Browsing by Subject "Media and Democracy"

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Now showing items 1-15 of 15
  • Lemieux, Noemie (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Different studies have assessed, in the past, the potential effects of showcasing inclusiveness of different identities in popular media. Those research often about TV series and movies, have shown the media’s potential to “participate in the construction of the imagined community, the nation, and the membership of that nation” (Nikunen, 2013, p. 307). However, too few of those studies concern video games, even though the relevance of researching that form of media is growing incessantly along with its popularity. The recent events of Gamergate and other criticism in the last years also highlighted that need. In the last years, some members of the gaming industries, touched by the awareness-raising campaigns on the potential effects of representation – or lack thereof – in video games, have attempted to improve the inclusiveness in their designs. That is the case of the Blizzard team creating the first person shooter Overwatch. Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch’s game director, has been explicit about the developers intend to send a message of “inclusiveness and open mindedness” through their game design (Kaplan, 2017), which is why the game was selected for the present research. This thesis includes theory drawn from social sciences concerning representation, visuality, and media effect. As the subject of analysis is a video game, a part of the theory comes also from the field of game research: game analysis essentials, and the notion of the transformativity of games. This basis allows a short analysis of the game Overwatch in order to evaluate partially the inclusiveness and the type of representation observable in the game. How are players reflecting on and reacting to developers’ attempt at inclusive design in the video game Overwatch? To answer the question, in-depth interviews were led with active players of the game. The participants told their first reactions to the game, then expressed their thoughts about the game’s level of inclusiveness, the necessity of that inclusiveness, and the potential effects it could have on themselves or other players. Their answers were compiled and analysed. Although the scope of this work doesn’t allow definite conclusions, it has been found that the interviews are welcoming the inclusiveness in the game Overwatch. Some of them were even to see more diverse representation added to it in the future. Most of the players are however making the distinction between Overwatch and other genre of games, saying that such inclusiveness should not be required from the developers, but encouraged; the participants give value to the developers’ creative freedom and don’t want to see it hindered by pressure from critics. Regarding the potential effects of the game’s values on the players, the participants were mostly unsure about the possibility at first. Yet, towards the end of the interview, as they became more comfortable, some of them shared personal experiences of media effect from Overwatch. Those testimonies were especially interesting as they are comparable to Bandura’s social cognitive theory, which is discussed in the thesis (Bandura, 1977; Kirsch, 2010). The results of this study invite interested researchers to investigate further in that direction.
  • Cámara Castillo, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The interactive features of social media platforms facilitate communication between political institutions and citizens and are said to enhance democracy by strengthening the public sphere. On the other hand, the commercialization of social networks and fragmentation of the public, together with the current mediatization of political communication, undermine the democratic possibilities of online platforms. Nowadays, the main social media platforms are owned by large US-based corporations with economic interests that often come into conflict with the public values promoted by EU institutions. Moreover, European institutions have the challenge of being often portrayed as non-transparent and remaining underrepresented in mass media. For that matter, analyzing how EU institutions present themselves on social media is relevant to understand which values they intend to promote and how do they interact with citizens, especially young people. The purpose of this thesis is to analyze how the European Parliament and the European Commission use visual communication on Instagram to portray themselves and in which ways they use the interactive possibilities available in the Stories feature to communicate with citizens. In particular, this case study focuses on Instagram because it is a visually-centered social media platform, which allows analyzing the visual aspects of political communication fairly easily. Based on Habermas’ concept of public sphere, the analysis also considers whether democratic deliberation is part of the communication strategy of European institutions. Qualitative content analysis and thematic analysis have been used as methods to assess the images and videos published on the Instagram accounts of the European Parliament and the European Commission during a period of 30 days, between January and February 2019. The clusters of analysis presented by Russmann and Svensson (2016), including perception, image management, integration and interactivity, have been selected as the main variables to analyze the content. The results of the analysis suggest that the communication strategy of the European institutions on Instagram is rather based on one-directional and top-down communication, accordingly with the findings of previous research. The European Parliament and the European Commission mostly use Instagram to inform citizens about their policy and to promote European values, instead of engaging in democratic deliberation and strengthening political participation. Furthermore, the building of the European identity appears to be a central aspect of the communication strategy of the analyzed institutions, often together with personalization and explicit reference to users.
