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Browsing by study line "Media and Democracy"

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  • Saul, Alana (2022)
    Far and wide, multilateral cooperation is championed as a principal response to a volatile global landscape characterized by transnational challenges, complexity, and turbulent great power relations. At the same time, many lament multilateralism to be amidst a paramount crisis of identity. New actors and powers are keen and increasingly capable of challenging the norms underpinning the traditionally Western-led, liberal international order and multilateralism adhering to it. Some argue that an era of unipolarity, and thus U.S. hegemony, is drawing to a close. China has come to depict itself as a fundamentally multilateral actor and is actively envisioning the design of multilateralism from its own normative stances. Rising powers, such as India, are increasingly eager to convey their views on how cooperation ought to be compiled and whom it should benefit. This thesis analyses the strategic narratives on multilateralism and the international order as put forth by China’s and India’s foreign policy statements. Three research questions were posed to direct and frame the analysis: How are the concepts of international order and multilateral cooperation described in foreign policy statements delivered by China and India? What kind of values or norms emerge as salient for China’s and India’s strategic narratives on multilateralism and the international order? How are these values and norms connected to China’s and India’s historical narratives of themselves on the international arena? Strategic narratives (Miskimmon et. al, 2013) provide a lens through which to examine how political actors construct shared meanings of the past, present, and future of international politics, in order to sculpt the behaviour of domestic and international actors. Examining the research questions via the lens of strategic narratives enables scrutiny into the themes of intentionality, communication as persuasive power, and the role strategically reconstructed concepts can exert on reality. In the case of China, three strategic narratives were identified: 1) a narrative of China’s origin story, depicted as a basis for both its future glory and its benevolence as a partner 2) a vision of “true” multilateralism, compiled of the three pillars of the existence of distinct civilizations, hegemony as antithetical to multilateralism, and sovereignty as a key value in multilateralism 3) a narrative of China being “ahead of times” and “on the right side of history”. In the case of India, three strategic narratives were identified, as well: 1) the narrative of insiders and outsiders, entailing an interplay of domestic and foreign policy 2) a vision of “temporal balance”, depicted as unique and inherent to the Indian civilization 3) a vision of the desirability of the diffusion of power, viewed to lead to justice and greater democracy in international relations. While the analysis primarily illuminates upon the strategic narratives on multilateralism and the international order as posed by China’s and India’s foreign policy, the results of this thesis also expand into future research themes such as emerging conceptualizations of democracy on the level of international relations, the persuasive power of fuzzy concepts, as well as the manner in which concepts may travel and assume novel, localized versions.
  • 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.
  • Nikarmaa, Pilvi (2022)
    Anti-gender movements that oppose women’s and LGBTQI+ rights have gained more support and visibility in Europe during the last ten years. These movements pose a threat to human rights as well as liberal democratic values as they depict feminist policies and the promotion of gender and sexual equality as a threatening “gender ideology”. Understanding how anti-gender discourses are constructed and employed is essential to addressing their influence in society. This Master’s thesis tackles this issue in the Finnish context. This study provides a nuanced understanding of how the notions of gender and sex are discursively constructed in the texts of a Finnish anti-gender organisation, Aito Avioliitto. Moreover, this Master’s thesis examines how the distinction constructed between gender and sex differs from the one made in feminist theory. The empirical material of this study consists of a sample of texts published on the website of Aito Avioliitto. Critical Discourse Analysis, which focuses on the relationship between language and power, is applied to analyse these texts. Moreover, the social constructionist theory of knowledge and feminist theories of gender and sex provide the theoretical framework for the analysis. The results of the analysis are categorised into three discourses: the discourse of “natural sex”, the discourse of “ideological gender” and the discourse of “deviant transgender”. Through these discourses Aito Avioliitto constructs sex as a purely biological, binary and permanent category; gender as an ideological and threatening notion that is used for immoral purposes; and transgender as deviance from normal, caused by “gender ideology”. These discourses disregard and oppose feminist theorising which has for decades problematised naturalistic attitudes concerning sex and explored the variety of sex and gender. The findings of this Master’s thesis propose that the anti-gender discourses employed by Aito Avioliitto reproduce and enforce unequal gender relations in Finnish society. Through the identified discourses, Aito Avioliitto positions people in unequal relations depending on their gender identities. Moreover, Aito Avioliitto’s discourses relate to current social struggles, such as the trans law reform. By depicting “gender ideology” and transgender as a threat to society, Aito Avioliitto legitimises neglecting trans rights in Finland.
