Poliitika ja valitsemine digiajastul – Master´s theses

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    A radical right lived ideology: an in-depth case study of the ideology of Sinine Äratus
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2024) Jezierska, Isabel Mari; Piirimäe, Eva, juhendaja; Wierenga, Louis John, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    This thesis answered the research question “What is the nature and what are the core features of the ideology of Sinine Äratus?”. The decision to investigate the ideology of Sinine Äratus, a radical right youth organisation associated with the radical right Conservative People’s Party of Estonia, is multifaceted. Firstly, it serves as a compelling case for exploring the ideology of a radical right youth organisation, offering a rich source of information. Additionally, Sinine Äratus is situated in Eastern Europe, has global affiliations with other radical right organisations and activists, and has the potential to influence its mother party. To answer the research question, the author used dual-method approach. First, through theory-driven content analysis, the author demonstrated that the ideology of Sinine Äratus encompasses three key characteristics of radical right ideology: authoritarianism, anti-democracy, and nationalism, as defined by Elisabeth Carter. This confirmed that Sinine Äratus indeed is a radical right ideology. Second, the author employed data-driven qualitative content analysis along with morphological analysis to delve into the concepts, arguments connecting these concepts, and the underlying values that constitute the ideology of Sinine Äratus. The identified concepts were categorised into three themes: ethnonationalism, national independence, and environment. Using two different methods for studying the ideology of Sinine Äratus not only allowed the author to reconstruct the ideology of Sinine Äratus from two different perspectives but also allowed the author to demonstrate what researchers would fail to capture if they were to just use one method for studying an organisation’s ideology.
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    "Did we go too far?": Post-incumbency electoral performance after partnering with populist radical right in Europe 1999-2023
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2024) Astudillo Laureda, Eduardo Alonso; Reiljan, Andres, juhendaja; Mölder, Martin, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    This thesis examines the electoral consequences for the political parties that decided to collaborate in executive coalitions with Populist Radical Right Parties (PRRPs) in Europe. It addresses the need to understand the implications of these political alignments, given the growing frequency of such coalitions. Using a large-N quantitative analysis and linear regression model, this research analyzes electoral data from eleven European countries to explore the strategic implications of coalition formation with PRRPs. Even though the study reveals that there is no consistent impact and direction on overall electoral costs for forming such coalitions, the effect changes depending on a party's position on the left-right spectrum. The thesis finds that right-leaning parties face uncertain immediate electoral fates post-coalition, while left-leaning parties will perceive a negative electoral impact when entering a coalition with PRRPs. The findings have important implications for the study of multi-party competition as they challenge expectations regarding accommodative strategies and the efficiency of the cordon sanitaire. The research highlights the complex dynamics of ideological alignment, voter behavior, and the challenges of balancing core values against the need for strategic coalition-building.
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    Effect of societal culture on women empowerment in the Panchayati Raj system in India
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2024) Malik, Alpana; Kilp, Alar, juhendaja; Bhatti, Rampal, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    This case study focuses on assessing the impact of societal cultures on women's empowerment within the Panchayati system in India, particularly in the Khanpur Kalan and Ganwari villages of Sonipat district, Haryana. Employing a qualitative approach with openended interviews, the research explores the cultural factors influencing gender treatment in both the Panchayat and village contexts. Thematic content analysis, guided by Hofstede’s Dimensions Theory of Culture and Kabeer’s Instrumental Model, identifies four main themes: Cultural factors in the Panchayat system, Cultural factors in the village, Village empowerment determinants, and Council empowerment determinants. The study reveals a dominance of masculine cultures, emphasizing gender roles. Despite women having access to resources, findings indicate insufficient empowerment, with low agency and achievement status. Informal cultures within Panchayats and villages significantly impact women's participation and efficiency in the studied region.
