Browsing by Subject "political participation"

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  • 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.
  • Laine, Sofia; Myllylä, Martta (2018)
    This chapter examines the youth cultural circuits and the institutional channels of political participation in five Arab Mediterranean countries: Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Lebanon. Through the triangulation of the data from the SAHWA Youth Survey 2016 (2017) and the SAHWA Ethnographic Fieldwork 2015 (2016), the experiences of political participation of the Arab Mediterranean youth in the "post-Arab Spring era" are analysed. The data - analysed with the application of the theory of chronotopes developed by the linguist Mikhail Bakhtin - show that generation gaps exist in participation and political dialogue. The "time-spaces" in which the capacities for youth agency can prosper are the physical and virtual streets, as well as the coffee shops, which can also allow them to build an identity outside tradition, authority and the family (i.e. the older generations).
  • Patomäki, Heikki (Routledge, 2017)
    Whether we talk about human learning and unlearning, securitization, or political economy, the forces and mechanisms generating both globalization and disintegration are causally efficacious across the world. Thus, the processes that led to the victory of the ‘Leave’ campaign in the June 2016 referendum on UK European Union membership are not simply confined to the United Kingdom, or even Europe. Similarly, conflict in Ukraine and the presidency of Donald Trump hold implications for a stage much wider than EU-Russia or the United States alone. Patomäki explores the world-historical mechanisms and processes that have created the conditions for the world’s current predicaments and, arguably, involve potential for better futures. Operationally, he relies on the philosophy of dialectical critical realism and on the methods of contemporary social sciences, exploring how crises, learning and politics are interwoven through uneven wealth-accumulation and problematical growth-dynamics. Seeking to illuminate the causes of the currently prevailing tendencies towards disintegration, antagonism and – ultimately – war, he also shows how these developments are in fact embedded in deeper processes of human learning. The book embraces a Wellsian warning about the increasingly likely possibility of a military disaster, but its central objective is to further enlightenment and holoreflexivity within the current world-historical conjuncture. This work will be of interest to students and scholars of international relations, peace research, security studies and international political economy.
  • Hirvaskoski, Salome (2005)
    The study is aimed at clarifying the developments of political participation of the Romani minorities in European countries since 1989. The main argument in the study is that since the early 1990`s several processes and developments have contributed to an increasingly evident pan-Europeanization of Romani minorities. The study examines the issue from two angles. Firstly, the efforts to bring about a more active Romani participation in issues affecting them are considered, as well as the resulting developments in the political participation of the Romanies and the difficulties encountered in this work. Some consideration is also given to the growing perception of the Romanies as a political factor in their countries of residence, even if the hardships of life and marginalization still experienced by the Romanies would not necessarily suggest that. Secondly, the increasing international interest in the affairs of the Romanies is described. This interest has manifested itself in the agendas of all main European-level legal bodies and in the active foreign and national policies of many European countries. This part of the study also describes the most important steps taken by the international community, the adoption of the Copenhagen criteria in the EU enlargement process indicating the great importance given to the improvement of the situation of Romani minorities in the accession countries and the founding of the European Roma and Travellers Forum being perhaps the most notable of these. The greater part of the space is used in describing developments taking place in the so called transition region. As the majority of Romanies reside in that geographical area, the construction of a trans-national minority has drawn a lot of attention to the phenomena witnessed there. The commitment of many Western European nations - not the least that of Finland - proves, that the issue must logically and necessarily also be seen as a European one, reaching beyond the geographical area of the transition region. The primary sources used in this study consist mainly of official documents of intergovernmental organizations. Other source material is composed of research literature and selection of conference papers and other document produced by a wide range of relevant actors.