  • Kasi, Marianna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Intelligence agencies have become a significant element of security in contemporary societies. While new, more expansive intelligence methods have been utilised to contain potential security threats, national intelligence cultures have been challenged by more democratic understandings of intelligence and security on a societal level. As part of this transformation, intelligence agencies have encountered growing demands in the public sphere to strengthen their transparency and accountability. In this process, news media have a special role as an arena and an intelligence stakeholder to promote the democratisation of intelligence. The aim of this thesis is to study the democratisation of intelligence by analysing the shaping of national intelligence culture in news media discourses that covered the intelligence reform in Finland. Its theoretical framework is anchored to the concept of national intelligence culture and intelligence stakeholder theory which are linked to security and human security intelligence paradigms. The theoretical framework is complemented with Hallin’s theory on news media coverage in the spheres of consensus, legitimate controversy, and deviance to study how the news media discourses regarding Finnish intelligence reform have shaped the national intelligence culture in Finland. The qualitative case study is based on a data set of 216 online news articles published between August 2015 and June 2019 in a national news media outlet Helsingin Sanomat. The news content is analysed using qualitative content analysis and Fairclough’s approach to critical discourse analysis. The results of this study imply that the intelligence stakeholders represented in news media discourses can agree on the foundations of Finnish national intelligence culture. The study findings indicate that in the sphere of consensus, the stakeholders agreed on the necessity of intelligence reform, the existence of new threats in the security environment and the stagnant development of Finland’s intelligence powers compared to its Western counterparts. However, in the sphere of legitimate controversy, several intelligence stakeholders including news media considered constitutional rights more important than national security interests, demanded more transparency and accountability in intelligence operations and challenged the public trust in the legislative process. Finally, the findings in the sphere of deviance revealed that significant stakeholders, such as citizens, civil society organisations and businesses, were excluded from the news media discourses. Thus, the results indicated that the stakeholders who were strongly represented in the news media have been able to significantly influence the discourses on the purpose and future of intelligence in Finland.
  • Saikku, Katariina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that human rights are inalienable and belong to everyone without any large scale exceptions. Thus, supranational human rights bodies focus on monitoring human rights violations, instead of discussing to whom human rights in practice are seen to belong to. However, there are vast differences with how states view universal human rights, which is especially apparent when discussing the rights of sexual and gender minorities. This study set out to discover how states justify not including the rights of sexual and gender minorities under the protection of international human rights treaties by analysing statements made at the UN Human Rights Council. The material for this research were the statements made at the 41st meeting of the Human Rights Council’s 32nd session on the 30th of June 2016. This session voted for the establishment of an independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The session included 23 statements that were made either by a country representative who voted against the establishment, or by a representative whose country abstained from the vote. These statements were analysed with qualitative content analysis, by which nine justification categories were identified. These categories were titled Cultural Relativity, Imposing Values, Moral Grounds, Universality, Lack of Legal Basis, Sovereignty, LGBTI Definition’s Lack of Clarity, Human Rights Council’s Cohesion, and Resolution’s Lack of Clarity. These nine justification categories were further divided into three groups depending on the strength and aim of the argument. This research deduced that cover-up justifications (Lack of Legal Basis, LGBTI Definition’s Lack of Clarity, and Resolution’s Lack of Clarity) where used in arguments to divert the discussion from the root justifications, which were the arguments under Cultural Relativity and Moral Grounds. The statements in the third category (Universality, Sovereignty, Human Rights Council’s Cohesion, and Imposing Values) highlighted the differences with how universality and the mandate of the Human Rights Council is perceived. Understanding the justification categories identified in this research help to direct LGBTI advocacy and resources, and to critically asses the universality of human rights.