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    Voting along the ethnic line? Ethnic minority voters in Estonia and Lithuania
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2023) Cheung, Yan Ming; Reiljan, Andres, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    This thesis aims to examine the prevalence and predictors of minority ethnic voting in Estonia and Lithuania. The empirical results confirm that ethnic minorities in these two countries indeed vote as a homogenous group. Specifically, they are more likely to vote for an ethnic minority party, compared to their ethnic majority counterparts. In addition, it is found that minority ethnic voting is more prevalent in Estonia during the review period. Seeking to identify variables that can predict such ethnic voting behaviour, this thesis also tests two theoretical models, namely the social identity model and the rational model, with individuallevel survey data from Estonia and Lithuania. Drawing upon these two established theoretical models, six hypotheses are formed and tested. The findings reveal that language serves as a powerful predictor of ethnic voting behaviour in both Estonia and Lithuania. Moreover, aside from language, an individual’s placement on the left-right political spectrum appears to be another strong predictor of ethnic voting, with left-wing ethnic minority voters being more likely to cast their vote along ethnic lines. These findings contribute to a better understanding of minority voting behaviour in Estonia and Lithuania.
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    The impact of education policy on human capital development; a case of Nigeria
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2023) Adeniran, Titilade Philip; Talving, Liisa, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    One dividing line that has edged the developed countries above the developing countries is the calibre of human capital stock developed for national productivity. This study examines the impact of education policy on human capital development in Nigeria. Government expenditure on education (GEE) and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETF) were used to measure education policy in Nigeria, while Human Development Index (HDI) was used to measure Human Capital Development. Secondary time series data on the employed variables sourced from the Central Bank of Nigeria Statistical Bulletin, World Bank Data bank, and Federal Inland Revenue Service annual reports for 2011 to 2021 were employed in the study. With the aid of an Econometric View, descriptive statistics, stationarity test, and Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) techniques were used as data analysis methods. The findings reveal that GEE and TETF positively impact HDI, although the influence is not statistically significant. This implies that an increase in GEE and TETF promotes the stock of human capital in Nigeria, although at a nominal rate. The study concludes that education policy enhances human capital development positively. Therefore, for a significant impact of education policy on human capital development, the study recommends, among others, that education policy actors at various strata should increase the quantum of funds allocated to tertiary education. The government should also be committed to improving the quality of education by providing adequate financial resources to educational institutions and encouraging research and development.
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    The influence of women’s political representation on political decision-making: qualitative case study of Azerbaijan
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2023) Majidova, Nilufar; Kilp, Alar, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    Gender inequality issues persist in both the descriptive and substantive representation of women in the political arena. Even though the developed countries have made significant improvements in addressing gender inequality issues in politics, the issue is still at a critical level in developing countries. Azerbaijan is a post-Soviet country where most of the population is Muslim. High levels of the gender wage gap, underage and forced marriage issues, domestic violence, and social stereotypes against women in Azerbaijani society create a need for improvements in the substantive representation of women in politics. Additionally, the descriptive representation of Azerbaijani women is still low. In this research, the author aims to identify the link between the descriptive and substantive representation of women in politics in the case of Azerbaijan. By doing so, the author will clarify if there is a need to increase the number of female MPs in the Azerbaijani parliament, to increase women’s substantive representation in politics. Using the qualitative data from the Codes of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the transcripts of parliamentary meetings, interviews, and surveys, the author identifies how female MPs impacted the policy agenda and output on women’s issues and to what extent male MPs represented the issues of women. The findings suggest that female MPs bring more issues of women to the political agenda and can affect policy output on women’s issues more compared to male MPs. Without female MPs, male MPs do not represent women’s issues enough. While male MPs discuss more on unemployment of women, women’s reproductive health, human trafficking, and violence against women, they do not represent health issues of women other than reproductive health, forced marriage, underage marriage, women’s participation in political decision-making, unequally divided household responsibilities, and social stereotypes against women.
