Democracy that works cannot be taken for granted, and it is not only related to formal political institutions. Democracy is being created or destroyed for example, during the chatter over the family lunch table or during coffee breaks at work, when shopping for food or clothing, and on internet discussion forums which transcend cultural and geographical boundaries.

Active citizens lay the foundations of functioning democracy, and they act in ever new ways on social media platforms. However, these platforms also enable new modes of surveillance, control and polarization.

Democracy has been under threat from many directions in recent years in Europe and around the world. Established democracies have also faltered, due among other things to the rise of populist movements, the popularity of digital media, and the spread of hate speech. In addition, in Finland the changing financing models of civil society have raised concerns about the narrowing of the autonomy of civil society.

We should thus also take a look in the mirror. The Annual Sociological Conference 2022 in Jyväskylä asks how democracy works in Finland and elsewhere today, and how it can be defended.

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