Browsing by Subject "populism"

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  • Puronen, Kirsti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    The United States presidential elections are one of the most followed events in the world. The 2016 presidential elections will be remembered as one of the contentious elections ever. Donald Trump became the president against all odds. His campaign slogans “Make America Great Again” and “America First” promised to return the power to the people and redefine Americas’ role in the world. Trump’s campaign speeches were full of rhetoric that echoed the sentiments of the past presidents. His nativist speeches were full of anti-establishment appeals and racially heated language. The political polarization had divided the country, and amidst this Trump rose to presidency. His victory was rooted in the cultural and political changes that began decades earlier, and Trump’s presidency was the culmination of long-term developments. The thesis examines how Donald Trump used history politics in his general election campaign speeches. The primary sources of the thesis consist of general election speeches, from March to November in 2016. The thesis utilizes qualitative content analysis, in which primary sources are critically examined and compared, within the framework of history politics. The thesis relies on Jouni Tilli’s policy concept typology of history politics and Pilvi Torsti’s definition of history politics. The definitions of politicization and engagement in politics are a useful tool for analysing how Donald Trump blurred the line between myth, history and the past in his speeches. The theoretical framework of history politics refers to history being used in politics; it can manifest through political motives. Using history in political speeches is away to create a connection between the past and the present. The thesis also employs populism, which is used as analytical tool, when examining the political speeches. The thesis employs source-based analysis of primary sources, through research questions, within the framework of history politics. As well as looks how populism is expressed in the campaign speeches. The thesis also examines the rhetoric and themes of the Trump campaign, in order to understand the wider context and the outcomes of history politics. The analysation of the primary sources revealed that Trump exploited the conservative populist rhetoric that intertwined with history. His campaign message was appealing to the white working- and middle-class voters, who felt like they had been overlooked and left behind by the politicians and society. Trump capitalized on Richard Nixon’s “Silent Majority” and Ronald Reagan’s “Make America Great Again” narratives and transformed it to fit his populistic rhetoric. Trump presented himself as an outsider who provided simple solutions to big issues. He used history to justify the political rhetoric of the campaign. The most important result of the thesis was that history was politicized and used as the pivotal narrative in Trump’s campaign speeches. The history politics framework provided the thesis platform from which the campaign speeches could be analysed, and it created a context for the motives of using history in politics. Trump reused the political rhetoric of the past and intertwined it with populism.
  • Foudila, Karoliina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    There has been a vivid public debate in Finland about the women and children who have been staying at al-Hol camp in Syria after the collapse of the ISIS caliphate. This thesis investigates the public debate in the media about these Finnish women and children. Using the method of qualitative content analysis, I examine 117 articles from Helsingin Sanomat from the period from May 1st to December 31st, 2019. My aim is to analyze the key issues that are raised in the debate; how the women and children are depicted; and the linkages between this debate and the changes taking place in the larger Finnish context. These changes involve on the one hand the society becoming more multi-religious, and on the other hand the rise of right-wing populism, anti-immigration, and Islamophobia. The theoretical basis of my analysis is the concept of othering in social sciences, namely the act of creating and using oppositional categories of ‘us’ versus ’them’, which are, for example, based on religion or race. The results show that the women are depicted as ’the dangerous Muslim other’ who could pose a security threat if they are brought back to Finland. These depictions are also shaped by the larger Finnish context, where there are contestations especially around religious diversity that is increasingly becoming a characteristic of society, about Finnishness as a modern identity, and about the challenges of Muslim communities today. My analysis also shows that while children’s rights and wellbeing remain an important goal of Finnish policies and legal obligations, the rights of the Finnish children in the camp have been contested in this debate. This is partly because of legal complexities regarding their repatriation to Finland, and partly because of a security-oriented perspective that sees some of the children as suspects and their relationship with their mothers as a problem. Overall, the analysis shows that the debate about these women and children at al-Hol is not just about whether the people should be repatriated, but about the current changes in Finnish society and the anxieties related to these changes.
