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Rajanvetoja ja vastakkainasetteluja: Diskursiiviset strategiat suomalaisten poliitikkojen blogiteksteissä vaalivuonna 2015
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Slavic and Baltic Studies, Finnish, Dutch, and German.
2024 (Finnish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Drawing borders and generating opposites : Discursive strategies in Finnish politicians’ blog texts during the election year 2015 (English)
Abstract [en]

In this monograph thesis, I examine political confrontations, their actors, conflict lines, discursive strategies, linguistic means, and related topics in Finnish politicians’ blog texts. Additionally, I analyse the occurrences of populist communication styles within these politicians’ blog discourses.

The data consists of blog texts from nine ideologically diverse politicians from the Finnish parliamentary election year of 2015. The study is grounded in Critical Discourse Studies (Reisigl & Wodak 2016) and employs methods of rhetorical-performative discourse analysis (Palonen & Saresma 2017), along with political theories of politics and populism (Laclau 2005; Moffitt 2016; Mouffe 2005, 2013; Palonen 2020).

The first part of the analysis explores the core topics in the data: economic politics and immigration politics, along with their related discourses. Discourses on economic politics in the blogs of government politicians include defending the welfare state, and advocating for citizens’ equalisation, viewing citizens as a socio-economically homogeneous group. Additionally, they address confrontation as a political obstacle and the necessity of economic measures. Opposition politicians' blogs, on the other hand, feature a discourse defending citizens against the government’s planned and implemented economic cuts.

Discourses on immigration politics in government politicians’ blogs frame asylum seekers as a threat and migration as a cause of societal polarisation in Finland, while also opening up a human right discourse that views asylum seekers from a humanitarian perspective. In opposition politicians’ blogs, the predominant discourse defends asylum seekers.

These topics are linked to ongoing global crises, such as the so-called refugee crisis and the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis. Government politicians focus on their impacts on Finland and Europe, while opposition politicians emphasise Finland’s role as a responsible actor and mediator in international politics.

The second part of the analysis examines conflict lines, discursive strategies, and linguistic means involved in confrontations. Strategic dimensions of the confrontations include a populist division between ‘the people’ and ‘the elites’, as well as between ‘the people’ and media and researchers. Strategies also involve affective defence of socially vulnerable groups, ideological opposition, equalisation of citizens, consensus-seeking, holding citizens accountable, and community building.

Confrontations occur at the level of discursive strategies, lexical, metaphorical, rhetorical, and structural choices in the blog texts, and in the intertextual relations between the texts. Linguistically, these confrontations are produced through negative labelling of opponents, actor-distancing generic constructions (passive verbs, and the Finnish zero person), metaphors like water, war, sport, and the nation as a body, as well as empty and floating signifiers, euphemisms, antitheses, and irony.

In summary, confrontation is a political positioning strategy used to legitimise politicians’ positions and agendas, create and maintain in-groups and out-groups, and defend them from hypothetically threatening actors and forces, who in turn are delegitimised. Additionally, confrontations are utilised to shape perceptions of political reality, criticise, and highlight other actors’ responsibilities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Slavic and Baltic Studies, Finnish, Dutch and German, Stockholm University , 2024. , p. 250
Series
Studia Fennica Stockholmiensia, ISSN 0284-4273 ; 13
Keywords [en]
political discourse, Finnish politics, Finnish politicians’ blogs, confrontation, populism, discursive strategies, critical discourse studies, rhetorical-performative discourse analysis
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Finnish
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-229111ISBN: 978-91-8014-829-0 (print)ISBN: 978-91-8014-830-6 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-229111DiVA, id: diva2:1857146
Public defence
2024-08-23, hörsal 9, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D and online via Zoom, public link is available at the department website, Stockholm, 13:00 (Finnish)
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Supervisors
Available from: 2024-05-30 Created: 2024-05-12 Last updated: 2024-05-23Bibliographically approved

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Savola, Kristiina

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