  • Koistinen, Olga (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Media and power dichotomy in Russia present an interesting and multilateral context for research. The global pandemic of COVID-19 which started in 2019, raised the significance of the crisis communication in the media. Crisis communication is essential in regard to constructing and influencing the audience’s perception. The aim of this master’s thesis is to provide an analysis of the news frames used in two Russian newspapers and analyse how they are used in relation to influencing public’s perception. The aim is to identify how the news framing creates narratives and public discussion. Additionally, the analysis involves the question of how the relationship between Russia and the West is framed during this crisis. The research material consists of two different newspapers during the month of April 2021. Research data that involve news about COVID-19 includes all the articles, editorials and opinion pieces from this time. Research material consists of a total of 54 articles. The newspapers selected for the research are “Argumenty I Fakty” which is identified as a pro- government newspaper. The second newspaper is “Nezavisimaja Gazeta” identified as critical towards the Russian government. The framing analysis of research material is conducted. Research also draws from the theories of crisis communication. Results of the analysis indicate, that the political orientation of a newspaper, is significant in terms of the news frames used in them. The news frames construct the public discussion and influence the peoples actions. In “Argymenty I Fakty” was found four news frames and in “Nezavisimaja Gazeta” was found five news frames. Only one news frame was used in both newspapers. The news frames utilized in the pro-government newspaper amplified the political agenda of the Russian government. The narratives created in both newspapers were significantly different. In conclusion, the framing analysis provided an understanding of the news frames used in two different Russian newspapers. It is evident, that the political identity of the newspaper provides a significant impact which news frames are utilized and how crisis communication is conducted. The opposition of Russia and the West is visible in both newspapers and it is created through the news framing.
  • Vognæs, Stinne (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The aims of higher education have always been subject to debate and opposing opinions. In an increasingly complex world with many global challenges, the aims of higher education are once more debated. Furthermore, a growing international student body is also challenging what students should be educated for. How does these factors affect the aims of higher education and how should the university prepare students for this complex world? This partly inductive, normative case study of the University of Helsinki consists of 11 qualitative interviews from across faculties with representatives from 11 different international master’s programs. Through dialogical interviews these questions were explored. Martha Nussbaum’s theory of cosmopolitan citizenship and the three abilities of critical thinking, world citizenship and narrative imagination alongside theory on political socialization and the broader scholarly debate on the aims of higher education provide the foundation for the thematic analysis. The findings indicate that the ideals of cosmopolitan citizenship are still prevalent in the interviewees’ thinking about the skills and attitudes that students need. At the same time, many of the interviewees were not sure whether these skills and attitudes were being sufficiently developed, and many said that not enough was being done. This raises questions as to whether these skills, which are often not subject-area specific, can be brushed off as ‘nice to haves’ or whether there are real consequences if not ensuring that these skills and attitudes are approached in the same manner as subject-area knowledge. Based on the alignment between the interviews and Nussbaum’s cosmopolitan citizenship, it can be argued that what makes students good professionals is also central to making them good citizens. This study argues that students need a strong ethical, moral and value-based foundation to make them both responsible professionals and citizens. It should be explicitly planned for. This might be challenged by external pressures pushing for optimization, effectiveness and seeing education as primarily fulfilling companies’ HR needs alongside incentives structures that might not encourage teachers to prioritise teaching these skills. The findings of this study indicates that the skills of Nussbaum’s cosmopolitan citizenship are valued in the program representatives’ thinking, yet there seems to be a lack of awareness as to how these skills are being developed in practice. This study encourages a more active discussion to clearly articulate what the aims of higher education should be in the 21st century and how that should be put into practice.
