Browsing by Subject "Social movements"

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  • Teivainen, Teivo Lauri (Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales, CLACSO, 2017)
  • Anttila, Niila Johannes (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This Master’s thesis examines youth engaged in climate activism in movements that are a part of the recent global wave of protests centered around demands for climate justice. Building on a notion of youth in climate movements as actors consciously engaged in emancipatory action, this study seeks answers to three related question: What kind of future would youth participating in current climate movements hope to see? How are these desirable images of the future formed for the youth in the movements? What is the relationship of these desirable futures to the present in terms of the youth as individuals and the strategies and tactics of the movements they are a part of? The study looked at the experiences of 10 different young activists from different European countries. The research was built on a grounded theory approach informed by critical realism, ideas from new social movement studies and conceptions of utopia not as a blueprint out of time and place, but as “concrete” visions of a desirable future that is realizable. The analysis showed that the desired futures of the youth in climate movements were varied and not only built around climate change. Rather, they saw climate change as a symptom of multiple on-going crises and interconnected system level failures, such as capitalism. While there was no single specified “concrete utopia”, their visions of the future built on ideas of climate justice, a newfound connection between people and nature, democracy and community. A further examination showed that these ideas are not merely shared at an individual level to inform action, but that concrete utopian tendencies are constructed within the movement through several processes and relations between the movement groups on local, national and global levels. Finally, it was found that these concrete utopias are realized in the present through two different manners: strategies based in raising awareness of the issues central to the concrete utopias and prefigurative action in the present within the movements themselves.
  • Kauranen, Ina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This Master’s thesis studies feminist politics by exploring internal organizing practices and the principles guiding them in grassroots activism. The internal organizing practices of feminist movements have not been studied extensively; this thesis aims to fill some of that gap and underline the insights into the political ideas and desires of activists that can be gained when internal practices are analyzed. The research objectives are to shed light on the politics of internal practices, highlight the knowledge and experience generated in grassroots movements as well as analyze the political ideas and desires of feminists by focusing on their organizing practices. Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with altogether twelve feminist grassroots organizers. The concept of knowledge-practices is used to highlight the perspective of activists as knowledge-producers and that knowledge is generated through embodied and lived experience. Prefigurative politics as a form of knowledge-practice is used to focus on the politics of practices and the groups as a space for experimenting with and creating the desired feminist future in the present. Feminist principles are identified and analyzed as well as how they are put to practice according to the research participants. The research shows that the feminist activists interviewed view feminism as a broad concept which entails an active strive for equality and a struggle against all forms of inequality. Additionally feminism is described as something in itself, as opposed to being only a reaction towards inequality. The study contributes with perspectives that view feminism as a particular way of being in and organizing the world in which all forms of oppression and inequalities are recognized and to be dismantled. The study finds that the activists emphasize low and transparent hierarchies over non-hierarchical organizing and that organizing should be according to the time and energy resources in a group. Despite their importance, the principles prove difficult in practice. The challenges and tensions that occur when organizing according to the discussed feminist principles become a central part of organizing as well as of this study. Diversity and inclusivity are presented as feminist principles by the research participants, but the analysis in the thesis shows that they also reproduce the power structures they are intended to dismantle. The study suggests that accessibility and safer spaces provide more practical perspective on organizing according to feminist principles. While the thesis gathers feminist practices and principles, it is also concluded that feminist practices are contextual and situated. Feminist principles are emphasized, but how organizers put the principles to practice varies according to the specific needs and desires of groups.
  • Savolainen, Sonja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This master’s thesis investigates the dynamics between the climate movement and Finnish political parties in 2019. The climate movement mobilization overlapped two elections in Finland: the parliamentary elections in April and the European parliamentary elections in May. The research focuses on developments in the relationship before, during and after the elections, which will be analysed using the contentious politics approach and electoral contention mechanisms by Tilly, McAdam and Tarrow. This thesis uses a case study research design to examine the distinctive circumstances in which a global mobilization wave overlaps with two elections. The main set of data consists of all public tweets in Finnish twitter, which mention either ‘ilmastolakko’ (climate strike) or ‘#nytonpakko’ (#actnow) and were published in 2019. The tweets are collected using search engine technology and processed by extracting four datasets of tweets sent out by Finnish parliament members. The data is further investigated using various methods, such as network analysis. Statistics collected by the Finnish police force and survey data collected by researchers in climate protests are used to support the analysis. The analysis showed that the dynamics of the interaction between the climate movement and the political parties in Finland changed throughout 2019. Before the parliamentary elections in April 2019, the climate movement formed mutually beneficial electoral alliances with the Green League and the Left Alliance. The political parties took distance from the movement after the elections. A responsive mobilization of the climate movement after the elections showed increasing criticism towards politicians. Other parties did not significantly change their position towards the movement after the elections, although the Finns Party slightly increased the amount of criticism and the other parties slightly decreased the amount of support shown towards the movement. The developments in the movement-party relations were apparent in many ways: Indicators of the mechanisms of interaction were changes in the number of tweets published by MPs, the contents of the tweets, frequency and scale of climate protests and the support or criticism from the climate movement towards the political parties. The two waves of mobilization in Helsinki was supplemented by other types of mobilization, such as the launch of the ‘Korvaamaton’- campaign of development, climate and environmental organizations. This thesis shows that social media is a venue of movement-party interactions in more open media systems, where political elites transcend to Twitter networks. The existence of virtual political elites can have implications for social movements and the collective ‘conflict and alliance’ structure of politics. Further research should be conducted on the other venues in which movement-party interactions may occur and on other case studies, where social movement mobilization and elections occur simultaneously.
  • Kivijärvi, Sari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This master’s thesis examines comments for and against virtual reality (VR) as a gaming technology in the context of the VR-only game Half-Life: Alyx. Comments were collected from its online community in the Steam discussion forum, and understood as speech acts. The game is the first in its series to not be playable with a keyboard and mouse. The purpose is to examine the virtual community’s speech acts in connection to social movement mechanisms for taking collective action: social networks, collective identities, conflict action against identified others. This mixed-methods case study’s primary method is qualitative grounded theory. For comparison, additional data was also collected on whether the commenters purchased the game or not. The research material consists of comments before and after it was released. Commenters are grouped based on their comment sentiment toward VR as positive, negative, neutral (mixed), or unclear. These sentiment groups are visualized as social networks. In results, Half-Life is modernistically constructed as a technology-advancing gaming series. The advancement in its latest release Half-Life: Alyx is contributed to its use of VR technology. The game being playable VR-only divides the virtual community’s reception of the game, and the technology. Disagreements concern the technology’s economic expenses, gaming experiences, and distinctiveness as a gaming medium. The shared collective identity of “the Half-Life community” is a PC gaming community, which consists of “Half-Life fans” who consider themselves to be keyboard-mouse gamers, and gamers who are part of a “VR community.” They use different conflict strategies against the identified other. In time, the commenters became less polarized. Furthermore, they entertained which of the mediums or what future technology will be used in Half-Life 3. In essence, the main phenomenon of the gamer divisions around Half-Life games’ hardware requirements but later uniting as a community is named “The Half-Life cycle,” although not all commenters agree that VR belongs in the same technology-advancing narrative as the previous technologies. The hardware and software developer Valve is discussed in regards to the company benefiting from the divided Half-Life community, whether or not a “divide and conquer” strategy was intended. Furthermore, the main phenomenon Half-Life cycle is discussed from multiple perspectives. Further research suggestions relate to the distinctions between virtual communities and social movements, what a technological movement would look like, and the understanding that different communities can be divided similarly to social movements.