#13 Power and politics of engagement 4

Parallel sessions on Saturday 26.11. at 10.30-11.45
Location: Room 10, Metsätalo

Jon Gunnar Bernburg (University of Iceland) – Large-Turnout Expectations and Protest Re-Emergence: The Panama Papers Protest in Iceland

Collective action theory implies that a rise in the expectation that many will participate in collective action can make participation in the action widely rational, giving rise to a “self-fulfilling prophecy”. For this reason, the momentary rise of large-turnout expectations may be pivotal to episodes where mass protest on a given injustice theme “re-emerges”. I examine these ideas by focusing on a demonstration that the “Panama Papers Leak” triggered in Iceland on April 4, 2016. The demonstration attracted one-fifth of the capital area population, allowing me to obtain event-specific, population-representative survey measures of the focal constructs (N = 821). Moreover, my historical-qualitative evidence indicates that the demonstration was preceded by a sudden rise of large-turnout expectations, caused by the fact that the Leak re-evoked the privilege-corruption theme that only a few years before (i.e., during the financial crisis) inspired major protest in the country.

The survey findings support the role of large-turnout expectations in participation in the re-emergent mass protest that took place in April 2016. Specifically, the findings show that not only are large-turnout expectations associated with participation in protest. But they indicate that protest support influences protest participation only if individuals have high turnout expectations. Also, the findings imply that large-protest expectations trigger interpersonal relational dynamics that further motivate participation. The study thus draws attention to the role of the self-fulfilling prophecy in collective action.

Tülay Yılmaz (University of Helsinki) – The Last Straw of Democratization: Narratives of Emotions-Remembering the Gezi Movement after a Decade

Social protests and movements may have unpredictable positive or negative impacts over societies and states. They might, on the one hand, enable democracy to rise, create a more livable and more egalitarian milieu, on the other hand, cause to emergence of undemocratic and authoritarian regimes.

The Gezi movements initiated by the actions of a few environmentally sensitive activists in May 2013 still maintains its importance in terms of the politics and society in Turkey. In my PhD research, I study the Gezi movement as contentious politics, deploying the methodological tools of narration and the concept of emotions in social movements.

Even though there are a myriad of studies on the movement, society and politics, no scholars paid enough attention to the emotional states and the narration of the participants about the Gezi protests and the period aftermath. Starting from this point, this study is being conducted from a different angle that creates a colossal gap in the Gezi literature regarding the accounts of participants' points of view from today's perspective. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 52 people who participated in the protests almost after a decade- at the end of 2019- in İstanbul and Ankara. The study focuses on their narration, interpretation, their emotional description of the pre, during, and post-Gezi periods. The study discusses how participants narrate the events, the protests, their participation, and this almost ten-year period politically and socially through their individual stories.

The presentation will be on the analysis part of the dissertation which is still in progress.

Pekka Koskinen (University of Helsinki) – Disability movement and the (un)changing demand for disability inclusion

How to counter injustices in relation to disability remains a key theme both on a theoretical level in disability studies and on a practical level in the disability movement. The global disability rights movement has fought for changes to counter injustices on three levels: laws and legislation; practices and conventions; and symbols and meaning. Global disability movement’s strategy has been to push changes in political and economic structures and cultural belief systems. There is a political agreement across global actors, transnational organisations, and national governments that disability inclusion – the full and complete realisation of the human rights and fundamental freedom – of disabled people should encompass all levels of society.

During our ongoing research project focusing on disability activism and the past and present of the Finnish disability movement, one focus of examination has been societal change and its implications to demands of the activists. This has led us to ask under which conditions disability inclusion should take place: what is it that disabled people demand to be included in and thus subjected to. In our presentation, we discuss these questions in relation to the ongoing global challenges and intertwined crises; how and in what ways should disability movement react to the shifting terms of inclusive society? As an example, does the image of labour market citizenship carried by demands concerning work inclusion resonate with current realities and ambivalences present in labour market participation, including precarity and unsustainability of some forms of paid labour. In our paper we focus on how the rapid societal and global changes might challenge the disability movement to reanalyse and redefine their demands.