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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.
  • Salvesen, Theodor (2020)
    Populist has become a label thrown at politicians and parties, by media professionals, political opponents or in popular discourse. At the same time, cases like Boris Johnson’s Brexit campaign and Donald Trump’s US presidency have showed a potentially new form of populism, emerging from established political parties, with no discernible populist past and over a century of institutional history. When these two trends are present at the same time, academic enquiry into such cases of labelling established parties as populist is warranted. This study examines such a case. By taking a discursive-ideational approach to populism, I assess what elements of populism are present in the Facebook communication of Norwegian party Senterpartiet leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, in the year running up to the September 2021 parliamentary election. The party’s agrarian roots, rural voter base and historical opposition to centralisation and urbanisation means the objective is to specifically establish traits that can be traced to the agrarian populist tradition, where the urban/rural divide and conflict over centralisation and the emergence of urban values sit at the centre. This thesis relies on data material sourced from Trygve Slagsvold Vedum’s public Facebook page in the 12 months running up to the election. Following a constructionist theoretical approach and utilizing a discourse analytical framework to analyse texts and images posted on the page, I establish elements which constitute discourses, in order to assess the political antagonism in the data material for articulations of a populist antagonism. I conclude that there are several elements found within the data that constitute a populist antagonism, establishing meanings and demands which articulate a people and elite in opposition to each other. There are also clear elements which show the frontier between these two groups is predominantly created by conflict along the urban/rural divide, such as centralisation, the emergence of urban values and foreign influence. There is however contrary evidence which suggests the case subject cannot be called a populist movement, even if there are strong elements of populism present in the discourses.
  • Stempel, Katja Elke (2023)
    Examples of so-called “cancel culture” are allegedly numerous, but very often the withdrawal of support, the cancelling, has in fact not taken place. In the summer of 2022, public debate in Germany was temporarily dominated by discussions about precisely this, the putative cancelling of two cultural artefacts, a children’s book and a pop song. Albeit being far more complex cases that, strictly speaking, do not classify as incidents of “cancel-culture”, the discursive existence of the term reveals far-reaching and politically relevant insights about the construction of antagonistic identities on the digital platform Twitter (now X). This thesis seeks to assess dynamics of affective polarisation and antagonistic identity-construction in discussions about the aforementioned cases using the discourse theory by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe combined with Jacque Lacan’s reading of Freudian psychoanalysis. For this aim, 8 tweets, 4 for each case, were selected whose discussion threads in the form of replies commented in response to the initial tweets constitute the object of study. These replies amount to a total of 1631 examined tweets. Key concepts, such as floating signifiers, chains of equivalences and fantasmatic constructs, thereby guide the analysis of the research material. The findings provided by this thesis demonstrate how antagonistic identities, collective as well as individual, are constructed in debates on two controversial, cultural topics. The formation of polarised blocks of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ happens primarily on an affective level presenting opinions in their relation to ‘the other’. As exemplified in the chains of equivalences articulated in this study, the analysed phenomenon of polarisation is in fact not confined to the field of culture. Instead, it refers to a polarisation of social realities incorporating a wide range of different kinds of topics for which “cancel-culture” is not irrelevant, yet merely the impetus for debate. This thesis therefore points towards a lack in academic literature by studying affective polarisation of differently lived or experienced realities as opposed to common classifications of polarising dynamics. The affective component of constructing antagonistic groups of Twitter users is thereby centred. This study furthermore corroborates the applicability and usefulness of Laclaudian discourse analysis and Lacanian psychoanalysis for research within the field of social sciences. It encourages to conceive polarisation and social antagonism as innate to the democratic system and, thus, acknowledges the value of radical pluralist democracy as theorised by Mouffe.
