Eeva Luhtakallio is Professor of Sociology at the University of Helsinki. She specializes in political and visual sociology, social theory, and methodology. Her research focuses on democracy and citizenship as mundane practices by studying activism, young people’s political engagements, and political marginalization. Luhtakallio leads the Centre for Sociology of Democracy as well as the ERC funded project ”Imagining Democracy: Young Europeans becoming citizens by visual participation”. In Practicing Democracy (Palgrave 2012) as well as articles published in the last decade, Luhtakallio addresses everyday political action at different levels, engaging with theoretical debates concerning e.g. the plurality of the common good, definitions of civic action, and processes of creating commonality. ImagiDem addresses the visual dimension of the public sphere and political participation. The public sphere today is increasingly dominated by visual content, and the visual dimension of political participation is the key to understanding current political action: on social media and offline in action groups people build arguments, mobilize, and politicize through and by repertoires of visual participation. ImagiDem analyzes and conceptualizes visual participation of Europeans in four contexts – Finland, France, Germany and Portugal – to formulate an updated understanding of the public sphere and democratic practices. ImagiDem uses a radical methodological strategy: it merges ethnography with AI and supervised learning based computational tools, using the outcome to compare multiple ethnographic field sites and visual big data. The data is produced and processed through unique cocreation and cooperative analysis by researchers from the respective fields. ImagiDem’s theoretical ambition lies in introducing visual participation to pragmatic sociological understanding of building the common.

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