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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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Politicizing environmental emergency in Russia and Finland (POEM)

How are environmental emergencies politicized in Russia and Finland?

The crises of the environment are at the heart of material, social, and cultural concerns everywhere. People justify, protest, reason and negotiate. They post pictures on the social media, they rally, write petitions, and demonstrate. They also worry, morn, panic and rage about the catastrophes in their local environment, on the global scale, as well as concerning and creating affective landscapes – imaginary places, ideals, and objects that reach beyond tangible materiality.

These actions and affects are fuel for politics, and they portray the many different ways people engage to coordinate situations of conflict around the environmental crisis. Politicizations sparkled by people’s actions and affects vary by points of reference: they may evoke notions of common good, they may be based on interests and calls for negotiation, or they may appeal to shared affinities, attachments and emotions.

In order to gain new in-depth understanding of what the current era of environmental emergencies may mean to the Russo-Finnish civil societies’ potential of finding new common ground POEM compares Russian and Finnish politicizations at the level of coordinating environmental conflicts. The POEM empirical design tackles three comparative pairs: the national/transnational climate movement, a selection of local protests, and the Russian-Finnish border crossing action on the Baltic Sea.

New insight by developing theory and methodology

POEM is motivated by firstly, a theoretical ambition: the research design contributes to the development of pragmatist theory of politicization specifically regarding the comparison between Russia and Finland, and the prevalence of visual forms of action, and tests it empirically. Secondly, POEM develops theory-driven comparative methodology by combining abductive comparison to a paired use of the case study method. By developing theory and methodology, the project provides groundbreaking new insight to understanding the common environmental emergencies across the Russo-Finnish borderline.

Realization of the project

POEM is funded by the Kone foundation, 2021-2024. It is led by PI Eeva Luhtakallio and researchers working in the project currently include postdoc Svetlana Erpyleva and doctoral researcher Maija Jokela.