives about the country. The way the hosting state and society are presented in the examined data subjects the notion of Finnish exceptionalism to scrutiny. The thesis applies a Rhetoric Performative Analysis of contents published around the Finnish parliamentary elections of 2015, 2019, and 2023 in Migrant Tales – an online, immigrant-led blog community. This method is highly advantageous for the study of antagonisms, as it is interested in the logic of equivalence (belonging) and exclusion manifested in rhetorical practices such as the use of tropology (figurative language). Drawing from Postfoundational Discourse Analysis, it assumes that the frontiers are formulated in a struggle to colonize the recurring discursive signifiers with certain meanings. The dissertation discovers that the pro-immigration discourse is highly politicized and carries a solid agenda while remaining interactive with the competing anti-immigration narratives. The immigrants are narrated as experts of their own struggle, while Finland is narrated in a bi-polar manner, both as their cherished home and as a place of exclusion and suffering. The analysis demonstrates how the debate on immigration and, more specifically, its participants contest the notion of Finnish exceptionalism on one hand and yearn for its upkeeping, on the other.
  • Fukui, Honoka (2023)
    Finland has the highest per capita coffee consumption in the world. As one of the national drinks, drinking coffee is considered an essential cultural habit in Finland. Among them, coffee breaks at workspaces are a well-established and important cultural practice. This thesis tries to reveal what is represented to be Finnish about coffee breaks in Finnish working life. First, it analyses the background of the spread of coffee culture among Finnish people. Secondly, it assesses their experiences and opinions of the coffee break in recent years by using Oldenburg’s idea of “the third place” and previous studies about the coffee break. The survey was conducted on 18 Finnish people in the spring of 2021 and autumn of 2022. Moreover, it asked about changes and experiences caused by the corona pandemic. The Finnish coffee break substantially affects health maintenance, work efficiency, and social relationship/community formation. Remarkably, the role of social relationship/community formation is significant because the coffee break has provided cosy spaces for participants and opportunities to socialise since coffee was introduced to Finland. Recently, working life has become more individualised in Finland, as working hours and locations have become more flexible, and remote working has become more common after the corona pandemic. However, the coffee break has overcome such social changes and plays a role like a bond to keep people well connected, and many of them demand such opportunities.
  • Choi, Wonjoon (2021)
    This study examines the concept of Nordic added value in Nordic cultural cooperation through the case study of the Nordic Culture Fund. This study aims to understand how the Nordic culture fund implemented the concept and to identify regionalist logic utilised during this process. By doing so, this work aims to contribute to the scholarship on the Nordic added value, exploring its practical application within the cultural sector of Nordic cooperation. To achieve this goal, non-negative matrix factorisation topic modeling was used to analyse a collection of policy documents and web pages of the Nordic culture fund published between 2002 to 2023. This study found a shift in how the concept is operationalized, alongside its regionalist logic. Initially, the Fund emphasised internal Nordic collaboration, based on heritage identity to foster the sense of Nordic community and legitimise Nordic cultural cooperation. However, since the late 2010s, the focus shifted towards the global context, integrating neoliberal values to promote Nordic culture on the global stage. This extension of scale from the regional to global level illustrates a relational characteristic of Nordic added value. By mapping the aforementioned shifts of the concept, this study contributes to the holistic understanding of the Nordic added value.
  • Healey, Emma (2024)
    The interrelation between politics and sport is seldom discussed within academia, despite its prominence in both historical and modern diplomacy, and media. This thesis contributes towards filling in these gaps, highlighting why it is beneficial as an emerging academic topic. Whilst it has been argued that sport diplomacy is detrimental towards international relations, the overwhelming majority conclude that sport diplomacy helps to move international diplomacy forward. This thesis addresses these developments, considering the historical developments since the Cold War period. It analyses specifically the frame-setting of diplomatic action within sport since February 2022, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This thesis builds upon on the literature on soft powers and nation branding, addressing how they play a role within diplomatic events in sport. This framework recognises how sport diplomacy has been, and still is, used to project a nation’s values and political interests. The concern lies between sporting diplomatic action between Europe and the Russian Federation in the twenty-first century, and identifying how sporting mega-events (SMEs) have been used as a vehicle of political messaging. This thesis considers two particular cases of how sport diplomacy has been received within news media. It addresses the international case of the 2024 Olympic Games, and the national perspective of the Finnish ice-hockey team Helsingin Jokerit’s 2022 withdrawal from the Kontinental Hockey League. The thesis utilises a qualitative frame analysis upon these two cases, focusing on clusters of media publications surrounding two key events within the discussion. It then compares the frame-building of sport diplomacy, and the frame-setting of these reports (whether conscious or unconscious) to consider how it may affect public perceptions of sport diplomacy. Fundamentally, the thesis establishes the changes in the use of sport diplomacy since 2022, and recognizes how its impact varies between international and national cases. This opens up a discussion for further research, and considerations of how sport diplomacy should be recognized from various state and non-state actors. It concludes that sport diplomacy is an impactful vehicle for political messaging, and, although the Cold War acted as a catalyst for cultural diplomacy, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has opened the floodgates for the use of sport diplomacy within Europe, and a greater recognition of its potential should be recognized by academics, politicians and non-state sporting actors alike.