Browsing by Subject "democracy"

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  • Sairanen, Mira (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    According to the EU, Russia uses disinformation campaigns to destabilize European societies and undermine democratic processes. At the same time, concerns have been raised about a shift towards a ‘post-truth’ politics, in which the importance of facts and rationality in public discussions is declining and political contests are increasingly won by appeals to emotions, rather than fact-based arguments. These developments are seen to be harmful for democracy, which depends on an informed public. In this context, the EUvsDisinfo project was set up by the European External Action Service and tasked with exposing and ‘debunking’ Russian disinformation. The research draws on the literature on theories of truth, the link between truth and democracy, and the post-truth era to critically analyze the work of EUvsDisinfo. The interest is on how the project portrays the EU through its practice of ‘debunking’ disinformation about it. Through a content analysis of the ‘disinformation cases’ published on the project’s website, this thesis examines which kinds of narratives about the EU are considered disinformation, and how they are corrected. The thesis finds that EUvsDisinfo flags many common criticisms of the EU as ‘pro-Kremlin’ disinformation. Highly contested and political issues related to matters such as EU democracy, EU integration and sovereignty of member states are presented as forming part of ‘pro-Kremlin narratives’ aiming to undermine the Union.
  • Gel'man, Vladimir (Издательство Европейского университета в Санкт-Петербурге, 2019)
    препринты Центра исследований модернизации Европейского университета в Санкт-Петербурге
  • Leiviskä, Anniina (2021)
    Recent controversies concerning freedom of expression on university campuses have raised the question of how the limits of free speech can be determined in a justified way in a pluralistic public space such as the campus. The article addresses this question from the viewpoint of two complementary theoretical perspectives: Rainer Forst's respect conception of toleration, and the discourse theory of democracy developed by Jurgen Habermas and Seyla Benhabib. These theories are argued to provide a non-arbitrary, impartial and procedural model for determining the limits of free speech on campus. Deriving primarily from the discourse model, the article suggests that the limits of freedom of expression on campus should be determined by collective deliberative processes involving the affected students. Moreover, it is argued that, instead of prohibiting controversial topics or views, the university administration and teachers should focus on establishing procedural rules of rational deliberation. This is argued to increase students' understanding of the nature of legitimate democratic discussion and thus accomplish the university's educational task of fostering students' ability to use their freedom of speech in a responsible way.
  • Holmqvist, Mats (2010)
    This thesis studies the political process in Pakistan between 1988 and 1999. The aim of the study is to explain why the transition to democracy failed during this period. Three major problems have been singled out for this purpose: the ethnic structure, the political structure and the role of the military. The thesis also shows how similar problems have appeared throughout Pakistan’s history and for this reason the obstacles to democracy are described as long-term, structural problems. Pakistan’s role as a frontline state in global anti-terrorist efforts has prompted a need for fresh perspectives on the country’s political development. Previous research on Pakistan is characterized as lacking historical understanding. Therefore this thesis attempts to provide a historical dimension by tracing the roots of Pakistan’s political problems. The primary sources for the thesis consist of autobiographical material, speeches, interviews and party manifestos, but the argumentation relies heavily on secondary sources. The theoretical sections of the thesis consult e.g. Dahl, Linz and Stepan for definitions of democracy and democratic transitions, Huntington for the concept of political institutionalisation and Koonings & Kruijt for approaches to political armies. The main result of the thesis is that although Pakistan began a democratic transition in 1988, it was never completed and the political process was rather more like a “nontransition”. Above all, the transition was severely constrained from the outset. The greatest obstacle to democratization was arguably the Pakistani military’s consistent interference in politics through a constitutional amendment enacted during military rule in 1985. Moreover, the lack of commitment to democratic values among the political elite puts into question whether there was a movement towards democracy at all during this period. The inability or unwillingness of successive governments to address the ethnic and regional cleavages in Pakistani society as political issues rather than law and order issues also served to undermine the legitimacy of the entire political system. The thesis concludes that the same problems seem to have halted democratic initiatives in Pakistan since the country became independent in 1947; it therefore seems likely that they will also persist unless the underlying issues are specifically addressed.
