Browsing by Subject "political communication"

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  • Krug, Anna-Lena (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The world in which we live and communicate is complicated and complex. This is also true for political communication, which has moved, in some part, to newer forms of media, such as social media platforms. Politicians have gained the opportunity to communicate directly with their followers online, without any mediators. This allows political actors to present the image of themselves and the version of reality they want to convey. Twitter is one example of such a platform, which provides an interactive channel of communication between political actors and their audience. This thesis aims to analyse how the 280 characters long tweets are used as forms of communication by employing and combining Erving Goffman’s concepts of framing and self-presentation. Frames are interpretative frameworks which are activated by our brains to make sense of situations and events and the understanding of self-presentation describes how actors portray themselves in social settings. (Political) actors can change the way the narrative is framed, depending on which frame of reference they are highlighting in their communication. For the case sample, 1785 tweets by the German party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) have been collected over a period of four weeks at the beginning of 2020. Their categorisation as a right-wing party as well as their active presence on Twitter makes them an interesting subject of study. To structure the collected data, the tweets are divided into 12 categories of framing strategies, which are based on the differentiation between a Positive Self-Presentation and a Negative Other-Presentation. The analysis of the tweets and the employed framing strategies showed that the party emphasised the (perceived) differences between themselves and the other, which ranges from political elites, oppositional political parties and their supporters to civilian groups such as activists, migrants or critics of the party. Language is important for the portrayal of the framing strategies, either through the usage of personal pronouns – for example, “us” or “them” – or through the invention of mocking names classifying the other. The self, here the AfD, is always presented positively and the others are depicted in a negative light. It has been found that the combination of different framing strategies can lead to a stronger emphasis on the positive self and the negative other. The tweets generally portray one version of reality or one version of the narrative that fits best to the objective the party wants to portray. The data sample and the period of data collection are rather limited and would need to be expanded for further analysis. Nonetheless, the results give an indication of how framing strategies can be used daily in political communication, which can add to the knowledge of political researchers and communicators.
  • Juusola, Anni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    To mitigate the economic and social damages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Council agreed to adopt a recovery plan in July 2020. Before the recovery plan could be implemented, every member state had to ratify the European Council’s decision. However, when the recovery plan was associated with the deeply politicized issue of European integration, this ratification procedure threatened to become difficult. This thesis investigates a decisive plenary debate of the Parliament of Finland, which preceded the ratification of the European Council’s decision in May 2021. The thesis studies how European integration became a topic of discussion in this particular plenary debate. More specifically, the thesis aims to answer how and by which political parties the recovery plan was framed as an integration-related issue. Theoretically, the thesis places itself on the field of political communication. The theoretical framework of the thesis is based on Robert M. Entman’s definition of framing, which also guides the method of the thesis, namely qualitative frame analysis. Framing affects how most people perceive political issues, i.e. political parties use it as a political tool to promote particular interpretations of matters. The research material consists of 52 legislative speeches by Finnish representatives held in the plenary debate. The analysis found one dominant frame and five sub-frames that establish a link between the recovery plan and European integration. The frames present the recovery plan as an integration-related issue by highlighting Eurosceptic, economic, and constitutional perspectives. In the plenary debate, the frames were mostly employed by the Finns Party, which is known for its anti-integration stance. In addition, the Centre Party and the National Coalition Party used some of the frames. Based on the analysis, it is concluded that these three parties introduced the topic of European integration into the debate. The findings indicate that the issue of European integration is politicized also in Finnish politics. They accord with earlier evidence that the established parties seem to avoid debates on European integration, whereas the Finns Party takes advantage of the politicization of the integration process. By framing the recovery plan as an integration-related matter, the Finns Party was able to own the issue and promote its political agenda. If the established parties remain silent on integration-related matters, debates on European integration threaten to become one-sided. This is problematic both from the perspective of voters and the established parties whose silence may be detrimental to their political success.
