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Browsing by master's degree program "Euroopan ja Pohjoismaiden tutkimuksen maisteriohjelma (European and Nordic Studies)"

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  • Tiensuu, Elisa (2022)
    Tämän pro gradu- tutkielman tarkoituksena on tarkastella turvapaikan turvallistamista niin sanotun ’maahanmuuttokriisin’ aikana vuonna 2015, analysoiden Helsingin Sanomien samaisen vuoden julkaisuja. Tutkielmassa keskitytään siihen, miten turvallisuusdiskursseja kehystetään yleisölle, ja mitä mahdollisia taustalla olevia logiikoita pelon synnyttämiseen liittyen voidaan tunnistaa. Aluksi tutkielmassa esitellään analyysin teoreettinen tausta, turvallistamisteoria ja diskurssiteoria, sekä aiheeseen liittyvä historiallinen ja sosiopoliittinen tausta, jotta tutkielmassa voitaisiin paremmin ymmärtää, kuinka turvallistamisdiskurssit esitettiin yleisölle. Tämän jälkeen tutkielma käsittelee turvallistamista maahanmuutto- ja turvapaikka-asioiden kontekstissa. Tutkielmassa esitellään myös median rooli turvallistamisprosessissa ja tarkastellaan, miten rasistiset ja ksenofobiset logiikat usein vaikuttavat tähän prosessiin. Kirjallisuuskatsaus Pohjoismaissa tehdyistä turvapaikan turvallistamista koskevista tutkimuksista antaa lisätaustaa turvapaikan turvallistamiselle ja esittelee, miten tutkielma osallistuu olemassa olevaan aihetta koskevaan kirjallisuuteen. Tutkielman analyysiosa esittelee tammi-joulukuun 2015 välisenä aikana Helsingin Sanomissa julkaistujen artikkelien analyysin havaintoja. Näitä käsitellään erillisessä keskustelukappaleessa, joka pyrkii vastaamaan johdantoluvussa esitettyihin keskeisiin tutkimuskysymyksiin. Analyysin tulokset osoittivat, että tiedotusvälineet osallistuvat turvallistamisprosessiin tuottamalla ja toistamalla uhkaa ja pelkoa aiheuttavia diskursseja, usein ilman empiiristä tietoa, ja jättämällä huomiotta turvapaikanhakijoiden kokemukset. Analyysi päättelee, että seitsemän toisiinsa kietoutuvaa diskurssia vaikutti pelon ja toiseuttamisen luontiin HS:n artikkeleissa, ja nämä olivat juurtuneet rasistiseen ja ksenofobiseen logiikkaan.
  • Baker, Liv (2023)
    In response to the increasing need for an effective method to compare student performance on the international scale, the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) launched the Program for International Student Assessment, better known as the PISA, in 1997. As such, PISA not only establishes an internally agreed upon framework between countries, but it also binds the commitment of OECD member states to regularly assessing the impact of educational systems on student performance. According to the first published PISA results, PISA “aims at providing a new basis for policy dialogue and for collaboration in defining and operationalizing educational goals— in innovative ways that reflect judgment about the skills that are relevant to adult life.” In simple terms, PISA seeks to evaluate how well 15-year-olds are prepared for the challenges they will face in life. Finland has ranked among the top countries since the first administration of the triennial PISA in 2000. Despite measuring well against its OECD counterparts, Finland, which once topped the PISA ranks, has since experienced a relative decline in performance. The mediation of PISA results has undeniably affected Finland’s image of education. This media discourse analysis uses major American newspaper outlets to unearth how Finland’s image has been affected by PISA results. These newspapers’ presentations of Finnish PISA performance further reveal how the US understands its own academic system. Ultimately, PISA asserts that academic institutions can make a profound difference on the individual, country, and global levels. Since PISA results can influence the academic decisions and policies of a given country, then the assessment must also make a difference on the individual, country, and global levels. Since the OECD drives forward the PISA, then the OECD also has an influence on the beforementioned levels. Thus, the OECD not only shapes representations of countries, but it also hinges on media as a vehicle by which to deliver these representations internationally. Although commonly overlooked, the OECD is a relevant and power-wielding actor because its PISA index reinforces and challenges narratives of academic exceptionalism, as exemplified by the case of Finland in this study. Does the OECD’s positioning as an overlooked actor magnify its power?