  • 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.
  • Tamakoshi, Mio (2019)
    Background: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is responsible for most cervical cancer cases. In Japan, the HPV vaccination coverage has dramatically fallen since the government suspended proactive recommendations for the vaccines in 2013, following sensational media reports on alleged adverse reactions. The suspension has not been lifted till today. The government has been criticized by medical establishment for lacking evidence-based policymaking. Grounded on the constructivist approach to scientific knowledge, the study examines how scientific knowledge has been enacted, interpreted, translated into policies by the government and the pro-vaccine institutions throughout the HPV vaccine crisis in Japan. Method: The study analyses the minutes of the governmental expert committee, as well as the proceedings, statements, and publications of three pro-vaccine and pro-resumption institutions. The analysis is conducted using the qualitative content analysis method. Results: The study shows that the government suspended recommendations based on an etiological uncertainty instead of epidemiological calculations and has prolonged the suspension based on the framing of HPV vaccination as an individual’s protection by choice in contrast to seeing it as a public health issue to be promoted in a national effort. It also shows that there is ample heterogeneity among the pro-vaccine and pro-resumption institutions in terms of grounds of arguments and scientific evidence they use to call for an early resumption of governmental recommendations for the HPV vaccines. Conclusions: The study shows a way to understand the Japanese government’s HPV vaccination policy over the past eight years, beyond criticizing it as lacking evidence that supports their policy. This analysis highlights the complexity of scientific knowledge, thus how contingently scientific knowledge come to be enacted as a basis for policy decisions, depending on the values and purposes the decision makers believes in.
  • Suutarinen, Janne (2022)
    The thesis assesses ethical problems pertaining to a scenario of a mandatory vaccination program against SARS-CoV-2 (“Covid-19”) in Finland, as the epidemic situation stood in the early 2022. The initial research question is whether this kind of a program would be ethically justifiable. The conclusion to this question is reached by describing the epidemic situation, presenting basic ethical norms of public healthcare, and making a synthetizing ethical analysis on their basis. The concluding answer no comes as the result of analyzing the Finnish scenario from the perspectives of eight criteria of ethical justification that would need to be adequately met in order for a mandatory vaccination program to be an ethically sound public health measure. The eight criteria are formed by examining literature of public health ethics and vaccination ethics as well as strong ethical arguments in favor and against mandatory vaccinations, and by combining a ground of shared prerequisites guiding ethical considerations on the topic. The analysis reveals numerous ethical problems present in the Finnish scenario. The mere existence of so many unsolved issues makes the potential mandatory Covid-19 vaccination program an unethical option. The thesis calls for better public discussion on public health ethics, so that the ethical imperatives of protecting public health security and protecting individual bodily autonomy are realized also in emergency situations.
  • Nuuttila, Sakari (2022)
    The counterintuitive relationship between Finland/Finnishness and coloniality – traces of colonialism in contemporary society and culture – is an expanding area of academic research. This thesis contributes to the field by reflecting on this relationship with a focus particularly on manifestations of issues of coloniality in public debates on social media. On these platforms, contrasting political groups engage in discursive struggles over the construction of memory and identity narratives. The context of the research is the international wave of protests that started in the summer of 2020, which attracted vast popular attention to racism and inequality, and the colonial power structures lying behind them. The social movements began in North America and expanded to Western Europe, where the history of imperialism and colonization is apparent – but the debate also reached Finland, a country that has, until recently, rarely been associated with questions of colonialism and coloniality. This thesis aims to shed light on Finland’s relationship to coloniality as a periphery-of-the-center space, which retains a share of colonial complicity, but also distinct differences vis-à-vis traditional colonial centers. The approach of the study is interdisciplinary, synthesizing features of postcolonial/decolonial theory, discourse theory and memory studies. The research identifies three of the dimensions in which coloniality is involved in discursive struggles in Finland: acknowledgement, reconciliation, and cosmetic decoloniality. In the research, these dimensions are represented, respectively, by three case studies: the Afrikan tähti boardgame, the public apology by MP Pirkka-Pekka Petelius to the indigenous Sámi people, and the rebranding of traditional consumer products exhibiting stereotypical orientalist names and imagery. Each case study includes an analysis of a social media discussion thread related to it. A central analytical framework is provided by Laclau’s discourse theory applied to populist movements, which emphasizes the convergence of attitudes and values within a group following equivalential logic, and the construction of antagonistic frontiers between different groups. By means of qualitative analysis, the thesis reflects on these processes particularly as they pertain to discursive struggles related to coloniality in Finland on social media, where such polarizing features can be identified. Finland is, in its own way, embedded in coloniality, and issues related to coloniality are an increasingly contentious topic in Finnish public debate. Negotiations and struggles over narrative and identity construction can be seen to follow ideological lines to some extent, but there is plenty of nuance in the re-negotiation of Finnish identity in the comparatively novel context of coloniality. Further, more detailed and broader study of discursive struggles related to coloniality and decoloniality is in order, as these issues become ever more prevalent in Finland.
