Liisa Turunen, MA, University of Helsinki
Working title: "Japaneseness in the Variety TV Show Wafu Sohonke."
Project description: In brief, the aim of my thesis is to find out what kind of image of Japaneseness does the variety TV show Wafu Sohonke create and with what means. Wafu Sohonke is a television series that focuses on different aspects of Japanese culture, and in my research I examine things such as national identity and nationalism.
Xi Yang, MA, University of Oslo
Project description: Xi Yang's master thesis aims to use the case of the car ownership restriction policy implementation variations in Chinese cities to illustrate the existence of a highly heterogenous implementation of the national policies at the subnational level in an authoritarian political system.
Based on intensive fieldwork in five research sites in urban China, a conceptual framework has been developed to analyse how the motivations, behaviours and mechanisms of local bureaucrats has been affected by political risk and interests generated by the Chinese political system. The research finds that policy implementation in autocracies at the local level can also be more dependent on the local leadership than the central leadership. Further, although the autonomy of the local states still exists, the degree of the local autonomy has been greatly reduced as more political pressures has been imposed upon local bureaucrats through party disciplines. In this light, the findings presents a complementary insights for the workings of the authoritarian environmentalism at the local level in China.