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Browsing by study line "Yhteiskuntatieteiden opintosuunta"

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  • Castrén, Olli Severi Juhananpoika (2023)
    This thesis examines the role of markets in speeches made by Ministers of Finance Iiro Viinanen and Jyrki Katainen in the plenary sessions of the Finnish parliament in 1991-1994 and 2007-2010. The aim of this study is to analyse political discourses in speeches made about state budget proposals during two economic crises, the depression of the 1990s and the Global Financial Crisis. The thesis employs Bob Jessop’s Cultural Political Economy approach to view crises as moments of contestation for hegemonic discourses and ideologies, and an opportunity to examine political and social change in the age of neoliberalism through speech. Both crises were also characterised by the contestation of the relationship between Finland and the EU, first centred around accession to the EU and in particular the role of EMU convergence criteria in designing economic policy, and in the second crisis on the nature of centre-periphery relations amid the Eurozone crisis. The purpose of this research has been to uncover the way in which ministerial speeches reflect the neoliberalisation of Finland through a specific national context, which is characterised in particular by the relationship between the state and individual, the moral nature of economic decision-making, the increasing influence and power of the civil service on decision-making through the Ministry of Finance, and the gradual replacement of defence policy by economic policy as the defining factor of Finland’s independence and sovereignty. The thesis explores these concepts through the use of Theo van Leeuwen’s conceptualisation of discourse as the recontextualisation of social practices, analysing the speeches using a comparative and thematic perspective. The analysis finds that while the Ministers of Finance did not draw on discourses of legitimation by authority with regards to the Ministry of Finance, the consistent themes during both periods drew heavily on themes of absolute necessity, responsible decision-making, moralistic attitudes towards the Finnish citizen, and constructions of unity of the Finnish people. Both Ministers also referred to market forces, investor confidence, and trust as existential questions for the sovereignty of the nation and emphasised the need for permanent changes in Finland towards the direction of a neoliberalised market economy. Similarly, the Ministers appeared to draw on paternalist understandings of the state as a shepherd of its people, a guardian of a small nation against predatory international forces, and yet a reasoned disciplinarian of an irresponsible child. The study concludes that in particular the discourses on which the Ministers draw that rely on moralistic and paternalistic articulations of the relationship between the state and the individual can be seen as indicative of the national context of neoliberalisation in Finland. Furthermore, the extent to which the crises are framed as learning opportunities varies, though both Ministers consistently refer to the permanence of the changes (structural in particular) to be made to the Finnish economy, and in differing ways envision a new age in Finland, nonetheless one of credibility, responsibility, and a stable market economy. The study also offers new avenues for research, particularly for the wider debate in parliament and crisis construals therein, in addition to using the theory and the methods of this thesis to analyse other crises, perhaps non-economic in nature, such as the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, the thesis also suggests that further research could be conducted on the paternalistic and moralistic aspects of ministerial politics in particular.
  • Vänttinen, Johannes (2023)
    This thesis examined the role of China as a factor in the European Union’s enlargement policy towards Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. In relation to the Belt and Road Initiative, these five Western Balkan countries (WB5) have received substantial investments and other forms of financial input from China in 2013–2021. Characteristic for this is that large parts of this cooperation has been forged away from the public eye. Meanwhile, the relationship between China and the EU has turned dubious, causing the EU to increasingly “riskify” inbound Chinese investments. While the existing academic literature has highlighted the problems that these investments have caused for the region’s enlargement prospects, the extent to which the EU has responded to this phenomenon has received only slight attention. The purpose of this research has been to discover what concerns the EU has expressed over China, to analyze how these concerns are reflected in the EU’s enlargement policy towards the Western Balkans, and uncover the concrete measures through which the EU has mitigated China’s influence in the region. The results have been discussed in conjunction with the theoretical framework to provide new empirical literature on how the EU’s structural foreign policy, arguably the primary form of enlargement policy, functions in a contested setting, and how norms are diffused through the enlargement process. The research problem was addressed by employing framework analysis to an extensive body of official documents that have been produced by the European Union in 2013–2021. The analysis indicated that the EU’s concerns over China, primarily in relation to cooperation causing non-alignment with the EU’s rules, the neglect of economic and environmental sustainability and the distortive effects of state ownership and subsidies, have been reflected in the enlargement policy from 2018 onwards. After this the phenomenon has featured in multiple strategies and other official documents, albeit in an implicit fashion where China has only rarely been mentioned by name. The analysis showed that the EU has sought to re-assert its leadership by focusing especially on increased political steering and engagement, regional integration, connectivity and other infrastructure, public procurement legislation, and the environment and energy. By imposing various conditions to the fields where China-WB5 cooperation has been prevalent, the EU has achieved that the relationship has become largely subordinate to the EU-China relationship and the space for independent Chinese actions has narrowed. From a theoretical point of view, the thesis concludes that the new EU-norm – China and its investment activities constitute a potential risk – was embedded in the EU’s enlargement policy and that the EU has sought to enable the conditions through which alignment with this norm is possible. In a contested setting, the EU’s structural foreign policy appears to have placed emphasis on the structures rather than the sustainability of such. In such a context, it is a rather flexible mode of conducting foreign policy due to its adaptability to new realities. The EU’s structural foreign policy equally demonstrated an absorption capacity due to the successful combining of different objectives into coherent policies.