  • Reinola, Inka Mari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    China’s rise in the 21st century has been a widely discussed phenomenon inside and outside the academia. There is a debate on whether China is a status quo or a revisionist state and the impact its influence might have on the world as a whole. One area of China’s rise has not been widely researched in relation to these questions – technology. China’s technological development has increased during the past decades to a level where its technology competence competes with other technologically advanced countries. The fourth industrial revolution has brought about new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, 5G or cyberspace. These technologies also bring forth new questions and challenges, and they require research not only from the technological perspective but also from a social science perspective. This research investigated the Chinese technology policies by looking at materials that included five speeches, two State Council notices, one journal article, and a journal commentary. The themes of the researched materials revolved around overall technology policies, artificial intelligence, cyberspace, and data. This study employed content analysis as its method. The categorization of the social identities derived from the theoretical framework of Chinese social identity strategies which included five different social identity strategies: Globalist China, Sovereign China, Unified China, Sino-centric China, and Rising China. The materials were analyzed by combining two theoretical frameworks – the social identity theory with a particular Chinese social identity theory framework, and constructivism. The social identity theory was originally invented within the field of social psychology but has been used in the study of international relations to understand rising powers. Chinese technology policies were revealed to employ Rising China strategy as their main strategy. Three other social identity strategies – Sino-centric China, Globalist China, and Sovereign China – were also found in the materials, and these revealed interesting points concerning the overall technology strategies. China was found to be balancing between the status quo and a revisionist state status, and the technology themes and the regions they aim to influence seemingly have an impact on which strategies they employ and how these strategies are implemented.
  • Begley, Jonathan (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    A healthy democracy requires citizens to be sufficiently informed in order to be able to vote on the basis of valid information. From the perspective of a Twitter analysis of the 2018 US midterm election, this study is an examination of the relationship between social media and the concept of informed citizens. In the study a hashtag ethnographic method was applied by analysing 350 tweets from the seven days before the election day on the 6th of November, 2018. The tweets were chosen by searching for the hashtag #Midterms2018 on Twitter’s Advanced Search. Both quantitative and qualitative elements were employed in the analysis in order to evaluate whether the tweets about the US midterm election showcased that Twitter can function as a platform for the betterment of informed citizens. Based on the analysis it can be said that Twitter provides citizens many opportunities that allow them to take part in the political arena in ways that were previously unavailable to them. On Twitter citizens have the potential to reach a larger audience, challenge narratives established by traditional media, respond directly to politicians, spread their own political views and encourage others to take part in the democratic process.
  • Vaarala, Viljami (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The War on Terror has been waged for almost two whole decades now. President Barack Obama pledged to end the “boundless Global War on Terror” during his tenure but there are still US troops present in Middle East and North Africa. Despite the rhetoric on ending the war, the war got even more violent in terms of air strikes and the military budget kept on rising from that of president Bush under Obama’s first term as president. Since these circumstances suggest that there was no considerable change to be perceived in the outcome of the war from Bush to Obama, there seems to exist a process of political meaning-making through which the meanings attached to the US engagement in the Middle East are altered. Thus, this study aims at analysing the underlying fantasmatic logics through which the War on Terror was legitimized to the public during Obama’s presidency. This study contributes to the study of international relations through Lacanian-Žižekian framework, which has only recently been introduced to the study of international politics. The theoretical and methodological background of this thesis is rooted in Lacanian psychoanalysis, discourse theory of Laclau and Mouffe and Lacanian-Žižekian theorizations on ideological fantasies. By adapting the logics approach of discourse theory as a qualitative method, this thesis analyses 105 speeches on terrorism that Barack Obama delivered in 2009–2016. The analysis is focused at analysing discursive articulations, nodal points and master signifiers that partake in structuring the fantasies regarding War on Terror. In this thesis I will argue that it is through the fantasmatic logics that the ideological grip of Obama’s War on Terror becomes intelligible: By structuring the fantasmatic objects of desire at least on three levels, Obama succeeds at granting the illusion that the unachievable and impossible enjoyment – that the subjects of War on Terror desire – is achievable. However, Obama organizes the fantasy in a way that keeps the realization of the ultimate fantasy of lasting peace, safety, prosperity and security always at a distance. The desire is sustained by articulating enemies, such as al Qaeda, Taliban, Osama bin Laden, Assad’s regime and ISIL, as inferior objects of desire that are “forgotten” and replaced by one another in the signifying chain of enmity. In addition to this “forgetting” of inferior objects of desire, there exists a process of “reminding” or “remembering” that sustains the desire of War on Terror’s subjects. I then argue that some of these objects of desire are used to remind the subjects of what the possible enjoyment would feel like when it is finally achieved. These enemies are also articulated as “the constitutive othesr” that prevent the subjects of War on Terror to realize their fantasy of lasting peace. The results show that the signifier “terrorists” functions as a subtle epithet through which various and differential groups can be articulated as enemies.
