Media and Democracy study track
Following the development of effective vaccines against COVID-19, a global access gap has emerged, with wealthier countries receiving the vast majority of vaccines and therapeutics. The governments of several lower-income countries have since identified a major cause of this gap to be intellectual property arrangements governing the development of pharmaceutical products. In response, these countries submitted a proposal within the World Trade Organization’s TRIPS Council to waive specific elements of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights in relation to COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. Since then, a small number of wealthy countries where most major vaccine producers are located have resisted calls to pass the Waiver, thus maintaining intellectual property restrictions and limiting access to vaccines.
This thesis explores the discursive nature of the arguments put forward against the Waiver within the institutional context of the WTO TRIPS Council from October 2020 to December 2021. It applies the Critical Discourse Analysis approach to identify several discourses that characterise the nature of opposition to the TRIPS Waiver, to explain how these shape political outcomes and delimit courses of effective action and resistance. This thesis concludes that opposition to the TRIPS Waiver is both a driver and a symptom of a planetary renewal of colonial relations, in which neoliberal discourses around health have served to keep lifesaving treatments out of reach to those who cannot afford them during a deadly pandemic.
Global Political Economy
Taking the Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP) as a case study, this thesis contributes to the understanding of how the SDP and centre-left parties more generally were neoliberalised, this is to say how they became to embrace the idea that society is best organised through markets and competition. Drawing from the work of Stephanie Mudge, the thesis focuses on party experts, those party actors oriented towards producing truth-claims of society, hence affecting the way parties conceive the world and speak.
Governance, Organization and Communication study track
This study aims to analyze institutional change and transparency practices of the National Audit Office of Peru (NAO), whose job is to promote accountability in public administration but paradoxically faced an accountability crisis in 2017.This study analyzes the combination of logics of explanation that fostered the changes in the NAO during 2010 to 2020, and the role of transparency practices in institutional change. This study answers two research questions about the logics of explanation that were decisive to promote institutional change and the role of transparency in institutional change at the National Audit of Peru during the ten-year study of 2010-2020. In that regard, this theory-based qualitative research is based on institutional change theories and the four logics of explanation proposed by Vivien Schmidt: institutional design, evolutionary, appropriateness, and communication, the perceptions of seven decision-makers, managers, authors, or participants who worked during the time of the study frame of ten years, plus the analysis of statistical data.
The conclusions of this study show that the combination of the four logics of explanation was crucial for the changes at the National Audit Office, and the practices of transparency were effects of those changes.
Global Political Economy study track
The thesis evaluates the utility of Stephen Gill’s concept of new constitutionalism in understanding the functioning of the European Economic and Monetary union (EMU) in 2015– 2020. New constitutionalism is defined as legally locked in rules-based market discipline. The thesis has two research questions: 1) To what extent does the concept of new constitutionalism aptly describe the economic policy space of EMU member states? That is, to what extent the EMU, with its associated rules and criteria, constrains the economic policies of its member states? 2) To what extent are new constitutionalist principles “locked in” in the EMU? That is, to what extent is new constitutionalism really constitutional in the EMU?
Media and Democracy
The aims of higher education have always been subject to debate and opposing opinions. In an increasingly complex world with many global challenges, the aims of higher education are once more debated. Furthermore, a growing international student body is also challenging what students should be educated for. How does these factors affect the aims of higher education and how should the university prepare students for this complex world?
Photos by Mika Huisman, Linda Tammisto and Veikko Somerpuro respectively.