  • Scicluna, Cathia Ann (2023)
    Dialogue on the definition of Europe is often dominated by geopolitical undertones. However, since the dawn of the Enlightenment era, it has been recognised that such a definition of Europe is insufficient in formulating a comprehensive meaning of Europe which encompasses the wide regional diversity which exists within the continent. This argument gained new relevance during the interwar period, where discourse on Europe as an idea that goes beyond the strict geopolitical implications of the continent, started to emerge. Select interwar studies shone a new light on the idea of Europe as they allowed for the founding of unity amidst diversity; an endeavour which cannot be considered within the geopolitical realm. Additionally, reflecting on the turmoil and crises of the interwar period, the resulting idea of Europe was said to have emerged from a major schism in intellectual trends of the time. In this regard, the formulation of Europe as an idea borne out of crisis and reinvention was perfectly demonstrated within the works of Edmund Husserl and Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi. Both authors recognised the limitations of adopting only a geopolitical definition of Europe, and thus presented their own theories on what could constitute an all-encompassing idea of Europe. Husserl determined the core of Europe to lay within abstract factors such as universalism. Coudenhove-Kalergi considered concrete politics to be a tool which can bring Europe under the main locus of tolerance. While Husserl and Coudenhove-Kalergi took different routes in tackling this question, their respective answers can be said to highlight the interdependence between philosophical considerations of the former and the latter’s pragmatic solutions to the idea of Europe. At first glance, the only commonality between Husserl and Coudenhove-Kalergi seems to be their time-period. However, the works and theories of these two authors experience a sense of complementarity; while taking on very different approaches, the respective views on idea of Europe of Husserl and Coudenhove-Kalergi could point to a new perspective on the topic of study. While both have their limitations, the side-by-side study of their different views on Europe allows for a unique perspective in which one makes up for the other’s shortcomings in terms of thoroughness and applicability. Such is the benefit of examining and comparing Husserl and Coudenhove-Kalergi; much like their standing on the idea of Europe, their diversity only adds to the credibility of their review.
  • Ahola, Ansa (2023)
    Climate policy is contentious by nature bringing forth global environmental concerns, challenging the economic structures, and emphasizing the role of humans in anthropogenic climate change. In Europe, at national levels of governance, right-wing populist and nationalist actors have been identified as climate hostile articulating skepticism of the overall issue, how it is governed, and how it impacts the people. With the rise of populism in Europe right-wing populist actors are organizing in the European Parliament (EP) where the similarities and differences in climate hostility come to play in the transnational decision-making forum. The right-wing populist and nationalist parties from the Member States of the Union are represented on a transnational level in the European Parliament by Members of Parliament in a political group called Identity and Democracy. This thesis deploys the method of post-foundational discourse analysis to analyze how the political group of Identity and Democracy uses the elements of right-wing populism in the climate policy discourse at the European Parliament. A distinct medium of communication by the political group is plenary booklets, which will be used as material in the analysis. The second aim of the research is to use the chosen method to assess the impact of the political group in the climate policy discourse. The scope of the thesis and the angle of approaching climate hostility through the political groups of the EP set the research apart from previous research. The key research outcomes show how anti-elitism, people’s sovereignty, and skepticism create patterns that consist of counter-hegemonic articulations aiming to reshape the meaning of Eurocentric climate policies. This formulates the climate policy stance of the political group. This stance is limited to only criticizing the climate action of the EU and does not offer any substantial contribution to the policy debate. However, it does manage to create an antagonism in the discourse where the climate action is juxtaposed as harmful to people and industries in the EU Member States. In conclusion, this study sheds light on how Identity and Democracy as a right-wing populist group actively shape the discourse on climate policy in the European Parliament with counter-hegemonic acts aiming to reshape the meaning of Eurocentric green growth. This thesis successfully addressed two research questions that pertain to how a single political group can influence climate policy discourse.
