The Climate Change Movement and Political Parties : Social Media Interaction During the Electoral Period 2019 in Finland

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Julkaisun nimi: The Climate Change Movement and Political Parties : Social Media Interaction During the Electoral Period 2019 in Finland
Toissijainen nimi: Ilmastoliike ja poliittiset puolueet : vuorovaikutus sosiaalisessa mediassa vuoden 2019 vaalien aikana
Tekijä: Savolainen, Sonja
Muu tekijä: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Politiikan ja talouden tutkimuksen laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political and Economic Studies (2010-2017)
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för politik och ekonomi
Julkaisija: Helsingin yliopisto
Päiväys: 2020
Kieli: eng
Opinnäytteen taso: pro gradu -tutkielmat
Oppiaine: Yleinen valtio-oppi, politiikan tutkimus
Political Science, Politics
Allmän statslära, politologi
Tiivistelmä: This master’s thesis investigates the dynamics between the climate movement and Finnish political parties in 2019. The climate movement mobilization overlapped two elections in Finland: the parliamentary elections in April and the European parliamentary elections in May. The research focuses on developments in the relationship before, during and after the elections, which will be analysed using the contentious politics approach and electoral contention mechanisms by Tilly, McAdam and Tarrow. This thesis uses a case study research design to examine the distinctive circumstances in which a global mobilization wave overlaps with two elections. The main set of data consists of all public tweets in Finnish twitter, which mention either ‘ilmastolakko’ (climate strike) or ‘#nytonpakko’ (#actnow) and were published in 2019. The tweets are collected using search engine technology and processed by extracting four datasets of tweets sent out by Finnish parliament members. The data is further investigated using various methods, such as network analysis. Statistics collected by the Finnish police force and survey data collected by researchers in climate protests are used to support the analysis. The analysis showed that the dynamics of the interaction between the climate movement and the political parties in Finland changed throughout 2019. Before the parliamentary elections in April 2019, the climate movement formed mutually beneficial electoral alliances with the Green League and the Left Alliance. The political parties took distance from the movement after the elections. A responsive mobilization of the climate movement after the elections showed increasing criticism towards politicians. Other parties did not significantly change their position towards the movement after the elections, although the Finns Party slightly increased the amount of criticism and the other parties slightly decreased the amount of support shown towards the movement. The developments in the movement-party relations were apparent in many ways: Indicators of the mechanisms of interaction were changes in the number of tweets published by MPs, the contents of the tweets, frequency and scale of climate protests and the support or criticism from the climate movement towards the political parties. The two waves of mobilization in Helsinki was supplemented by other types of mobilization, such as the launch of the ‘Korvaamaton’- campaign of development, climate and environmental organizations. This thesis shows that social media is a venue of movement-party interactions in more open media systems, where political elites transcend to Twitter networks. The existence of virtual political elites can have implications for social movements and the collective ‘conflict and alliance’ structure of politics. Further research should be conducted on the other venues in which movement-party interactions may occur and on other case studies, where social movement mobilization and elections occur simultaneously.
Avainsanat: Social movements
climate movement
environmental movement
contentious politics
electoral contention
Asiasanat (yso): ilmastoliike
yhteiskunnalliset liikkeet


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