CEREN researchers lead and participate as responsible partners in several national and international research networks, as well as host conferences and workshops related to these.

Post-Truth Politics, Nationalism and the (De)Legitimation of European Integration

Post-Truth Politics, Nationalism and the (De)Legitimation of European Integration is an Erasmus+ co-funded Jean Monnet Network. Jean Monnet Networks are research projects that are designed to promote excellence in EU studies worldwide and foster a policy-debate with the academic world.

Fake news, disinformation and manipulation of the media are widely perceived to constitute a fundamental challenge to modern liberal-representative democracies. In an era of post-truth politics, digital media has increasingly replaced traditional legacy media as the most important source and venue of political information and communication. This is a fundamental shift since information online is often unverified by gatekeepers at news outlets. Information spreads without professional input from journalists. This proliferation of digital media therefore raises concerns about the quality of democratic discourse, since it can be used for manipulative purposes to spread false and unfiltered information, and potentially affect the electoral decisions of citizens in liberal democracies.

This is a particular challenge in terms of the possible impact of disinformation on public support for the European project as such. Especially since the lingering democratic deficit debate in the EU has identified lack of knowledge about the functioning of the European institutions as one of the key problems regarding the democratic legitimation of the EU. In other words, if there is a lack of knowledge to begin with, then the possible impact of disinformation is heightened.

In addition, the project will address the related topic of why disinformation appears to have such an appeal to nationalist and/or populist actors on the far right and examine whether similar strategies are visible on the left of the political spectrum. These actors often identify the European Union as the root cause of many of the ‘evils’ that nationalist movements claim to tackle. In this regard, European integration is seen as a fundamental attack on the imagined community of the sovereign nation state.

The Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre - University of Iceland - is the lead partner, with five other universities participating in the project: University of Helsinki, University of Birmingham, University of Oslo, University of Victoria and University of Copenhagen.

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COST Action Police Stops

Stop and search’ (S&S) is a worldwide practice carried out by the police which enables police officers to stop a person, prevent him or her from pursuing his or her passage (Bowling & Philips, 2007; Bowling & Weber, 2011) and if necessary, proceed with a search. Two types of S&S approaches can be distinguished: the reactive approach, where the police decide to stop someone as a response to suspicious behaviour or circumstances in order to find proof of criminal activity, and the proactive approach, where the goal is to deter future offences and maintain public order (Murray, 2014). The latter fits well within the current ‘culture of control’ which aims at spotting risky individuals as soon as possible (van der Leun & van der Woude, 2011).

In various European countries S&S has been a source of considerable debate. It us argued that S&S principally targets certain population groups and more specifically ethnic minority groups (ethnic profiling) and youngsters (Delsol & Shiner, 2006; Sollund, 2006). Consequently, S&S is a rather controversial practice, which can cause a negative effect on the public and can affect the legitimacy of the police (Bowling & Phillips, 2007; van der Leun et al., 2014; Quinton, 2013). Despite the heavy debates that exist around S&S in Europe, so far no cross-country scientific research has been carried out on the practice. Therefore, the main aim of the Action is to exchange and deepen our knowledge and understanding of police stops in Europe.

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Decolonial Critique, Knowledge Production and Social Change

The research network Decolonial critique, knowledge production and social change in the Nordic countries (DENOR) provides a decolonial perspective on knowledge and education in the Nordic countries. As an articulation between racism, capitalism and patriarchy generated through the processes of domination that became globalized in the wake of colonialism, coloniality (as the legacy of colonial knowledge and relationships, as well as global politics, geopolitics and world-colonial/modern system) continues to produce structures of inequality that render people as non-existent.

DENOR addresses coloniality’s social, political, epistemic and ontological production of absences, and their connection to contemporary problems connected to knowledge and education in the Nordic countries, as well as examine how these may reproduce or be complicit with the problems of racism and social exclusion we are facing.

The network is coordinated by Gothenburg University, in cooperation with University of Helsinki, Roskilde University and Norwegian University of Technology and Science.

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The Power of Narratives: Democracy and Media in Political Turmoil

The project The Power of Narratives: Democracy and Media in Political Turmoil is led by Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre and funded by the Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS).

The primary objective of the project is to create a multidisciplinary network of Nordic academics focusing on the discourse on immigration issues and national identity in the Nordic countries and the impact of political narratives in a rapidly changing media environment. By pooling expertise from the different Nordic countries, the project will initiate and promote new critical research on the role of political narratives, and how the portrayal in the mainstream media has affected the far right parties’ capacity to further their agenda and make electoral advances.

Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre coordinates the project in cooperation with two other universities, Linköping University and the University of Helsinki.

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Multiculturalism, Cultural Homogeneity and Societal Security (NordHOME)

This research network provides a critical approach to the narratives of social cohesion and cultural homogeneity that are usually taken for granted in the understanding of Nordic societal security and reflected in attitudes towards immigration and national minorities. The perception of the Nordic countries as exceptionally homogeneous in relation to culture and population is widespread in academic, administrative and public discussions. Moreover, cultural homogeneity is claimed to be a central element of social cohesion that provides basis for societal security. Such normative understandings neglect the histories of transnational migration and national minorities, as well as the colonial appropriation of land and assimilation policies in the Sami areas.