  • Gozdecka, Dorota (2020)
    This article examines legal challenges to women’s reproductive rights in Ireland and the United States, arguing that backlash against reproductive rights is a consequence of the long unsettled position of women’s reproductive freedom in liberal democracies and the catalogue of rights. It examines the legal foundations of reproductive rights and their perceived conflicts with other values, such as religion, and focuses on the current legal challenges to women’s bodily autonomy regarding choice and motherhood. It demonstrates the many contexts in which women have not acquired full reproductive freedom, and explores the nature of the current backlash. It argues that the nature of the backlash is not simply a reclamation of what has been legally guaranteed, but instead a deepening of the preexisting divides within reproductive justice globally.
  • 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.
  • Hudson, Sarah (2010)
    This research forms a discursive analysis of almost two decades of key statements delivered by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, secretary-general of the Lebanese nationalist militia and political party, Hezbollah. The statements, sourced primarily from a translated compilation edited by Nicholas Noe and published by Verso (2007), reflect the continually evolving populist strategies of a party which has, against many odds, gained a large and impressively cross-sectarian support base in Lebanon and the surrounding region. The aim of the study is two-pronged. It hopes to offer an insightful analysis into the pragmatic politicking of a democratically elected, yet demonstrably lethally armed political party which is possessed of the potential to greatly influence peace and conflict in the region. It also seeks to promote an alternative theoretical perspective to research which continually seeks to locate similar such case studies on an ideologically loaded matrix of'terrorism vs. freedom fighter'. The theory outlined in Ernesto Laclau's 'On Populist Reason' (2005) functions as the framework for analysis. This non-pathological theory of populism provides an excellent lens through which to more objectively examine the way in which popular support is mobilized by what may be essentially democratic, yet highly controversial political movements. After analyzing constructions of 'the enemy', 'the people' and the role of the signifier of resistance over three separate chronological time periods, the research concludes that the politicking of Hezbollah has witnessed a significant discursive shift away from the rhetoric of extremism and towards that of political moderation. This analysis is noteworthy at a time when dominant western political discourses proclaim the dangers of openly 'fundamentalist' or extremist discourses as a threat to the ideals of global liberal democracy. It is concluded that political research should not underestimate the intelligence and pragmatism of groups who build, mobilize and maintain their support as powerful, armed and potentially dangerous non-state actors. A theoretical approach which allows for the insightful analysis of discursive phenomena, within the context of important socio-political factors, retains more likelihood of offering genuine insight into the popular political as it relates to a volatile regional and potentially global context.
  • 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.
  • Palonen, Emilia (2018)
    Hungary once represented a school-book case of transition to democracy. Now it offers insights into both contemporary Europe and theories of populism and nationalism. Resisting the traditional linear perspective to transition and a ‘demographic’ view of democracy, this article explores the relationships among democracy, populism and nationalism. This article operationalises performative and post-foundational theory of populism as a logic of articulation to explain Fidesz and the party leader Viktor Orbán’s illiberal measures, dichotomies between them and us, ultimately leading to nationalism and xenophobia. It shows how revolution, ‘illiberalism’ and migrants have served for populist meaning-making and are related to the political polarisation in Hungary. This article enhances the understanding of democracy by discussing the performative features of nation-building, populism and law-making in contemporary politics and finally the ‘Janus-face’ of populism. It sees 1989 as a populist moment of constitution of the foundations of a new era but also of the people central to democracy, and recognises attempts to generate similar moments in the 2010s.
  • Lonnqvist, Jan-Erik; Ilmarinen, Ville-Juhani; Sortheix, Florencia M. (2020)
    We investigated political polarization among the 28284 candidates in the Finnish municipal election who ran for municipal council in 2012, 2017, or both, and had responded to a Voting Advice Application. Our results revealed political polarization in terms of both conversion (longitudinal analysis, n = 6643) and recruitment (cross-sectional comparison of first-time candidates, n = 13054). The populist radical-right Finns Party became even more anti-refugee, and the pro-refugee Green League became even more pro-refugee. The Finns Party, in particular, has constructed the Green League as their enemies, which could explain why the Finns Party moved in an anti-environmental direction, as well as the increased issue-alignment between refugee-attitudes and environmental attitudes. We also observed increased within-party homogeneity in almost all parties. In the discussion, we focus on the nature of the association between refugee and environmental attitudes.
