Läänemere regiooni uuringute õppekava magistritööd – Master´s theses

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    Estonia-Russia cross-border cooperation before and after the political crisis of 2014: drawbacks, developments, and transformations
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2020) Parshukova, Alina; Pääbo, Heiko, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    The topic of cross-border cooperation is increasing in its relevance. When it comes to cross-border cooperation, international relations become an important issue in the framing of transboundary activities and the process of implementation. The healthier and more harmonious is the international environment, the more successful cross-border activities are. Estonia and Russia share the largest transboundary water body in Europe which makes them highly dependent on common environmental problems with preservation of sustainable conditions of the lake, wildlife protection measures, and common fisheries management. However, international relations between Estonia and Russia have never been the easiest ones and stay under the influence of the general international environment. The main aim of the proposed study is to find out if the political developments have a crucial influence on the environmental cooperation and partnership of the local actors, as well as their actions. The research is intended to find drawbacks or benefits of political tensions over environmental cooperation. It is framed as qualitative research based on the comparison of environmental cooperation developments before and after 2014 - a notable point of political disturbances and year of the Estonia-Russia Programme launch as an extension of Estonia-Latvia-Russia Programme. To answer the main question of the research – whether political crisis influence environmental cross-border cooperation – a comparative study of materials of Joint Operational Programs were conducted. Further, the interview with people directly involved in the transboundary cooperation was performed. As a result, the study showed up the general problems of the region which are present there for a quite long time: discrepancies in legislations, poor monitoring and evaluation capabilities, low public visibility of the projects, lack of language knowledge, and the bureaucracy of managing actors. Interviewees gave a positive assessment to the regional cross-border cooperation. The most striking issues for representatives of NGOs were bureaucracy and tight frames of the Programme which “take a life out of the project”.
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    What makes a woman a woman? Exploring the gender identities of young female Estonians with higher education
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2019) Tsai, Meng-Yu; Ainsaar, Mare, juhendaja; Kay, Rebecca, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    To gain a better understanding of how women conceptualize gender and situate themselves in a changing society, the research conducted 12 semi-structured interviews with highly educated young Estonian women aged between 24-35. The interviews were conducted from February to March 2018 in Tartu, Estonia. Participants were recruited through snowball sampling on an entirely voluntary basis. The research inquires into the ways the informants define themselves in terms of gender and the social significance of the elements utilized to construct their gender identities. The results were categorized thematically and analyzed with Discourse Analysis (DA). The study finds that femininity at the individual level is conceptualized, experienced and related to one’s social life very differently. First of all, how “woman” is defined and how one understands the relationship between biological sex, gender and gender identity are already sites of struggle. Secondly, the boundary between women’s essential nature and socially constructed femininities is fuzzy. It is very difficult to claim anything other than female physiology essentially feminine since what makes a woman a woman differs from person to person. Lastly, the perceived importance of each elements of femininity to the participants’ overall self-identifications and their social life varies, which is highly contingent on the socialization processes that the informants have undergone. The empirical research illustrates the diverse conceptualizations of femininity and individual struggles to get rid of traditional gender roles while preserving a sense of belonging to her assigned gender group or her sex category, contributing to existing literature with an in-depth understanding of how gender as a social identity is negotiated at the individual level when different strands of thoughts coexist in society. Yet the research only focuses on highly educated young females perspectives. How other groups of women conceptualize and practice femininity may be interests to future research.
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    Euroscepticism and EKRE: how nativism influences the Euroscepticism of Estonia’s largest populist radical right party
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2019) Jarosak, Daniel Robert; Pääbo, Heiko, juhendaja; Mach, Zdzislaw, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    The Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE) has rapidly grown in popularity over the course of seven years. After officially forming in 2013, the party won 8% of the seats in the Estonian Parliament in the 2015 elections. Then, in 2019, the party more than doubled this number when it won 19% of the seats in the parliament. The party has accomplished this impressive feat while advocating for the Estonian government to place a greater emphasis on sovreignity and traditional values. In addition to this emphasis on nativism, the party also promotes Eurosceptic language in both its policy goals and rhetoric. This thesis sets out to prove that, in the case of EKRE, this concern over cultural issues is related to the Eurosceptic nature of the party. By conducting interviews with party leaders, three categories of codes were created. Those categories are, Euroscepticism, nativism, and populism. From these codes, this thesis comes to the conclusion that EKRE is a hard-Eurosceptic party and its hard-Eurosceptic beliefs are fueled by nativism.