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    Studying the relationship of nationality, ideology and affective polarization: the case of Estonia
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2023) Lõoke, Karl; Reiljan, Andres, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    Estonia is a strongly divided country on an ethnic basis, in which approximately 24% of the population is Russian-speaking. Competition between ethnic groups for different values, like public resources and political representatives, increases polarization and creates conflicts. In recent centuries, partisan-ideological sorting has taken place, which has increased the strength of political identities and polarized mass political behavior. Such splitting and partisan-ideological sorting lead to affective polarization, which is one of the main concerns that threaten the well-being of democracy. This Master's thesis examines how ethnicity and ideology affect affective polarization in Estonia. In the case of the years selected for analysis, it can be seen that while ethnicity played an important role and was a more important indicator in the study of affective polarization, in 2022 ideological self-placement was the more important factor in affective polarization. In addition, it turned out that the level of affective polarization is higher for people who ideologically place themselves at the extremes than those who place themselves more moderately on one or the other side of the left-right scale. However, from the linear regressions carried out in the work was seen that ideological self-placement, ethnicity and age, and gender used as control variables describe a small variation of affective polarization, therefore, it is important to investigate what other factors are influencing this phenomenon in the future.
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    Why e-government projects fail: main antecedents of the non-adoption of electronic health records in Germany according to stakeholder perceptions
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2023) Bitzenhofer, Felicitas; Alishani, Art, juhendaja; Schmidt, Carsten, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    The Electronic Health Record in Germany was introduced in January 2021 and offers the integrated use of the application across sectors and institutions. However, two years after this introduction, less than 1% of the German population has applied for such a record with their health insurance provider. This is despite evident support of medical professionals as well as the society at large. To explain this non-adoption in particular and e-government non-adoption in general, the main goal of this thesis is the synthesis of the main antecedents of e-government non-adoption by investigating the perceptions of its main stakeholders: political stakeholders, medical professionals and citizens. Building on the assumption that non-adoption is not simply the opposite of adoption, and that perceptions of stakeholders play a crucial role in the engagement with e-government, this study is set in an interpretive, single case study. Moreover, the research conducted in this thesis employs Q-methodology, a mixed-methods approach that allows for the study of subjective experiences, and therefore perceptions. Analyzing the data from 29 participants (4 political stakeholders, 9 medical professionals and 16 citizens), this study found four main antecedents of non-adoption: communication, trust, design and attitude. These can be considered a starting point for more research focused explicitly on non-adoption and give valuable insights for practitioners.
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    The role of citizens’ governance spaces in governing same-sex partnerships: a comparative study of Estonia (2014-2016) and Latvia (2020-2022)
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2023) Sepp, Evgeniia; Muhhina, Kristina, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    Same-sex partnership policy is a broad topic that is still developing in different countries. Due to the specificity and sensitivity of the issue, different opinions on the future of the policy exist in both the government and society. The situation becomes more complicated in the post-Soviet , where the switch of mindset started in 1991 and is still ongoing. In this context, Estonia and Latvia proceeded with equality provisions, overcoming traditional bias. Despite the common goal and practical result of the legalisation of same-sex partnerships, the outcomes differ in countries In this thesis, a comparison of the policy outcomes in these regions is provided based on the degree of the government’s initiative, social proactiveness, and the formalisation of communication channels. As an exploratory comparative case study, it investigates how differences in citizens’ governance spaces determine the outcome of same-sex partnership policy in Estonia and Latvia. The research conducted includes document analysis, desk research, and in-depth interviews with the representatives of LGBT+ associations. As a result, the study suggests hepotheses that should be explored and tested in future research on the connection between the citizens’ governance spaces and the policy outcome.
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    The transformations of physical, digital and social spaces during COVID-19 pandemic
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2022) Harutyunyan, Shushanik; Ehin, Piret, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    Since the end of the 20th century, the interconnection between physical and social spaces has been widely explored (Löw, 2001). However, “quarantine” as a new social-spatial practice, as well as the universal digital transformations of daily practices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, led to spatial refigurations in social, digital and physical spaces. Hence, this study contributes to the advancement of the knowledge of the new social-spatial reality. In the framework of the critical practice theory, qualitative in-depth interviews have been conducted with educational and labour migrants from post-soviet space lining in Berlin to understand transformations of the social-spatial practices of the social agents as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The promise of this study is threefold: to understand the transformations of the social- spatial connectivity practices of social agents; to compare social connectivity practices in digital and physical spaces; to understand the interrelation of the social, digital and physical spaces. The research findings show that practice is more relevant than the structure of the network in the context of social connectivity. Moreover, the spatial context of the communication influences on connectivity practices. Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic led to spatial refigurations in social, digital and physical spaces and these refigurations are interrelated. The findings of this research can be applicable in many fields starting from urban planning to the algorithms of digital applications.