  • Treumuth, Getter Kristen (2022)
    This thesis focuses on the case study of the Estonian diaspora in Abkhazia, the breakaway region of Georgia, and their claim to the Estonian citizenship by birth. This claim is based on the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty Article IV, that allowed people living on both sides of the signing parties (the Russian Soviet Federative Republic, and the newly independent Estonian Republic) to obtain the citizenship of either countries. Focusing on the way the Estonian citizenship policy has impacted the process of obtaining citizenship by birth for the descendants of the optants, the study is based on the role of securitization in the matter. The thesis makes use of televised interviews and written news reports on the case study by Estonian news reporters. Moreover, the sources are analysed with qualitative methods, particularly political and critical discourse analysis, and discourse-historical analysis. The information is gathered by using qualitative methods. Furthermore, securitization theory, societal security and constructivism are used as the base the study. The key findings of the thesis are that distrust towards the optants and worries for security are presented in the media by state officials. However, opposing arguments in support of the Abkhaz Estonians often brush over the matters of security altogether, highlighting the ‘absurdity’ of the situation and the valid claim of citizenship by these individuals. These findings could prove beneficial for those aiming to understand the phenomena better and serve as basis of further research, especially in media analysis.
  • 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.
  • van Bruggen, Merijn Adriaan (2021)
    In the past decades, sanctions have become a vital part of the European Union’s (EU) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). To better understand decision-making within the CFSP, this work focuses on how the EU sanctions against Russia are upheld. It does so through the lens of the Netherlands and Finland, two small countries in the EU. The study concentrates on the way small countries participate in sanctions regimes, which is important due to the required unanimity for upholding sanctions. Both domestic dynamics for participating in sanctions as well as attitudes towards European cooperation are taken into account. By conducting a Qualitative Content Analysis (QCA) on parliamentary debates in Finland and the Netherlands from 2016, the study compares the interests and focus of national politicians when sanctions are under discussion. The material consists of approximately 170 units of coding per country, which originate from around 15 debates throughout the year. The results offer new insight into some of the factors affecting decision-making of small states in sanctions. The data shows that the Netherlands has a stricter stance towards upholding sanctions on Russia, whereas Finnish politicians highlight the impact of sanctions on Finland. In general, both the Netherlands and Finland are in favour of upholding sanctions, but strongly differ domestically in the way they go about the sanctions. In conclusion, this study finds that small EU countries present themselves as strongly supporting EU unity when sanctions are in place. Nevertheless, these countries differ significantly in domestic preferences, meaning that they participate in sanctions regimes through different means.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Heikkinen, Juulia (2021)
    Enlargement is the most important foreign policy tool of the European Union. Beyond changing the geographical borders of the Union, enlargement also concerns EU’s self-other relations, bringing to the fore the definitions of “European” space, values and norms. Recent, critical approaches to European and EU studies have called scholars to pay attention to the colonial roots of the EU, arguing that EU as an agent in the global arena and its neighbourhood cannot be understood outside or separate from colonial discourses. Drawing from this perspective as well as from the rich literature on the Europe’s historical relation to East and the current accession states in the Balkans, this thesis asks (how) is the EU’s enlargement policy postcolonial. To explore, understand and critically assess the normative assumptions that are embedded in enlargement policies, this thesis uses post-structuralist discourse theory (PDT) and the logics approach by Jason Glynos and David Howarth (2007) that offers a more specific application of the PDT in empirical analysis. The analysis approaches four most recent EU enlargement policy papers from three angles: what is taken as granted (social logic), what is challenged or institutionalized (political logic) and how the policies are argued for (fantasmatic logic). The analysis in this thesis brings the postcolonial theoretical concepts into the context of enlargement policies and demonstrates the diversity of the forms in which colonialist assumptions in enlargement policy can play out in practice. Enlargement and the EU’s relation to the Balkans emerges from the material as paradoxical and contradictory, producing ambivalence on the Western Balkan’s standing in relation to Europe through a discursive double move of simultaneous inclusion and exclusion.
  • 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.