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    European Parliament member's activism: the case of the Baltic States.
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2019) Liepina, Santa; Mölder, Martin, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    The main aim of this thesis is to discern the activism of the European Parliament Members (MEPs) representing the Baltic states, with a secondary aim to find out the differences of activism between European Union founding states and Central-Eastern European countries that joined the union in 2004. The argumentation for the research stems from finding out, which of the MEPs representing any of the Baltic states can be considered the most active, as a common misconception in modern Europe is that MEPs are inactive in their day-to-day duties in the European Parliament. Additionally, the secondary aim attempts at comparing the aforementioned country groups to see whether or not countries with greater experience in the union are more active than relative newcomers. The research utilizes 9 different parameters that depict parliamentary activities in the EP by which activism of each MEP is measured in this research. To display the activism of both countries and individual MEPs, a suite of methods is designed to discern the relevant results. The research includes the collection of required data on every MEP currently serving in the current European Parliament that is later used for necessary calculations. The results for both the analysis of countries and Baltic MEPs are gathered in several graphs and relevant conclusions are drawn from them. Based on the available results, the Baltic MEPs are further classified into two divisions of parliamentary activities inspired by Bíró-Nagy (2016).
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    European identity through the lens of the Polish right-wing media: case of the Constitutional Tribunal crisis with the European Union (2016-17)
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2019) Soosaar, Rain; Petsinis, Vassilis, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
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    Vilnius and Klaipeda problems in the foreign policy of Latvia and Estonia 1934-1938
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2019) Narvydas, Paulius; Pääbo, Heiko, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    Vilnius and Klaipėda territorial questions were the main obstacle for deeper Baltic cooperation during interwar period. In 1934 all three Baltic states created a union called Baltic Entente. From this moment, Latvian and Estonian diplomats had to re-define their position in relation to Klaipėda and Vilnius question. The long-lasting conflicts played an important role in Estonian and Latvian foreign policy not only developing relations with Lithuania, but also in a broader regional context. The main aim is to find out how territorial questions determined Estonia’s and Latvia’s foreign policy. This thesis finds that the territorial problems were treated differently by Latvia and Estonia. Vilnius question was the only problem envisioned in the treaty of the Baltic Entente. Klaipėda was not defined as specific problem. However, Estonia’s and Latvia’s behaviour depended on their own interests. Latvians provided help through diplomatic channels whereas Estonians were much restrained. Both countries held on strict neutrality regarding Vilnius conflict. However, Latvia was actively involved in mediation attempts while they believed that conflict between Poland and Lithuania could cause German aggression. There was not found any proves of Germany and Poland direct influence on Lithuania through Latvia and Estonia. There was mistrust that prevailed among three Baltic states. Hence, specific problems seriously paralyzed any attempts of deepening Baltic Entente.