  • Ricardo, Madalena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Portugal seems to stand out among colonial empires – besides being the first European colonizer, Portugal was the last European empire, since its decolonization process unfolded later than in other European colonies. Only 20 years after the formal end of its empire, this study exposes how Portugal discusses its own colonial past today, how colonialism is framed in the current public debate and whether certain colonial narratives are still present in this discussion. Based on the findings, this thesis also discusses the impact of the debate on racism and immigration attitudes. The theoretical basis hinges on previous studies on Portuguese colonial narratives and myths, including Gilberto Freyre’s Lusotropicalism, research on the formation of national identities and theories on the construction of racism. The goal is to contribute to the existent research on Portuguese colonialism, providing a recent account of the public debate; to serve as a base for future studies on post-colonial attitudes; and to discuss the legacy of colonialism in Portugal, particularly, on racism. A media analysis is conducted. Two Portuguese newspapers were selected, Público and Observador. Only opinion articles were analyzed, and a case was chosen to represent this public debate – a controversial proposal on the construction of a museum in Lisbon about the colonial period, in the time frame from May to July 2018. Using frame analysis, the content of the opinion articles is examined, the characteristics of the authors are discussed, and frames are identified. The findings assert that colonialism is mainly framed today in two ways: as the pride of the nation and as a shameful event for the country. Fragments of a third, mixed frame could also be identified. Predominantly, it is framed as the national pride, as a key event in the history of the country. Portuguese colonization is largely described as a soft, intercultural encounter, while the atrocities tend to be dismissed. This thesis denounces the persistence of colonial narratives, myths and stereotypes and reveals their renewal into new terms. It also exposes the usage of colonialism as the foundation of the current Portuguese national identity, constituting one of its most long-lasting legacies. Finally, the thesis reveals a connection between colonialism and the dismissal of racism today. The study discusses how colonialism, the myths and narratives serve to construct a false image of tolerance of the Portuguese, which affects racism and immigration attitudes in the country. The legacy of colonialism is discussed to impact other areas, such as electoral results and the success or failure of far-right populist parties.