  • 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.
  • Salminen, Emilia (2022)
    This thesis will investigate how in transnational media outlet Politico Europe Europeanness is framed in relation to LGBT rights. The concept of Europeanness is highly contested and is largely shaped by the framed context in which it is studied. The concept of Europeanness in the context of this thesis is understood as a set of ideas that are relational and temporal. This allows the thesis to investigate how the concept of Europeanness is framed in contemporary settings and in relation to LGBT rights. The theoretical focus of the thesis is how an internal sexual Other is constructed in relation to Europeanness. This Othering process in constructing Europeanness and in relation to LGBT rights is often studied through the notions of Rainbow Europe and Freezer Europe. The case in point for the thesis is what is referred to as the Hungarian anti-LGBT law of 2021 that was adopted by the Hungarian government on the 15th of June 2021. The empirical material consists in total of 18 online newspaper articles of Politico Europe. The data collection method was performed through random sampling. The data is organised and coded using MAXQDA software. The method that is used to analyse the data is qualitative frame analysis method (FA). After analysis of the empirical material, the main frames that create the notions of “Rainbow Europe” and “Freezer Europe” are organised into two categories. “Rainbow Europe” notion is framed through fundamental rights frame, tolerance frame, and backsliding frame. “Freezer Europe” notion is framed through temporality frame, backwardness frame, and intolerance frame. The main results are that Europeanness in relation to LGBT rights is framed in Politico Europe through the notions of Rainbow and Freezer Europe, with the creation of a temporal difference in Hungary post-2010. Europeanness is framed as essentially LGBT friendly, and the framing of Rainbow Europe notion heightens this construction of Europeanness. Hungary is framed through the notion of Freezer Europe, which renders it as not European “enough” to be considered part of Europeanness in relation to LGBT rights. The thesis contributes to the understanding of contemporary framings of Europeanness in relation to LGBT rights in transnational news media.
  • Kornow, André-Maurice (2022)
    Parties in federal states are active on multiple levels. While attention has been given to multi-level parties and the multi-party system in general circumstances, less research has been done on how these parties act during campaigns. One of the latest trends in political campaigning is the so-called grassroots campaigning. Grassroots campaigning takes the party members at the center of the campaign and uses them as facilitators of the party’s political message in various ways. The party Alliance 90/ The Greens in Germany embraces this grassroots democracy principle and is, therefore, the optimal case to analyze. The unit where most of the party members accumulate in the German party system is the district association. To see how grassroots campaigning works within a multi-level party, this thesis aims to examine the interactions between the Greens district associations with the federal association's campaign during the federal election campaign 2021. The research data consists of six semi-structured interviews with campaign managers of the Greens parties’ district associations who were active during the federal election campaign 2021. The interview transcripts are analyzed by using a qualitative content analysis method to gain knowledge of prominent and reoccurring categories of the campaign managers' experiences during the federal election campaign. The analysis showed that the campaign managers' district associations primarily focused on the mobilization of party members as well as the localizing of politics. Furthermore, the data showed that the campaign managers do not see any influence from their side on the federal election campaign besides the formal influence through assemblies. However, they experienced different forms of autonomy which is in line with the theoretical construct of grassroots campaigning. Last, of all, the data revealed a lack of transparency from the federal campaign side. The outcomes of this study indicate the main tasks of the district associations as mobilization of members and localization of politics. Additionally, the district association seems to have a rather high amount of autonomy within the federal campaign, but on the contrary, the side might not be able to influence the federal association's campaign as such. Nevertheless, this study provides the first research on the aspect of multi-level campaigning and thereby addresses the gap in the literature on political campaigning.