  • Rönkkö, Lauri Mikael (2008)
    This Master´s thesis analyses how the World Social Forum WSF has emerged as a new global civil society space in the context of the expansion of economism and general depolitisation (cf. Teivainen), facilitated by the internationalisation process and supranational opportunity structures (cf. Tilly and Tarrow). The WSF brings together besides national social movements and their transnational coalitions also new types of transnational social movements and networks. It challenges essentially the expanding democratic deficits at local and national levels, but especially at the international level. Recent research has confirmed the high degree of critical debate on democracy present in social forums: especially internal democracy emerges as an important topic of discussion for the activists (cf. Della Porta). One of the main debates of the WSF is found around the questions whether to favour efficiency over participation or specialization over equality, or vice versa. This dilemma is reflected in the dispute whether the WSF should continue to follow Open Space methodology or move towards a political actor. The aim of this study is to analyse these competing discourses and framings among WSF movements, mirroring discourses to the four models of public sphere presented by Ferree, Gamson, Gerhards and Rucht, and the four conception of internal democracy of Donatella della Porta, and how they are implemented in WSF internal practices. Study identifies three major framings: the movement of movements framing tends to advocate the representative democracy model and the vertical party-type organisations following associational democracy models, i.e., delegation of power and the majority decision-making. The horizontal framing typically criticize the vertical structures and representative practices, and have instead developed horizontal network politics and follow constructionist democracy ideals, emphasizing priority of the prefigurative politics over the efficiency of decision-making. Another main issue explaining the divisions among WSF movements is their divergent relation to the axis of national/ transnational spheres and the changing power relations between these spheres. The open space framing typically relates to the transnationalism as an opportunity like those sympathising horizontal framing. Although no satisfactory solution seems ready yet to address the main organizational dilemmas of the WSF, some progress can anyhow be observed. Consequently, the WSF should be seen as a laboratory of prefigurative politics, developing and testing new form of politics and alternative democratic practices, a global civil society space where excluded voices gather and discuss alternative political and economic practices. It empowers local, national and transnational social movements to create new projects and alliances, and creates new identities, as well, perhaps new type of transnational identities as well.
  • Mattila, Mikko; Rapeli, Lauri; Wass, Hanna; Söderlund, Peter (Routledge, 2017)
    Social scientists have only recently begun to explore the link between health and political engagement. Understanding this relationship is vitally important from both a scholarly and a policy-making perspective. This book is the first to offer a comprehensive account of health and political engagement. Using both individual-level and country-level data drawn from the European Social Survey, World Values Survey and new Finnish survey data, it provides an extensive analysis of how health and political engagement are connected. It measures the impact of various health factors on a wide range of forms of political engagement and attitudes and helps shed light on the mechanisms behind the interaction between health and political engagement. This text is of key interest scholars, students and policy-makers in health, politics, and democracy, and more broadly in the social and health and medical sciences.
  • Bradshaw, Elinor (2006)
    This thesis investigates political participation in the indigenous communities of Guatemala. The aim is to find out and explain the individual and societal motivations that indigenous people have for deciding to participate or not to participate in local level politics. More precisely, this thesis tries to discover what are the main factors that influence local level political participation of the indigenous Maya people in Guatemala. In addition, the study aims to find out what kind of participation the indigenous people are involved in. Another objective of this thesis is to investigate the functioning of the so-called civic committees. These committees represent a new type of political organisation and they are claimed to play an important role in giving indigenous people greater chances to enter the Guatemalan political system and to participate at local level decisions. It is however important to note that these committees may at the same time restrict indigenous people from exercising real power. Thus an important question to be answered is whether these organisations increase the indigenous peoples’ political participation, or whether they instead limit it. The theoretical framework of this thesis consists of different theories on political participation. Various types of participation are discussed, and a tentative listing of factors which may affect the scope and nature of an individual's participation is presented. The theoretical frame is used as a heuristic tool for identifying the factors that indigenous people perceive as influencing their participation. In order to gain answers to the research questions a three month long field work period was conducted in Guatemala. During the field study extensive library studies were carried out at several research centres, and a substantial amount of first hand information was collected from the indigenous people themselves. A field study was conducted in the department of Quetzaltenango which consisted of 110 individual interviews with indigenous people and observations made at a number of local meetings and workshops. On the basis of the empirical results and literature studies three groups of factors were drawn up which all help to explain the current state of political participation among the Guatemalan indigenous people. The main results obtained include the fact that Guatemalan society suffers from a great lack of trust and there is hardly any democratic political culture. The result of this is that a great majority of indigenous people abstain from political participation. Those indigenous people who do participate are often found in passive and consultative roles of participation. They may be given the possibility to be present at local meetings and be given seats at local governing boards, but they are seldom given any real decision-making power. Very few indigenous people seem to have access to independent organising and positions of power in the Guatemalan political system. The civic committees are unfortunately in their current form unable of guaranteeing the indigenous population access to important seats of political power. They do however have potential and may gain more stability and strength if they are granted a permanent status as political organisations.
