CANCELLED DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS Open Speakers Series Lecture "Imagi(ni)ng Democracy: European Youth Becoming Citizens by Visual Participation" by Professor Eeva Luhtakallio, University of Helsinki, 31 March 2020, at 16:15-17:45

The Speakers Series is a series of Studia Generalia Lectures in the Study of Society organized biweekly by Tampere University Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR) in cooperation with the New Social Research Programme (NSR).


Imagi(ni)ng Democracy: European Youth Becoming Citizens by Visual Participation
Professor Eeva Luhtakallio, University of Helsinki

Time: Tuesday, 31 March 2020,  at 16:15-17:45
Place: Tampere University, Pinni B, lecture hall B1096, Kanslerinrinne 1, 1st fl.

The current political and institutional crises render the future of European democracy uncertain. To gain deeper insights into what the current discontent may lead to, and how to address it for the good of an equal and inclusive democracy, we have to study future political actors, today’s young citizens, and examine what are the means of political action prevalent to them. The public sphere of today’s youth is increasingly dominated by visual content, and therefore the visual dimension of political participation is to be a key concern in research thereof. The current youth’s understanding of political action – building arguments, mobilizing, and participating – is likely to become firmly anchored in repertoires of visual participation. ImagiDem will explore, analyze, and conceptualize visual participation of young European citizens in order to formulate a model of democratic practices in the 2020s. ImagiDem addresses visual political participation and democratic practices among young citizens in the European context using a radical triple-strategy: it combines visual ethnography with computational big data minining and analysis, and deploys this combination to a comparative research setting. The project design includes four countries of comparison – Finland, France, Germany, and Portugal – with both an ethnographic and a computational subproject realized in each of them. Both methodological approaches – comparative online ethnography, and computational, machine learning based analysis of large sets of social media image data – are risky and hitherto scarcely explored. The theoretical challenge ImagiDem takes is to develop pragmatist theorizing of visual justification and engagements on the one hand, and visual cultural toolkits and frames, on the other. With this methodologico-theoretical toolkit, ImagiDem provides overarching analysis of the future of European democracy.