  • 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.
  • dos Santos Ferreira Leandro, Ana Rita (2022)
    This thesis sets out to investigate how the ideas of what it means to be a woman and femininity are constructed and propagated through the film Raya and the Last Dragon, the latest Disney Princess film, in the form of stereotypes. Previous studies show that Disney Princess films, from The Walt Disney Company, produce effects on the behaviour and thoughts of children when it comes to gender roles. As propaganda became associated with totalitarian regimes, studies about media effects rarely coin said effects as caused by propaganda. Therefore, propaganda as a field of analysis lacks a body of literature and a consensual set of analysis rules. This thesis contributes to the establishment of propaganda as a field of analysis, by defining it under Jacques Ellul’s categorisation. The study relies on a qualitative analysis based on the propaganda analysis model proposed by Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell. The empirical material consists of the film Raya and the Last Dragon, and it is available on Disney+, the streaming service of The Walt Disney Company. The findings of this thesis illuminate how the ideas of a woman and of femininity are constructed in Raya and the Last Dragon and allow to understand, against the literature review, if these constructions have changed and evolved when compared to previous Disney Princess films. The results indicate that the film presents a world where women and men are seen as equal, leading it to break previous stereotypes associated with women and femininity. By presenting a female-centric story, with independent characters who have diverse personalities and clothing, who fight and have no romantic interests, the film subverts the trope of a passive woman in a dress waiting to be rescued by a man from a powerful evil woman. Additionally, the film rotates around the relationship between Raya and Namaari, using the patriarchal trope of plotting a woman against a woman to focus on female friendship. Yet, as the filmmakers are conditioned by their positionality, some stereotypes are still oriented by patriarchal logic and a western perspective, namely the omnipresence of a patriarchal figure that guides the protagonist. In the end, besides its contributions to the field of propaganda analysis, the thesis updates the tradition of studies done on the gendered stereotypes present in the Disney Princess films.
  • Vognæs, Stinne (2021)
    The aims of higher education have always been subject to debate and opposing opinions. In an increasingly complex world with many global challenges, the aims of higher education are once more debated. Furthermore, a growing international student body is also challenging what students should be educated for. How does these factors affect the aims of higher education and how should the university prepare students for this complex world? This partly inductive, normative case study of the University of Helsinki consists of 11 qualitative interviews from across faculties with representatives from 11 different international master’s programs. Through dialogical interviews these questions were explored. Martha Nussbaum’s theory of cosmopolitan citizenship and the three abilities of critical thinking, world citizenship and narrative imagination alongside theory on political socialization and the broader scholarly debate on the aims of higher education provide the foundation for the thematic analysis. The findings indicate that the ideals of cosmopolitan citizenship are still prevalent in the interviewees’ thinking about the skills and attitudes that students need. At the same time, many of the interviewees were not sure whether these skills and attitudes were being sufficiently developed, and many said that not enough was being done. This raises questions as to whether these skills, which are often not subject-area specific, can be brushed off as ‘nice to haves’ or whether there are real consequences if not ensuring that these skills and attitudes are approached in the same manner as subject-area knowledge. Based on the alignment between the interviews and Nussbaum’s cosmopolitan citizenship, it can be argued that what makes students good professionals is also central to making them good citizens. This study argues that students need a strong ethical, moral and value-based foundation to make them both responsible professionals and citizens. It should be explicitly planned for. This might be challenged by external pressures pushing for optimization, effectiveness and seeing education as primarily fulfilling companies’ HR needs alongside incentives structures that might not encourage teachers to prioritise teaching these skills. The findings of this study indicates that the skills of Nussbaum’s cosmopolitan citizenship are valued in the program representatives’ thinking, yet there seems to be a lack of awareness as to how these skills are being developed in practice. This study encourages a more active discussion to clearly articulate what the aims of higher education should be in the 21st century and how that should be put into practice.