  • Heimonen, Mona (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Britannian hallitus ilmoitti vuonna 2016 harkitsevansa sukupuolen juridista tunnustamista koskevan lain (the Gender Recognition Act 2004) uudistamista, minkä seurauksena julkinen keskustelu transihmisten oikeuksista on lisääntynyt mediassa. Tässä pro gradu -tutkielmassa tarkastellaan medianäkyvyyden, julkisen keskustelun ja transaktivismin kompleksista suhdetta. Tutkimuksen tavoite on tuoda esiin medianäkyvyyden ja julkisen keskustelun vaikutuksia transaktivismiin Britanniassa. Vaikka tutkielmassa tarkastellaan julkista keskustelua ja trans-narratiiveja mediassa, empiirinen tutkimus lähestyy aihetta transaktivistien näkökulmasta. Tutkielman teoreettinen viitekehys pohjautuu Emil Edenborgin (2017) kuulumisen politiikan (politics of belonging) ja näkyvyyden suhdetta käsittelevään teoriaan (the arrangements of visibility). Edenborgin mukaan hallitsevat toimijat pyrkivät joko hillitsemään tai vahvistamaan näkyvyyttä (containing and amplifying visibility), kun taas mahdollisuudet haastaa näkyvyyttä (contesting visibility) toteutuvat kontekstuaalisesti eri tavoin. Tutkimuksen lähtökohta on transihmisten olemassaolon sosiokulttuurinen näkymättömyys (Namaste, 2000), minkä seurauksena median trans-narratiivit, jotka tuovat esiin vain pienen osan transihmisten kokemuksista, johtaa trans-näkyvyyden paradoksiin (the paradox of trans visibility) (Berberick, 2018). Trans-näkyvyyden paradoksi luo pohjan tutkielman analyysille. Tutkimusaineisto on kerätty haastattelemalla viittä transaktivistia Britanniassa. Puolistrukturoitujen teemahaastattelujen tarkoitus oli tarkastella transaktivistien kokemuksia medianäkyvyydestä, julkisesta keskustelusta ja transaktivismista Britanniassa, sekä niiden merkityksiä. Tutkimuskysymys on, mitä haasteita ja mahdollisuuksia näkyvyydestä voi seurata transaktivismille? Aineisto on analysoitu teema-analyysin avulla. Analyyttiset teemat rakentuivat tutkielman teoreettisen perustan ympärille. Tutkimuksen tulokset viittaavat siihen, että kasvanut medianäkyvyys ja julkinen keskustelu on johtanut virheellisen tiedon lisääntymiseen sekä medianarratiiveihin, joissa transihmisten oikeudet kuvataan uutena yhteiskunnallisena uhkana. Haastateltavien mukaan harhaanjohtavaan mediaraportointiin puuttuminen, ilman vahvoja siteitä mediaan, on yksi transaktivismin suurimmista haasteista Britanniassa. Transfobian ja vihapuheen yleistyminen sosiaalisessa mediassa on myös suuri haaste aktivisteille. Harhaanjohtavat medianarratiivit, transfobia ja vihapuhe ovat johtaneet siihen, että monet haastateltavista eivät enää seuraa aktiivisesti mediaraportointia ja osallistuvat vain harkiten julkiseen keskusteluun transoikeuksista. Tulokset viittaavat siihen, että vihamielisyydeltä suojautuminen voi johtaa transaktivistit vetäytymään julkisesta keskustelusta. Toisaalta kasvanut trans-näkyvyys voi myös mahdollistaa cissukupuolisten ihmisten kouluttamisen, antaa puitteet vertaistuelle ja transihmisten yhteisölliselle toiminnalle, sekä tarjota mahdollisuuksia haastaa hallitsevaa medianäkyvyyttä.
  • Tikkanen, Aino (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis sets out to investigate what frames are used in the U.S. media to discuss responsibility for climate change. Particularly, the study seeks to identify what frames are used to discuss action for climate change mitigation. The normative framework for analyzing responsibility is established by the social connection model by Iris Marion Young, which presents a forward-looking approach for addressing responsibility for issues of structural injustice. The theoretical framework of this thesis derives from existing literature on climate change, the media, and media framing. The study was conducted using a qualitative method of frame analysis. Data for the study was collected from the digital contents of three popular news media outlets in the United States: CNN, Fox News Channel, and The New York Times. The data consists of news articles that were published online in December 2019. The results of the study indicate that responsibility for climate change mitigation is rarely approached directly in the media. Rather, it is implied through discussions about what actions should be taken. The study identifies four main frames of responsibility. The first frame emphasizes the conflict between the younger and older generations and deems that collective efforts are required to address the situation. The second frame accentuates the political division over the issue of climate change by casting blame upon Asian nations while downplaying the respective responsibility of the United States. Similarly, the efforts of the Democratic party are ridiculed. The third frame emphasizes consumer action through practical efforts but does not promote buying less as a possible solution. Lastly, the study identifies a frame, in which corporate responsibility is approached in two ways: to hold highly polluting industries accountable and to promote green business as a solution. The study finds that the framing employed by Fox News Channel emphasizes the economic disadvantages of climate change mitigation and sees it as an issue of causal responsibility for Asian nations. On the other hand, the findings of the study suggest that the media coverage of the youth protests against climate change often yield notions of collective responsibility and frame the issue of responsibility in a more contextualized setting. The findings of the study support existing research of how media frames the issue of climate change and how polarization affects the framing. Through the application of the social connection model, the findings of this study contribute to the literature of news framing of climate change by demonstrating how the issue of responsibility is framed.