Furthermore, such narratives have exclusionary effects on the lives of current migrants and minorities in the Nordic region, when cultural heterogeneity is connected to societal insecurity and risks. This narrative has significant consequences at the level of policy-making, particularly regarding minority relations and the tackling of racism. The network is organized into three thematic workshops, in which the participants will critically examine the normativities underlying the relationship between social cohesion, cultural homogeneity and multiculturalism.

The network is led by Suvi Keskinen and coordinated by Mari Toivanen. The activities were funded by NOS-HS in 2016-2018.

The Futures of Feminism in the Nordic Region

How do feminist movements react upon global crises and increases in mobility, diversities and inequalities? Which challenges are feminist movements (including feminist activism in other social movements) in the Nordic countries facing today? Five Nordic universities, coordinated by Pauline Stoltz at FREIA, Aalborg University, have received funding from NOS-HS (424 111 SEK) and NIKK (270 000 DKK) for a network which has the aim to identify and discuss the commonalities and specificities of feminist movements in the Nordic countries, the present status of Nordic state feminism and the transnational relations of feminist communities.

The network is coordinated by Aalborg University in cooperation with Lund University, University of Oslo and University of Helsinki.

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Antiracist research network RASTER

Raster is an anti-racist research network that seeks to connect researchers interested in questions of racialisation, racism and ethnic boundary-making, understood as socio-cultural practices and structures. Both as a societal phenomenon and as individual experiences, racialisation and racism intersect with differences and inequalities related to gender, class, sexuality and generation.

The network aims to analyse, question and create change in relation to these processes through research and participation in the public sphere. It provides a discussion forum for researchers addressing questions of racialisation and racism. The network cooperates with anti-racist civil society actors and engages in discussions with the general public. It also seeks to raise questions of the exclusionary processes within academic culture and institutions.

The network is coordinated by University of Helsinki.

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ETMU The Society for the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration

The Society for the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration (ETMU) is a multidisciplinary scientific association established in 2003 to promote research on migration and ethnic relations in Finland.

ETMU’s key activities include organizing the annual ETMU Conference and members’ visits, publishing the NJMR and the blog Liikkeessä yli rajojen, granting the annual ETMU Award, influencing policy-making and public debates, and disseminating information about current research, events, and publications.

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ESA RN15 - Global, transnational and cosmopolitan sociology

Sociology has traditionally worked with the nation-state as its main unit of analysis. However, recent world-wide developments made it necessary to advance existing sociological methods to understand increasingly transnational and global levels of social reality. Therefore, on the one hand, this research network focuses on the study of social structures and processes that transcend or go beyond the national level.

The field covers a wide range of phenomena, some of them emphasising consciousness of the world as one place, others transnational by definition, still others with a global-local relational nature, and some that may be rooted in a nation-state but have important transnational dimensions. On the other hand, the overriding reason for proposing this RN is the substantial lack of knowledge and understanding regarding the emergence of transnational shared practices, cultures and patterns of affiliation.

The research network is coordinated by Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and University of Helsinki.

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IMISCOE: TRANSMIG - Transnational Practices in Migration network

The TRANSMIG Research Group

  • provides a platform for discussing and learning from empirical research on transnational migration;
  • generates new knowledge and perspectives in migration studies;
  • initiates and realizes publications falling under the main headings of Transnational Practices in Migration.

The central scientific aim is to promote a transnational perspective in migration research and deal with the methodological challenges posed by research on institutionalized and grassroots practices that transgress national borders. The workshops arranged by TRANSMIG bring together scholars engaged in research of transnational practices.

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Nordic Migration Research (NMR)

Nordic Migration Research (NMR) is an organisation of individuals and institutions conducting or using research related to different aspects of international migration and ethnic relations such as integration, ethnicity/race, culture, religion, marginalization, citizenship, nationalism, discrimination and racism.

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Mi­gra­tion and Di­a­spora Stud­ies Research Group

The Migration and Diaspora Studies Research Group (MIDI) is an active research group at the University of Helsinki. The group has an interest in contemporary migration processes and the social consequences of migration in an increasingly global world. The research projects focus on immigrant integration processes, diasporic social relations, transnational ties and the formation of new ethnic boundaries and emerging forms of citizenship, as well as the political responses to these significant societal developments.

The projects provide information about the positive importance of diasporas for development, equality and social progress. The research group contributes to the aim of the University of Helsinki to seek solutions for global challenges and to create new ways of thinking for the best of humanity.

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Stig in! Astu sisään! Come in!

Stig in! Astu sisään! Come in! is a collaborative project that aims to enhance the integration of immigrants to the Finnish society. The collaborative partners include the Centre for lifelong learning (CLL) at Åbo Akademi University, Swedish School of Social Science at the University of Helsinki and Folkhälsan Utbildning.

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