  • Herkman, Juha (2019)
    This article analyses political cartoons that depict contemporary populist politicians in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden between 2005 and 2015, a period which focuses on the electoral successes of these movements. The hypothesis is that by analyzing cartoons we can explore the underlying moral and normative confrontations linked to current political populism in the Nordic liberal democracies, which arose during the insurgent phase of the domestic right-wing parties. In total, 60 political cartoons are analyzed by means of content categorization and visual semiotics. The most popular caricatures in the cartoons depicted the leaders of the populist parties, while the most common signifiers linked the populism in the cartoons explicitly to fascism, Nazism, nativism, and racism. In this, the cartoons differed from news journalism, reflecting the specific role of cartoons in public opinion discourse and indicating special characteristics that derive from particular political contexts and also the cartoonists' own perspectives.
  • Ylä-Anttila, Tuukka Salu Santeri (2018)
    ‘Post-truth politics’, particularly as manifested in ‘fake news’ spread by countermedia, is claimed to be endemic to contemporary populism. I argue that the relationship between knowledge and populism needs a more nuanced analysis. Many have noted that populism valorises ‘common sense’ over expertise. But another populist strategy is counterknowledge, proposing politically charged alternative knowledge authorities in the stead of established ones. I analyse countermedia in Finland, where they have played a part in the rise of right-wing populism, using a combination of computational and interpretive methods. In my data, right-wing populists advocate counterknowledge; they profess belief in truth achievable by inquiry, not by mainstream experts but alternative ones. This is a different knowledge orientation from the valorisation of ‘common sense’, and there is reason to believe it is somewhat specific to contemporary right-wing anti-immigration populism. Populism’s epistemologies are multifaceted but often absolutist, as is populism’s relationship to power and democracy.
  • Qvist, Petra Mariana (2008)
    I min pro gradu-avhandling analyserar jag populistisk retorik och mobilisering i Venezuelas president Hugo Chávez tv- och radioprogram Aló, Presidente. I programmen utvecklar Chávez sin revolutionära teori samt berättar för befolkningen om socialismens fördelar och de sociala välfärdsprogrammen som ingår i den bolivarianska revolutionen. En av de viktigaste uppgifterna Aló, Presidente programmet uppfyller är att mobilisera befolkningen till den bolivarianska revolutionen som Chávez vill genomföra i Venezuela. Huvudtemat i min avhandling är populism som en sorts politisk mobilisering. För att fastställa hur Chávez strävar efter att mobilisera det venezolanska folket till revolutionen har jag analyserat hans retorik i 23 Aló, Presidente program som sändes under tiden januari-juni 2007. Som utgångspunkt för min analys av Chávez tal använder jag en retorisk teori enligt vilken retorik anses vara både övertalning och handling. Jag visar vilka strategier Chávez använder för att försöka övertala befolkningen att understöda hans idé om en socialistisk revolution samt att uttrycka detta understöd genom handling. Jag föreslår att det Chávez säger i Aló, Presidente programmen inte endast är ord utan även handling och att han deltar i att förverkliga den bolivarianska revolutionen samtidigt som han pratar om den. Populism är ett allmänt förekommande politiskt begrepp kring vilket det råder förvirring. Avhandlingen innehåller därför en analys av populismen som begrepp. Jag ger en överblick över några definitioner på populismen och presenterar även min definition av populismen som inte begränsar sig endast till Venezuela. Jag anser att populismen är en sorts mobilisering i vilken speciellt de fattiga övertalas att understöda och agera enligt den populistiske ledarens planer. I motsats till många andra som har analyserat populismen så tror jag att populistiska ledare och rörelser kan förbli populistiska även efter att de har kommit till makten. En av frågeställningarna i avhandlingen är huruvida Chávez retorik uppfyller kriterierna för populistisk retorik. Populistisk retorik karakteriseras av dikotomin ”vi” versus ”de”. Populistiska ledare framställer ofta ”dem” som en rik elit som ständigt konspirerar emot ”oss”, det fattiga folket. ”Vi” och ”de” är centrala begrepp i Chávez retorik och han återkommer ständigt till dem i olika sammanhang. Jag analyserar Chávez bruk av denna dikotomi i Aló, Presidente programmen för att ta reda på hur han konstruerar och beskriver ”vi, folket” och ”de, revolutionens fiender” i sin retorik. I detta sammanhang undersöker jag även om Chávez fokuserar mera på att förena eller polarisera venezolanerna i sin retorik. Jag kommer till slutsatsen att han skapar polarisering mellan venezolanerna i sina Aló, Presidente program.
