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We are a methodologically diverse, interdisciplinary group of researchers investigating democracy in contemporary societies.

Our Projects

CSD is engaged in multiple separate projects:

ImagiDem explores and conceptualises visual participation of young European citizens. By understanding how today's youth build political arguments, solve conflicts, build commonality, and what tools they use to politicize issues of their concern, the project aims at formulating a model of democratic practices of the 2020s.

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The YCAP project studies ethnographically and computationally how young people in Finland today participate in civil society and politics, on- and offline, through four different modes: anti-/proto-politics, empowerment projects, activism, and formal politics.

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In Finland, millions of people are living in the state of total democracy: all the institutions of their life are democratic in one way or another. How does this  parademocratic system function as part of the democratic whole, and which cultural tools of democracy are being used  in these settings?

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Moral polarization means a lack of shared moral frameworks which makes it difficult to solve moral debates in the public. Polarization is detrimental to societal belonging and trust, which are important not only for stability but progress, too. The project studies morally polarized public debates to find common ground.

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Recent Publications

Politicization of migration in the countermedia style

Countermedia are partisan media that oppose conventional media and the establishment.

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.

Recent News & Blog Posts

Call for Papers open for special issue on “Education and Climate Activism: Youth democratic practices and imaginations towards a common world”

The Educação, Sociedade & Culturas journal (ESC – Education, Society and Cultures) has released a call for papers for a special issue to be published in 2022, “Education and Climate Activism: Youth democratic practices and imaginations towards a common world” with guest editors Carla Malafaia (ImagiDem, University of Porto), Maria Fernandes-Jesus (University of Sussex) and Eeva Luhtakallio (ImagiDem, University of Helsinki).

Eeva Luhtakallio on visual politics at Politiikkaradio

ImagiDem’s PI Professor Eeva Luhtakallio discussed images as tools of political participation and topical environmental activism in Finland yesterday in YLE Politiikkaradio podcast’s episode “Instagram is a very political instrument” (in Finnish).

ImagiDem members and advisors at kick-off

ImagiDem mini kick-off: Visual participation of young Europeans – snapshots from France, Finland and Portugal

On 24 September 2020 ImagiDem’s kick-off seminar discussed how the increasing emphasis on visual forms of communication affects young people’s societal participation and the way in which they construct democracy. The seminar featured short presentations of visual participation from three European countries: France, Finland and Portugal. The event was streamed online.