Browsing by Subject "civil society"

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  • Timonen, Meri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The aim of this thesis is to research Japan-U.S. Security Treaty protests in 1960 in global context. The Anpo-protests were selected as research topic because not much research was found of the protests. Anpo-protests begun in 1959 and ended in late 1960. The main motive was to oppose revision of U.S.-Japan Security Treaty but eventually protests led to resignation of the prime minister Kishi Nobusuke. The protests were the largest in Japanese history and left their legacy to Japanese political history and civil society. Scholars have researched Anpo-protests to some extent. However, the Anpo-protests have not been analysed in Worldwide context of Cold war which is why transnational history got selected as primary theoretical framework for this thesis. This thesis uses the Japan Times as the primary source. The Japan Times is Japan’s oldest English language newspaper firstly published in 1897. As for main method theory-guided content analysis was used. Analysis was carried out with coding in which Atlas.ti software was used. Theory of historical study of images got selected as second theoretical framework after transnational history because this thesis aims to construct comprehensive image of the Anpo-protests from the lens of the Japan Times. The research question asks how the Anpo-protests are portrayed in the Japan Times. The goal of the research question is to find out whether the Anpo-protests were portrayed as transnational in the Japan Times. This thesis is interested if the Anpo-protests had transnational influences. The results of the analysis indicate that the Japan Times is mainly interested certain issues, such as who are protesting, why they are protesting and how the protests are carried out. The codes that appear most frequently are communism, students and protests techniques. During the analysis over 1200 codes were reduced into 16 categories which were evolved further into themes. The themes are social unity of Japanese people, legitimacy and transnationalism. Social unity represents how people who were breaking the cohesion of society are judged on the newspaper. Legitimacy deals with the issue of what is legal and what is not. Transnationalism pays interests on transnational influences of the Anpo-protests such as peace activism, communism and democratic ideals. All themes express change in Japanese society. Results explain how the conception of peace, democracy, authority, violence and social unity changed due the Anpo-protests. The results indicate that Anpo-protests were portrayed transnationally to some extent on the Japan Times. Thus, Anpo-protests may have had some transnational connections. Broader analysis would offer more reliable results and thus this thesis serves only as a brief outlook to the Anpo-protests. However, this thesis offers valuable information of the Japan Times itself and of the major change in Japanese society that has often left without notice. Anpo-protests itself served as transnational influence on other protests which evolved later in the 1960s.
  • Vigani, Alice (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    In recent years, European societies have been affected by processes of increased diversity and migration. This master’s thesis explores the involvement in the local civil society of migrants. It takes place within the context of organisations of multiethnic composition working for migrants’ conditions and/or rights in the capital cities of Helsinki in Finland and Athens in Greece, two European metropolitan areas with stark differences in their migration, integration, and civil society panorama. The main aim of the study is to investigate how individuals of migrant origin construct and present themselves as agents for civil society organisations. The theoretical framework for the research is informed by previous studies on social movements and the civil society, in particular the social psychological model by Klandermans and the corpus of research stemming from Goffman’s framing theory. Another central theoretical reference is Goffman’s impression management theory, not previously applied to this research area. Adopting a micro-social constructionist perspective, the theoretical concepts listed above are operationalized with the tools offered critical discursive psychology and positioning theory. The data consists of transcripts of semi-structured interviews with five participants in each city, active in different organisations and from different countries of origins. The analysis led to the individuation of three main self-presentation styles across the participants, varying on different dimensions including the fit between them and the organisation, their position towards the organisation’s team and towards its target – migrant communities. The three styles are: Team Player, Enterprising Leader, and Expert Critic. In light of the results, it can be argued that the participants all attempted to present themselves in a positive light as agents for the organisations. Plus, participants’ self-presentations were impacted on one side from their origin and the stereotypes attached to it, on the other from the dominant migration regime and its consequences for migrants and their integration at the local level. Over all, the analysis yields interesting insights on how societal, organisational, and personal characteristics impact the participation and position in the civil society for migrant actors.
