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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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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

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.

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.

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Abstract:

This chapter explores the specificities of ethical questions when studying a political topic. Social movements are a field where the political character of the studied object intersects with the researcher’s own potential political stances. It is also a field where research may have significant political consequences for the participants involved, sometimes the researcher(s) themselves included. The chapter explores how, and with what consequences the researchers’ own political stances guide the choice of issues and movements studied, and whether this poses a problem for social movement research. It discusses the specificities of research ethics when studying activists in stigmatized social positions or engaging in risky, illegal, or violent activities. The researcher’s duty to protect is considered alongside the commitment to highlight underprivileged voices. The chapter further explores the researcher’s and activist’s often intersecting roles and its ethics. Finally, it highlights the processual nature and contextuality of ethics when studying social movements.

The chapter can be found in the Concise Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics in the Social Sciences, edited by Tuija Takala and Matti Häyry. The book can be purchased for example from here.

Minja