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The Centre for Sociology of Democracy studies democracy in modern societies. Our projects deal with democracy from different perspectives and with different methods.


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Recent News & Blog Posts

Suomalaisissa USA-vaalianalyyseissa unohdetaan kansalaisyhteiskunta

Demokratia ei ole yksilölaji, vaikka kaikilla äänestäjillä onkin vain yksi ääni. Yhdysvaltain presidentinvaalien tulokseen iso vaikutus oli myös kansalaistoiminnalla, kuten Black Lives Matter -mielenosoituksilla ja vapaaehtoisilla, jotka auttoivat ihmisiä rekisteröitymään äänestäjiksi.

The actions of Extinction Rebellion Finland showcase new visual forms of politicisation

Images play an increasingly large role in social participation. Protests, demands and even entire processes of politicisation may take a purely visual form. In this text, we analyse paired photographs that went viral immediately after the civil disobedience actions of Extinction Rebellion Finland as a form of politicisation. Images are a powerful means of communication – indeed, it is revealing that the social commentary in Finland has revolved intensely around a handful of smartphone snapshots.

Eeva Luhtakallio on visual politics at Politiikkaradio

ImagiDem’s PI Professor Eeva Luhtakallio discussed images as tools of political participation and topical environmental activism in Finland in YLE Politiikkaradio podcast.

ImagiDem members and advisors at kick-off

ImagiDem mini kick-off: Visual participation of young Europeans – snapshots from France, Finland and Portugal

On 24 September 2020 ImagiDem’s kick-off seminar discussed how the increasing emphasis on visual forms of communication affects young people’s societal participation and the way in which they construct democracy. The seminar featured short presentations of visual participation from three European countries: France, Finland and Portugal. The event was streamed online.

POSTPONED: Visual Studies Lab Masterclass: How to study the visual in social media?

The planned Masterclass on visual analysis at the University of Helsinki has been postponed.

TAPAHTUMA SIIRTYY: Tämä pitää nähdä! – kuva yhteiskunnallisen vaikuttamisen välineenä

Tapahtuma siirtyy järjestettäväksi myöhemmin.

POSTPONED: Visual participation of young Europeans – snapshots from France, Finland and Portugal

The event has been postponed. The new date and venue will be announced later.

Politicization of migration in the countermedia style

Countermedia are partisan media that oppose conventional media and the establishment.

Lähiökylä – Tutkimus yhteisöllisyydestä ja eriarvoisuudesta

Tutkija-kirjailija Lotta Junnilaisen kirjassa kuvataan kahden vuokratalolähiön arkea. Teos on tutkimus suomalaisen yhteiskunnan eriarvoistumisesta ja kaupunkien eriytymisestä. Se on kuvaus niukkuudesta, epävarmuudesta ja turhautumisesta, mutta myös yhteisöllisyydestä ja solidaarisuudesta.

Group formation, styles, and grammars of commonality in local activism

In her article, published in the British Journal of Sociology in 2018, Eeva Luhtakallio argues that in order to analyse democracy as a pattern constantly processed in a given society, it is useful to look at activist groups’ agenda setting and recruitment principles, group bonds and boundaries, and how these actions direct and influence ways of creating the common. Based on an ethnographic study on bicycle activism in Helsinki, Finland, the article describes a local critical mass movement that was successful in promoting a bicycle friendly and sustainable city, yet dissolved due to lack of people involved, and the bicycle demonstrations stopped at a moment of high public interest.

Snapshots of 21st Century Citizenship: New Approaches to Young Citizens’ Political Practices (12–13 Dec)

Two-day seminar, Tampere University

Seth Doyle / Unsplash

Sign up here by 2 December! Program below.

Linna Building, Kalevantie 5, Ground Floor, Lecture Hall K103 

Keynote speakers: 

Associate professor Eeva Luhtakallio (Tampere University) is a sociologist and an ethnographer interested in the practices and processes of democracy, politicization, political (dis)engagement and citizenship, drawing on pragmatic social theory. Luhtakallio leads the Centre for Sociology of Democracy (CSD) and the research project Citizens in the Making. 

Professor Laurent Thévenot (EHESS), Director of Studies at EHESS, is a sociologist and economist noted for his grounding work on critical pragmatic sociology as a comparative, methodological and theoretical framework for studying how personal attachments and concerns become translated into public issues when taking part in a community and communicating disagreement or difference. 