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    The effect of outward migration on election outcomes in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania after accession to the European Union
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2019) Wright, Helen Winifred Kristina; Solvak, Mihkel, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    Since 2004, hundreds of thousands of people have emigrated from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to work and live abroad in other European Union member states. Once outside of their countries these citizens - like the majority of emigrants around the world - stop taking part in home elections. This thesis examines what could have happened if these voters had stayed in their home countries and continued to vote. Would election outcomes have changed if these people had participated in them? I look specifically at one election from each country, all of which took place between 2014 and 2016, and their outcomes. My time frame for emigration from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania started in 2004 after all three countries joined the European Union, and ended the year of, or year before, the election I have chosen to study. Using an impact assessment and counterfact model, I calculated my results using data from each country’s national statistics office and the European Social Survey. My results show that election outcomes in Estonia and Lithuania would have remained broadly the same, but in Latvia the political party which received the highest vote share would have changed. In Estonia and Latvia, the centre-right parties would have been strengthened with these extra votes, in Lithuania centre-left parties would gained more support than they did in the real election. This thesis adds to the narrow genre of literature that already exists and looks at the impact of emigration on politics and elections in home countries. It is the first, to my knowledge, that looks specifically at election outcomes in the Baltic states or any of three countries.
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    Towards the mainstream? The AfD as a case study
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2019) Lipa, Bardh; Petsinis, Vassilis, juhendaja; Wierenga, Louis John, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    The radical right-wing party, the Alternative für Deutschland, caused a political tremor in 2017 German election by changing the political landscape significantly while becoming the third largest party in the Bundestag. Also, with most of the studies that asses AfD’s development being published while the party was starting to transform itself, the Euro crisis has lost its urgency, and given that party has been going through internal struggles for a while between ‘liberals’ and ‘extremists’ leads to the question on whether the AfD has shifted towards the mainstream? This dissertation works with the definition of ‘mainstreaming’ provided by Akkerman et al. (2016) and assess the party change along four key dimensions: 1) changes with respect to radical positions on core issues; 2) changes from a niche party to a party that focused on socioeconomic issues; 3) changes in the anti-establishment profile; and 4) changes regarding the party reputation. The research strategy adopted to this dissertation is the qualitative case study and consisted of a review of relevant literature the topic, coupled with the collection and analysis of a comprehensive range source of data. The findings from this research show that there is no sign that the AfD is shifting towards the mainstream; on the contrary, the party is tending to radicalize along first three dimensions while showing signs of mainstreaming on the fourth dimension to avoid possible juridical actions.
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    From family tradition to national consciousness: an ethnographic study of Estonian knitting
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2018) Peng, Qiaoyun; Smith, David, juhendaja; Kõresaar, Ene, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    Knitting has been widely practised and appreciated by Estonian people as an indispensable part of Estonian cultural heritage. As a traditional handicraft skill with hundreds of years of history, knitting is not only of practical importance considering the nature condition but also to a certain extent being constructed as a symbol of Estonia throughout the twentieth century as well as nowadays. This dissertation is an ethnographic study focusing on Estonian knitting, in particular, on the point of the role of knitting in the process of national identity construction. To dates, there is still a knowledge gap in the field of study on Estonian knitting in English-speaking academia. Apart from a limited amount of Estonian authors either being translated or write in English (for example Anu Pink, Siiri Reimann, Kristi Jõeste), the only English-speaking author whose work is regularly mentioned as a reference and to a certain extent considered to be with an academic character is Nancy Bush. Most of the publications on Estonian knitting have only focused on its practical aspect, i.e. patterns and techniques. In this dissertation, I aim to explore the function of knitting being a means of identity construction and link between individuals and nation space in Estonia. My theory bases are material culture studies and semiotic studies: I study knitting as material culture; my focus on the semiotic approach is made for decoding the meanings behind knitting and setting Estonian knitting as a signifier of collective cultural identity. I use ethnography as a method for this research project. In this dissertation, I present data collected during my fieldwork (including participant observation, visual data collection, interviews) period from September 2017 to August 2018. I also make autoethnography as a highlight considering my own identity of being at the same time an estophile and a knitter researching Estonian knitting. This dissertation aims to explore the unique role of knitting in Estonian culture both on family and national levels. Specifically, I present my findings of knitting being a symbol of the cultural root in Estonia, in particular for those people who knit. Thus, knitting helps to construct a part of Estonian national identity and enhance people’s sense of belonging to Estonia. I also attempt to show the importance of knitting in constructing a new image of the Estonian nation in a post-Soviet context.