  • Syrjänen, Ella (2023)
    This thesis analyses the global role of the European Union (EU) as a crisis and conflict manager from the viewpoint of the launch of the European Peace Facility (EPF). The European integration has often been pictured as a peace project and in fact, in 2012 EU was even awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize. However, recent changes in EU’s policies pose question on whether the role of EU in international arena is changing. This thesis focuses especially on the EPF, which is EU’s new off-budget funding instrument that was officially launched in March 2021. The EPF is used to fund EU’s external actions with defence and military implications. The decision to launch EPF was a historical one because it for the first time provided the EU an opportunity for the provision of lethal military equipment, including weapons. Especially this aspect of the EPF was strongly criticised by civil society organisations before, and after, the launch the facility. The EPF is very topical, because in year 2022 the EU used the change to send weapons to support Ukraine because of the Russia’s attack. However, research on the EPF and especially on its impact on the EU’s role is so far very limited. The main idea of this thesis is to research, whether the launch of the European Peace Facility is an example of the EU’s role changing towards a more military and a less civilian role in international arena, especially in the realm of crisis management. The thesis analyses the way that the EU justifies and frames the EPF and the role conception that the EU has of itself on global arena. Besides, the thesis analyses the role expectations of other actors, more specifically civil society organisations, towards the EU and on their views on the possible impact of the EPF for the EU’s role. The theoretical and conceptual base of this thesis is role theory and the concept of civilian power since the EU has often been referred as a civilian power. From role theory especially the concepts of role conception and role expectation are relevant for this thesis. The analysis is conducted by using qualitative document analysis. The data consists of documents produced by the EU, for example press releases and a speech, and documents of NGOs, mainly joint statements, and letters of groups of NGOs. The analysis of the data shows that for the EU the creation of the European Peace Facility was part of the discourse of making the EU a stronger security actor. The EU’s role conception of its role is not merely a civilian actor or an actor focusing on soft power. However, the EU still highlights its normative values as well as conflict prevention. The role expectations that the civil society has towards the EU, however, are more in line with the traditional civilian power role conception. The civil society expects the EU to have a role of a peace actor. To conclude, the analysis shows elements of a role conflict between the role conception of the EU and the role expectations posed towards the union. The NGOS see more military instruments as a threat for the role they expect the EU to have. The EU, however, tries to balance between soft normative values and a stronger military emphasis.
  • Tanttu, Aleksi (2023)
    This master's thesis conducts a qualitative, single-case thematic research on Finland’s revised security policy from the spring of 2022, when security environment of the whole Europe changed remarkably, as Russia launched its offensive in Ukraine. The data which this thesis examines consists of a government’s report, and a parliamentary debate from the plenary session where the report was presented. In addition to organising the data thematically, this thesis creates and employs a theoretical framework of neorealism, consisting of the works of Kenneth Waltz, Stephen Walt and Joseph Grieco. In the analysis, this theoretical framework is applied to the developed themes to produce a neorealist reading of Finland’s new security policy and its parliamentary debate. Additionally, this thesis endeavours to explore the extent to which neorealist theoretical literature can be applied to current phenomena, and seeks to fill a gap in previous research, which is the lack of application of realist theory to Finland’s security policy in contemporary times. The analysis produces five main themes, which focus on major change and unpredictability, strong and sovereign Finland with independent interests, Russia as a threat and adversary, international aspects to peace and security, and NATO membership as a security solution. Additionally, contested and disputed role of the European Union as a security provider, memory of war, and broad conceptualisation of security arose as additional findings, outside the main themes. The findings are to a large extent aligned with previous research. The selected neorealist theories interpret and explain the data rather well with a focus on sovereign security and survival interests, alliance-formation as well as cautious and attentive characteristics of a small-state. However, the focus on international law in the data turned out somewhat difficult and ambiguous to interpret with neorealist theory. From a theoretical perspective it is concluded that neorealist literature has potential value in explaining a present-day security policy, but equivocally. Further studies incorporating competing theories, such as those of a liberal nature, are encouraged to further address this dilemma. Moreover, to move from a single-case design to examine multiple case longitudinally or cross-sectionally in a future study, could prove useful here.
  • Kuisma, Jenni (2022)
    This study examines the way in which four key European social partner organisations - ETUC, BusinessEurope, SGI Europe and SMEunited – frame the issue of platform work, shedding light on the differences and similarities between the employer and employee organisations. The context of the study is the European Commission legislative proposal “Directive on Improving Working Conditions in Platform Work”, published in December 2021, following several national court decisions and intense political debate. Recent policy initiatives taken by the Commission have increasingly paired the regulation of digital platforms with the wider social policy aims of the EU and simultaneously granted a central role for the European social partners, whose positions on digitalisation have not been much researched. This thesis aims to contribute to filling this research gap and extend our knowledge on social partners’ positions on platform work, digitalisation and employment. The data consists of 35 policy documents, collected from the websites of the four organisations. Through frame analysis, four key frames on platform work were identified. “Platform work as historical continuation of precarious work” -frame, employed by the employee side, constructs platform work as precarious work, and its digital aspects as inherently exploitative. “Platform work as flexible work” -frame, used by the employer side, constructs platform work as a personal choice of the self-employed workers. “Platform work as not a separate category” -frame, is employed by both employer and employee organizations, employers using it to support their position on the self-employed status of the workers and the employee side opposing it. Last, “platform work as new type of work” -frame presents platform work as inherently innovative line of business ultimately benefitting everyone, if the potential is not hampered with regulation. The social partner organisations bring forward competing understandings on digitalisation and its implications for labour, which supports the conception of platform work regulation as an extremely contested area of political action. The contestation between the organisations highlights the role of framing as a political act. The organisations are not only competing for platform work to be understood in a certain way, but also for the future arenas on which the policy discussions on platform work are held.