  • Egerer, Michael Dieter; Kankainen, Veera Emilia; Hellman, Carin Matilda Emelie (2018)
    Profits from legal gambling are often channelled to good causes. This system embeds the predicament of whether citizens' potentially problematic gambling activities should be a source of funding for the public good. In this article, this dilemma is unfolded by the receivers of public grants that stem from gambling revenues. A total of twenty-three representatives of Civil Society Organizations were interviewed as beneficiaries of the Finnish state-owned gambling monopolies. The article illustrates explicit dependencies and hidden ethical dilemmas, suggesting that CSOs may have limited possibilities of making ethically consistent decisions in view of the origin of their funding.
  • Uljas, Laila Irene (2007)
    The Estonian national and collective identity is heavily affected by a history of foreign intrusion and occupation. During the Soviet era a large population of Russian-speaking immigrants migrated to Estonia in hope of a better life. Now after independence, there has been tension and difficulty in creating a collective identity, which encompasses both the ethnic Estonians and Russian-speaking minority. My research shows that there are three main challenges that are present in the Estonian society. The three issues that need to be addressed are the citizen and language issue, the self-confidence and identity of the Estonians and the restructuring of civil society which has been weak after independence. These challenges are also the keys to a realistic model of solution which includes creating a stronger civil society that allows both ethnic Estonians and the Russian-speaking minority to participate in. My research shows that language is a very important part of Estonian identity and part of the barrier that exists between the two groups. Resolving the language issue and boosting the Estonian identity would improve joint participation in the civil society. This in turn would reinforce self-confidence of both groups and help build their collective identity. These three key aspects offer an avenue for helping the two groups live together, and not separately. The EU brings new perspectives to the issue, adding a new layer of identity but meanwhile also strengthening the Estonian identity. It allows Estonia to clearly belong to the west, cutting its umbilical cord with Russia.
  • Yasav, Melisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Tutkielmassa tarkastelen Istanbulin ja Ankaran kaupungeissa vaikuttavien keskiluokkaisten ympäristötoimijoiden asemaa Turkin ympäristöpolitiikassa. Tutkin tapoja, joilla nämä ympäristötoimijat ovat voineet vaikuttaa ympäristöpolitiikkaan vuoden 2013 Gezi-protestien jälkeen, aikana, jolloin autoritäärisyys ja neoliberalistinen kehityskeskeisyys, ns. neoliberalistinen developmentalismi, määrittävät pitkälti Turkin politiikkaa. Tutkimukseni kontribuoi ajankohtaiseen ja tärkeään keskusteluun kansalaisyhteiskunnan ja ympäristötoimijoiden nykyisistä ja tulevista rooleista ja toimintamahdollisuuksista, niin Turkissa kuin muissakin epädemokraattisissa maissa. Tutkimuskysymyksiäni ovat 1) Miten neoliberalistinen ja kehityskeskeinen poliittinen päätöksenteko sekä autoritäärisyys ovat vaikuttaneet ympäristöpolitiikkaan Turkissa?; 2) Miten kaupungeissa työskentelevät ympäristötoimijat ovat pystyneet toimimaan Turkin autoritäärisen hallituksen harjoittaman neoliberalistisen ja kehityskeskeisen poliittisen ja taloudellisen agendan kontekstissa vuosien 2013-2018 aikana? Tutkin kriittisen teorian keinoin sitä, miten Turkissa vallitsevat neoliberalistiset kehityskeskeiset ja autoritääriset sosiaaliset, poliittiset ja taloudelliset rakenteet vaikuttavat ympäristötoimijoiden mahdollisuuksiin toimia ympäristön hyväksi. Tämä tutkimus osoittaa, että hegemonisesta vallankäytöstä huolimatta nämä toimijat ovat vaikuttaneet ympäristöpolitiikkaan luovimalla ennalta-arvaamattomissa ja uhkaavissa valtion ja yhteiskunnan välisissä olosuhteissa. Toimijat pyrkivät luomaan tilaa ympäristötoiminnalle