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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

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 diverse ways young generations have become mobilized in new ways 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.

Fame democracy? Social media and visuality-based transformation of the public sphere

In their article, Eeva Luhtakallio and Taina Meriluoto argue that a fame-based logic has become dominant in the strategies of actors in many different situations concerning political action in public. By recognizing the fame-based values informing public action with a pragmatist approach, they argue that a wider variety of action can be recognized as public action and the normative foundations that inform people’s action in public can be interrogated.

How do civil society organizations influence climate change politics? Evidence from India, Indonesia, and Finland

In their article, Luhtakallio, Ylä-Anttila and Lounela compare the efforts of civil society organizations to influence climate change policymaking in three countries with very different traditions of democratic decision making.

The self in selfies—Conceptualizing the selfie-coordination of marginalized youth with sociology of engagements

In her article, Taina Meriluoto conceptualizes selfies as reflexive practices of self-coordination, and develops an analytical framework adapted from the literature of sociology of engagements for their analysis.

Falling Walls Science Breakthrough of the Year 2022 award to Eeva Luhtakallio and ImagiDem

What are the next walls to fall in science and society? Led by this question, the brightest minds from the international scientific community submitted their groundbreaking projects for the prestigious Falling Walls Science Breakthrough of the Year 2022.

Snap-along ethnography: Studying visual politicization in the social media age

In their article, Luhtakallio and Meriluoto argue that two significant shifts, namely, the blurring of lives offline and online and the increasing significance of the visual character of these lives, pose new challenges to social science research methods.

Organizing natures : justification and the critique in the development of organic agriculture in Finland

In his dissertation, Tomi Lehtimäki examines organic agriculture and the attempts to transform agricultural systems into more ecological and sustainable forms.

dissertation_tomi

The thesis is situated into the discussion concerning the values of organic agriculture. Previous discussions, most notably those rooted in political economy, have conceptualized the development and institutionalization of organic agriculture as a process where values are gradually replaced by economic incentives. Instead of being able to bring in alternative values, such as ecology, care or fairness, organic agriculture is seen as becoming increasingly market-driven. Not only is this development seen to make organic agriculture similar to conventional production in terms of principles and values, but also in its material composition, as organic products, for example, become only slightly different from their conventional counterparts.

The approach applied in this thesis challenges this view and aims to reverse this setting. Instead of taking organic agriculture as the value-driven alternative (and examining how it either loses or maintains these values), the various analyses examine how the value(s) of organic agriculture is constructed. From this perspective, the debate concerns whether organic agriculture offers a meaningfully different alternative, through which the sustainability of food systems can be achieved. Therefore, using the pragmatic sociological approach, the development of organic agriculture is not examined only as economization, but as shaping it according to various forms of worth.

The thesis examines various conflict situations, where organic and conventional agriculture are set against each other, and where actors need to justify either alternative. The construction of these justifications is then analyzed as processes of sense-making, where actors shape organic agriculture according to different “orders of worth.” The thesis is based on four research articles, that examine the development of organic agriculture between the years 1980–2015. The data used consists of newspaper discussions, documents such as committee reports, policy papers, strategies, as well as studies on organic agriculture. Through these materials, the thesis examines how organic agriculture has been debated and how it has gradually institutionalized into a part of agricultural policy and markets. 

The dissertation is available here.

Joel