  • Semberg, Satu Eveliina (2024)
    Finland and Estonia have been displaying contrasting views on dependence on Russian energy. Finland, echoing Germany’s Ostpolitik, regards mutual dependency as key to peace and prosperity. In contrast, Estonia, along with the Baltic states and Poland, views Russia’s gas monopoly as a threat to European security. The aim of this study is to examine the language used in discussions about Russian energy and dependence on Russian energy in the parliamentary debates of Finland and Estonia. Discourse theory is utilized as a methodological tool to examine securitization narratives on Russia and Russian energy. The research covers two distinct time frames: February 1 to December 31 of both 2014 and 2022, representing the immediate aftermath following the Russian annexation of Crimea and the subsequent Russian invasion of Ukraine. The findings reveal differences in the securitization discourses of Russian energy. In 2014, the Finnish parliament actively resisted securitization in a context of already desecuritized energy policy environment, while Estonia engaged in securitization during the same period. By 2022, Estonia continued to emphasize the threat posed by Russian energy, whereas an evident change can be seen in Finland. The long line of Finnish Russia policy, trusted neighborly relations, is told to have come to an end, signaling a shift towards securitization. Both countries prioritize renewable energy as a means to reduce reliance on Russian energy. An essential finding in both of the time periods is that in Estonia the origin of the imported energy is problematized, landing securitization on Finland as Russian energy transit country. Estonian discourses advocate for transparency in cross-border energy trade, a discussion notably absent in Finnish data. Overall, the study underscores the divergent approaches of Finland and Estonia towards Russian energy and security. However, the gap between security perceptions on Russian energy between said countries has converged.
  • Remes, Elina (2024)
    Africa is one of the main themes in France's foreign policy. Having strong connections to its former colonies in francophone Africa bolsters France’s global standing. However, the 2020s have marked a historic turning point in Franco-Africa relations, as the growing anti-French sentiment in Africa has resulted in the involuntary military withdrawal of French forces from Mali (2022), Burkina Faso (2023) and most recently from Niger in late 2023, having forced the French to rethink their Africa-strategy. The European Union (EU), on the other hand, has been increasingly interested in Africa, as it has remarkable strategic and geopolitical value for Europe. The relationship between the EU and Africa remains asymmetrical and is largely influenced by the legacy of European imperialism. Old colonial powers have always influenced the Union’s foreign policy, and within the Africa-context France has been one of the keenest players. Brexit has provided France with opportunities to take on a greater leadership role within the EU, and President Macron has advocated the need to focus on Africa in terms of the Union’s external relations. My research contributes to the academic discussions about France’s objectives in Africa, and its influence on the EU’s Africa-policy. The research was carried out within the framework of liberal intergovernmentalism and decolonial theory, and it deploys framing analysis to uncover the primary goals of French Africa-policy . The main data consists of speeches made by President Macron 2017 and 2023, as well as the agenda of the French Presidency of the Council of EU in 2022. The analysis revealed four dominant frames that emerged from Emmanuel Macron’s discourse on Africa: new generation, new era; less military engagement; aid reform; and global challenges. All discovered frames are related to the policy domains through which France has traditionally influenced the European Union’s Africa policy. The thesis shows that even though the French Africa-policy in the post-Brexit era is framed around a new focus on partnership and increased cooperation with African countries in sectors, such as education, entrepreneurship, and sustainable development, France maintains a certain continuity with the previous French administrations’ security-oriented posture and continues to use multilateralism selectively to promote its own interests.
  • Sandström, Erik (2020)
    Blame avoidance research mainly assumes that it is in the interest of people in positions of power to minimize the amount of blame directed at them. But the perspective can be different when it comes to populist leaders. A discourse theoretical analysis focusing on Janez Janša, former Prime Minister of Slovenia, shows how populist rhetoric and conspiracy theories can be used as blame avoidance strategies. The data consists of interviews with Janša, published by the Slovenian government, as well Janša’s participance in the European Parliament during a discussion on media freedom and the rule of law. According to Ernesto Laclau (2005), articulating an antagonistic frontier is an important part of the populist logic. The antagonistic frontier is a central aspect of the rhetoric of Janez Janša, who depicts himself as a victim of a socialist elite controlling large parts of society. Janša’s claims can be understood as a conspiracy theory, fulfilling the criteria by Jovan Byford (2011). This conspiracy theory can also be understood through the framework of populist logic and the antagonistic frontier. This framework of populism can be applied to understand the underlying patterns of the blame avoidance strategies used by Janez Janša, as well as the possible effects on accountability. Blame can play a part in articulating the antagonistic frontier and Janša does not always attempt to minimize blame, but on the contrary sometimes acts in a way that is certain to attract blame. When looking at this through the perspective of populist logic, there is a central difference between two types of blame. It is in the interest of a populist leader to avoid criticism from their own side of the antagonistic frontier in order to keep the chain of equivalence intact. On the other hand, blame from the other side might strengthen the antagonistic frontier and even be beneficial for the populist leader.