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    Russian narrative of intervention in Syrian civil war : Critical examination of the Russian discourse describing Russian intervention in Syrian civil war from September 2015 to March 2016
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2018) Shchelin, Pavel; Cheskin, Ammon, juhendaja; Morozov, Viatcheslav, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    This thesis critically examines the Russian military intervention in Syria during the period of September 2015 – March 2016. It is a study that contributes to the analysis of the interrelation of two areas of political studies: media studies and foreign policy. In order to describe the logic behind Russian participation in the Syrian conflict, a social constructivist reading is suggested; according to which, the way the discourse of the Russian intervention has been presented in Russian media indicates the primary role of specific understanding of the ethical goals of Russian foreign policy. Specifically, the Russian military intervention in Syria is driven, according to the Russian discourse, by the need to present itself to the world as a “good actor” through a “just war.” Applying the method of qualitative discourse analysis, the thesis deconstructs the Russian narrative of intervention in the Syrian civil war through the Russian perspective. The results indicate the particular importance of the social function of war in Russian foreign policy – the importance of its performative and communicative aspect. Moreover, the result is a perceived conflict between two logics of understanding of the International – transcendental and local-centered – is revealed as a potential driving force of the modern tensions in the relationship between Russian and the West. As a result, a key problem in said relationship is the problem of communication: the lack of language both parties would understand. Without such a language, the actions of the opponent are continually interpreted, not from the perspective of the partner, but from the perspective of the viewer, which in the case of Russian-West discourse results in accusations of dishonesty and hypocrisy. Finally, the research highlights how the discourse of Syrian intervention is constructed and reflects the social function of war in Russia in general. This function of a “just war” (and any war in Russia is ‘just’ by default) is to serve as the moral cornerstone of the country’s identity, as the mechanism of consolidation and purification. It appears that the historical origins of this discursive model of war can be traced back to the period of World War II. In conclusion, this thesis suggests the need for the further studies of the connections between the ways identity is constructed linguistically in the narratives of foreign policy and decisions made by politicians. Another question of utmost importance is whether there is a substitution to war as a social mechanism of Russian society to experience its moral appropriateness and adherence to moral standards of justice.
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    Role of social and cultural memory dimensions within individual perceptions about the Second World War in Ukraine: a generational perspective
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2018) Mishcheriakova, Oleksandra; Cheskin, Ammon, juhendaja; Pääbo, Heiko, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    The thesis analyses the influence of collective memory on individual attitudes to historical events based on the case of Ukraine’s collective memory of the Second World War. A generational and family perspective is taken to examine 20 interviews collected with representatives of different generations of seven Ukrainians families. The theoretical framework for the research is based on Aleida Assmann’s concepts of social and cultural memory, which allowed to develop the analytical tool of social and cultural memory manifestations. This tool along with thematic analysis allows to trace main factors influencing the shaping of WWII personal attitudes in Ukraine. The thesis argues that while social and cultural memory can have pronounced influence on individual perceptions of WWII, the impact of social memory decreases as more time passes. Therefore, generational trends in collective memory influence become more visible than trends within same families. Based on the data, the thesis also provides a new insight into the way official memory discourses interact with social and cultural memory and affect individual perceptions about the past. The thesis also gives a bottom-up perspective on memory processes in Ukraine against the backdrop of political changes.
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    Securitization of soft power in a highly securitized environment
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2018) Cunik, Maroš; Cheskin, Ammon, juhendaja; McNamara, Eoin Micheál, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    The subject of this master thesis is securitization of Russian soft power in Ukraine. Looking at the case of Ukraine through the lens of securitization theory, the work tries to answer the question whether securitization of Soft power is possible, and how it is done. The theory predicts that it is possible to perceive threat of the political and societal security and devise a solution to curb this threat, even using extraordinary measures outside the scope of normal politics. The specificity of Russian soft power is discussed. Based on this discussion I propose that Russian soft power can indeed be viewed as a threat and therefore securitized. Using the method of discursive analysis, I analyse the statements of politicians about the proposed laws, which are supposed to decrease the attractiveness of Russian soft power in Ukraine. Supportive documents, such as statements of the opposition politicians, international organizations and other figures, as well as public surveys help me ascertain whether the conditions for securitization were fulfilled. The observation shows that the securitizing actors, who then make the securitizing move, can perceive soft power as a threat. It happens only rarely, however, that all the conditions for a successful securitization are fulfilled. Therefore, I suggest observing and examining conditions for securitization separately.
