Vladimir Putin and Foreign Policy Discursive Legitimation Strategies: A Critical Discourse Analysis Perspective

This article analyzes the discursive legitimation tactics and models of political decision in contexts of crisis employed by Vladimir Putin to legitimate Russian foreign policy. The growing international impact of Vladimir Putin’s foreign policies and the deterioration of the relationship with the United States and other western countries constitute the context of the study developed in the article. Building on critical discourse analysis as an epistemological instrument, twenty-three political discourses and interviews delivered by the Russian President between 2000 and 2018 were chosen and systematized into four textual categories: authorization, moral evaluation, rationalization, and mythopoesis. The article argues that moral evaluation and mythopoesis are the two main legitimation categories employed by Vladimir Putin in his effort to legitimate his foreign-policy guidelines and strategic perspectives. The policy significance of the pervasiveness of those legitimation categories and tactics is addressed. The paper concludes that through narratives based on moral evaluation and mythopoesis as well as through an empirical model of political decision in contexts of crisis, Vladimir Putin normalizes three core beliefs: (1) that what guides his external policies is a realist perspective of the empirical global world, (ii) that the challenges faced by Russia in the international realm have an exogenous nature, and (iii) that the policy responses to those challenges are, however, endogenous.

The Morality of Disney Films through the Years: A Content Analysis

Nineteen of Disney’s animated feature films were randomly selected to be viewed and coded using the Moral Media Messages (MMM) scale. The scale includes ten moral messages: six positive messages and four negative messages. Paired observers were used for coding and reliability was confirmed. Based on previous research regarding prosocial and negative behaviors, it was hypothesized that Disney characters before 1990 would have a higher negative moral count than characters in after 1990 Disney films. Furthermore, the researchers proposed other hypotheses including differences among more negative and positive morals according to gender and SES. An additional hypothesis included that characters who are considered the protagonist would show more positive morals, whereas the antagonist would show more negative morals. The following results were obtained in the study: negative messages deception/ego and dissing/prejudice scores were significantly higher in films after 1990 than before. Upon examining genders, males were significantly higher in “threatening” messages than females. However, females were found to be significantly higher in “forgiving” messages than males. The following messages were found significant when looking at the character’s SES: perspective taking, nurture/affection, “kindness,” deception/ego, and dissing/prejudice. When examining the roles as a function of the ten messages, the following were found significant: perspective taking, “apology,” “forgiveness,” nurture/affection, “kindness,” “anger,” deception/ego, dissing/prejudice, and “threats.” Future research will address some of the limitations mentioned in the discussion.

Between Community Protest and Community Trust: The Scope of Procedural Justice in South African Participatory Local Governance

This article aims to demonstrate that community-based service delivery protests in South Africa may be viewed as community reactions to local government decision-making processes rather than the outcomes of those decisions. Reasons for service delivery protests in literature range from unfulfilled government promises to the lack of inadequate services especially in poorly resourced areas where there is deprivation and inequality. However, evidence from research on service delivery protests in South Africa also point to an often nominally highlighted yet inadequately expounded reason: the lack of trust communities have in their local authorities’ decision-making processes. This article takes a transdisciplinary approach to participatory governance at the local government level by exploring psycho-sociological dimensions of public participation in local government. Using conceptual and empirical literature evidence on trust and procedural justice as well as South African community protest cases, the article finds that citizens may accept unfavourable outcomes if they perceive the processes as fair and their treatment as respectful and dignifying. The findings suggest that contingent on the trust environment, procedural justice plays an important role in a local community’s reactions to unfavourable service delivery outcomes. Reciprocally, these perceptions of unfair procedures have the capacity, over time, to break down trust where they exist. These findings have implications for strengthening participatory governance processes and expanding community access to and experience of local government decision-making. The article concludes that ensuring procedural justice in local government decision-making processes is a requirement for building community trust and minimizing community predispositions for service delivery protests in South Africa. The article provides recommendations for local government research and practice on procedural justice and community protests.