  • Pylvänäinen, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis studies the discourses of power and anti-violence activism related to feminicides in Mexico. Feminicides are defined as killings of women because of their gender. Although feminicides have existed throughout the history of Mexico, the issue became a focus of attention among the masses nearly 30 years ago because of the wave of violence in Ciudad Juárez. Today, according to the official data of the State, three women are victims of feminicides in Mexico daily. However, the number is most likely substantially higher given the underreporting of feminicides and that some states still do not distinguish them as separate crimes from homicides. It is estimated that approximately ten women are killed as victims of feminicides in Mexico every day. The theoretical framework for this study is rooted in the Foucauldian scholarship of power. More precisely, Michel Foucault’s theory of power as relational or productive and the idea of power being everywhere but nowhere, in particular, imposes the principal understanding of how violence is implicated in multiple structures of power relations. The study was conducted in the form of semi-structured interviews, with data being gathered by interviewing six feminist activists who are working against feminicides in Mexico. After this, the interviews were analysed with methods of discourse analysis. The study finds the total of five main discourses with their sub-discourses: 1. Structures (Patriarchal culture and Deficient understanding), 2. The State (Politics and Impunity), 3. Truth (Bending truth and Clash of genders) 4. Pervasive violence, and 5. Women’s networks. The results of the analysis suggest that the power related to violence against women comes indeed from everywhere: power comes from structures of the society, from education, from the State and the law (and impunity), from the truth (or what we accept as truth), from non-State agents such as criminal organisations and women themselves. They are all connected so that even criminal organisations and politicians are interweaved in the same network of power, and in the case of Mexico, not even very far from each other. Women themselves exercise power through relations, networks and cooperation and this is the dimension of power that women consider their most important asset. To keep themselves secure in a potentially hostile environment, activist women maintain a set of safety rules and regulations that they follow in their everyday lives. In conclusion, power influencing violence against women is located deep in the patriarchal structures and practices in Mexico. This is why it is challenging to tackle the problem of continuing gendered violence in Mexico: it does not have any centre. This means that also globalised networks of organised crime, as well as the overall patriarchal culture, influence on discourses that power and gender-based violence are given. Also, it is noteworthy that power should not be considered only oppressive or dominating as that interpretation would give women only the role of passive victims. Women also possess power that they exercise through social relations and collective activist networks. In sum, this research contributes to a deeper understanding of feminicides and violence against women in Mexico. Furthermore, through the unique interview data, the results collect valuable information on all the main challenges that are hampering the activists’ work against violence.