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    The politics of belonging in Gagauzia: negotiating language usage, ethnic labels, and citizenship
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2018) Holsapple, Christiana; Seljamaa, Elo-Hanna, juhendaja; Varga, Zsuzsanna, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
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    Securitisation’s effects on military planning: the case of the Chechen wars
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2018) Kentros Klyszcz, Ivan Ulises; Anceschi, Luca, juhendaja; Morozov, Viatcheslav, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    This dissertation is a case study of Russia’s securitisation of Chechnya, undertaken for identifying the effects of it on military planning. In particular, it aims to determine if securitising narratives in the military are a factor in the choices made by military commanders in the design of operations to be executed. The case of Chechnya is chosen because of the wealth of secondary literature that has been produced various decades after the wars ended, and also to build upon Julie Wilhelmsen’s inquiry (2017) on the same topic (Russia’s securitisation of Chechnya). The theoretical basis for this work is securitisation theory, particularly the Copenhagen school. This strand of international relations theory has its interest in speech, discourse and how they result in a country’s society threat-perception. Hence it enables a theory-first, qualitative inquiry that stands at the intersection of Security Studies, Strategic Studies and international relations theory. The narrow focus on Chechnya and the methods chosen make this an inquiry with an Area Studies component. Drawing from Wilhelmsen’s previous work on the topic, my interests are narrower. Even though our inquiries aim at seeing what securitisation does, mine does not look at how war becomes legitimate or tolerable, but at how securitisation affects decision-making among the military. Also, while her case study is the second Chechen war, mine addresses both the first and the second Chechen wars. I believe that the comparison helps to generalise the results of the inquiry. Furthermore, while we both share the methodology of discourse analysis, I bring content analysis to offer further evidence on the changes in narratives. Finally, her attention is on discourse in society as a whole, while mine is exclusively on how discourse evolved among the Russian military. Hence various aspects overlap, but overall both my theory-building aims and my empirical work are different. In theory building, my aim is to suggest a possible line of inquiry which regards a connection between society’s discourse about a conflict and the choices made by military commanders once said conflict results in war. As it can be said that many ’external’ conditions have an effect on military planning (ideology, historical legacies, among other tangible and intangible circumstances), my aim is not to suggest which has the highest weight; my aim is to suggest that the hegemonic narrative on the conflict among the military is a factor that must be taken into consideration when analysing its decision-making processes. Moreover, I suggest that this factor may be traceable from the strategic level of decision-making, to the mission design down to the chosen tactics for the operation. In its empirical component, my inquiry thoroughly analyses the different narratives present in the military’s main newspaper, the Krasnaya Zvezda, thus bringing evidence of how this segment of society articulated its views on Chechnya and those who would become their opponents in combat. The sample was gathered from the newspaper’s archive for the years 1993, 1994, and 1998, 1999, precisely one year each before each conflict began. Discourse analysis and deductive coding for identity representations (Self, Other, measures) was made to identify the characteristics of each narrative. For identifying which narrative became determinant in the military’s planning, hegemonic, content analysis was used on the sample, looking for keywords associated to each narrative. Finally, secondary literature on the wars in Chechnya was consulted to assess what assumptions the Russian military had before each war. I argue that the results of these methods under the securitisation framework suggest that discourse exerts a short-term influence over military planning by informing the assumptions held by the military commanders.