  • Wilhelmsson, Niklas Fredrik Johannes (2007)
    In this study the theory on social capital has been linked to electoral participation. The theory has been tested among Russian, Estonian, Somali and Vietnamese immigrants in Finland. In the study social capital was measured through organisational involvement and active social contacts. The study is quantitative and regression analysis forms the central method of analysis. Social capital theory has in the literature been viewed as an interesting theory in immigrant and minority studies because it connects political participation with underlying social structures and questions of inclusion and discrimination. In the literature social capital has generally been viewed as a prerequisite for political participation. In the social capital theory it has however become a debated question whether all forms of social connections form resources. This debate is often addressed through the concepts bridging and bonding social capital. In the context of immigrants the question relates to the desirability of immigrant organisations and ethnic social networks and how they facilitate the integration process. The issue in a broader context relates to the question of whether the state should support multicultural policies. It has nevertheless been questioned whether the type of social membership actually matters, or if it is the amount of social connections that an individual holds which in fact is important. The results of the study support the hypothesis that social capital forms a resource for electoral participation. Among the immigrants who participate in civil society organisations and hold active social connections electoral participation is higher than amongst those that do not. The results also support the multicultural hypothesis that immigrant organisations in general are beneficial for political participation. One notable finding is that the amount of social participation seems to be a more important explanatory factor for electoral participation than the type of social connection. Based on earlier research it seems likely that the research findings can be generalized beyond voting to other more demanding forms of political participation. Literature: Coleman, J. (1990), Fennema, M. & J. Tillie (1999), R. Putnam (1993); R. Putnam (2000); Teorell, J. (2003).
  • 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.
  • Salminen, Otto (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The thesis sheds light on European Union´s attempts to increase the voting turn out and decrease democratic deficit in the European Parliament elections by focusing on Spitzenkandidaten process, a reform implemented the first time in the 2014 elections. Still, in the spring 2018, the Spitzenkandidaten process is under discussion on the EU level whether it should be applied also in the future elections when the new parliament and the new President for Commision will be elected. The research has aimed to produce essential and topical information for the decision makers when making up one´s minds whether to support or not to support the reform. The research takes a closer look on the EU citizens´ views and public opinion on the process. The theories and criticism of earlier research are applied and tested by studying three research questions. The research questions are formulated as follows: 1) To what extent the attitudes towards the European Union explains whether the Spitzenkandidaten process is or is not considered to represent progress for democracy within the EU among the citizens´ of the Union? 2) To what extent the position on the scale of political left and political right explains the attitudes towards the Spitzenkandidaten process among the citizens´ of the Union? 3) To what extent the level of awareness about the processes of decision making in the European Union explains whether the Spitzenkandidaten process is or is not considered to represent progress for democracy within the EU among the citizens´ of the Union? The data studied in this thesis contains the data set of the Parlemeter of the European Parliament (EB/EP 82.4). The data was processed and analyzed with SPSS version 24 (SPSS Inc., Chicago IL). The results of the ordinal regression analysis show that more a person thinks his/her country's membership of the EU is a good thing, the more likely person is willing to think that the Spitzenkandidaten process represents progress for democracy. In addition, image on the EU has statistically significant relation with the attitude towards the Spitzenkandidaten process. The better image of the EU a person has, the more likely person is willing to think that the Spitzenkandidaten process represents progress for democracy. The ordinal regression analysis shows that the citizens` position on the scale of political "left" and "right" does not explain statistically significantly the attitudes towards the Spitzenkandidaten process among the citizens´ of the Union. According to the ordinal regression analysis, the better level of political awareness, both objectively and subjectively measured, the more likely person is willing to think Spitzenkandidaten process to represent progress for democracy. This research and its findings emphasize the role of political awareness as one of key elements to focus on when combating the democratic deficit in the European Union. The finding of this research support the findings in earlier research: Democratic deficit occurs until the EU-citizens understand how the Union effect on their lives (Wass 2014: 37). To be able to form opinions about the innovations like Spitzenkandidaten process in the future, citizens would need to be better informed about the reforms. More focus should be given to the active communication between the EU decision makers and the citizens.