  • Reinola, Inka Mari (2021)
    China’s rise in the 21st century has been a widely discussed phenomenon inside and outside the academia. There is a debate on whether China is a status quo or a revisionist state and the impact its influence might have on the world as a whole. One area of China’s rise has not been widely researched in relation to these questions – technology. China’s technological development has increased during the past decades to a level where its technology competence competes with other technologically advanced countries. The fourth industrial revolution has brought about new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, 5G or cyberspace. These technologies also bring forth new questions and challenges, and they require research not only from the technological perspective but also from a social science perspective. This research investigated the Chinese technology policies by looking at materials that included five speeches, two State Council notices, one journal article, and a journal commentary. The themes of the researched materials revolved around overall technology policies, artificial intelligence, cyberspace, and data. This study employed content analysis as its method. The categorization of the social identities derived from the theoretical framework of Chinese social identity strategies which included five different social identity strategies: Globalist China, Sovereign China, Unified China, Sino-centric China, and Rising China. The materials were analyzed by combining two theoretical frameworks – the social identity theory with a particular Chinese social identity theory framework, and constructivism. The social identity theory was originally invented within the field of social psychology but has been used in the study of international relations to understand rising powers. Chinese technology policies were revealed to employ Rising China strategy as their main strategy. Three other social identity strategies – Sino-centric China, Globalist China, and Sovereign China – were also found in the materials, and these revealed interesting points concerning the overall technology strategies. China was found to be balancing between the status quo and a revisionist state status, and the technology themes and the regions they aim to influence seemingly have an impact on which strategies they employ and how these strategies are implemented.
  • Begley, Jonathan (2019)
    A healthy democracy requires citizens to be sufficiently informed in order to be able to vote on the basis of valid information. From the perspective of a Twitter analysis of the 2018 US midterm election, this study is an examination of the relationship between social media and the concept of informed citizens. In the study a hashtag ethnographic method was applied by analysing 350 tweets from the seven days before the election day on the 6th of November, 2018. The tweets were chosen by searching for the hashtag #Midterms2018 on Twitter’s Advanced Search. Both quantitative and qualitative elements were employed in the analysis in order to evaluate whether the tweets about the US midterm election showcased that Twitter can function as a platform for the betterment of informed citizens. Based on the analysis it can be said that Twitter provides citizens many opportunities that allow them to take part in the political arena in ways that were previously unavailable to them. On Twitter citizens have the potential to reach a larger audience, challenge narratives established by traditional media, respond directly to politicians, spread their own political views and encourage others to take part in the democratic process.
  • Vaarala, Viljami (2019)
    The War on Terror has been waged for almost two whole decades now. President Barack Obama pledged to end the “boundless Global War on Terror” during his tenure but there are still US troops present in Middle East and North Africa. Despite the rhetoric on ending the war, the war got even more violent in terms of air strikes and the military budget kept on rising from that of president Bush under Obama’s first term as president. Since these circumstances suggest that there was no considerable change to be perceived in the outcome of the war from Bush to Obama, there seems to exist a process of political meaning-making through which the meanings attached to the US engagement in the Middle East are altered. Thus, this study aims at analysing the underlying fantasmatic logics through which the War on Terror was legitimized to the public during Obama’s presidency. This study contributes to the study of international relations through Lacanian-Žižekian framework, which has only recently been introduced to the study of international politics. The theoretical and methodological background of this thesis is rooted in Lacanian psychoanalysis, discourse theory of Laclau and Mouffe and Lacanian-Žižekian theorizations on ideological fantasies. By adapting the logics approach of discourse theory as a qualitative method, this thesis analyses 105 speeches on terrorism that Barack Obama delivered in 2009–2016. The analysis is focused at analysing discursive articulations, nodal points and master signifiers that partake in structuring the fantasies regarding War on Terror. In this thesis I will argue that it is through the fantasmatic logics that the ideological grip of Obama’s War on Terror becomes intelligible: By structuring the fantasmatic objects of desire at least on three levels, Obama succeeds at granting the illusion that the unachievable and impossible enjoyment – that the subjects of War on Terror desire – is achievable. However, Obama organizes the fantasy in a way that keeps the realization of the ultimate fantasy of lasting peace, safety, prosperity and security always at a distance. The desire is sustained by articulating enemies, such as al Qaeda, Taliban, Osama bin Laden, Assad’s regime and ISIL, as inferior objects of desire that are “forgotten” and replaced by one another in the signifying chain of enmity. In addition to this “forgetting” of inferior objects of desire, there exists a process of “reminding” or “remembering” that sustains the desire of War on Terror’s subjects. I then argue that some of these objects of desire are used to remind the subjects of what the possible enjoyment would feel like when it is finally achieved. These enemies are also articulated as “the constitutive othesr” that prevent the subjects of War on Terror to realize their fantasy of lasting peace. The results show that the signifier “terrorists” functions as a subtle epithet through which various and differential groups can be articulated as enemies.