  • Breton, Julie (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    Voting turnout has decreased in most Western democracies since the post-war period. In Finland, low turnout at elections affects significantly more certain groups, such as the youth and immigrants enfranchised to vote in local elections. At the occasion of the 2017 Finnish municipal elections, a series of 21 debates between local candidates and with a thematic focus on issues related to the increasing diversity of the Finnish society was organised by the Network of Multicultural Associations Moniheli under the name Kaikkien Vaalit (Our Election). One of the goals of the debates was to increase the interest in and participation to elections of immigrant-background residents. Considering the gap in participation between native Finnish citizens and immigrants, does attending a thematic debate affect attendees differently depending on their migrant background? The objective of this study is to build a frame of reference based on existing get-out-the-vote (GOTV) literature to determine what effects can be expected, analyse the reported effects of the panels on migrant background categories derived from practice in non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and evaluate the relevance of the categories for events designed for corresponding target groups in the NGO field. The data used in this quantitative analysis are feedback questionnaires (n = 225) collected at the end of 18 Kaikkien Vaalit events for project reporting, as well as a complementary post-election phone survey. The three outcome variables derived from the survey results are whether the respondent reported an increase in voting interest, found the predefined issues discussed during the panel personally relevant, and obtained information useful to a choice between candidates or parties. The independent variable is a six-group migrant background variable based on the respondents’ provided information about mother tongue and migration to Finland, adjusted for citizenship and time spent in Finland. Socio-economic and participation indicators are used as secondary variables to refine observations. The study uses crosstabulation to examine the distribution of answers between groups, and Kruskal-Wallis H tests and Mann-Whitney U tests to evaluate the relevance and suitability of migrant background categories. The debates are found to reach an audience in line with both GOTV research and with the objectives of the Kaikkien Vaalit project. A statistically significantly different distribution of answers is found between migrant background groups for the interest and information variable, but not for the importance variable. Further tests show that the effect on interest differs between groups both by migration experience and by foreign mother tongue, and only by foreign mother tongue for the information variable, while categories were not relevant for the differentiated distribution of the scores for the importance of issues. Findings suggest that the direct effect on turnout is structurally limited due to the attendees’ high voting propensity, but indicate the possibility for corollary positive effects. The complementary nature of debates as GOTV efforts is confirmed, and the function of debates as informative events is put into question.
  • Amadae, S. M. (Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, 2020)
    Computational Transformation of the Public Sphere is the organic product of what turned out to be an effective collaboration between MA students and their professor in the Global Politics and Communication program in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki, in the Fall of 2019. The course, Philosophy of Politics and Communication, is a gateway course into this MA program. As I had been eager to conduct research on the impact of new digital technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) on democratic governance, I saw this course as an opportunity to not only share, but also further develop my knowledge of this topic.
  • Stodolsky, Venla (2008)
    The master’s research presented here is an empirical study based on qualitative methods. The purpose of this thesis is to produce a deeper understanding of the concepts of democracy as viewed by the student elites in Shanghai, China and St.Petersburg, Russia. The thesis is a comparative study, i.e. it scrutinizes the western democracy theories and compares them to the Russian and Chinese student’s ideas on the concepts of democracy. The idea is to find out what the future leaders, who at the moment are university students, concepts of democracy are. The thesis is based on two sets of interviews of university students in China and Russia. The thesis aims to answer to a question whether the concepts of democracy viewed by the Chinese and Russian students are the same as the western concepts of democracy. The hypothesis is that there are signs of “western democracy” in China and in Russia. The main theoretical framework for this study is the four different democratic theorists’, i.e. Robert Dahl’s, David Held’s, Seymour Lipset’s and Heikki Patomäki’s theories on democracy. Their democracy concepts are examined and compared to the findings arising out of the interviewed Chinese and Russian students’ democracy concepts. The main qualitative methods used in this study are based on Eeva Pyörälä’s six factors as outlined in her article “Kvalitatiivisen tutkimuksen metodologiaa” in Laadullisen tutkimuksen risteysasemalla. The thesis has been divided into seven parts. After the introduction in chapter one, the theoretical framework, research strategy, methodology and sources are examined in the second chapter. In the third chapter the four different democracy theorist’s concepts of democracy are explained and set against the results of the interviews. The chapter four briefly introduces the histories, cultures and traditions connected to democracy in China and Russia. The fifth and sixth chapters are devoted to the analyzing of the interviews related to the four theories of this study. Chapter five also introduces the questionnaire design, selection of interviewees and explanations on the field work and peculiarities of the interviews. The sixth chapter binds the empirical material into the theoretical conceptions. The Atlas software programme tool utilized to analyze the interviews is described and the actual interviews are analyzed. The conclusion in the seventh chapter summarizes the conceptual understanding of the interviewees and comparison to western theories. The findings of this study suggest that the western theories as such do not correspond to the Chinese or Russian students’ views on the concepts of democracy.