  • Mut-Tracy, Senni (2022)
    Integration in the field of defence and security policy was long regarded unlikely by integration theorists, but the European Union’s competences in the policy area have gradually expanded. The recent launch of the European Defence Fund (EDF) illustrates an ambitious supranational policy being put forward under the Commission’s political leadership. This study investigates why Member States decided to accept the proposal for establishing the EDF and transfer sovereign powers to a supranational institution. To understand their decision, I analyze the negotiations and decision-making process from the perspective of three different Member States: Germany, Greece, and Sweden. This thesis provides an empirical contribution to the study of EU defence–industrial integration and follows a limited number of studies in addressing the question of why such integration is welcomed by Member States. Prior research has suggested that economic gains were the primary motive for accepting the EDF’s precursor program ─ the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR) ─ and building on these findings, I explore whether cost-benefit calculations also led Member States to accept the EDF. The explanatory power of another logic of political action will also be considered, namely that of rule following. This perspective allows for analyzing the significance of the institutional context and rules guiding appropriate behavior. In order to build a case study tracing the decision-making process, I gathered data through semi-structured interviews with government officials involved in the process and researchers familiar with national negotiating positions. Additional material used for this study includes Council meeting documents related to the EDF, European Council conclusions, Commission press releases and communications, as well as other official statements on the EDF. The case study shows that all the studied countries entered the negotiations with different expectations and that their motives for accepting the EDF differed. A key finding of this study is that Member States did not collectively accept the EDF proposal because of an expected economic benefit. In comparison with the PADR, which Member States perceived as ‘extra funding’ given that the funding came from both unallocated and reallocated funds in the EU budget, the EDF’s funding was separately negotiated in connection with the MFF for 2021-27. Economic motives did inarguably constitute an important reason for many countries including Greece and Germany, but economic rationality cannot explain why Sweden decided to accept the initiative despite the possibility that it could create a 'gap' in the state budget. Sweden’s vote in favor of the EDF can rather be explained through its adherence to community norms and self-identification as a pro-European country supportive of joint research efforts. These findings are significant because they point to a need to expand our understanding of the reasons for why Member States support integration in the policy area.
  • Osipow, Matias (2022)
    This master’s thesis examines how foreign-language-speakers’ view the impact of linguistic skills in their prospects in the Finnish labor market. The research also aims to map out the experiences such workers have had of Finnish workplaces and Finnish trade unions. The thesis assesses the prospects foreign-language-speaking workers have for participation in the workplace, trade union and the Finnish labor market. The thesis uses a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods. The first round of data was collected via an online survey produced in cooperation with the Service Union United (PAM) during the author’s traineeship with the Union. Based on the survey data two rounds of interviews were conducted and a total of 12 foreign-language-speaking members of PAM interviewed. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. In the analysis, Bridget Anderson’s concepts of the ‘Good Citizen’ and the ‘Migrant’ in contrast to the former are employed. Joseph Gumperz’s concept of the ‘Speech Community’ is utilized in the analysis of what is the role of linguistic skills on a worker’s prospects in the Finnish labor market. Additionally, Pierre Bourdieu’s forms of capital are used as rough measurements of an individual’s ability to make use of one’s social and cultural resources. The findings in this thesis suggest that linguistic skills have an impact on a workers’ prospects in the Finnish labor market. Linguistic competence is suggested to form a barrier between the native-speaking and the foreign-language-speaking workforce in Finland. The results suggest that lack of linguistic skills is perceived to have a negative impact on a workers’ attempt to find work, to participate and to belong to the ‘Speech Community’ of the workplace and the trade union.
  • 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.
  • Gärkman, Heidi (2021)
    One of the key characteristics of the Nordic sense of affinity and cohesion is the idea of a shared and common language community. The Nordic language community is based on the concept of inter-Nordic language comprehension, meaning that all members of the community ideally rely on the use of a Scandinavian language when in contact with one another, either as a first or a second (foreign) language. Another feature of this sense of community is the common Nordic efforts in language policy and planning, which, since the establishment of the Nordic institutions, have manifested themselves through various political endeavours, all with the aim to preserve and promote the use of Scandinavian as a lingua franca in Norden. Using a motivational, discursive, intertextual and interdiscursive approach to language policy and planning research, the purpose of this study is to uncover the motivation (goals, attitudes and motives) behind as well as the policy discourses (and their potential connections and discrepancies) used in the formulation of two central Nordic language policy agreements: the Nordic Language Convention, signed in 1981 and ratified in 1987, and the Declaration on a Nordic Language Policy, signed in 2006. In doing this, the study relies on the underlying assumption that language policy and planning is a socio-cultural construct of both explicit and implicit character. The analysis further explores how the uncovered motivational and discursive elements might mirror the linguistic complexities and diversities of the Nordic language community. The temporal range of this study is determined by the two selected language policy agreements, dividing the analysis into two historical eras of official Nordic language policy and planning which represent the socio-political, -cultural and -historical context of each respective language policy agreement: the early era of 1971–1987 and the late era of 1988–2006. The analysis suggests that there was no marked motivational or discursive ideological shift between the two language policy agreements. The narrower national language discourse of the Convention, motivated by early era socio-political issues of linguistic integration and freedom of movement, was somewhat expanded upon by the broader multilingual and democratic discourse of the Declaration, in turn motivated by the late era need to define the Nordic language community in and for the 21st century global community. Yet, the power, ideological and normative pendulum of both agreements still shifted towards the Scandinavian languages and the idealistic vision of effortless inter-Scandinavian communication in the region – forming the very basis of the symbolic integration of Norden through the concept of Nordic ideology.