  • Gurhanli, Halil (2013)
    This article critically engages with Laclauian theory of populism by utilizing Michael Oakeshott’s theory of politics. It argues that both build their works on similar post-foundationalist premises, accepting once the impossibility of a final ground of society as well as the possibility of its contingent political foundations. It then shows that both scholars conceptualise politics residing on a continuum between what they consider as two theoretical extremes: politics of faith and scepticism for Oakeshott, pure populism and pure institutionalism for Laclau. In terms of the ways in which they operate, functions they fulfil, and effects they have on politics, these extremes overlap with one another to such an extent that they can be considered as near synonyms. This synonymy serves as a fertile ground to spread the seeds of a reconsideration of Laclau’s account of populism. Utilizing Fieschi and Heywood’s concept of entrepreneurial populism, the article briefly problematizes his account and calls attention to this particular species of populism gaining increasing popularity in contemporary politics. It is every bit of populist in its modus operandi yet neither subverts the status quo nor aims to reconstruct a new one, but simply plays it.
  • van den Broeke, Leon; Kunter, Katharina (2021)
    This article is about the way that the notion of religion is understood and used in election manifestos of populist and nationalist right-wing political parties in Germany and the Netherlands between 2002 and 2021. In order to pursue such enquiry, a discourse on the nature of manifestos of political parties in general and election manifestos specifically is required. Election manifestos are important socio-scientific and historical sources. The central question that this article poses is how the notion of religion is included in the election manifestos of three Dutch (LPF, PVV, and FvD) and one German (AfD) populist and nationalist parties, and what this inclusion reveals about the connection between religion and populist parties. Religious keywords in the election manifestos of said political parties are researched and discussed. It leads to the conclusion that the notion of religion is not central to these political parties, unless it is framed as a stand against Islam. Therefore, these parties defend the Jewish-Christian-humanistic nature of the country encompassing the separation of 'church' or faith community and state, the care for the historical and cultural heritage of church buildings, and the subordination of the freedom of religion to the freedom of expression. The election manifestos also reveal that Buddhism and Hinduism are absent in the discourses of these political parties.
  • Ylä-Anttila, Tuukka (2020)
    This paper assesses the significance of social media for the Finns Party and the related anti-immigration movement from 2007 to the present day, in light of theories on the relationship of populism and social media. These include people-centrism, disenfranchisement, homophily, the attention economy, media elitism, and (lack of) communicative resources. Tracing the historical trajectory of the Finnish anti-immigration movement and the Finns Party, I argue that the Finnish case is an example of a movement being born online and using social media to build a political identity and strategically gain influence through a party, eventually transforming it from the inside out—rather than the party strategically using social media for its purposes, as is sometimes assumed in party-centric literature. While acknowledging the continued importance of parties, research on contemporary populist movements must take into account the political engagement of citizens facilitated by online media.