  • Pyy, Iida; Leiviskä, Anniina; Mansikka, Jan-Erik (2020)
    In this article, we analyse a recent case of educational policymaking in the city of Oulu in Finland. The case concerns a ban on asylum seekers’ visits to local schools and day-care centres. Our primary aim is to study the role that negative political emotions play in the decision making process of our case. We primarily utilise Martha Nussbaum’s work on political emotions as our analytical framework. We propose that our case exemplifies a type of backlash politics, where policymaking is motivated by negative emotions and based on ethnic or racial group stigmatisation, with the result of abandoning collectively established democratic values and guidelines. Our case also illustrates how, by creating a culture of fear, the type of policymaking exemplified by our case can significantly diminish the possibilities of democratic institutions, such as the comprehensive school, to reinforce social cohesion and reduce social inequalities in society. Accordingly, we suggest that negative political emotions might have problematic consequences for democratic values and decision making processes. Finally, we propose an alternative course of action for addressing asylum seekers’ visits to Finnish schools: we particularly emphasise the importance of following established democratic procedures in political decision making and also argue for the reinforcement of positive political emotions as a long-term educational objective.
  • Wallgren, Thomas (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 2013)
    COLLeGIUM: Studies across Disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences 14
    A Nordic proverb tells us that a prudent man does not make the goat his gardener. But that is exactly what we have done. In the garden of Europe we have handed over power to the goat of transnational companies and banks and to democratically weakly accountable bureaucrats. The harvest we have reaped is the euro-crisis. I will first present the basic features of what I consider to be the standard view of the political situation in Europe. In the discussion that follows I will try to show that the standard view has made us complicit in empowering the goat. When we see this clearly – what has happened and why it has happened – it will also be relatively easy to agree on responses to the crisis. But clarity of vision is, as we shall see, in this case somewhat hard to attain.
  • Palonen, Emilia (2021)
    Rise of populist politics in the 21s century calls scholars and politicians alike to reflect upon the question of how politics and democracy have been understood. Drawing on the theory of hegemony, this article establishes a distinction between democracy and 'demography' as a key line of conceptualization in politics. It highlights a central misunderstanding at the core of the demonization of populism: For radical democratic theory, 'the people' is not a demographic, socio-economic, or historically sedimented category tied to some characteristics, but a performative process of 'being' and 'becoming' 'the people' as a self-consciously enacted polity. This statement challenges the taken-for-granted status of subjectivities of political struggle and links this approach to other contemporary discussions of politics, democracy, and populism. After discussing how anti, neo and post-foundational theoretical accounts on populism reveal a dimension of politics and representation, this article emphasizes action and performativity over static categories and models characteristic of political realism and political system approaches.
  • Mihai, Mihaela; McNay, Lois; Marchart, Oliver; Norval, Aletta; Paipais, Vassilios; Prozorov, Sergei; Thaler, Mathias (2017)
    This Critical Exchange is the result of two workshops held at the University of Edinburgh and the University of St. Andrews in November 2016. We thank the commentators at these events – Nathan Coombs, Patrick Hayden, Tony Lang and Nick Rengger – for their helpful feedback on the presentations. For institutional support, we owe gratitude to our home universities and Edinburgh University Press. Finally, we are grateful to Andrew Schaap for inviting us to edit the papers as a Critical Exchange for Contemporary Political Theory.
  • Ingutia, Rose Anyiko (2007)
    The aim of this study is to find causes that have led to economic growth decline in SSA, and differences in growth rates across countries in SSA and overtime. At independence (early 60s) SSA was characterised by young political institutions that turned out to be of authoritarian rule, an acute shortage of skilled labour, a predominance of peasantry, widespread poverty and resurgent ethnic rivalries. These kinds of background on several occasions led to conflicts and has not been conducive for economic growth. The economic as well as the political crisis carried on into the early 90s. Most countries pressed for multiparty system in early 90s and by mid 90s SSA saw the birth of democracy. Stability was restored and over 70 per cent of SSA experienced positive growth rates. It is hypothesised that democracy (freedom) is the bedrock behind economic growth in SSA. This is empirically tested on 34 countries of SSA, between 1965-2000, with the use of panel data method. Freedom index is measured in ascending order from 1 to 7. In the ordinary least squares estimations, I have found that one-unit increase in freedom index, increases growth rate by a third (.33) of a percentage points. A country that moves 3 levels of freedom from lower to higher levels, increases growth rate by 1 %. The freedom variable has been found to be statistically significant and of practical importance in most cases. There are numerous channels through which freedom variable affects economic growth, under the present study the most important are- the budget balance, government consumption, public expenditure, public investment, for these variables are under the direct dominion of government and are subject to scrutiny, transparency and accountability. The efficiency and effectiveness of these variables are an incentive to domestic investment, better terms of trade, and low illiteracy rates, in their respective roles. All the above variables have turned out to be of both statistical significance and of practical importance. The point that this study highlights is that for any of these variables to become effective in their respective roles, they need to be under an enabling environment of democratic institutions. Democracy (freedom index) is a key determinant of growth in as far as it is associated with improved governance. In cases where this association is absent, freedom index loses it’s key importance to growth. However, any conclusions should be based on both empirical findings as well as on theory. Freedom of political rights and civil liberties is the engine behind government effectiveness, regulatory quality, political stability, law and order and low corruption.
