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Webinar series ‘Engaging with complex communities’

Join the discussion on May 14, May 28, and June 11.

About the events

Inequalities and polarization are on the rise across Europe. In increasingly diverse urban environments, these trends can strain community relations and disrupt the social and political fabric, calling into question what living together means. How is diversity encountered, handled, and lived out in urban contexts? How to engage with complex communities that resist knowing, categorization, linearity, and affirmation both empirically and conceptually?  

With the webinar series, we explore the processes and practices of community-making as emergent constellations through which belongings and attachments are formed and differences negotiated. Such engagement is direly needed, we believe, as the urban social fabric is becoming more diverse and societies and cities alike struggle with intersectional inequalities, polarization, and segregation. We wish to think about the complex relational and affective dynamics of community-making in the context of everyday life.  

Engaging with complex communities is framed as a series of three dialogical webinar discussions that aim to open a line of inquiry into societal complexities by bringing together scholars from different disciplinary perspectives.  

Please register through this link.

Session 1: Coexistence, conflictand urban socialities 

Friday 14.5., 12-14 o’clock (EET) 

Living in an urban age calls for attention to the relationship between the city, society, and community. Cities are affective, social, and spatial constructions, which means that they are built not only out of concrete, but also through social processes and practices. Increasing diversity in our societies is most clearly manifested in cities that are seen as sites of living with, through or in difference. Urban life is both affected by histories of oppression and injustice and formed by practices of coexistence. In this session, we invite participants to explore the connections between urban space and social and political life through a dialogical encounter between anthropology and urban studies. 

Invited speakers: 

  • Dr. Tina Gudrun Jensen (Malmö University): “Visions and every-day practices of urban diversity and co-existence: cases from Denmark” 
  • Prof. Mustafa Dikeç (the Paris School of Urban Planning): “Rage as a political emotion” 

Session 2Identities, emotions, and politics 

Friday 28.5., 12-14 o’clock (EET) 

The connection between identity, emotions, and politics is gaining prominence within political studies and social sciences. There is an increasing interest towards understanding how affects and emotions mobilize bodies, how affects circulate between bodies and what their role is in the formation of communities. In the second session, we bring together cognitive neuroscience with cultural studies to discuss emotions in terms of their physiology and as relevant to understanding social behavior, and as ideological and culturally constructed. With this session, we invite the participants to think about emotions as individual and interpersonal, social and collective, as well as embodied and political. 

Invited speakers: 

  • Prof. Mikko Sams (Aalto University):  “Decoding Human Emotions from Brain Activity” 
  • Dr. Tuija Saresma (University of Jyväskylä): “Hate speech and toxic communities: The affective, gendered, and racializing rhetoric on the internet” 

Session 3: Being, relationality, and everyday life 

Friday 11.6., 12-14 o’clock (EET) 

Community can be an elusive concept, since it is hard to define exactly and yet denying its possibility is morally challenging. In the third session, we want to explore how communities are constituted and how – and where – they emerge. However, we want to adopt critical distance to regarding community as a remedy to social or political alienation, which means that promoting a sense of community is not a viable way of tackling marginalization, polarization or segregation. The session will initiate a dialogue between philosophy and peace and conflict studies to explore the formation, ground and source of community. The participants are invited to explore how communities can be envisioned and perhaps need to be rethought to understand current social and political developments. 

Invited speakers:  

  • Prof. Susanna Lindberg (Leiden University): “Bernard Stiegler on contemporary technological communities” 
  • Doctoral researcher Ihntaek Hwang (Tampere University): “Organistic and immunitary body politic: everyday travelling between the individual and the collective” 


Speaker bios 

Mustafa Dikeç is Professor of Urban Studies at the Ecole d’Urbanisme de Paris, Université Paris-Est, and visiting professor at Malmö University. His most recent book, Urban Rage, is published by Yale University Press in 2018. He is also the author of Space, Politics and Aesthetics (Edinburgh University Press, 2015) and Badlands of the Republic: Space, Politics and Urban Policy (Blackwell, 2007). He is one of the editors of International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR). 

Ihntaek Hwang is a doctoral researcher at Tampere Peace Research Institute (TAPRI), Tampere University, since 2018. His doctoral project discusses how we imagine national security in terms of body and aesthetics. His case is the objectors to military conscription in South Korea. He studied international relations at the Australian National University and the Graduate Institute Geneva (IHEID). Immediately before joining TAPRI, he worked as political education officer at the South Korean Air Force (ROKAF). He has published in the journal Critical Studies on Security (2018) and Routledge Handbook of Feminist Peace Research (2021, with Bram De Smet). 

Tina Gudrun Jensen holds a PhD in anthropology and is a researcher at Malmö Institute of Migration, Diversity and Welfare at Malmö University. Her research focuses on the intersection between migration and urban studies, and covers topics such as diversity, cultural complexity, social integration, neighbouring, housing and urban spaces in Scandinavia and Latin America. From 2010 to 2015 she participated in the Danish strategic research program Social Cohesion and Ethnic Diversity (SOCED), with a project on neighbourhood relations in mixed neighbourhoods in Copenhagen. She is the co-editor of special issue of Nordic Journal of Migration Research on “planning for pluralism in Nordic cities.” Tina is currently participating in a major comparative research project on Governance and Lived Experiences of Urban Diversity in SEGregated and MIXed Neighbourhoods (SEGMIX) funded by the Swedish Research Council. 

Susanna Lindberg is a professor of continental philosophy at the University of Leiden, Netherlands. She is a specialist of German idealism, phenomenology, and contemporary French philosophy. In recent years, her research has carried on the question of technology. After earning a PhD at the University of Strasbourg, she has worked as researcher at the University of Helsinki and at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre; as lecturer and professor at the University of Tampere, and as core fellow at the Collegium for Advanced Studies of the University of Helsinki. Her publications include Techniques en philosophie (Hermann, 2020), Le monde défaitL’être au monde aujourd’hui (Hermann, 2016), Heidegger contre Hegel: Les irréconciliables, and Entre Heidegger et Hegel: L’éclosion et vie de l’être (L’Harmattan, 2010). She has edited several collected volumes and she is an author of numerous academic articles. 

Mikko Sams is a professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Aalto University School of Science, in the Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering and Department of Computer Science, and the founder of the Brain and Mind Laboratory. Sams is the academic leader of MAGICS, a network of distributed physical and virtual infrastructures, funded by the Academy of Finland. He researches the neural basis of the human mind, with a special focus on human emotional and social behavior. He is a leading scholar in questions in his research regard emotions and their role in social interaction. Sams’s career is characterized by a transdisciplinary approach and collaboration between research and arts. During his career, Sams has published extensively on these topics in leading international journals. 

Tuija Saresma is a senior researcher in Research Centre for Contemporary Culture, the Department of Music, Art and Culture Studies. She holds Titles of Docent in Culture Studies and Gender Studies at the universities of Jyväskylä and Eastern Finland. She is the co-chair of the Association of Gender Studies in Finland (SUNS) and the treasurer of Association of Cultural Studies (ACS). Saresma’s most recent publications include a co-edited anthology Violence, Gender and Affect (Palgrave 2021) and co-written journal articles on the role of social media in the rise of right-wing populism; on intersectional analyses of right-wing populist media; on affective mobilization on the manosphere; on hate speech experienced by political actors; and on discursive constructions of white masculinities. 


About the organizer 

The webinar series is a part of the project Coexistence and conflict in the age of complexity (EmergentCommunity) that focuses on community dynamics and practices of coexistence in diversifying urban environments. The project is located at the Tampere Peace Research Institute, Tampere University, Finland.