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Coexistence and conflict in diversifying cities (EmergentCommunity)

Polarization and increasing diversity and inequalities constitute a challenge to many European societies. These developments put peaceful coexistence under pressure. In the EmergentCommunity project, we will explore how societies change, how they hold together and how people live together.

The EmergentCommunity project aims to generate knowledge on everyday practices of peace and conflict. We are interested in various forms of dialogues and practices of collaboration in which people engage in their everyday lives. How are differences negotiated and conflicts handled? How do people build and maintain collaboration and peaceful relations? The project explores societal change from local and individual perspectives. We are interested in how people perceive and make sense of their everyday surroundings and changes therein. Our goal is to produce knowledge that can be applied to promote good population relations.

What we do

We explore neighbourhood relations in Finland, France and Sweden. From each country, three urban areas, in which diversity has increased, are selected for closer examination. We use ethnographic methods to study how everyday life evolves and takes shape in these cities. On the basis of ethnographic observations, we will create real-life like virtual reality environments, which enable us to study how people react to various forms of diversity and make sense thereof. Through this, we aim to understand linkages between individual perceptions, meaning-making and societal change.

Meet the team and follow our work

Get to know more about the team: Eeva Puumala (PI), Ruhoollah Akhundzadeh, Johanna Hokka, Bruno Lefort, Karim Maïche, Samu Pehkonen, Ebru Sevik, Anna Sofia Suoranta.

You can follow our work and project progress through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the research carried out in EmergentCommunity, please contact the project PI Eeva Puumala,

The EmergentCommunity project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No. 946012). 

Research ethics

The EmergentCommunity project has undergone an ethical review. In the data collection and analysis, we abide by the Finnish legislation, the EU Regulation on Data Protection (GDPR), and the ethical guidelines of the Finnish National Board of Research Integrity.

The ethnographic data is collected through participant observation and interviews with local residents, community workers and other actors. The participants cannot be recognised from the research. We collect data on how people react to their everyday surroundings by measuring their heart rate, frequency of breathing and skin conductance level, while they are in virtual reality environments. The environments repeat real-life like interactions, events, and encounters in the participant’s own area. Participation in research is voluntary, and participants can withdraw their consent at any time.

The safety and wellbeing of research participants is of utmost importance to us. EmergentCommunity project has established an unexpected findings policy to ensure this goal is met.

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