  • Rask, Mikko; Ertiö, Titiana-Petra; Tuominen, Pekka; Ahonen, Veronica Lucia (BIBU, 2021)
    Kansalaisuuden kuilut ja kuplat
  • Kivikuru, Ullamaija (2019)
    The role of information and communication technology (ICT) in development has been discussed from two distinctly different perspectives: some view it as a means for opening new alleys for the facilitation of development and democracy, while others assess it as counterproductive. Furthermore, it has been emphasised that people in cities and rural areas utilise ICT in different ways, as do people with wealth and education compared to poor people. In Africa, Kenya has declared itself an ICT hub. The state has emphasised ICT in promoting services, much less freedom of expression. This article discusses ICT and development via the filter of assemblage, a key concept developed by Deleuze and Guattari (2004/1980. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: Continuum.). They emphasised fluidity as well as micro- and macro-level dichotomies. When communities based on sharing and consistent social order meet new technology, the change goes deeper than that of improved services. The basic difference might be the fact that a community is constructed on cultural ties developed over time, which strengthens immobility and stability, while an assemblage is characterised by mobility and fluidity. Thus, a system of values, hierarchies, and inherited traditions is challenged, mixed with ‘new’ problems brought about by individualised behaviour.
  • Nurmi, Reetta (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    Aim of the study. Educating students to become active citizens has become more and more common in Finnish comprehensive schools. Civic knowledge and skills training is not a separate subject in Finnish primary schools (grades 1-6). In the 2004 national core curriculum for basic education civic knowledge and skills training is integrated within the other subjects. To what extent the civic education is included in everyday teaching depends a lot on the teacher. For this reason the amount of civil education can differ a lot depending on a particular class and school. Teacher's own knowledge, skills and attitude towards civic education has a strong influence on how civic education can be seen in the classroom. The aim of the study is to find out how a class of sixth graders and their teacher from the Helsinki metropolitan area see civic education in their classroom. Methods. 25 sixth graders and their teacher from a school in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area participated in the study. This study is a qualitative case study that includes different types of research data. The research data from the teacher was collected by interview. Students had written earlier essays about democracy that used in the study. The students also answered a questionnaire with open-ended questions that included questions about their possibilities to influence in matters of the classroom. research data was analysed by using qualitative content analysis. Both theory and content based analyses were used in this study. Results and conclusions. The results shows that the teacher and the students both feel that democracy is a relevant and important issue to be considered in the classroom. The students had a very positive view of democracy and how it worked in the classroom. Although the students participation in decision making was usually limited to matters outside teaching, most students felt that they had enough influence in the classroom. Based on the results, it can be said that the teacher has with teaching successfully supported her students to become active citizens.
  • Lima, Marcus E. O.; de Franca, Dalila X.; Jetten, Jolanda; Pereira, Cicero R.; Wohl, Michael J. A.; Jasinskaja-Lahti, Inga; Hong, Ying-yi; Torres, Ana Raquel; Costa-Lopes, Rui; Ariyanto, Amarina; Autin, Frederique; Ayub, Nadia; Badea, Constantina; Besta, Tomasz; Butera, Fabrizio; Fantini-Hauwel, Carole; Finchilescu, Gillian; Gaertner, Lowell; Gollwitzer, Mario; Gómez, Ángel; Gonzalez, Roberto; Høj Jensen, Dorthe; Karasawa, Minoru; Kessler, Thomas; Klein, Olivier; Megevand, Laura; Morton, Thomas; Paladino, Maria Paola; Polya, Tibor; Renvik, Tuuli Anna; Ruza, Aleksejs; Shahrazad, Wan; Shama, Sushama; Smith, Heather J.; Teymoori, Ali; van der Bles, Anne Marthe (2021)
    There is evidence that democracies are under threat around the world while the quest for strong leaders is increasing. Although the causes of these developments are complex and multifaceted, here we focus on one factor: the extent to which citizens express materialist and post-materialist concerns. We explore whether objective higher levels of democracy are differentially associated with materialist and post-materialist concerns and, in turn, whether this is related to the wish for a strong leader. Testing this hypothesis across 27 countries (N = 5,741) demonstrated a direct negative effect of democracies' development on the wish for a strong leader. Further, multi-level mediation analysis showed that the relation between the Democracy Index and the wish for a strong leader was mediated by materialist concerns. This pattern of results suggests that lower levels of democracy are associated with enhanced concerns about basic needs and this is linked to greater support for strong leaders.