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    “Best practices” vs. tailor-made reforms: an exploratory case study of agencification and its effects on policymaking capacity in Ukraine in 2016-2021
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2023) Yevdokymova, Oleksandra; Muhhina, Kristina, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    International aid agencies and organisations have been promoting good governance and institutional development for several decades. Recently, however, the approach of importing “best practices” from developed Western countries and applying them as blueprints elsewhere has received substantial scepticism and criticism. Both academics and policymakers now emphasise the importance of contextualising and tailoring institutional reforms. They aim to find a good fit for each country and achieve long-term sustainable results rather than quick wins. One of the aid recipient countries for which the change of approach to institutional development is relevant is Ukraine. Among many other reforms, it is now undergoing agencification – a transformation of ministries into analytical units, freed from excessive and duplicated administrative functions. This thesis explores the case of agencification in Ukraine, endorsed and coordinated by the EU and the OECD’s SIGMA programme. As an exploratory case study, it investigates how the tailoring of agencification reform affects the policymaking capacity of ministries as its main intended result. The researcher conducted document analysis, desk research and in-depth interviews with public administration experts and practitioners. As a result, the study suggests four nuanced hypotheses which need to be further explored and verified in future research on the relationship between agencification reform tailoring and the policymaking capacity of ministries in developing countries.
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    The impact of Europeanization on action against gender-based violence in the Balkan countries: a comparative study
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2022) Abzalova, Albina; Ehin, Piret, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    Gender-based violence remains a widespread problem, which causes physical, psychological, economic and social damage. It is a brutal violation of women’s fundamental rights and the European Union has committed significant efforts and resources combatting it not only across its territory but also beyond its boundaries. As a gender equality promoter at the international level, the EU has sought to reduce gender-based and domestic violence in the candidate countries. The candidate countries must fulfill certain criteria to become members of the EU including harmonization of legislation on gender equality. This study examines how local actors in three Balkan countries react to EU laws, norms and practices on gender equality, and specifically, EU efforts to reduce gender-based violence. The Balkan countries have a long history of violence against women rooted in patriarchal society, economic inequality, and legacy of wars. The thesis is based on interviews with nine organizations working with victims of gender-based violence in three countries – Serbia, Albania and Montenegro. Besides interviews, the analysis is based on public reports, documentation of international organizations, and reports written by independent expert groups. Through fieldwork, the researcher was able to collect the data from organizations working towards prevention and protection of women from violence. These insights allowed to make several findings. First, lack of state budget impacts implementation of legislation on the gender-based violence, including national strategies, and the provision of services provided by women NGOs, shelters, referral centers and trainings of professionals. Second, it is clear that state does not fully recognize the expertize of specialized NGOs and establishes inadequate requirements to provision of social services for victims of gender-based violence, especially in Montenegro and Serbia.
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    Green parties in the globalization divide: economic policy positions as predictors of electoral results
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2022) Haapanen, Ville; Talving, Liisa, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    Can policy positions predict the electoral results of Green parties? By placing European Green parties in Western and Eastern Europe in a framework of globalized politics and conducting a large-N statistical analysis, this thesis shows that economic policy positions of Green parties are significant predictors of electoral results for Green parties, and that the comparatively weaker electoral results of Green parties in post-communist Europe can be explained through these policy positions. The results also show nuance in Green parties’ positioning within globalized political conflicts and contributes to the literature on the globalization divide.