  • Hole, Olivia Katariina (2021)
    This study aims to analyze the abortion debate in the United States by examining the Senate’s debate over ‘The Women’s Health Protection Act 2022’. The ‘Women’s Health Protection Act. 2022’ pursued to codify Roe v. Wade in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s leaked draft planning to overrule the constitutional right to abortion. This study analyzes the values the Senators use in their arguments for and against abortion, and thus proceeds to identify the worldviews behind their abortion stances. The debate around the ‘Women’s Health Protection Act’ occurred in May 2022 and the focus is on the Republican and Democrat Senators’ rhetoric. This study answers two research question about the values and worldviews represented in the Senators’ speeches during the debate’s first day. New rhetoric, a theory on argumentation and a tool for its analysis serves as the study’s method in identifying the values used by the Senators. The study’s theoretical framework combines Lakoff’s framing theory with theories of political polarization. The theoretical framework allows for critical assessment of the values the analysis identifies. Lakoff’s framing theory pursues understanding of contemporary American politics through the concepts that constitute people’s thoughts and shape their worldviews. Political polarization aims to explain growing fundamentalist political positions and the lack of effective negotiations and compromise in the 21st century. The ‘Women’s Health Protection Act 2022’ debate is the object of the analysis and 35 speeches from the two-day debate’s first day serve as this study’s data. The speeches vary in length from approximately 210 words to 2500 words. The speeches were analyzed according to Perelman and Olbrecths-Tyteca’s new rhetoric by coding the values with ATLAS.ti. The analysis identified 34 different values and the most used values per party were defined as the party’s core values within the debate’s context. For the Republican Senators these values were human life, the rights of healthcare practitioners, safety, legitimacy, the rights of the children and unborn, and science. The core values of the Democrat Senators were women’s rights, freedom, safety, legitimacy, and health. The study found the Senators’ most prominent values to resemble Lakoff’s theory on the Republicans and Democrats’ worldviews. The only contradiction was found in the Republican Senators demonstrating empathy towards women. The application of political polarization to the study’s findings showed signs of a polarized Senate and a polarized debate. The study was able to provide an account of what the Democrat’s rhetoric and frames in abortion debate may look like, as previous research mainly focuses on the Republicans. Furthermore, the study demonstrates the need to study the dynamic between the Senate and the electorate, as the findings suggest the Senate may enforce more extreme abortion legislation than the public wants.
  • Noschis, Emilia (2024)
    The use of artificial intelligence (AI) has globally exploded in recent years. While AI brings numerous benefits, it is crucial to understand its negative effects to address them effectively. One significant concern is the presence of discriminatory biases within AI, leading to phenomena that affect various groups unequally. Recently, many official bodies have expressed concerns about the adverse impacts of AI on gender equality. The goal of this thesis is to identify the most central phenomena and the main reasons that lead to phenomena created by artificial intelligence that negatively affect gender equality. The study employs thematic analysis to examine the content of the expert interviews and compares these insights with existing research. By analyzing the interviews, this research aims to identify the most frequently mentioned phenomena to effectively address the research questions. The participants include seven experts based in Finland with expertise in AI and/or technology and gender equality. The study is framed through the lenses of technofeminism and intersectionality participating in the feminist technoscience field. The research identifies several AI-generated phenomena that negatively impact gender equality, including the reinforcement of gendered harmful stereotypes, technology based gendered violence, discriminatory automated decision-making, and gendered job replacement. Specific issues discussed under these themes include stereotypical image and text generation, feminization and domestication of AI, deepfakes, other forms of gender-based violence, chatbot girlfriends, and discrimination in recruitment processes and loan approvals. Moreover, the interviews highlight the male-dominated nature of the AI field and biased data as significant factors contributing to these adverse phenomena. In conclusion, this study aims to outline experts' views on which are the most central phenomena related to the increased use of artificial intelligence, which negatively affect gender equality. The thesis underlines that unequal societal structures are mirrored in the development and application of artificial intelligence. Without careful attention, artificial intelligence does exacerbate and deepen gender inequalities.
  • 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.