  • Kurki-Suonio, Sara (2023)
    Since the rise of the Law and Justice (PiS) party to power in 2015 the PiS government's reforms have led to a deterioration of the rule of law, which has caused growing tensions in Polish-EU relations. Poland has come under scrutiny for its policies undermining the rule of law principle and is perceived to threaten European integration by challenging the EU’s values. PiS’ time in office coincides with the trend of the success of right-wing populist parties in the CEE which has generated increased academic interest in the region. Despite growing interest towards Poland and the topic of shared values in the EU, studies on the perception of the EU in Polish internal debates have received less attention. A recent escalation in the rule of law crisis was seen in the Autumn of 2021, when the Polish Constitutional Tribunal ruled against the primacy of European Union law vis-à-vis the Polish Constitution. The Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling caused public uproar, sparking protests in Poland’s largest cities, and public debate ensued about the potential of Polexit. In analysing the Polexit debate by means of discourse analysis, the thesis examines what meanings the EU and Europe receive in opposition and government rhetoric. The thesis further explores how different meanings surrounding the EU and Europe are used in the construction of political identification of government and opposition sides. The theoretical frame of the thesis is based on social constructivism, post-foundationalism and Laclau’s theory of populism. By focusing on the Polexit debate, the thesis analyses the construction of meanings against an individual event which nevertheless caused debate that directly concerns the relations of Poland and Europe. In the analysis, the thesis finds that the opposition and government sides relate to the notions of Europe and the EU in contrasting ways, which enable them to build identification based on different conceptions of Polishness. Main findings of the analysis point to contrasting logics in government and opposition rhetoric which reflect the sides’ contrasting perceptions of nationhood; whereas the EU is constructed as a threat and an “other” in government rhetoric, the opposition aims to link Poland to the EU and Europe in constructing the opposition’s “us”.
  • Kankama, Sofia (2023)
    The Finnish population is quickly aging. The aging of the population is reflected in the Finnish economy and in the availability of skilled workers in several fields. The governmental focus has consequently in recent years concentrated on increasing the immigration of the highly skilled in the country. The growing fields such as the technology industries in which the need of highly skilled immigrants is emphasized in the governmental aims are still statistically dominated by men. As such, female immigrants are still often discussed in the context of female dominated industries such as the care work industries. This thesis consequently aims to emphasize the position of highly skilled immigrant women in the traditionally male-dominated industry of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in Finland. Intersectionality as coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in the 1980s focuses on the advantages and disadvantages in the lived experiences of different identity groups. Originating from considerations of challenges faced by African American women in the United States, intersectionality has since then expanded to depict the challenges on various groups. The theory will be consequently utilized in this thesis to depict the experiences of highly skilled immigrant women in the field of STEM in Finland, with immigrant women being seen as an often-marginalized group. Qualitative interviewing acts as the selected methodology of the thesis with five individuals working in the field of STEM being interviewed for the thesis. The interviewees were selected to represent different backgrounds, with the aim being portraying the possibilities and challenges faced by the interviewed individuals comprehensively in a manner of a case study. The data collected through the interviews is assessed through four analytical categories of education, bureaucracy, language skills and social networks. With each category being taken into the analysis separately, the individual impact of each in the labor market position as well as the societal position and the perception of these by the interviewees is being considered. Despite the international nature of the field of STEM, the analysis reveals there to still exist factors favoring native Finns in the labor markets. Furthermore, similar challenges are faced by people coming from within the EU and outside of the EU with for instance non-Finnish education and work experience impacting interviewees coming from both backgrounds. The differing experiences of the interviewees illustrate that the idea and reality of the (dis)advantages that are essential to intersectional thinking are not implicitly tied to persons who are viewed to belong to the groups seen often be the most burdened. The results of the analysis consequently demonstrate the non-universal character of migrating for certain purpose and oppose the traditional image of intersectional concerns associated with certain groups. Nevertheless, to reach a more comprehensive idea of the position of immigrant women in the Finnish field of STEM research with more extensive sample of data is needed. With the number of the highly skilled likely growing in the near future, understanding the position of highly skilled female migrants within such group will also become more emphasized both academically and societally.