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    Political neutrality or editorial slant? Comparing coverage and content of Estonia’s largest nationwide daily newspapers
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2022) Dolenko, Pärt; Mölder, Martin, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    This thesis studied whether there exists a form of media bias in the two of the largest news outlets Postimees and Eesti Päevaleht in Estonia. The study coded a combination of 258 editorials that were taken from the timeframe between 26th of October of 2020 to 26th of April of 2021. The found data was used to compare the outlets differences in issue bias and framing bias. Issue bias consists of the coverage of policy issues, policy actors, and an ideological leniency. Framing bias consists of an outlet providing either positive or negative opinions and statements on political actors that would show either preferences towards political actors or a strong deviation from media neutrality. The analyses showed differences in policy issue coverage but not in political actor coverage. Furthermore, an ideological leniency was not detected for either outlet. Both outlets showed a deviation from media neutrality with average negative scores towards both political actors and respective coalitions in the timeframe. Moreover, Eesti Päevaleht was found to be much more negative and likely to criticise political actors whilst the attitudes of Postimees were comparatively less often and milder.
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    Augmenting public sector data-driven decision support systems with expert knowledge: case of OTT
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2022) Leets, Peeter; Solvak, Mihkel, juhendaja; Võrk, Andres, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    Public sector data-driven decision support systems are uniquely challenging to design due to the ramifications they have on the societal level. Accountability and ethical considerations require these systems to arrive at an equilibirium between accuracy and interpretability amid various implementation and data constraints. While these systems need to contribute to legitimate governance through reasoned and explainable decision-making, they also need to accurately model the policy outcomes they were designed to support. Inopportunely, inductive data-driven systems struggle to solve problems that rely on heuristic input. In this thesis, a particular knowledge engineering technique was adopted to augment a public sector Machine Learning decision support tool with domain expert knowledge. The case in question is OTT – a job-seeker profiling tool used by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund to predict the long-term unemployment risks of their clients. Upon augmenting it with knowledge from caseworkers and data scientists associated with the project, some evidence was found that accounting for expert knowledge in probabilistic data-driven models can lead to a model that performs better on new out-of-sample data and is more in line with underlying domain rules. This yields important implications on the future of Machine Learning in the public sector as it opens up new potential use cases in avenues where 1) labelled training data is hard to come by, 2) a more generalizable model is preferred due to frequent changes in the surrounding context, 3) a model has to perfectly mimic domain logic for interpretability and explainability reasons.
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    Impact of being in the government for populist parties: the comparison of EKRE and the Finns Party
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2022) Pulk, Meinhard; Talving, Liisa, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    In this thesis I use comparative process-tracing to compare how two far-right populist parties EKRE and the Finns Party behaved in their respective two years in the government, if and how their strategies differed from being in the opposition and what was the aftermath for both those parties. Using categorization from Katsanidou and Reinl (2020, 353), I compared parties on the axis of responsiveness and responsibility: which strategy the party chose while being in the government. I concluded that EKRE opted for more responsive strategy by continuing in its rhetoric and actions in the similar mood as they behaved in the opposition. The Finns Party, on the other hand, was much more modest in its positions, in rhetoric and actual policy but it ignited internal contradictions in the party, caused its split in 2017 and dropped back to the opposition. In the end, their fate was similar to EKRE, as more radical wing seized the domination in party and turned the Finns Party much more radical. In addition, neither EKRE’s nor the Finns Party’s ratings experienced significant decrease in the long run and thus the mainstream parties’ hope, that including populist parties in the government coalition can restrain them (Kuisma and Nygard 2017, ERR 2019) was short-sighted. I stated that the main reason why parties opted for different strategies lies in parties’ different history: the Finns Party as an older party had to solve differences between more traditional party elite and the radical wing of the party, which particularly on the grassroots level was influenced by some newer populism trends. This was not the case in EKRE, which has through years enjoyed relatively homogeneous internal life and whose agenda has been dominated by small circle of politicians.