  • Alyukov, Maxim (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This dissertation focuses on how Russian TV viewers make sense of the news in the context of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. It is based on focus groups with TV viewers and borrows the conceptual apparatus of political communication, psychology, and political science to analyze three separate domains of news processing under an electoral authoritarian regime: the formation of political opinions based on television news, the use of heuristics to evaluate the credibility of TV news, and the use of a range of information sources, both offline and online, in a high-choice media environment. Based on the existing literature, this study relies on the premise that citizens under authoritarian regimes lack incentives, cognitive tools, and opportunities to substantively process news and investigates how these three features are reflected in the political psychology and news processing of TV viewers. First, this study contributes to the literature on news processing under electoral authoritarian regimes. While scholars have identified numerous factors which affect how citizens (dis)trust news in authoritarian contexts, the role of political engagement in news processing is rarely taken into account in the analysis of electoral authoritarian regimes. My findings suggest that crucially affects how citizens make sense of the news. I find that a minority of focus group participants are politically engaged and rely on consistent political schemas to make sense of the news and demonstrate signs of consistency bias. Most participants are politically disengaged. They rely on the ideas which are more accessible in memory, contain both criticism and approval of state policies, and support the authoritarian equilibrium by being unable to articulate consistent opinions. Second, this study contributes to a better understanding of the functioning of low-information rationality under an electoral authoritarian regime. Scholars assume that in dealing with the news and political information, TV viewers rely on a wide variety of heuristics which are drawn from both daily life and the political environment. However, the literature on how citizens use heuristics outside democratic contexts is limited. I find that in dealing with the news, TV viewers prefer to rely on common sense and cultural stereotypes because political and media institutions under an electoral authoritarian regime are not seen as independent and authoritative. Finally, the study contributes to a better understanding of how the development of high-choice media environments affects news processing outside of democratic contexts. I find that politically engaged participants often find information which fits their pre-existing preferences demonstrating signs of selective exposure. Participants who are less politically engaged participants rely on TV news in combination with news aggregators to simplify information search. Since Russian news aggregators include information which is not different from TV news, this synchronization verifies the credibility of TV news. While the original concept of the personalized filter bubble is based on the complex interaction between individuals’ preferences and algorithms, I identify the orchestrated filter bubble effect which is based on the agenda of state-controlled television. Imposed in top-down fashion by the state, this filter bubble effect is used to reinforce the messages of the state-controlled television rather than citizens’ individual preferences under an electoral authoritarian regime.
  • Lauwers, Karen (2021)
    Taking the distinction made by Patrick Hassenteufel between statutory and identity-based citizenship as a starting point, this article investigates expressions of the latter citizenship in early twentieth-century France. More specifically, this paper focuses on how ‘ordinary’ men and women from a rural area in the Rhône department perceived their place in French republican society shortly before and during the First World War. The war years were a time when (claims to) social policies were continuously renegotiated, in relation to men and women’s commitment to the Republic. Whether they had political voting rights or not, ‘ordinary’ citizens took part in these negotiation processes, yet in an informal (and therefore still underexposed) way, through written communication with a parliamentary representative (député). Men and women who shared the same social background used similar rhetorical tactics in their requests for help, support, or a favor. Men’s expressions of gratitude towards ‘their’ député could, however, entail a promise of a vote, while women were still not enfranchised. Though reminiscent of the image of a clientelist rural France at first sight, neither men’s nor women’s letters were characterized by mere trade-offs. Instead, they were increasingly revealing of how the letter-writers (re)imagined the notions attached to their citizenship. The connections between those concepts, such as (social) rights, duties, and knowledge (and the impact of the war on rhetorical constructions of these aspects of citizenship) are analyzed from the letter-writers’ viewpoints. Focusing on such a micro-level allows for insights into the mutually educational nature of the common practice of sending letters to a French Third Republican parliamentary representative.
