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About us

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

Our Projects

At the moment we are working on three separate projects.

Imagidem

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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YCAP logo

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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Totaalidemokratia logo

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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Read more about the project (in Finnish)

Recent Publications

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.

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.

Recent News & Blog Posts

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.

POSTPONED: Visual Studies Lab Masterclass: How to study the visual in social media?

The planned Masterclass on visual analysis at the University of Helsinki has been postponed.