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    Analyzing the populist voter in Europe: the effects of political news and internet usage on voting behaviour
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2022) Apaestegui Cam, Luis Alberto; Mölder, Martin, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    Populism is one of the most researched topics in the past decade. There are many factors that can have an effect on the populist vote. It has been claimed that political news and internet use are some of them. Regarding the former, the mediatization and sensationalization of politics alongside the interdependence between political parties and the media could have an effect on people, which eventually might influence their voting behaviour. Regarding the latter, social media algorithms and unregulated content creates echo chambers and filter bubbles that are used by populists who are experts at using online tools to spread their ideas to a vast audience; which could translate into cast a vote for a populist party. Hence, this thesis analyses the effects of the media’s political news (PN) and internet usage (IU) on the populist voter to try to see if their consumption could be linked to voting for a populist party. It also tries to discover if rightwing populist voters (in comparison with left-wing populist and centrist populist voters) are those who spend more time watching political news and using the internet. In order to analyze this, two sets of logistic regression were performed. The first included the main variables of the study, PN and IU, and the second model was applied with the inclusion of 10 additional demographic and attitudinal variables. Each regression was tested in 22 European countries. Depending on types of populism found in each country, the regression was tested in right wing, left wing and centrist populist scenarios. In order to see which kind of populist voter consumes more news and internet, a t-test was carried out to compare the means for the groups of voters. The overall findings showed that the PN and IU do not have a significant effect, except for what can be considered an isolated scenario. Nonetheless, the full model permits the discovery of other findings that will help to give an overview of the behavioral traits of the populist voter.
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    The use of religious populism in social media during presidential elections: the cases of Guatemala and Honduras
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2022) Vain, Kristiina; Kilp, Alar, juhendaja; Wierenga, Louis John, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    Religious populism signifies the relationship between religion and populism in otherwise secular states. It includes both the emergence of religious political actors in non-religious states as well as the populist use of religious symbols, traditions, and values by secular politicians. While populism itself is a political phenomenon that has been extensively researched in the last decades, religious populism has not received that much scholarly attention. The aim of this research is to study the presence of religious populism on social media during presidential elections in Guatemala and Honduras. A multimodal discourse analysis is carried out with the purpose to analyse Facebook posts made by the two most popular presidential candidates in the 2021 Honduran presidential elections, Xiomara Castro and Nasry Asfura, and by the two most popular presidential candidates in the 2019 Guatemalan presidential elections, Alejandro Giammattei and Sandra Torres. Data used in this research consists of posts made on verified public Facebook pages by these four candidates. Religious populism is assessed through five indicators in this thesis: 1) God’s sovereignty – focusing on God’s sovereignty instead of popular sovereignty 2) invoking a heartland – emphasising the connection between God and a specific territory 3) charismatic leadership – a leader presenting themselves as a martyr or as a saviour-like figure 4) a mission of salvation – framing one’s political mission as a religious one, promising salvation to people 5) a moral community – equating religious communities to the most moral ones. The strongest indicators of religious populism in the analysed Facebook posts proved to be the concepts of invoking a heartland, a moral community, and charismatic leadership, while two aspects of religious populism – a mission of salvation and God’s sovereignty – were missing in the posts. The research confirms that all analysed presidential candidates in Guatemala and Honduras have used some aspects of religious populism in their political campaigns on Facebook. While this thesis offers a comparative analysis of two Latin American countries, future research could focus on conducting a region-wide study regarding the use of religious populism in political campaigning.
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    Democracy and trends in wealth inequality: a global empirical study
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2022) Smith, Joshua J.; Mölder, Martin, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    Effective democracy relies on the political equality of individuals, which is in turn influenced by wealth inequality levels. However, within-country wealth inequality has reached extreme levels in the world today and continues to rise. Conclusive information on whether democracies are effectively reducing or limiting wealth inequality as compared to non-democracies is currently lacking. Here I show that generally countries with high levels of democracy are not any more likely to reduce or limit wealth inequality than non-democratic states, using a rigorous methodology and data from 146 countries. Conversely, I also find that two specific aspects related to democracy, strong and independent elected regional government and widespread respect for civil liberties, do function to reduce or limit wealth inequality. My results demonstrate that democracy is in need of certain reforms to both increase political equality and limit wealth inequality. Besides providing empirical support for the practice of federalism as well as policies protecting civil liberties for the disadvantaged, this thesis also examines reasoning for why democracy may not be functioning to reduce or limit wealth inequality, and relevant policy recommendations are highlighted.