  • Ricardo, Madalena (2020)
    Portugal seems to stand out among colonial empires – besides being the first European colonizer, Portugal was the last European empire, since its decolonization process unfolded later than in other European colonies. Only 20 years after the formal end of its empire, this study exposes how Portugal discusses its own colonial past today, how colonialism is framed in the current public debate and whether certain colonial narratives are still present in this discussion. Based on the findings, this thesis also discusses the impact of the debate on racism and immigration attitudes. The theoretical basis hinges on previous studies on Portuguese colonial narratives and myths, including Gilberto Freyre’s Lusotropicalism, research on the formation of national identities and theories on the construction of racism. The goal is to contribute to the existent research on Portuguese colonialism, providing a recent account of the public debate; to serve as a base for future studies on post-colonial attitudes; and to discuss the legacy of colonialism in Portugal, particularly, on racism. A media analysis is conducted. Two Portuguese newspapers were selected, Público and Observador. Only opinion articles were analyzed, and a case was chosen to represent this public debate – a controversial proposal on the construction of a museum in Lisbon about the colonial period, in the time frame from May to July 2018. Using frame analysis, the content of the opinion articles is examined, the characteristics of the authors are discussed, and frames are identified. The findings assert that colonialism is mainly framed today in two ways: as the pride of the nation and as a shameful event for the country. Fragments of a third, mixed frame could also be identified. Predominantly, it is framed as the national pride, as a key event in the history of the country. Portuguese colonization is largely described as a soft, intercultural encounter, while the atrocities tend to be dismissed. This thesis denounces the persistence of colonial narratives, myths and stereotypes and reveals their renewal into new terms. It also exposes the usage of colonialism as the foundation of the current Portuguese national identity, constituting one of its most long-lasting legacies. Finally, the thesis reveals a connection between colonialism and the dismissal of racism today. The study discusses how colonialism, the myths and narratives serve to construct a false image of tolerance of the Portuguese, which affects racism and immigration attitudes in the country. The legacy of colonialism is discussed to impact other areas, such as electoral results and the success or failure of far-right populist parties.
  • Smith, Adam Oliver (2022)
    Following the development of effective vaccines against COVID-19, a global access gap has emerged, with wealthier countries receiving the vast majority of vaccines and therapeutics. The governments of several lower-income countries have since identified a major cause of this gap to be intellectual property arrangements governing the development of pharmaceutical products. In response, these countries submitted a proposal within the World Trade Organization’s TRIPS Council to waive specific elements of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights in relation to COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. Since then, a small number of wealthy countries where most major vaccine producers are located have resisted calls to pass the Waiver, thus maintaining intellectual property restrictions and limiting access to vaccines. This thesis explores the discursive nature of the arguments put forward against the Waiver within the institutional context of the WTO TRIPS Council from October 2020 to December 2021. It applies the Critical Discourse Analysis approach to identify several discourses that characterise the nature of opposition to the TRIPS Waiver, to explain how these shape political outcomes and delimit courses of effective action and resistance. These discourses are interpreted through the theoretical lens of Achille Mbembe’s necropolitics, which posits that sovereign power is increasingly based on the ability to decide who is worthy of life and who can be subjected to death, with racism and neoliberal market logics being the twin technologies of necropolitical violence. The thesis relies on primary material sourced from hundreds of pages of meeting minutes from the TRIPS Council, where opponents to the Waiver lay out their arguments and discursively construct their opposition in ways that are consistent with the necropolitical reading of global politics and structural violence. This thesis analyses this primary material in conjunction with secondary material from the pharmaceutical industry, uncovering discursive parallels that unveil the neoliberal logics that fuel opposition to the TRIPS Waiver. This thesis concludes that opposition to the TRIPS Waiver is both a driver and a symptom of a planetary renewal of colonial relations, in which neoliberal discourses around health have served to keep lifesaving treatments out of reach to those who cannot afford them during a deadly pandemic. The implications of necropolitical discourses around healthcare access for both democracy and for the future of the pandemic are fatal.
