Kaarina Nikunen

Swedish School of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

January 2012 – December 2012. Hosted by Byron Reeves, Department of Communication

My project explores the spaces of compassion and solidarity as well as conflict and hostility in social media. The virtual sphere holds a promise of an inclusive political medium that may restructure political processes and rejuvenate political practices, as we have seen in the case of Arab Spring and the Green Movement of Iran. How do social media add to the understanding of others’ life situations and experiences of struggle and tragedy? Or, do these spaces increase the fragmentation of the public sphere and creation of multiple, even hostile and exclusionary spaces of communication. I am investigating transnational dimensions of social media participation connected particularly with issues of multiculturalism and immigration.