Associate Professor Isaac Reed (University of Virginia) is a historical and cultural sociologist noted for his work on the questions of interpretation and explanation in the social sciences and the social theory of power and transitions to modernity. He is particularly interested in how acts of power are interpreted, and the multiple ways in which authority can render itself legitimate. 

Professor Gianpaolo Baiocchi (New York University) is a sociologist and an ethnographer interested in the questions of democracy, inequalities, politics and culture, critical social theory and cities. His work focuses particularly on the instances of actually existing civic life and participatory democracy. 

The Centre for Sociology of Democracy organises a two-day seminar offering in-depth analyses of and new approaches to understading young citizens’ participation in Finland and beyond from a pragmatist perspective.

Citizenship in 21st-century is marked by several simultaneous developments in civil society which change the conditions of participation: digitalization, polarization, and marginalization. These processes take place in public, local and online, digital and physical spaces, and give reason to expect that young people who grow up in today’s civil society will come to practice citizenship differently from previous generations.

The Citizens in the Making research project (funded by the Kone Foundation) has, since 2015, been studying these developments and what they mean for 21st-century citizenship in the Finnish context. This seminar publishes the results of that work and engages in discussion other scholars and stakeholders interested in 21st-century citizenship. The research of Georg Boldt, Veikko Eranti, Maija Jokela, Lotta Junnilainen, Eeva Luhtakallio and Tuukka Ylä-Anttila paint an image of young Finns’ civic imaginations: of their different conceptions of what it means to be a citizen and to act as part of society. These conceptions are explored in everyday social action of young people in urban spaces, formal politics, activist engagements as well as online debates. The findings suggest, among plenty of other insights, that young people approach political participation as individuals rather than collectives; that technocratic top-down systems of participation tend to breed technocratic bottom-up practices; and that empowerment without actually sharing power tends to breed shallow engagement.

This research effort now reaching its final stretch has been marked by an ambition to build further the theoretical background of pragmatically oriented cultural sociological conceptualization of politics, and the making of the common world.

The project has also had a methodological ambition: combining levels and types of data and methodology in order to build a holistic, multi-dimensional understanding of the future of political cultures. In particular, the project has taken on the challenge to combine computational and ethnographic methodology in order to both grasp the vastness of online data and the precision of the ethnographic eye.

Apart from discussing the results of the project work, we will widen the debate towards theoretical implications, different political contexts, and further empirical landscapes with keynote lectures by professor Laurent Thévenot (EHESS), professor Isaac Reed (University of Virginia), and professor Gianpaolo Baiocchi (New York University).

Sign up here by 2 December!


December 12, 2019 

10.00 Welcome address – Kalle Korhonen, The Kone Foundation

10.15 –11.15 Keynote by Professor Eeva Luhtakallio: 21st Century Citizens in the making: Towards a pluralism of engagements and projects?

11.15–12.45 Citizens in the Making: What we learned I

Veikko Eranti: Individualists in the making – Civic action, societal participation and the individualistic style of doing politics

Lotta Junnilainen: Place, Poverty and Political Participation – Imagining the future with young people living in disadvantaged neighborhoods

Georg Boldt: Citizens in Training – Notes on commitment and the resonance of style

12.45–14.00 Lunch

14.00–15.00 Keynote by Professor Laurent Thévenot (EHESS): The Trying Art of Taking Part

15.00–15.30 Coffee

15.30-16.30 Keynote by Professor Isaac Reed (University of Virginia): Pragmatics of Delegation: The King’s Two Bodies and its Afterlives

December 13, 2019

9.15 Coffee

9.30-11.30 Panel on Mixing methods: new innovations and insights into studying youth participation
Chair: Professor Anu Koivunen
Panelists: Veikko Eranti, Salla-Maaria Laaksonen, Minttu Tikka & Tuukka Ylä-Anttila

11.30-12.30 Citizens in the Making: What we learned II

Tuukka Ylä-Anttila: Going Overboard: Politicization in an anonymous online community

Maija Jokela: Social media affordances for activism: individual or collective action?

12.30-13.45 Lunch

13.45–14.45 Keynote: professor Gianpaolo Baiocchi (New York University)

14.45-15.30 Discussion

Sign up here by 2 December!