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    Finding the balance between political and economic interest: a qualitative analysis of corporate self-regulation in the petroleum industry in the case of Nord Stream 2
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2018) Schmalz, Julia; Pataccini, Leonardo, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    In absence of traditional state regulation, corporations choose to self-regulate their behavior at times. Caring for the environment, initiating social projects, fighting modern slavery; the list of voluntary corporate initiatives is quite extensive. However, the motivation behind these commitments often remains obscure as can be seen in the case of the petroleum industry. Petroleum corporations extensively pollute the environment with their products and, at the same time, promise to contribute to its long-term protection. This research seeks to address the question why petroleum corporations decide to self-regulate in the first place and how they select the commitments appropriate to their business. Based on the psychological concept of self-regulation, the case study of the research examines the self-regulatory behavior of the corporations involved in the gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2: the executing corporation Nord Stream 2 AG and the investing corporations Uniper, OMV, Wintershall, ENGIE, and Shell. The qualitative analysis supports the hypotheses that (1) corporate self-regulation occurs as a consequence of tension between external political interest and internal financial interest and (2) petroleum corporations self-regulate with a strong focus on the energy transition and environmental protection. The empirical findings align with the literature review in criticizing the lack of appropriate quantitative measurements and sanctions concerning non-compliance with voluntary commitments. The voluntary commitments remain fragile with the corporations having absolute authority over their own self-regulation governance and little incentive to improve their transparency. However, best self-regulatory practice is being showcased by ENGIE’s commitment to the issuance of green bonds. By raising funds for environmentally sustainable projects through the green bonds market, ENGIE reacts to both external political pressure deriving from the energy transition and the corporate objective of profit maximization. The research concludes by pointing out that self-regulation in form of green bonds constitute an opportunity to both address the much-discussed credibility problem of the petroleum industry and serve a new and growing ESG market.
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    Cyber security and risk society: Estonian discourse on cyber risk and security strategy
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2018) Kook, Lauren; McNamara, Eoin Micheál, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    The main aim of this thesis is to call for a new analysis of cyber security which departs from the traditional security theory. I argue that the cyber domain is inherently different in nature, in that it is lacking in traditional boundaries and is reflexive in nature. Policy-makers are aware of these characteristics, and in turn this awareness changes the way that national cyber security strategy is handled and understood. These changes cannot be adequately understood through traditional understanding of security, as they often are, without missing significant details. Rather, examining these changes through the lens of Ulrich Beck’s risk society theory allows us to fully understand these changes. To support my argument, I analyze statements made by Estonian policy-makers and stakeholder, demonstrating that the way that they understand the nature of the cyber domain and the drafting and handling of cyber security as a result of this understanding is best rationalized through a risk society framework.
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    Selling the state: nation branding as a tool for banal identity building in Estonia
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2018) Smith, Richard; Braghiroli, Stefano, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    Nation branding materials represent a new forum for identity construction, yet have been largely ignored in the field of political science. Despite being a rich medium, full of symbolism and iconography, these materials continue to be regarded as ‘just marketing’, rather than an important repository for state concerns. Existing studies focus predominantly on interpreting and understanding the content that is presented, rather than understanding how they might function as an identity building tool. This paper addresses this through a focus on process, rather than end results. It asks the central question: are Nation Branding Campaigns a viable and effective tool for identity construction? Do they have a meaningful impact on their audience, both domestic and foreign? What are the limits of what can be constructed in discourse? It shows how banal nationalist tropes and ideas are negotiated and disseminated in Nation Branding campaigns and considers the unanswered question as to whether Nation branding materials are actually effective as a medium for disseminating ideas through analysis of qualitative and quantitative data. It shows the limits of what can be constructed in discourse by studying how participants contest the norms presented to them. Finally, this study examines which norms and tropes are most effective and uses this evidence to critique elements of Billig’s original thesis. There is a gap in the literature for understanding how Nation branding materials are used and whether they are effective at all at shaping opinion among the local population or in the foreign audience. Scholars such as Billig (1995), and Jansen (2004) assert that citizens are receptive to these messages but is this really the case? Does Nation Branding turn everyone into a sales representative or ad-hoc ambassador? To what extent do citizens and residents contest the material they read?