  • Uimonen, Jenni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This thesis studies Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s discourse on connectivity in the context of Free Basics. As a specific focus, this paper looks at a Facebook connectivity initiative called Internet.org. The initiative was launched in 2013 and it aims at connecting all of the world’s population to the internet. As a part of Internet.org, Facebook developed a smartphone application called Free Basics. As mobile data can be costly in many less developed countries, Free Basics provides free internet access to a limited number of websites. These usually include categories such as Facebook, news sites, job listings, weather and health information. As of 2018, the application was active in over fifty countries around Asia, Africa and Latin America. The method used for analysing the data set is framing analysis. The data, which consists of 54 text documents published between 2013 and 2018, is collected from a single source, an American database called The Zuckerberg Files. This thesis finds that Zuckerberg frames connectivity and Free Basics in three different ways. The first frame, Free Basics as altruistic philanthropy, shows how Zuckerberg focuses on downplaying any possible business benefits that Facebook might have from Free Basics. He stresses the charitable nature of the connectivity initiative and claims that Facebook simply acts on the deep belief for their mission: connecting everyone in the world. The only possible economic profit, according to Zuckerberg, could be for the partnering telecommunications companies. The second frame, Free Basics for universal benefits, displays Facebook’s global outlook on the connectivity issue. In this discourse, Zuckerberg imagines Free Basics as an all-encompassing solution for the five billion people who are currently unconnected. He also argues for universal benefits from increased connectivity by referring to the “global knowledge economy”, where even the already connected people can gain from the new ideas that can now be shared through the internet. The third and last frame, Free Basics accelerating development, looks at Zuckerberg’s statements on how Free Basics can help people in developing countries improve their lives. In comparison to the second frame, here Zuckerberg uses individual people’s stories to give examples on all the areas Free Basics can be helpful in. These stories tie into themes of development, such as health and education, and Zuckerberg frames Free Basics and connectivity as simple, first-step fixes to a variety of issues. In conclusion, the results of this study seem to be in line with the previous studies on Zuckerberg’s discourse. Many elements discussed in the literature also occurred in my data: Facebook’s desire to appear neutral, the debate on net neutrality as well as the giant technology companies and their profound belief in technological determinism in development have been widely discussed earlier. By critically studying Zuckerberg’s argumentation, we gain a better understanding of the company’s actions and motives. This research is valuable because it uses a unique data set to provide an outlook to the way in which Zuckerberg frames Free Basics, as well as connectivity in general.
  • Tammi, Saara (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Terrorism reporting is a contradictory practice for the media: terrorist events are inherently newsworthy but disseminating information about attacks defined as terrorism also provides attention to perpetrators. Without a universal definition terrorism is a pejorative term that can be used for political effect. In public discussion, whether an act of violence should be defined terrorism or not is a common debate in the aftermath of an incident. While the interplay of terrorism and the media have been examined from various perspectives, less attention has been given to the journalistic and editorial practices that precede content. The aim of this thesis is to gain insight into how Finnish journalists perceive the roles and responsibilities of the media in terrorism reporting. The approach of the study is qualitative and empirical, and the thesis follows the discursive and social constructionist understandings of terrorism. The theoretical framework builds on literature about terrorism as a social construct, the interplay of terrorism and the media, critique on terrorism coverage and frames, framing as the interaction of journalists and sources, and the professional values and self-perceptions of journalists. The research material consists of 9 semi-structured interviews. Interviewees are Finnish journalists and editors that take part in terrorism reporting in national media. The interview material is analysed using qualitative content analysis. Based on a theory-bound analysis of the interviews, four roles and three areas of responsibility are designated for the media: the roles of the reporter, explainer, transmitter and analyser and responsibility for attention, context and balance. The findings of this thesis illuminate how journalists perceive the practical tasks, leeway and autonomy of the media in terrorism reporting. In addition, they explain previous findings about, for instance, the media’s dependence on official sources, conventional frames and prevalent terrorism narratives. The roles and responsibilities indicate that the journalists perceive contextualising, independent reporting, confronting authorities and initiating discussion as important duties. However, these aspects are discussed conditionally, and during the early stages of reporting the media disseminate information and transmit official interpretations of events. A contradiction lies in how journalists value the status of the media as the public’s source of information but find that circumstances preclude fixing issues identified in terrorism reporting. In sum, the journalists are aware of the issues but do not have the necessary means or mindset to tackle them. Journalists need sufficient knowledge about terrorism, initiatives to define the phenomenon more broadly and coherently, and guidelines to support practical work. The thesis concludes that approaches that hear out the actors in terrorism reporting are called for in order to deepen terrorism and media scholarship.