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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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Social media platforms as a tool for Elokapina’s activism

Activists participating in the environmental movement Elokapina see the sharing of images and videos in social media as a tool to tell people about daily protest activities, challenge the perceptions that people have of demonstrators and reach a wider audience for their message than would be possible through physical demonstrations. However, the personal nature of social media may also give rise to feelings of inadequacy and expose activists to strong negative attention.

Citizens in Training: How institutional youth participation produces bystanders and active citizens in Finland

In his dissertation Georg Boldt identified four individual level outcomes of youth participation.

Planeetan kokoinen arki

Planeetan kokoinen arki auttaa ymmärtämään, miten moninaisilla tavoilla jokapäiväinen elämä, sitä määrittävä politiikka sekä taustalla vaikuttavat ajattelutavat kytkeytyvät ympäristökriiseihin.

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.

Grievable images – the war in Ukraine in visual social media

The war in Ukraine and its refugees have evoked a wave of compassion among Europeans, to an extent that has not been seen with people fleeing the war in Syria, for instance. An overview of social media content illustrating the war helps us understand how the visualisation of the war influences people’s perceptions and attitudes towards Ukrainians. By emphasising the Europeanness of Ukraine, the threat posed by Russia and the clear moral set-up of the war, the images bring Ukrainian fates closer and make them grievable.

A genealogy of democratic participation: the collective and the individual in postmaterial capitalism

In his article, Georg Boldt examines the genealogy of democratic participation.

Everyday, local, public: in search of young people’s understanding of democracy

In their article, Georg Boldt and Veikko Eranti look at a particular channel for youth participation and democracy education,
meant to provide avenue for young people to present their ideas for the development of their
surrounding society.

Topic modeling for frame analysis: A study of media debates on climate change in India and USA

In their article, Tuukka Ylä-Anttila, Veikko Eranti and Anna Kukkonen examine media debates on climate change in India and the United States.

Going Overboard: How Ironic Group Style Becomes Political on an Anonymous Imageboard

A mixed-methods study by Tuukka Ylä-Anttila, Veikko Eranti and Sam Hardwick investigates politics on Overboard, a Finnish imageboard.

Social Media and the Emergence, Establishment and Transformation of the Right-Wing Populist Finns Party

In his article, Tuukka Ylä-Anttila assesses the significance of social media for the Finns Party and the related anti-immigration movement from 2007 to the present day, in light of theories on the relationship of populism and social media.

Citizens in Training: How institutional youth participation produces bystanders and active citizens in Finland

In his dissertation Georg Boldt identified four individual level outcomes of youth participation.

citizens

Do institutional approaches to participatory democracy produce better citizens, does it meet the expectations of those participating and do these structures offer the participants opportunities to realize their objectives? These are some of the questions discussed in Georg Boldt’s dissertation on institutional youth participation. One of the key findings of the study is that existing institutional practices for participation and civic engagement of young people are not responsive to the diversity of needs and interests of young people.

In his dissertation Boldt identified four individual level outcomes of youth participation. Firstly, a group of participants had a deep and fundamental experience of empowerment and transformation. Secondly, a group of socially privileged participants strengthened their position by accumulating influence. Thirdly, some participants left the process of participation to find different outlets for their civic engagement. Finally, for a group of participants, the position of being a bystander was further reinforced. These consequences were dependent on the style of interaction in the participation process, and on whether the participants felt they had any influence over decision-making.

The dissertation is based on more than 200 hours of participant observation of municipal processes for youth participation in the metropolitan area of Helsinki during the years 2015-2018. The observations were conducted in a youth council and in participatory budgeting events in Helsinki. Youth councils are the most typical forms of institutional youth participation and are based on the practices of parliamentary decision-making. Contrarily, the process of participatory budgeting offered by the city of Helsinki gives young people the opportunity to affect local budgetary allocations of the city youth department.

The dissertation is available here.

Joel