  • Nyholm, John Jakob (2023)
    This thesis discusses the use of audiovisual media in film and television criticism, the video essay as a genre within which this may occur, and how artistic and critical elements may intersect in film and television criticism within this genre. The research questions of the thesis concern these topics. The topics discussed in the thesis relate to questions regarding the genre of the video essay, the role of artistic elements in criticism, the implications of criticism of works of art being made through forms of media similar or different to the work of art in question, the role of critics as amateurs or professionals and the concept of professionalism with regards to criticism, and the context of the platform of YouTube. The thesis provides a discussion of audiovisuality, the video essay genre and the use of artistic elements in criticism by analysing an example of criticism being made through the video essay genre. This is done in the form of a genre analysis conducted through a case study of the video series The Starship Troopers Trilogy by Kyle Kallgren, published on the YouTube channel KyleKallgrenBHH in 2021. This analysis involves examining this series of three videos through a discussion of seven key aspects related to genre: structure, style, content, audience, medium, author and communicative purpose. The examination of communicative purpose involves taking into consideration four different communicative purposes: criticism, artistry, autobiography and theorisation. The thesis suggests that there are benefits to the field of film and television criticism in the possibility of expressing criticism audiovisually. It also argues that the video essay is a genre with intriguing possibilities for film and television criticism. Furthermore, it indicates that the integration of artistic and critical elements in this genre may allow for these aspects of a film and television criticism video essay to enhance each other.
  • 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.
  • Palo, Ella (2023)
    Digitalisation has facilitated a global rise of smart city agendas, in which digital technologies are utilised to govern city spaces and services. Smart city initiatives have also been implemented in the city of Helsinki in hopes of improving urban sustainability and quality of life. However, prior smart city development has been widely criticised by scholars for prioritising private, commercial interests over citizen perspectives. Additionally, socio-digital inequalities and citizens' digital agency have not been issues commonly emphasised in the design of smart city initiatives, despite their interconnected nature. This thesis explores digital citizenship at the smart city site of Malmi in Helsinki. With a focus on socio-digital inequalities and digital agency, the thesis approaches smart city development from the perspective of situated knowledge and provides paths towards digital inclusion. The theoretical framework of the thesis explores current constructions of digital agency and socio-digital inequality in light of global power structures related to digital spheres. Furthermore, these issues are explored specifically in the context of smart cities. The thesis uses a qualitative, bottom-up approach to examine Helsinki residents’ lived experiences regarding digital technologies and the smart city. The research material consists of twenty semi-structured interviews with Malmi residents, along with three expert interviews with the City of Helsinki’s officials. Furthermore, interview data is complemented with ethnographic background material. The research material is analysed with qualitative content analysis. The findings of the study bring forward Helsinki residents’ everyday life experiences and concerns about digital technologies and the smart city. In addition, wider smart city development and future smart imaginaries are explored through the context of Malmi and Helsinki’s smart city development. The research material shows that socio-digital inequalities and issues in digital agency are still prevalent in Finland. In order to harness smart city initiatives to better address these issues, the thesis provides grounds and practical recommendations for bridging the current gap between smart city development and socio-digital inequalities. In addition, the thesis may serve as inspiration for creating contextual and citizen-centred approaches to the smart city and digital citizenship elsewhere. The thesis concludes that smart city initiatives should be harnessed to promote diverse forms of digital inclusion, as well as critical and radical forms of digital agency, in which both awareness and novel forms of resistance can be explored by citizens.
  • 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.
  • Juusola, Anni (2022)
    To mitigate the economic and social damages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Council agreed to adopt a recovery plan in July 2020. Before the recovery plan could be implemented, every member state had to ratify the European Council’s decision. However, when the recovery plan was associated with the deeply politicized issue of European integration, this ratification procedure threatened to become difficult. This thesis investigates a decisive plenary debate of the Parliament of Finland, which preceded the ratification of the European Council’s decision in May 2021. The thesis studies how European integration became a topic of discussion in this particular plenary debate. More specifically, the thesis aims to answer how and by which political parties the recovery plan was framed as an integration-related issue. Theoretically, the thesis places itself on the field of political communication. The theoretical framework of the thesis is based on Robert M. Entman’s definition of framing, which also guides the method of the thesis, namely qualitative frame analysis. Framing affects how most people perceive political issues, i.e. political parties use it as a political tool to promote particular interpretations of matters. The research material consists of 52 legislative speeches by Finnish representatives held in the plenary debate. The analysis found one dominant frame and five sub-frames that establish a link between the recovery plan and European integration. The frames present the recovery plan as an integration-related issue by highlighting Eurosceptic, economic, and constitutional perspectives. In the plenary debate, the frames were mostly employed by the Finns Party, which is known for its anti-integration stance. In addition, the Centre Party and the National Coalition Party used some of the frames. Based on the analysis, it is concluded that these three parties introduced the topic of European integration into the debate. The findings indicate that the issue of European integration is politicized also in Finnish politics. They accord with earlier evidence that the established parties seem to avoid debates on European integration, whereas the Finns Party takes advantage of the politicization of the integration process. By framing the recovery plan as an integration-related matter, the Finns Party was able to own the issue and promote its political agenda. If the established parties remain silent on integration-related matters, debates on European integration threaten to become one-sided. This is problematic both from the perspective of voters and the established parties whose silence may be detrimental to their political success.