ja hegemoniaa haastavalle keskustelulle sekä pitämään kansalaisyhteiskuntaa elossa kontekstissa, jossa suurin osa kansalaisjärjestöistä on lopetettu tai peloteltu hiljaiseksi. Tutkielman teoreettisena päämääränä on ollut pohtia, miten kriittinen teoria osoittaa ja selittää sitä, miten Turkin hallitus on onnistunut rakentamaan hegemoniaansa ja miten kansalaisyhteiskunta on vastannut siihen. Tutkimusaineistoni koostuu 14 teemahaastattelusta sekä tuoreesta aihetta käsittelevästä kirjallisuudesta. Tutkimustani varten haastattelin kaupungeissa toimivia keskiluokkaisia järjestöjen ja yhdistysten työntekijöitä, aktivisteja, vapaaehtoisia, dokumentaristeja sekä luennoitsijoita. Käytän kriittistä teoriaa analyyttisenä metodologisena pohdiskelun välineenä urbaanin Turkin ympäristötoimijoiden ja niiden olosuhteiden tutkimiseen, joiden puitteissa ympäristötoimijat suojelevat ja tutkivat luontoa, protestoiva ja informoivat yhteiskuntaa ympäristöasioista. Tutkimustulokseni osoittavat, että Turkin autoritäärisesti toimivan poliittisen ja taloudellisen eliitin harjoittaman politiikan neoliberalistinen ja kehityskeskeinen luonne 1) vahingoittaa luonnonympäristöjä huomattavasti, vaikeuttaa ihmisten elinoloja ja harjoittaa ympäristöpolitiikkaa tukeakseen omia intressejään 2) rajaa ympäristöjärjestöjen ja aktivistiryhmien mahdollisuuksia osallistua ympäristöä koskevaan poliittiseen päätöksentekoon sekä ympäristönsuojeluun ja ilmastonmuutoksen torjuntaan. Vaikka yllämainitut olosuhteet vähentävät kansalaisyhteiskunnan toimijoiden mahdollisuuksia vaikuttaa ympäristön tilaan mielivaltaisten lakien ja toimenpiteiden, rahoituksen ja yhteistyön puutteen sekä itsesensuurin takia, moni heistä on löytänyt tapoja toimia näissä vaikuttamisen, aktivismin ja suojelun kapenevissa tiloissa. Voidaankin päätellä, ettei vuoden 2013 Gezi-protestien jälkeinen Turkin konteksti eivätkä muutkaan samankaltaiset olosuhteet välttämättä estä ympäristötoimijoita jatkamasta vaikuttavien tapojen etsimistä ja vaikuttamista kehityspoliittiseen päätöksentekoon. Kriittisen teorian menetelmät auttavat haastamaan vallitsevan tilan ja huomamaan uusia mahdollisuuksia ympäristötoimijoille tässä autoritäärisessä kontekstissa.
  • Al-Eryani, Yasmeen (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    This thesis discusses Yemeni civil society in the context of development aid using Bourdieu’s social theory. It examines the hypothesis that Yemeni aid-civil society comprises a distinct social class in the Bourdieuan sense. It is an analysis of restrictive and asymmetrical structures and the possibilities for social movement and repositioning. Often times Yemeni civil society is studied through a strictly local lens and is pinned down in normative terms; does it represent a popular base, is it donor-driven, is it democratic -in other words, does it fit into the pre-cut mould of civil society as envisioned by development aid or by society at large? Instead this thesis studies aid-civil society as a social class and attempts to understand how this social class is constituted by its members and how, in turn, it constitutes its members. The thesis also presents an initial attempt to broaden the framework and shed light on the position of Yemeni aid-civil society in relation to broader civil society trends and shifting relations between state and society - a phenomenon that is not exclusive to Yemen. The analysis of the social space is done in three stages; the first is through determining the perceptible distinctions that mark the outer boundary of the social space from other social groups; the second is through analysing legitimation practices articulated in the form of putative roles and functions of aid-civil society; and the third is the relational tensions and hierarchies which lead to the clustering of practices in different fields within the social space. Together these three dimensions provide an outline of the social space and allow for a discussion on the possible forms of social movement through which agents assert their subjectivity.