  • Kukkamaa, Tiina (2007)
    Tutkimus tarkastelee paikallisten kansalaisjärjestöjen roolia nykypäivän Tansanian demokratisoitumisessa. Tansania on vahvasti riippuvainen ulkomaisesta kehitysyhteistyöstä ja tässä tutkimuksessa onkin keskeistä linkittää demokratisoitumisprosessi avunantajien tavoitteisiin, joita kuvataan niin sanotun donor narratiivin käsitteen avulla. Tämä narratiivi kuvaa kansalaisyhteiskunnan merkitystä kehitysmaiden demokratisoitumisessa. Tämä keskustelu linkittyy keskeisesti 2000-luvun kehitystrendeihin ja avunantajien vaikutukseen Tansanian kansalaisyhteiskunnan muotoutumisessa. Tutkimuksen tarkoitus on tarkastella kriittisesti kehitystrendien ja avunantajien toimien vaikutusta valtion ja kansalaisjärjestöjen suhteisiin sekä kansalaisjärjestöjen toimintaan Tansaniassa. Keskeisenä osana tutkimusta on länsimaisen kansalaisyhteiskunta-käsitteen tarkastelu Afrikan kontekstissa. Tutkimuksen aineisto on kerätty etnografisin menetelmin osallistuvaa havainnointia käyttäen. Tätä pääaineistoa täydentää haastatteluaineisto sekä erilaiset avunantajien ja kansalaisjärjestöjen tuottamat materiaalit sekä sanomalehtiaineisto. Aineiston tarkastelu jakautuu kolmeen päälukuun. Ensimmäinen tarkastelee Tansanian kansalaisyhteiskunnan muotoutumista historiallisesta perspektiivistä. Toinen kuvailee valtion ja kansalaisjärjestöjen suhteita keskittyen Tansanian kansalaisjärjestölaki-prosessiin sekä Haki Elimu -järjestön ongelmiin valtion kanssa. Lisäksi tarkastellaan kansalaisjärjestöjen roolin muuttumista 2000-luvun kehitystrendien ja köyhyydenvähentämisstrategioiden kontekstissa. Viimeinen aineistoluku tarkastelee lähemmin tansanialaisia kansalaisjärjestö-verkostoja sekä niiden toimintaa. 2000-luvun kehitystrendeihin kuuluvat köyhyydenvähentämistrategiat ja budjettiapu muokkaavat paikallista kansalaisyhteiskuntaa tarpeisiinsa ja avunantajien vaikutus paikallisen kansalaisjärjestökentän toiminnassa on huomattava. Kansalaisjärjestöjen rooli on muuttumassa sosiaalipalveluiden tuottamisesta poliittiseen vaikuttamiseen, mutta samalla niiden toiminta ei ole merkittävästi vaikuttanut paikallisiin valtasuhteisiin tai saanut aikaan poliittisen reformin aloitteita. Pikemminkin vahvat kansalaisjärjestöt pyritään valjastamaan mukaan meneillään oleviin prosesseihin ja avoin kriittinen keskustelu tukahdutetaan. Tutkimus toteaa, että tansanialaista kansalaisyhteiskuntaa tulisi tarkastella omista lähtökohdistaan käsin, eikä nojautua länsimaisen perinteen kansalaisyhteiskunta-käsitykseen, sillä tämä narratiivi ja sen toimeenpano on aiheuttanut huomattavia ongelmia muun muassa kansalaisjärjestöjen riippuvuuden vuoksi. Kansalaisjärjestöihin ei tulisi valmiiksi liittää määreitä kuten demokraattisuus, toiminta lähellä ruohonjuuritasoa ja läpinäkyvyys vaan niitä tulisi pikemminkin tarkastella toiminnan kautta ja etnografiset menetelmät antavat tähän haastattelututkimusta paremmat välineet. Nykyinen keskustelu kansalaisyhteiskunnasta usein idealisoi paikallisia järjestöjä ja niiden toimintaa.