WhiKnow Project Goes Berlin: Hybrid Seminar

The Whirl of Knowledge: Polarisation and Cultural Populism in Europe and Beyond hybrid seminar on populism, emotions, polarisation, and the project's unique data set on the EP elections in 2019.

The Whirl of Knowledge In Europe

Berlin, 11 November 2022 13.30-15.45

A hybrid event in English.

Pre-registration recommended by 10 November:

Host: The Eastern Europe Institute; FU-Berlin

Onsite location: FU-Berlin, Ihnestrasse 22, 22-UG5, Lower floor Online: zoom registration (link or by email hepp@helsinki.fi) Contact: yannick.lahti@helsinki.fi +358400562230

The Whirl of Knowledge: Polarisation and Cultural Populism in Europe and Beyond (WhiKnow) project is a four-year project funded by the Academy of Finland at the University of Helsinki, where it is based at the interdisciplinary research group Helsinki Hub on Emotions Populism and Polarisation (HEPPsinki).

In 2019-2022, WhiKnow has been investigating polarization in contemporary societies. ‘Whirl of Knowledge’ intertwines media, politics and science. It has been developing tools for researching social media in comparative perspective but also exploring avenues for new forms of social media. It has developed theoretical tools of inquiry for populism and for polarisation, from ressentement to the form of populism. The current insights include research to the EP 2019 elections, Polish, Hungarian, Finnish and Venezuelan politics and populism. The entanglement of humour and nationalism with populism.

The hybrid seminar includes three presentations and discussions – overall discussion on the theme of Whirl of Knowledge, populism, emotions and polarisation. The final part includes presentation of the unique WhiKnow data set on the EP elections in 2019, insights on how to study politics and communication comparatively based on this set.


13:00-13:15     Pre-seminar refreshments

13:15-13:25     Opening remarks (Dr. Marina Fontolan, science and technology policy, University of Campinas - Unicamp)

13:25-14:10     Introducing the Whirl of Knowledge (Research Programme Director, Senior University Lecturer, Dr. Emilia Palonen, political science)

14:10-14:45     WhiKnow case studies on digital and legacy media from Venezuela to Hungary, (Assistant professor Virpi Salojärvi, communication studies)

14:45-15:00     Discussion

15:00-15:35     The WhiKnow-project data; gathering, analysis and usage also beyond the project (Dr. Yannick Lahti, political science)

15:35-16:00     Closing words (Dr. Mihai Varga, FU Berlin) and discussion


All researchers are affiliated with the Trans-Antlantic Partnership project ENDURE: Inequalities, Community Resilience and New Governance Modalities in a Post-Pandemic World, lead from FU Berlin by Dr. Mihai Varga.

Senior University Lecturer, Dr. Emilia Palonen works as a Research Programme Director in Datafication at the Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities (HSSH) and leads the HEPP research group and four of its projects. Her research has involved politics and polarisation in Hungary, radical right in Finland, cultural policy in Europe and questions of memory and identity. Her PhD and MA were in Ideology and Discourse Analysis (Essex) and BA in Contemporary East European Studies (London) in the UK. She has published and lectured widely on questions of populism, nationalism and democracy. In WhiKnow she has been developing comparative social media research and the study of hegemony in the era of hybrid media.

Assistant Professor Dr. Virpi Salojärvi, University of Vaasa/ University of Helsinki, is a media and communication scholar who has been working in the WhiKnow project since its beginning developing mixed methods and (audio-)visual analysis in social media research and studying journalism and social media across Europe and Venezuela. Salojärvi is a Chair in IAMCR's (International Association for Media and Communication Research) Crisis, Security and Conflict Communication Working Group. Her current research projects include emotions in journalism and TikTok journalism. Her specialist fields include polarisation and conflict, populism and media, emotions, (audio-)visual analysis and Latin American studies.

After his doctorate at University of Bologna, Italy, Dr. Yannick Lahti started working for the University of Helsinki. His thesis used the WhiKnow project data in three European countries (Finland, Italy, and the Netherlands). He currently researches pandemic politics and communication as part of the Finnish team for ENDURE.

Dr. Marina Fontolan is a visiting scholar at Freie Universitat, as a Postdoctoral Researcher for the ENDURE project at the Department of Science and Technology Policy at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (University of Campinas - Unicamp), Brazil with the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) grant, supervised by Professor Leda Maria Caira Gitahy. Dr. Fontolan has a PhD in Science and Technology Policy, an MA in Cultural History, and a BA in History from Unicamp.

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