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    A poststructuralist approach to strategic culture: Estonia's strategic response to Russia's hybrid threat
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2018) Punthong, Wasin; Linsenmaier, Thomas, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    This research has investigated how the hegemonic articulation of Estonian strategic culture mediates its strategic response to Russian hybrid threat in the information sphere. The study employs poststructuralist discourse theory as an intellectual framework and examines Estonia’s strategic culture as a discursive context. Poststructuralist discourse analysis is utilised in the empirical analysis of Estonian strategic texts. The central argument of this study is that drawing on the privileged identity of Western democracy, the hegemonic articulation of Estonian strategic culture has rendered a cluster of security practices in response to Russian hybrid threat appropriate and “normal”, namely the establishment of ETV+, the authorisation of Sputnik operation in Estonia, the partnership between Tallinn Television and Pervõi Baltiski Channel, and the public debunking practices. At the same time, such a hegemonic articulation excludes the illiberal security practices from the strategic frontier, namely censorship, nationalisation of information sphere and crackdown on Russia’s media outlets in Estonia. Therefore, Estonia’s strategic culture has created conditions of possibility for the minimalist approach to strategic response to Russian hybrid threat in the information sphere. The existing minimal strategic response is sustained by the concept of media liberalism. At the same time, the challenging political force is trying to disrupt the hegemonic articulation by bringing into play the concept of media sovereignty. However, Estonia’s strong Western democratic identity has prevented the latter from gaining momentum.
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    Public diplomacy by other means: a constructivist view of U.S. military messages in Polish news outlets
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2018) Gibson, Leslie; McNamara, Eoin Micheál, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    The United States military’s global presence presents a unique opportunity to engage foreign publics in pursuit of foreign policy objectives. This thesis identifies the message the U.S. military seeks to convey to Poland through public diplomacy activities, and how this message is perceived in Polish news outlets. This case also creates linkage between the military and public diplomacy, an actor and a strategy that can seem contradictory. Through interviews with government officials and the application of a two-step methodology of content and qualitative discourse analyses to Polish news articles, this thesis finds that Polish news outlets favorably perceive U.S. military public diplomacy, and that the message of reassurance and deterrence is conveyed through the activities. The military and public diplomacy are compatible in practice and the combination can result in an effective strategy to communicate with foreign audiences. By applying constructivist assertions to concepts of perception and soft power that traditionally fit into other theoretical fields, this thesis contributes to the development of military public diplomacy as a salient academic topic that can offer insight into future cases of militaries conducting public diplomacy.
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    Nordic-Baltic perceptions of shared security
    (Tartu Ülikool, 2018) Harjus, Janeli; Piirimäe, Eva, juhendaja; Tartu Ülikool. Sotsiaalteaduste valdkond; Tartu Ülikool. Johan Skytte poliitikauuringute instituut
    Since 2014, the security environment around the Baltic Sea has gone through an increase of instability and has gained higher military-strategic importance. After Russia’s aggressive behaviour towards Ukraine and the following international tensions, the Baltic, but also the Nordic countries have become extensively exposed to a military threat from the East. In managing common threats, cooperative security efforts are of uttermost importance for such a small area. The thesis analyses the Nordic-Baltic countries’ perceptions of collective security within the framework of regional security complex theory, looking at the states’ strategic relation to NATO and at their interests of cooperation within the Nordic-Baltic area in the changed security environment. The research is conducted by qualitative content analysis and is based on strategic documentation. Through this, contributions are made to literature and theory as well as to research on the Nordic-Baltic area and mapping the policy interests of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden. The thesis argues that recent developments in the security situation have motivated the Nordic-Baltic countries to come closer in regional security cooperation, and that all countries of the area are strategically remarkably similar to NATO, regardless of whether they are member or partner states of the Alliance.