  • Urinboyev, Rustam; Eraliev, Sherzod (2022)
    Despite the extensive literature on the nexus between civil society and democratization in non-democratic regimes, most existing scholarship focuses on politically oriented and claim-making civil society organizations. While these accounts provide useful insights, they appear to rely on Western-centric understandings of civil society. Undoubtedly, little space exists in non-democratic regimes within which civil society organizations may engage in overt political activism due to governmental restrictions. Notwithstanding these restrictions, there are politically less threatening social arenas, where it is possible to identify informally organized civil society initiatives with the potential to redefine and influence long-term state–society relations. This article argues that what we might think of as civil society initiatives in non-democratic regimes cannot be satisfactorily understood through the lens of Western-centric understandings of civil society. Instead, we should focus on informal civil society initiatives. These processes will be illustrated through the case study of mahalla institutions in Uzbekistan.
  • Granberg, Leo (State University of Veliky Novgorod, 2018)
  • Nissinen, Jarkko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Western democracies are facing a complex and a harmful phenomenon because of influence operations on social media. This master’s thesis assesses the connection between Finnish citizens’ political trust and their experienced feeling of threat towards influence operations. It has been discussed in the public that the goal of a successful influence operation is to undermine citizens’ trust towards its democratic institutions and actors. Because there is an insufficient amount of academic research on this topic, the aim of this thesis is to rectify it by revealing the true nature of the link between political trust and citizens’ experience. The theoretical framework consists of Harvard University’s Pippa Norris’ theory of E-democracy. It introduces the virtual political environment in the 21th Century. Harvard University’s Robert D. Putnam’s theory of social capital describes the trends of interpersonal trust in the modern history. Collège de France’s Pierre Rosanvallon’s theory of counter-democracy provides a theoretical bridge between Norris’ virtual political system and influence operations as seen, for example, in the United States’ presidential election in 2016. A survey sample of 1000 participants analyzed in this master’s thesis was originally collected by the think tank Magma in 2017. “Finnish Views on Democracy and Political Issues 2017” sample was collected to describe Finnish citizens’ views on multiculturalism and attitudes towards bilingual policies. However, the sample has more elements in it, for example, citizens’ views on democracy and security policies. Hence an exploratory factor analysis was conducted, and it revealed four latent attitudes from the sample: political trust, resilience and stances towards multiculturalism and minorities. The research was continued by transforming the identified factors to factor scores, meaning new variables. After that a logistic ordinal regression was conducted to provide insight into the relationship between the political trust and Finnish citizens’ views on the threat of influence operations. The connection was not identified between them in this master’s thesis. Other factor scores, resilience and stances towards multiculturalism and minorities had a statistically significant connection with Finnish citizens’ views on the threat of influence operations. This research - contrary to expectations - failed to show a clear relationship between political trust and Finnish citizens’ experienced feeling of threat towards influence operations. It might tell that socio-economic background might be a stronger factor defining the individual’s tendencies to the phenomenon compared to the political trust. Then again, influence operations could impact in a different dimension than where citizens’ affiliations with democratic institutions and actors exist. This topic requires more interdisciplinary research to find the answer to the societal challenges Western democracies are facing with influence operations using social media.
