Societies are facing many kinds of challenges. Cultural processes caused by societal changes can create new kinds of ways to use and emphasize cultures on the local level. Localities are scenes for cultural processes affected by acts and actors of both societal macro level and local micro level.
Heated political debate about the number of municipalities has been going on e.g. in Finland. The political and economic acts and decisions affect not only on people's everyday life but also on the locality. Sometimes these acts cause rapid changes following each other constantly. They can also turn local functions totally into new directions by revolutionizing people's everyday life, local cultures and sense of locality. Changes can have effects on borders (concrete or imaginary), economic operations (working places), administrative structures (public services and their availability), uses of environment or identities. Many cultural challenges are waiting to be solved locally by citizens who are active on the grass root level. Although, it can be asked, how do local people as individuals or as members of communities react to the changes affecting on their own life and environment? What is the role of culture in these changed situations? How, e.g. locality is produced in these new situations?
In our panel we are focusing on democracy and social justice from the context of local communities and their inhabitants. New situations demand citizens to create new ways of cooperation and networks extending from local to global level. What kind of possibilities and strategies do local inhabitants and actors on the middle level (e.g. local organizations) have to cope in these new situations? What kind of responsibilities does the civic society take in these sudden political situations?
Kirsi Sonck-Rautio (Åbo Akademi University)
Lehel Peti (The Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities)
Piret Koosa (Estonian National Museum)Art Leete (University of Tartu)
Niina Koskihaara (University of Turku)