  • Rosenback, Michaela (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    Developing technologies and social media platforms offer new ways of producing and receiving political content. The political elites need to follow, and update social media on a regular basis, and political messages are being blended into the world of entertainment and show business. At the same time, journalists have incorporated social media in their daily job and use social media platforms as working tools. This affects the interconnections between journalists and politicians, making their relationship increasingly complex. This study aims to scrutinise how political journalists in Finland describe the impact of social media on their job and their possibilities to communicate with politicians. The study explores journalists’ perceptions of and attitudes towards the technological development, and discusses what this rapid flow of information and new options of communication mean for the journalistic trade and professional identity. The data is based on interviews with nine well-known and distinguished political journalists working at various newsrooms in Helsinki, Finland. The interviewees represent print media, radio, television and web, and have between five and thirty five years of experience in political reporting. The interviews are analysed with the help of an applied thematic analysis (ATA) approach. The ATA approach was chosen because it is considered to be transparent, ethical and flexible. For example, the ATA approach takes factors such as resources and time into consideration, aka. limitations that can have impact on the analysis. The ATA approach does not require a painstaking, word-by-word analysis, but rather a systematic work of splitting the data into manageable pieces and identifying general themes and categories. The ATA approach helped me to analyse my data in an efficient manner. The results of the study indicates that social media indeed has changed the dynamics between journalists and politicians. In many ways the informants feel that the relationship has benefited from social media - for example they state that it is easier to stay updated, find material for a story and do research with the help of social media platforms. However, with social media the politicians have gained a new tool of control, which can help them to alienate themselves from journalists and their questions. Therefore, the informants express a worry that that the communication between journalists and politicians increasingly is based on the politicians’ premises. Thus, closeness and speed stand against the risk of politicians becoming stronger agenda setters in an environment where critical questions easily can be ignored or deleted. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that social media platforms and their logic of transparency have challenged the traditional journalistic notion of objectivity. The traditional understanding that journalists should be free of bias is being questioned in contemporary society where journalism has come to be so much more than just information. This study illustrates that journalists of today are urged to share personal viewpoints in order to attract followers, a development that is dictated by social media platforms. That, in turn, reflects the expansion of the journalistic profession. The job has become more than a job. Today it is a mind-set, lifestyle and identity for many hard working journalists.
  • Arendt, Wiebke (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    The purpose of this thesis is to shed light on the way Facebook is used during the parliamentary election campaign in 2009 in Germany by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the candidate for the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). The purpose is to find out which topics are presented to his fans by his communication and in which way he tries to appeal to his readers emotions. The data has been collected from the candidate’s Facebook posts that he published between spring and autumn 2009. The main findings show that even though some topics are repeated none of them are used consistently throughout the election campaign. Moreover, Steinmeier tries to rebuild the image of the SPD and wants to build up an image for himself. Another important reason to use Facebook, as the analysis has shown, was to mobilize the citizens.
  • Lounasmeri, Lotta Inari (2018)
    This article examines the idea of an emerging political communication elite in the context of the Finnish polity. The specific focus is on PR consultants’ role as new, evolving actors in this elite network, where positions in politics, media and consultancies are becoming increasingly interchangeable. This follows the trend of other Nordic countries, where the professionalisation and commercialisation of political communication has already occurred. Interviews with Finnish PR professionals allow us to trace a common culture where professional expertise, fields of connection and norms and values are shared. The analysis is applied to the context of elite theories and major societal changes of recent decades, including the weakening of the Nordic corporatist system, privatisation and the global trends of mediatisation and promotional culture.
  • Hakoköngäs, Juho Eemeli; Sakki, Inari (2019)
    This study investigates the role of advertising and visual rhetoric in political persuasion. Analysis of Finnish dairy product video advertisements from 2010–2016 focuses on those that exploit time as the main reference framework. A better understanding of how advertising is used as a tool of political persuasion is sought by exploring the following questions: How are advertisements used in political communication? How is time used as a means of persuasion in advertising? What role do visual rhetoric and social representations have in the process of persuasion? The analysis shows how advertisements objectify work as a tradition and anchor it as a Finnish value. The results show how advertisements employ enthymeme as a major rhetorical tool to assert that the tradition of Finnish employment is under threat but the consumption of Finnish dairy products and favouring a pro-agrarian policy would ensure that the tradition is transmitted to new generations. The contributions of the study are twofold: First, the combination of social representations theory and classic rhetoric provides a theoretical and analytical perspective for the analysis of visual rhetoric in political persuasion. Secondly, by exploring the advertisements as political communication, the study shows how commercials are used to advocate ideological and political projects, such as certain kind of agricultural policy – an angle largely overlooked in the previous research of social and political psychology.