  • Kivelä, Lotta (2023)
    The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 prompted Finland to re-evaluate its national security and led to increased support for NATO membership. This study examines how Finnish news media portrays national security at the time of heightened sense of insecurity. The objective of the study is to explore and expose the nexus of security and gender within the NATO discussion context. Drawing on feminist security studies, this study views security as a gendered concept. It takes an interdisciplinary approach, integrating security studies, gender studies, and media studies. The thesis investigates the gendered nature of security by using traditional masculine and feminine values as tools in discourse analysis. Additionally, the thesis analyses whose voices are heard in the media. This case study focuses on the NATO discussion in Helsingin Sanomat, Iltalehti, and Yle from January to March 2022. The thesis comprises two parts from the perspective of methodology and data. The quantitative content analysis of 671 online news articles examines gender representation in the media, while the qualitative analysis of 70 opinionated online news media articles employs thematisation and Wodak’s approach to critical discourse analysis. The findings of this study imply that the dominant notion of security in the media is narrow and masculine. The hegemonic notion of Finnish national security aligns with traditional masculinity, emphasising militaristic, physical, and rational characteristics. The analysis shows that growing insecurity appears to correspond with decreasing feminine notions of security. The study argues that the prevailing security discourse in the media is exclusive to the performances of militarised masculinity. Additionally, security is predominantly discussed by male voices in the media. Finally, this thesis argues that the dominant narrow, masculine, and militaristic notion of security is not contested in the media, thereby lacking a comprehensive understanding of securities and insecurities as well as inequalities. The study addresses a need for further critical research to examine the interrelation of national security, militarism, and gender in Finland.
  • 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.
  • Schatz, Lili (2022)
    In 2020 and 2021, the Finnish news media covered violent youth crime extensively. Not because it had increased significantly, but due to a handful of exceptional cases that shook Finnish society. Several brutal and severe cases that took place in a short period seemed to generate a media narrative around a new crime wave that posed a threat to Finnish society. The theoretical basis for this research focuses on the intersection of media studies, criminology, and sociology. Youth violence is often disproportionately covered in the news. Cases, in which adolescents commit violent crimes, are often written about in more depth and more extensively than those committed by adults since the pairing of the innocence of children with horrendous acts of violence manifests a more newsworthy phenomenon. However, since media portrayals have the power to shape public perceptions, they can create distorted views of the prevalence of crime and spark fear in audiences. This Master’s thesis aims to gain an understanding of the nature of news narratives around violent youth crime in Finland. This study takes on a qualitative and empirical approach. The underlying assumption behind the research is that the concept of youth violence is a social construction and that news narratives play a role in the discursive creation of the phenomenon. This Master’s thesis focuses on the Finnish news coverage of three cases of homicide that happened in 2020 and 2021. In each case the perpetrators were adolescents. The methodological approach of this thesis is a qualitative content analysis of coverage in 137 news articles found online. The research focuses on how adolescent offenders are described, and how the reasons and solutions to youth violence are portrayed in the news. The results of the thesis suggest that violent youth and the threat they pose to society are covered in the news media as a paradox; on the one hand, only evil sadists are capable of such violent acts, yet on the other hand, society has failed its children if they resort to violence. The discussion around youth violence is populated by a plethora of individual actors, such as perpetrators, their peers, child service workers, the police, politicians and ordinary citizens, and everyone plays a role in how the phenomenon of violent youth crime is discursively constructed in the news.
  • 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.