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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

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

Two-day seminar, Tampere University

Engagements, grammars, and the public: From the liberal grammar to individual interests

Veikko Eranti’s article in European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology 5(1-2), 2018 argues that the way the sociology of engagements is currently formulated does not sufficiently allow for analysing public participation and disputes in situations where individual interests play a crucial role in public debates. The article presents a slight reformulation of what Thévenot calls the grammar of individuals in a liberal public (sic), based on a) an understanding of how individual interests relate to the common good and general will, b) the constitution of legitimate actors within polities, and c) the separation between the levels of generality and publicity. This reformulation might be called the grammar of individual interests, clarifying and simplifying earlier terminology.

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.

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Abstract:

Protests are, and have always been, fundamentally visual and embodied phenomena. However, the unprecedented quest for visibility instigated by social media brings about novel intricacies for contemporary political action. This article explores the function of bodies as tools of visibility in performative protests that develop throughout immediate and mediated levels of visuality. Through a methodological strategy combining snap-along ethnography and coordinated comparative fieldwork, we analyse two Extinction Rebellion protests – in Finland and Portugal – as they move from the street to the internet. We argue that, more than mere bodily public disruptions using the online sphere for representational purposes, these are ritualised forms of protest that, through the offline-online conjunction, construct the bodies as sites of imagination: in the streets, bodies work as enactors of ritualised performances; on social media, bodies become tools of visual dissonance and cultural prefiguration. Using the concept of ritual as an analytical lens facilitates an understanding of how international protest repertoires are locally embodied and how bodies are visually re-signified, including the recreation of the spectators-protestors’ dialectic to evoke imagined worlds. By shedding light on how bodies are visually transformed through ritualised offline-online performances, this article contributes to understanding how radical climate movements articulate political claims that appear to break away from conventional modes of argumentation.

The article is published open access and is available here.

Minja