  • Heimonen, Mona (2020)
    Britannian hallitus ilmoitti vuonna 2016 harkitsevansa sukupuolen juridista tunnustamista koskevan lain (the Gender Recognition Act 2004) uudistamista, minkä seurauksena julkinen keskustelu transihmisten oikeuksista on lisääntynyt mediassa. Tässä pro gradu -tutkielmassa tarkastellaan medianäkyvyyden, julkisen keskustelun ja transaktivismin kompleksista suhdetta. Tutkimuksen tavoite on tuoda esiin medianäkyvyyden ja julkisen keskustelun vaikutuksia transaktivismiin Britanniassa. Vaikka tutkielmassa tarkastellaan julkista keskustelua ja trans-narratiiveja mediassa, empiirinen tutkimus lähestyy aihetta transaktivistien näkökulmasta. Tutkielman teoreettinen viitekehys pohjautuu Emil Edenborgin (2017) kuulumisen politiikan (politics of belonging) ja näkyvyyden suhdetta käsittelevään teoriaan (the arrangements of visibility). Edenborgin mukaan hallitsevat toimijat pyrkivät joko hillitsemään tai vahvistamaan näkyvyyttä (containing and amplifying visibility), kun taas mahdollisuudet haastaa näkyvyyttä (contesting visibility) toteutuvat kontekstuaalisesti eri tavoin. Tutkimuksen lähtökohta on transihmisten olemassaolon sosiokulttuurinen näkymättömyys (Namaste, 2000), minkä seurauksena median trans-narratiivit, jotka tuovat esiin vain pienen osan transihmisten kokemuksista, johtaa trans-näkyvyyden paradoksiin (the paradox of trans visibility) (Berberick, 2018). Trans-näkyvyyden paradoksi luo pohjan tutkielman analyysille. Tutkimusaineisto on kerätty haastattelemalla viittä transaktivistia Britanniassa. Puolistrukturoitujen teemahaastattelujen tarkoitus oli tarkastella transaktivistien kokemuksia medianäkyvyydestä, julkisesta keskustelusta ja transaktivismista Britanniassa, sekä niiden merkityksiä. Tutkimuskysymys on, mitä haasteita ja mahdollisuuksia näkyvyydestä voi seurata transaktivismille? Aineisto on analysoitu teema-analyysin avulla. Analyyttiset teemat rakentuivat tutkielman teoreettisen perustan ympärille. Tutkimuksen tulokset viittaavat siihen, että kasvanut medianäkyvyys ja julkinen keskustelu on johtanut virheellisen tiedon lisääntymiseen sekä medianarratiiveihin, joissa transihmisten oikeudet kuvataan uutena yhteiskunnallisena uhkana. Haastateltavien mukaan harhaanjohtavaan mediaraportointiin puuttuminen, ilman vahvoja siteitä mediaan, on yksi transaktivismin suurimmista haasteista Britanniassa. Transfobian ja vihapuheen yleistyminen sosiaalisessa mediassa on myös suuri haaste aktivisteille. Harhaanjohtavat medianarratiivit, transfobia ja vihapuhe ovat johtaneet siihen, että monet haastateltavista eivät enää seuraa aktiivisesti mediaraportointia ja osallistuvat vain harkiten julkiseen keskusteluun transoikeuksista. Tulokset viittaavat siihen, että vihamielisyydeltä suojautuminen voi johtaa transaktivistit vetäytymään julkisesta keskustelusta. Toisaalta kasvanut trans-näkyvyys voi myös mahdollistaa cissukupuolisten ihmisten kouluttamisen, antaa puitteet vertaistuelle ja transihmisten yhteisölliselle toiminnalle, sekä tarjota mahdollisuuksia haastaa hallitsevaa medianäkyvyyttä.