Friday, 27 February 2009

Baklavas, Social Forums, Commercialised Protesting and 19th Century Politics

Just a few brief notes from the day - I hope to be able to delve more thoroughly on the subjects later on.

1) Last year, I participated in a survey administered to participants of the 2008 European Social Forum in Malmö, Sweden. A preliminary report of the basic statistics has now been compiled by coordinators (and friends of mine) Magnus Wennerhag and Richard Andersson. Richard is soon to join the department as a Ph D candidate, which is great. Without disclosing too much, I find the numbers on reported Internet usage from participants interesting. Expressions of political participation and engagement in Internet media seems to be much more common than any other form of participation. To be continued.

2) I'm currently working on a paper on the use of commercial social media platforms by alternative protest movements with my dear friend an colleague Tina Askanius over at the Dept of Media and Communication here at Lund. Specifically, we are looking at how protesters in Copenhagen fighting for a new "Ungdomshus" and organisers and participants of the 2008 ESF used social media. Hint: it doesn't matter how alternative or underground you are or position yourself as, you use commercial social media platforms anyway. The results will be presented at a conference called "Shaping Europe in a Globalized World" in Zürich in June. To be continued.

3) I had lunch with my supervisors today. Afterwards we were talking about the history of Swedish public administration (my head supervisor is currently working on a project dedicated to electoral fraud) and it turns out that very little has been written about Swedish 19th century public administration and political history, although lots of things happened in that time that are important for the understanding of contemporary Sweden: the coup d'etat and the new constitution of 1809, the historical change in Swedish trade policy towards free trade, the restructuring of employment strategies of civil servants, etc.

4) The department is welcoming a new Ph D candidate today, a student from Turkey who had already finished her dissertation, but who was told that she wouldn't be allowed to graduate because it was hurtful to the Turkish state (I believe the word "Kurdish" is in the title). So she will be finishing her Ph D here instead. A glorious day for free science. It's also my birthday, and I have bought 2 kgs of baklava for the occasion.

That's it for now.

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