  • Naams, Gritten (Helsingin yliopisto, 2017)
    This master’s thesis examines the European Union’s (EU) relatively new tool for citizen participation, namely the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). The ECI was introduced in 2012 and has now been used for just over five years. The ECI’s purpose is to enable European citizens to make an initiative proposal for the European Commission. This thesis examines what kind of participation the ECI has produced in practise. The ECI has been examined through the analytical framework of Graham Smith, which he has developed for analysing the democratic innovations. The analytical framework emphasizes six democratic goods, from which four, namely inclusiveness, popular control, efficiency and transparency, have been assessed in this thesis. This study uses quantitative data on all 66 ECI initiatives that have been launched during past five years. A classification of the data has been produced, including categorization of stakeholders that have launched initiatives and the policy areas that the initiatives have touched upon. The study concludes, firstly that majority of the initiatives have been launched by already established groups such as European or national organizations, but also considerable number of informal groups and new or-ganizations have been active in launching initiatives. The ECI has not been greatly used by political parties or anti-EU movements. Secondly, the citizens have launched initiatives in variety of policy areas, e.g. consti-tutional, justice, and environmental issues. However, most of the launched initiatives have addressed policy areas that the EU does not have strong legal regulation on, and has limited policy involvement in these policy areas. Hence, there seems to be a mismatch between the issues that the citizens regard as salient and the policies that are the core of the EU. Thirdly, this study confirms the notion of previous studies that the ECI places notable cost for citizens to impact the decision-making of the EU through the ECI as only three initiatives have been successful to gather the needed 1 million statements of support. This study also confirms the findings of previous studies that in moments of crises the citizens launch more initiatives, thus, the ECI might contribute in creating at least a temporary EU-wide public sphere. As the analyses of the ECI in this thesis has been able to consider the most recent crises of the EU, namely Brexit, the results of the study suggest that the ECI might enable citizens to participate when they feel that the matter is salient enough. Thus, the benefit of implementing the ECI is higher than for not implementing this democratic innovation as, at least in moments of crises, the citizens have a tool through which they can make their concerns heard. This thesis concludes that it cannot be said that the ECI has had a significant role in improving the legitima-cy of the EU or function as a cure democratic deficit, but, it suggests that at least the ECI has not worsened the situation of the EU in terms of these two dimensions.
  • Ferica, Imy (Helsingfors universitet, 2012)
    This study aims to examine the political, economic, social and cultural characteristics of TED as alternative media. TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a non-profit global conference media organizer that curates formatted brief speech called TED Talk and presents it in its offline conferences as well as publishes in online platform. TED has a global network that has spread rapidly through TEDx, a replication of TED-like conference by local communities worldwide. This social phenomenon makes TED as the contemporary illustration of the latest development of alternative media. Earlier literature studies on alternative media from Atton (2002) and Downing et al. (2001) focus on alternative media’s role as civil society that radically opposes the dominant power of the state, market and mainstream media. This civic role is important in providing alternative voices in democracy. Castells (2008) argues that the advancement of communication technology in globalization process has extended alternative media’s civic engagement to global level and empowered the community to higher access and participation in alternative media. Bailey et al. (2008) surmise these developments into four approaches that see alternative media: first, in serving the community; second, as an alternative to mainstream media; third, as part of civil society; and fourth, as a rhizome-like hybrid media. This study utilizes these literature references along with the four frameworks above to present holistic view in understanding TED as alternative media. By studying TED, I seek to expand these theoretical discussions by looking at how alternative media build sustainable civil society movement through dynamically incorporating dominant values in achieving its alternative media goals. This hybrid approach also affects alternative media’s ways in serving the community, promoting democracy and prompting social changes. The methodology of this study is ethnography. Since TED has two social settings of offline conference and online media platform, the ethnographic approach of this study is conducted in both setting. I gathered field data through participation and observation on TEDx Jakarta event and interview with the founders as well as online observation on, TED Talk videos, TED’s forums and third party documents on TED. I analyzed the data with the help of coding tools and discussed the findings within the framework of literature references. The key findings of this study show that TED’s political, economic, social and cultural characteristics are contingent, rhizome-like and transhegemonic. These characteristics project TED as alternative media that adopts dominant practices such as commercialism and controlled editorial system and maintaining elitism to reach paradoxically its civic goals of democratizing knowledge sharing and making social changes. TED also builds flexible partnership with the market and mainstream media and is not entirely counter-hegemonic. Although TED maintains a centralized authority in policy making, its relationship with its communities is based on rhizome-like network which strives towards semi-hierarchical access and participation, multiple replications by community and heterogeneity of its community across geographical and cultural borders. However this hybrid strategy of alternative media brings up threats of over-commercialization, elitism within the community, and ideological bias.
