In this project we connect our previous research on polarisation with the study of emotions and social media. The PI explored Hungary in the 2000s theorizing polarization as a bi-polar hegemony or competing populism presented as moral orders: ‘two groups create each other through demarcation of the frontier between them.’ Bipolar hegemony becomes a self-sustaining competing populism. (Palonen, 2009: 321). Reducing options into two moral stances has detrimental effects on democratic pluralism in politics and media (Palonen 2018b; 2009; Salojärvi 2016; 2018). In populism, affects and emotional investment play a central role (Salmela & von Scheve 2017, in press), generating the necessary hype for a populist life-cycle (Herkman 2016). This can be felt in scandals (Palonen 2011, 2009), everyday public spaces (Palonen 2018d) and journalistic and social media practices (Salojärvi 2017; 2018). Palonen has shown how ‘cultural populism’ sustains polarization and McGuigan’s concept always assumes an ‘us’ and ‘them’ in an epistemic process (Palonen 2018a).
The team combines young researchers working on polarized societies with experts that study the mechanisms, emotions, humor and global intellectual practices, microeconomic decision making and political economy.
- The project connects PI’s research trajectories on polarization and populism, European intellectual space, rhetoric-performative discourse analysis, theory of hegemony, and everyday affective meaning making, as well as interest in science communication and policy, particularly open access (Palonen 2009; 2011; 2013; Palonen & Saresma 2017; Palonen 2018a; 2018b; 2018c). Palonen has worked several AF projects: Mainstreaming Populism Consortium 2017-21 (MAPO, PI Herkman), Populism as Movement and Rhetoric (Kovala), and Asymmetries in European Intellectual Space 2012-2016 (Jalava).
- Salojärvi’s (2016) PhD thesis was on journalism in Venezuela, and Kazlauskaite’s (2018) on school history books and embodied knowledge in Poland and Lithuania, while Sibinescu’s (2018) on democratic decline in CEE, and Kutkina’s (2019) on memory politics in public space in contemporary Ukraine. The MAPO project member Salojärvi studies Latinos in the US and polarization under Trump. She argues (2017)posting and expressing oneself in different platforms with different publicness have many reasons and outcomes. Funded by Finnish Cultural Foundation she engaged with Venezuelan journalists, activists and the grassroots investigating the effects of extreme polarization and how people constitute themselves as political actors through the interacted (social) media and real life. Kazlauskaite works in Helsingin Sanomat Foundation project investigating how right-wing media outlets in Poland and the US, through their emotion-based coverage of the Independence Day celebrations, engage in building an emotional regime (Reddy 2001) of shame and pride. Kutkina has conducted research on regional differences of civic society in Ukraine at the Canadian Urban Institute in the city of Zaporizhzhya (eastern Ukraine), and interviewed the internally displaced persons from Donbas in pre-doc projects.
- Hyttinen and Koivukoski’s PhD thesis are on humour: visual ethnography on the right-wing populist party Jobbik (Hyttinen & Näre 2017), and satire and journalism (Koivukoski & Zareff 2018).
- Experts on emotion research in philosophy (Salmela 2012, 2014), decision-making (Halko and Sääksvuori, 2017; Halko et al., 2017; Halko and Kaustia, 2015; Halko et al., 2015)global social movements (Sundell & Teivainen 2017), on and machine learning on party manifestos (e.g. Ahonen et al. 2018), also join our team.