  • Parikka, Nooramaria (2022)
    This thesis aims to examine the representation of the policy problem behind inclusion in education at the compulsory education level. The other purpose is to analyze how the inclusive education policies differ from the others at different levels: global, European, national, local and new philanthropy. The thesis examines policy papers by the actors at three highest-level actors: global-level the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), European-level the European Union (EU), and national-level Finland. The perspective is to respect children’s rights and interests. The thesis theorizes inclusion in education historically, conceptually, and linguistically in Europe and in Finland. The thesis argues that inclusion in education is a value-based ideology and can be defined as a continuous process. Policies of inclusion in education are part of the broader global ideological objective of inclusive societies, which are against social exclusion. Along with globalization and Europeanisation, education policy as well has been globalized. As a result, the education policy can be seen as multilevel network governance where all actors cooperate. However, the OECD is at the of the network as an umbrella in global education policy and monitors the education policy of all actors. The thesis applies the post-structural What’s the problem represented? (WPR) approach by Carol Bacchi (2009) in order to examine the problem representation and conceptual logics behind social exclusion. Additionally, the WPR approach provided to problematize differences between the policies of the actors. According to Foucauldian post-structuralism, governed changes towards more inclusive education systems are slow because of different languages, cultures and welfare states. Inclusion in education as a value-based ideology is based on economic integration in order to provide quality competence-based education and lifelong learning in order to maintain employability which is a primary factor to involve all citizens in fast-growing diverse societies. Regarding the findings, inclusive education policies by all actors are against social exclusion, but the principles of subsidiarity define the effectiveness of the policies. In conclusion, the conceptual logics of the prevention of social exclusion are an accumulation of risks such as unemployment, lower socio- economic status and immigration. The main objective of the policies is to maintain employability. The most fundamental difference between the actors is linguistic or terminological. In conclusion, problematisation questions why Finland uses the term “equality”, whereas the other actors admit the current use of the term “equitable”, which provides diverse comprehension of non-binary individuals instead logics of binary gender. This problematisation, as a significant finding, emphasizes that there is a demand for broader research in gender studies in education policy. The thesis argues that underachieved “boys” in Finland might be something other than binary-defined boys who are at risk of social exclusion in adulthood.
  • Berg, Emilia (2023)
    This thesis examines how the concept of Nordic added value is defined and understood in Nordic social and health policy cooperation. Although the concept serves as an evaluation criterion for funding and a guiding principle in all official Nordic cooperation projects and activities, there is no single, widely accepted view of the meaning of the concept. The goal of the research is thus to investigate and understand the underlying principle of Nordic cooperation, through which the research also supports the practical work of Nordic actors and institutions operating in the social and health sector. In addition, the research supports the implementation of the Nordic Council of Ministers' Vision 2030 action plan, according to which the Nordic region will become the world's most sustainable and integrated region by 2030. The research is mainly inductive in nature, and its conceptual framework includes an examination of Nordic cooperation narratives, the Nordic epistemic community, and the added value of transnational cooperation. It is a case study that investigates and compares the understanding of the concept of persons working in or with Nordic social and health policy cooperation at two separate levels of formal Nordic cooperation. In addition to survey and interview materials, the research analyses official Nordic cooperation documents using qualitative content analysis. The survey and interview materials were gathered from both the official level, which includes Nordic Welfare Centre operating under the Nordic Council of Ministers, as well as the practical level, which consists of several networks that Nordic Welfare Centre coordinates. The results of this study show that there are no significant differences between the understandings of the two levels, but the concept appears to be relatively flexible and ambiguous and dependent on the individuals using it. However, the concept can be understood in both symbolic and practical terms, whereby the former is closely related to the common background and values associated with the Nordic welfare state models, and the latter to the exchange and sharing of knowledge and experiences. The research shows that the greatest added value in Nordic social and health policy cooperation arises from useful comparisons that lead to learning, inspiration, and ultimately development both in individual countries and in the entire Nordic region. Although the research results suggest that a lot of added value is produced in the Nordic welfare sector, the study also highlights that many factors, such as lack of resources and administrative and language challenges, limit the realisation of the full potential of Nordic added value.
  • Aparicio García, Marco (2023)
    The European Commission and the Finnish government have released their respective roadmaps in sustainable forest policy. With the European Commission pushing for further cooperation and integration in a field with no dedicated framework, it becomes vital to have a consensus on the concept of “sustainable forestry” with Member States such as Finland. Finland, on the other hand, as the most forested Member State in terms of percentage of total land area, manifests opposite views regarding how the administration is supposed to effect policy. This thesis consists of an analysis of respective documents from the European Commission and the Finnish government: the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030 and the Government Report on Forest Policy 2050. Similar in scope and structure, they clearly reflect these different attitudes towards policymaking and the role of policymakers themselves in the coming decades. The focus of this analysis is, however, their respective use of metaphors. With the theoretical support of the Advocacy Coalition Framework of Hank Jenkins-Smith and Paul Sabatier and the Critical Metaphor Analysis of Jonathan Charteris-Black, these metaphor choices are then observed to explain which stakeholders—either forestry, administrative, or environmental—are favored in each document. In this thesis, metaphors are words whose basic meaning, which is usually the one easiest to imagine, is not the one used in their textual context. From associating that missing, metaphorical meaning to chosen key concepts, this analysis shows that the metaphors found are used in cohesion with each other. This reveals a re-conceptualization of those key terms according to the accompanying metaphors. For example, the European Commission presented forests in its Strategy as “towns”, while the Finnish government saw them as “(ore) mines”. The results of this thesis reveal the consistency of metaphor choices in discourse and their significance in depicting a potentially different set of narratives from those contained in conventional language, both overtly and covertly. With these results in mind, scholars can further pursue research in other fields thanks understanding of metaphor and its prevalence in communication, or even expand this line of research into the role of media, for example.