  • Kukkonen, Anna (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    This Master’s thesis examines the moral and political claims presented in the climate change debate in the French public sphere. My research material includes newspaper coverage from United Nations Climate Change Summits in Copenhagen (2009) and Durban (2011) in the French daily Le Monde as well as interviews from local civil society actors. While media debates on climate change have been widely studied, the moral dimension of these debates has been largely neglected. The objective of this study is to fill this gap and emphasize the moral and cultural dimensions in tracing the problems related to global climate governance. Secondly, I will emphasize the growing role of civil society actors in the governance of climate change, the solutions they offer and the way in which they justify their arguments. France is chosen as the context for this study because of its strong commitment to environmental issues at the political level. The central role of nuclear power in its energy production as well as France’s active role in shaping EU’s climate policy makes it an interesting research context as well. The concepts and methods from political sociology, utilized in this study, will shed light on the cultural specificities of this debate in the French media and civil society. By the theoretical framework of justification theory, developed by Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot, my objective is to analyse climate change related disputes and serve as well as a contribution to this fairly new approach in sociology. With a method called Public Justifications Analysis (PJA), I aim to answer the following research questions: What are the specific features of the climate change debate in the French media and civil society? What kinds of solutions do different actors offer to tackle climate change and how do they justify them morally? What are actors’ conceptions of justice and worth, and in which sense do these conceptions differ and on the other hand converge? How is the French political culture visible in the public debate and in argumentation? With justification theory we can reach culturally sensitive results in relation to climate politics and thus make comparative research between different countries and their climate change debates. In this study, the results will be compared to the findings obtained from the U.S. The main results of the study can be summarized as follows: Firstly, civic values are at the heart of the French argumentation forming a bridge between the media debate and the interviews from civil society. French actors argued that democratic decision-making in the form of a global, legally binding agreement is the most effective way to tackle climate change. French actors also emphasized social justice and called for solidarity and burden sharing between the rich and poor countries. Secondly, civil society organisations offered alternative frames in the interviews to understand climate politics. In addition, their arguments were generally more radical than those presented in the media debate: they argued that market, civic and ecological values are not compatible and therefore suggested more profound changes to the societal system by stronger democratic regulation of global economy. Overall, the use of civic arguments seemed to be typical of French political culture on the basis of this study’s results. Thirdly, while the relationship between the French state and the civil society has traditionally been conflictual, in the case of climate politics it was more based on negotiation and mediation.
  • Sätre, Ann-Mari; Varyzgina, Alla; Granberg, Leo (2020)
    This article considers how Russian local civic organizations work and adapt to societal changes. We studied thirteen small NGOs in a region (oblast) of central Russia. These NGOs work with social issues, often connected to poverty and social marginalization. The NGOs are both formal and informal organiza-tions, such as charity funds, registered associations, informal clubs, and local groups for mutual help and support. The NGOs have varying relations to the wider public, as well as to Russian authorities. Examining the local level means here urban or rural settlements and small towns. Social issues were a subject of concern for numerous local organizations. Their success in this activity was connected to trust in them among citizens. The overall picture is that a lot depended on the reputation of a leading person at the NGO. There were not many signs of internal democracy or collective decision-making in these NGOs, strategic decisions were mostly taken by the leader. The Russian State has launched a contradictory policy on NGOs including legislation on 'foreign agents,' which means that NGOs are living in a 'dual reality': locally acting non-governmental and/or non-commercial organizations are both welcomed to contribute to solving social problems and increasingly controlled. This has caused problems for many NGOs which have, however, proved flexibility to survive. Quite a few reorganized their activities, some started deeper collabora-tion with other NGOs, the local administration or the church. The study gives more evidence of charity as the main method of helping people rather than activating them.