  • Pyrhönen, Niko Johannes (University of Helsinki, Swedish School of Social Science, 2015)
    SSKH skrifter
    At the beginning of the millennium, a concern for the future of the welfare state in the globalized era was widely shared across the Finnish political spectrum. Further politicizing the question of immigration, neo-populist advocates mobilized a markedly heterogeneous constituency to support the right-wing populist Perussuomalaiset party, establishing the previously minor party among the three largest ones in the parliament. Employing a wide range of narratives, specifically tailored to different arenas of public debate, neo-populism soon acquired a chameleonic character that allowed front-line politicians and grassroots level advocates to secure support from constituencies in the blue-collared working-class, the middle classes and the dot.net generation. Instrumental in the expansion of the Perussuomalaiset voter base was the neo-populists ability to consistently facilitate exposure in the media for a welfare nationalist political agenda that framed their exclusionary immigration critique as part of a mundane socio-political debate aimed at saving our welfare state. In order to examine the consolidation of neo-populism into a resonant collective identity, the present study operationalizes theoretical contributions from critical nationalism studies a compound body of literature in sociology, political science and media studies into three analytical lenses. Triangulating between these lenses, the empirical analysis focuses on the narrative agency of neo-populist advocates, uncovering how the seedbed of favorable political opportunity structures was harnessed in their political mobilization. The collection of narrative data from a variety of arenas of public debate, and its subsequent analysis, is structured by a historical reconstruction of three critical turning points taking place before, during and right after the electoral victory of the Perussuomalaiset in 2011. The results of this doctoral study point to a conclusion that neo-populist mobilization was first advanced through narratives of exclusionary boundary-work, employed for the purpose of justifying a welfare nationalist focus on immigration politics as the panacea for the ailing welfare state. Constructing an idealized legacy of an empowering welfare state and harmoniously homogeneous civil society, neo-populists proliferated public stories that place the blame for the welfare state s globalized challenges on immigration. Moreover, through strategic social action in various online arenas of contested media space, the neo-populists sought to further personalize and emotionalize the debate on immigration. This served to consolidate a collective identity based on victimized self-understanding, whereby their political opponents and public critics were positioned into distinct enemy categories, such as the elite controlled media, irresponsible Green Khmers and detached ladies with flowery hats.
  • Ylä-Anttila, Tuukka (University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, 2012)
    This Master’s thesis focuses on the arguments and justifications of Finns Party (Perussuomalaiset, PS) candidates before the Finnish parliamentary elections of 2011, where the populist party succeeded tremendously, over quadrupling its share of votes. The context is one of a rising tide of nationalist populism in Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe. Other studies have theoretically and empirically provided some explanations for this dynamic both elsewhere and in Finland. However, a study of political sociology on the Finns Party candidates’ argumentation can shed light on the cultural specificity the nationalist populist phenomenon takes on in the Finnish case. It is argued here that this specificity is born out of the legacy of Finnish populism, nationalism and political culture, including the legacy of the Finnish Rural Party (Suomen maaseudun puolue, SMP, 1959–1995), the predecessor of the PS. Data that facilitates such an analysis is found in the Helsingin Sanomat Voting Advice Application. This political questionnaire was answered by 202 (85%) PS candidates and released online as open data, providing a unique dataset not previously available. By a content analysis informed by the justification theory of Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot, the study answers the following questions: How is Finnish political culture and history visible in the way the European populist phenomenon takes its shape in the PS? Is the PS geographically divided to a rural part with SMP rural populist roots and an urban part in line with the contemporary European populist radical right? It was hypothesized that rural PS populism is more left-wing in nature and stresses rural poverty, whereas urban PS populism sees immigration issues as more salient and is more right-wing in its economic policy. The rural candidates were expected to present justifications based on equality and social justice more often, and the urban candidates to use ones based on market efficiency. This hypothesis indeed holds true, according to the results of this study, but with some critical corrections. First, the rural/urban division is not as clear-cut as hypothesized. The radical right candidates are a minority even within the urban candidates. The mainstream of rural and urban candidates was more of a left-populist nature. Second, while a gender aspect was missing from the hypothesis, gender was indeed to be considered, since the radical right candidates were even more overwhelmingly male than they were urban. Third, while there were differences between the rural and urban candidates in their usage of justifications, this varied with the question and was not as consistent as hypothesized. Nevertheless, the use of justifications based on efficiency was notable. Both rural and urban candidates often related to political issues as to be decided upon with calculations of expected consequences. This is something that is typical of Finnish political culture, and in this study, it is found to be typical of Finnish populism as well.