  • Bracke, Michaël (2023)
    The Benelux Union is an international intergovernmental organization consisting out of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg. It is not a very well-known institution, but it has been existing for many decades. As the three member states are also founding members of the European Union, these two institutions have an interesting dynamic. For as long as it has existed, the Benelux Union has been functioning as laboratory for European integration. The Benelux can thus be seen as frontrunners, and therefore as some sort of leaders. The research goal was to find out if the Benelux Union is used as a vehicle by the Benelux countries to increase their influence in the European Union. This thesis draws upon the concept of multi-speed integration, where countries who decide to integrate further than the current European integration pressure other states to follow. Thus by being frontrunners, countries could increase integration within the European Union. These frontrunners also have more to say about the way and degree in which integration takes place. It can therefore be beneficial for EU member states to act as frontrunners. In order to find the answers to the research and sub-questions, the choice was made to use qualitative methods. To be more precise, a combination between document analysis and elite interviews have been employed to provide the answers. Evaluations by the Dutch government on the Benelux Union or Benelux cooperation in the EU were the most important documents. These evaluations, together with some other documents, were supplemented by nine interviews conducted with one academic expert and officials from the three countries and the Benelux Union itself. There are three main findings. Firstly, the Benelux puts a huge emphasis on its role as laboratory because it sends out a signal to the other European countries. A signal that expresses the Benelux’ support for European integration, which increases trust towards them. From the Benelux Union itself, it sends the signal they are still a relevant institution, even though the EU has taken most policy fields in which the Benelux is active. Secondly, in some occasions, Benelux integration may serve as a catalyst for further European integration. If the Benelux countries launch successful projects, many other European states may decide to join this initiative. Whenever enough countries have joined, the project might be scaled up to the European level. The last and main finding gives an answer to the research question. The Benelux Union increases Benelux influence in the EU indirectly by supporting coalition building among the Benelux states. Moreover, it gives its member states a very positive image on the international stage. If this is not enough, the Benelux states might decide they want to implement a new project in the Benelux Union to use these results as an argument to implement this at the European level. It has to be noted that there are not a significant amount of examples of this direct form.
  • Ainla, Regina (2023)
    As digitalization and globalization are global trends that transcend company and nation borders, the competition for the best talent has also become a national competition. Finland, among other Nordic nations has a thriving IT and technology literate society that is facing a negative demographic prognosis. There is a stark need for skilled labor migration. Past research sets Finland apart as the only Nordic nation to have a talent attraction and retention plan on the national level. Yet, the research also shows that Finland’s labor market is difficult to integrate to as a migrant. This thesis study explores what kind of changes the Covid-19 crisis brought to the talent attraction and retention practices in Finland. The research is conducted as a qualitative case study, and it focuses on the attraction and retention of the ICT & Tech talents from outside of the EU/ETA area between 2019 and 2022. The research is conducted through semi-structured interviews with International ICT talents and IT recruiters. In addition, previous literature on nation branding, talent attraction and retention and integration has been reviewed to set a framework and context for this study. The results of this research indicate that the Finnish national brand has a positive image but is not well known. It is associated with the other Nordic nations as one Nordic area or block. The decisive factors for international talents to relocate to Finland are based on soft values as work life balance, family friendly society, low hierarchy, and friendliness. However, the research suggests that the more important aspect of the equation is the retention work from the employer’s side and the public sector’s side. Furthermore, Covid-19 crisis accelerated the digitalization and created more demand for ICT specialists and opportunities for global hires. While simultaneously limiting the integration and network building opportunities through remote and hybrid work and restrictions. Finally, the results of this research indicate that for a sustainable future attraction and retention of international talent, the companies, and the city level, that have the greater burden of retaining the talent, need more support.
