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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

Beyond recognition: Identification and disidentification in visual resistance to stigma

In her article Taina Meriluoto theorizes visual practices of stigma resistance as a continuous play with identification and disidentification. Based on an ethnographic study of young, stigmatized activists’ self-images, she argues that the oft-employed concept of recognition only partially captures visual/digital resistance to stigma. By showing stigma resistance as a play with becoming visible and unintelligible, the article argues for moving beyond recognition and stigma as binary concepts.

Bridging ethnography and AI: a reciprocal methodology for studying visual political action

In this paper Vasileios Maltezos, Eeva Luhtakallio and Taina Meriluoto introduce a novel methodological approach to studying visual politics today. By bridging ethnographic research and supervised deep learning-based AI and pre-trained neural networks the method enables investigating how youth participate through image creation and usage, both online and offline, by outlining repertoires of visual political action.

Uusi Demokratian paikat -podcast on julkaistu!

CSD:n julkaisema Demokratian paikat on sarja, jossa puhutaan demokratiasta arkisissa ympäristöissä. Katso, mistä podia voi kuunnella!

New podcast Spaces of Democracy is out now. See where to listen to it!

Social movements

In their chapter for the Concise Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics in the Social Sciences, Taina Meriluoto and Eeva Luhtakallio discuss the specificities of ethical questions when studying a political topic, in particular social movements and activists in stigmatized or risky positions.

Visual politicization and youth challenges to an unequal public sphere: conceptual and methodological perspectives

By discussing current youth’s democratic practices and introducing the concept of visual politicization, Eeva Luhtakallio, Taina Meriluoto and Carla Malafaia argue for a reconsideration of what we understand as political action and propose new methodological tools for analyzing it.

Visual bodies, ritualised performances: an offline-online analysis of Extinction Rebellion’s protests in Finland and Portugal

In their article, Carla Malafaia, Jenni Kettunen and Eeva Luhtakallio explore the function of bodies as tools of visibility in ritualised online-offline performances. By analysing performative protests, the authors shed light on the importance of paying attention to non-verbal levels of political action and argumentation.

Education and climate activism: Youth democratic practices and imaginations towards a common world

In this editorial Carla Malafaia, Maria Fernandes-Jesus and Eeva Luhtakallio discuss the new diverse ways young generations have become mobilized to tackle the climate crisis and picture ways towards a common world and practices.

The Pepe the Frog Image-Meme in Hong Kong: Visual Recurrences and Gender Fluidity on the LIHKG Forum

Using a combination of a computational big data analysis and a qualitative analysis, Katrien Jakobs, Degel Cheung, Vasileios Maltezos and Cecilia Wong examine how activists used the Pepe the Frog image-meme to make statements about Hong Kong politics, gender and democracy during the 2019 Anti-Extradition Bill and Law Movement.

‘Missing school isn’t the end of the world (actually, it might prevent it)’: climate activists resisting adult power, repurposing privileges and reframing education

In her article, Carla Malafaia studies how youths manage their activism and argues that activists construct margins of resistance in their political practices by incorporating processes that interrupt adult structures while reframing educational imagination.

PLURALITY IN URBAN POLITICS: Conflict and Commonality in Mouffe and Thévenot

In their article, by augmenting Mouffe’s agonistic pluralism with Thévenot’s pragmatic sociology, Veikko Eranti and Taina Meriluoto develop both an analytical framework for a more nuanced study of urban politics as sites of democracy and a detailed conceptualization of pluralism in democracy.

Making a deal with the devil? Portuguese and Finnish activists’ everyday negotiations on the value of social media

In their article, Carla Malafaia and Taina Meriluoto explore how young activists in Portugal and Finland negotiate the value of social media in their practices.

social media

This article explores how young activists in Portugal and Finland negotiate the value of social media in their practices. Considering the near ubiquitous intertwinement of online-offline environments, and its contradictory promises for social movements, we look at these negotiations through the moral principles drawn upon to critique and justify social media practices. Based on ethnographic data from Portuguese climate activists and Finnish mental health activists, we build on pragmatist sociology as an analytical frame to investigate value and meaning-making within these social movements. Results show how activists predominantly criticize social media for its fame-valued logic, which they consider leading to the individualization and depoliticization of communication and the ‘marketization’ of messages and practices. These challenges are managed with reference to the groups’ civic values through two sets of practices: 1) grounding the online and 2) repurposing individualism. Yet these practices reveal different compromise strategies in each country to accommodate social media demands and core group values, highlighting different interpretations of civic values that materialize in competing stances in relation to ‘political’ content and ‘individual’ action. We argue that an analytical framework focusing on values as they unfold in everyday practices is particularly apt to understanding meaning construction in social movements, whose very essence is the evaluation and critique of existing justifications within certain socio-political arrangements.

The article is published open access and is available here.

Joel