  • Hardy, James (2022)
    Using a comparative case study analysis of the 2014 and 2021 IIHF World Championships, that are supplemented with a geopolitical code assessment, this thesis demonstrates that as of 2021, Belarus has entered a new pro-Russian stage of the cyclicality of Belarus-Russian relations following the pro-Western stage that had been observable since 2014. However, given the lack of a geopolitical narrative in Belarusian politics, this thesis analyses how the cyclicality of Belarus-Russian relations can be seen via the politicisation of sport. As such, this thesis addresses the research question of 'how the Belarusian regime, led by Aliaksandr Lukashenka, has used sport for political ends?' This includes how the regime have used mega-events to promote its political agenda of forming international partnerships, nation-building, and regime survival, all while preserving Lukashenka's style of adaptive authoritarianism. This thesis concludes that how the political agenda is carried out varies depending on the stage of the cyclicality of Belarus-Russian relations in which the regime finds itself. Consequently, during a pro-Russian stage, the Belarusian regime will use sport to develop Eastern partnerships that will be dominant within Belarusian policy, promote a nation-building process that incorporates the Russkiy Mir concept, and ensures regime survival through suppression of the domestic opposition. However, during a pro-Western stage of relations, the Belarusian regime will use sport to construct dominating Western partnerships, a nation-building process centred on Rzeczpospolita, and assures regime survival through economic investments to strengthen public support.
  • Árnason, Ragnar (2022)
    Political landscapes or the political scene in the Nordic countries is often regarded of being very similar, whether it is the party system, voters’ behaviour, or political discourse. Since the formation of the political party system in Norden, three party types have been the ballast of the Nordic party landscape. These are in each country a social democratic party, a conservative party, and a centre-agrarian party. Those parties were identified by Jan Sundberg as the Nordic “pole parties”. In the last few years these parties’ support has been waning and these parties do not have as much combined electoral support as they once did. In this thesis three different variables will be analysed to determine if they have affected the support towards these pole parties. The variables in question are party identification, trust towards politicians, and voter turnout. National election studies and formal turnout figures will be used to determine whether these variables affect the support of towards Nordic pole parties. The methods used are quantitative binary logistic regression analysis and coefficient correlation analysis. The key findings in this thesis are that all three variables play a certain role in the waning support of pole parties in Norden, however, all in a different way.
  • Hansen, Andreas (2019)
    This study is meant to tell the story of the Scandinavian Communist Federation and its threat to Moscow’s status within the Communist International. An organization of Nordic Communist Parties within the Communist International. The circumstances of its creation in 1924 coincide with the shift of politics within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the death of Lenin. The Scandinavian Communist Federation was not organized centrally by the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI) but by the member parties themselves. Forcing the ECCI to change its statutes and creating together with the Balkan Communist Federation a precedent. The initial assessment by the ECCI is that these two federations serve two different purposes. While it was clear that the Balkan Communist Federation longed to create a Yugoslavian/Pan-Baltic superstate, such is not clear for the Scandinavian Communist Federation. The only intent which is clear is the wish to organize as a “Scandinavian Battlegroup” and coordinate one struggle together. The Scandinavian Communist Federation was met with skepticism by the national Communist Parties and was therefore not fully fledged supported by its members. Only the Norwegians seemed seriously committed. Also, on the side of the ECCI, there have been some considerations about an ever-increasing fragmentation of the Communist International, due to contradiction with national ambition by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and its tighter grip on the ECCI. This paper examines the ideological Realpolitik of the Soviet state and its effect on the Scandinavian Communist Federation, but also the ideological feasibility of a Scandinavian nation-state.