  • Auramo, Anna-Liisa Vilhelmiina (2023)
    This thesis explores the possibility of analysing political speeches through a structuralist literary theoretical approach. The analysis focuses on Eurosceptic rhetoric in the United Kingdom (UK) and whether this rhetoric shares codified similarities with the way monsters are constructed in cultural narratives. This hypothesis is based on the us versus them cleavage and the process of Othering present in both Eurosceptic rhetoric and monster narratives. The reluctant role of the UK in the history of European integration has developed into an us versus them cleavage, with UK politicians repeatedly applying the process of Othering to the European Union (EU). In monster narratives, the monster represents the ultimate Other, embodying the fear of difference. The purpose of this analysis is to show that the potency of populist rhetoric goes deep into the level of fundamental human anxieties that manifest through narrative monsters. The thesis aims to identify the mechanics of monster-making in Eurosceptic political speeches by analysing three speeches from conservative British prime ministers through the structuralist literary theoretical approach: Margaret Thatcher’s Bruges Speech, David Cameron’s Bloomberg Speech, and a speech by Boris Johnson. The structuralist approach takes an underlying universal narrative structure as a frame of reference, codifies it, and then identifies occurrences of these codes in a text. The underlying universal narrative selected for this analysis is Jeffrey Cohen’s monster theory that he presents in seven theses, which represent the building blocks of narrative monsters observed in monster stories throughout human history. Four theses were selected for codification suitable for analysing political speeches, and the resulting codes are: Liminality, Otherness, Warning and Perception. The occurrences of these four codes in the three speeches is termed as the mechanics of monster-making. The results of the analysis show a clear presence of the mechanics of monster-making in the three selected speeches, proving that Eurosceptic rhetoric does share similarities with monster narratives. All three speeches contain occurrences of all four codes, and while the number of occurrences varies, the overall number of occurrences increases notably over time. This not only shows that the conservative politicians paint a picture of the EU as an escalating threat that is becoming more and more separate from the UK, but it also shows that in Thatcher’s time this monstrous threat is indicated to be in the future, whereas in Cameron and Johnson’s times the threat is conveyed as imminent. The results support the idea that applying an approach from cultural theory can contribute to the research of political narratives. Since humans are cultural beings and political speeches do not exist in a political vacuum, applying codes from an underlying universal narrative to political speeches can reveal depths of interpretation the more common discourse analytical approaches cannot reach.
  • Graves, Samuli (2023)
    In my thesis, I study the evolving role of the European Union in facilitating the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue. Since 2011, the EU has acted as a facilitator in the dialogue that aims to normalize the relations between Kosovo and Serbia. I focus especially on the development of the EU’s negotiating approach in the dialogue. In my thesis, I present three research questions: 1) What kind of a negotiating approach does the EU adopt in mediating the dialogue? 2) How does the EU incentivize Kosovo’s and Serbia’s participation in the dialogue? 3) How actively does the EU engage in the facilitation of dialogue? The theoretical framework of my thesis is twofold. Regarding the EU’s negotiating approach and engagement in the dialogue, I follow the categorization presented in Zartman and Touval’s (1985) mediation theory, where mediators working in conflict resolution are divided into communicators, formulators, and manipulators. Concerning the incentives offered by the EU, I rely on Schimmelfennig ja Sedelmeier’s (2004) classification within Europeanization theory, where Europeanization is presented as following from external incentives or social learning. As my research data, I use the European Commission’s yearly reports on Kosovo and Serbia, as well as the EU’s General Affairs Council conclusions on the Enlargement and Stabilisation and Association Process, which describe the dialogue’s progression and the EU’s positions on the dialogue. I analyze the data through the use of Qualitative Content Analysis by assigning coding categories to the documents, which enable me to examine the EU’s mood in various phases of the dialogue, the development of the input the EU exerts on the dialogue, and the use of incentives the EU offers Kosovo and Serbia. As the result of my thesis, I show that the dialogue can be divided into a progress phase (2011-2016) and a stagnation phase (2017-2022). I find that in the progress phase, the EU acts as a neutral arbiter, but as the dialogue progresses into the stagnation phase, the EU attempts to create progress by increasing its engagement in the dialogue and by strengthening the incentives it uses, introducing sticks in addition to carrots. This transforms the EU’s mediator role in the dialogue from an arbiter to a mediation participant protecting its own interests.
  • Jordan, Jace (2024)
    Monuments and the memories they represent are constantly responding to political and cultural changes in the human environment around them. This thesis analyzes how Soviet monuments, primarily the T-34 Narva Tank in Estonia and the Victory Monument in Latvia, were securitized following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. In particular, the study dissects the role that external actors and other motivating factors had in these processes, and what causal mechanisms can explain for the subsequent removal and destruction of these memory edifices. Expounding upon established theoretical and conceptual frameworks of memory securitization, mnemonic security dilemmas, and the hardware of memory, this thesis explores how seemingly benign objects in a memory landscape can be mobilized by conflict situations and result in escalatory securitized measures between states. The method of process tracing allows the two cases to be considered parallel to one another, constructing a timeline of events through an extensive analysis of news articles, public statements, and legal documents released in Estonia, Latvia and Russia. Elite Interviews conducted with memory experts in these states also inform the analysis, and provide critical perspectives on non-reported elements and variables that impacted events. Site analyses conducted at these sites of memory further nuance the findings of this research, providing an ethnographic understanding of how the removal of these monuments not only altered the physical landscape in which they existed, but the human communities around them as well. Key evidence is revealed regarding the primary role that articulated Russian threats played in the securitization and subsequent removal of these monuments, presenting compelling avenues for future research on the role that external actors play in internal memory processes. As memories of the past continue to find themselves intertwined with conflicts of the present, this research presents novel contributions to understanding how memory wars are waged, and through which means, if any, they can be de-escalated.