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STUE Keynote session: Participation and social movements – US context

Tampere University
17.1.2022 14.00–16.15
Registration deadline: 14.1.2022,23.55
Entrance feeFree of charge
Fulbright scholars Selina Gallo-Cruz and Patricia Donahue.
Welcome to STUE Keynote session on January 17th! We will hear intriguing keynotes from two Fulbright scholars: 1) Patricia Donahue presents her research on participation, community and public policy in US. 2) Selina Gallo-Cruz offers insights to social movements and city sustainability politics from Worcester, Massachusetts.

Join us on January 17th at 14.00-16.15 online or F2F at Tampere University, Väinö Linna hall (Linna building, Kalevantie 5, Tampere). The event will be held in English.

Register by 11.1.2022 at 16.00 for F2F participation
Register by 13.1.2022 for online participation


14.00 Coffee/tea (served for F2F participants at a lobby near Väinö Linna hall)

14.15 Opening words, prof. Liisa Häikiö

14.25 Keynote: Patricia Donahue
Exploring Participation, Community, and Public Policy – Then and Now
15.05 Questions for Patricia Donahue

15.15 Keynote: Selina Gallo-Cruz
Social Movements and City Sustainability Politics: Insights from Worcester, Massachusetts
15.55 Questions for Selina Gallo-Cruz

16.05 Closing words, prof. Liisa Häikiö

Abstracts to keynotes

Exploring Participation, Community, and Public Policy – Then and Now/ Patricia Donahue

Abstract: Recent research suggests Americans are participating less in their communities, which if true, could change in the nature of US communities, and related public policies. Yet, do we have enough evidence to support these suggested trends? My research argues that every community can be understood as the sum of all of the various types of participation that its people engage in—positive, negative, formal, informal, direct, and indirect. However, most participation activities are not measured by social science surveys. In the absence of sufficient national data, community case studies offer rich insights into the reciprocal relationships between participation, community, and public policy.

In this presentation, I offer examples of different types of participation from my previous and current case study research. Several of these examples resonate with current policy debates about such issues as sustainability, COVID-19 pandemic, social justice, and election integrity.

Social Movements and City Sustainability Politics: Insights from Worcester, Massachusetts/ Selina Gallo-Cruz

Abstract: Worcester, Massachusetts, once an early and major industrial center in the northeastern United States, has also historically hosted a diversity of dynamic social movements, from abolition and women’s rights, to an array of peace organizing and social justice initiatives.

Environmentalists have called Worcester home for over fifty years, pushing through new local legislation to protect conservation land, to clean up waste sites, to prioritize environmental justice concerns, and to develop a decarbonization strategy. Among their successes, Worcester activists pioneered wetland conservation efforts that set in motion legislative protections in surrounding Massachusetts towns. Worcester was the first U.S. city to implement curbside recycling and an early adopter among recent city declarations of climate emergency in 2019. But the city has also been home to one of the U.S.’s most toxic waste incinerators. Worcester struggles with tree loss and an urban heat island effect, pollution and endemic gas leaks from its hundred-year old gas heating system.

In this talk, I will draw from historical, interview, and ethnographic study of environmental mobilization in Worcester, Massachusetts to consider how environmental movements have shaped policy opportunities and pathways in the city. As the IPCC and other international authorities encourage cities to move ahead of states in implementing sustainability policy at the local level, I consider some of the challenges faced in Worcester, where a vibrantly mobilized civic community struggles to navigate the jurisdiction between state and city politics, private markets and public interest, and disagreements over best goals and sound strategy.


STUE – Sustainable Transformation of Urban Environments

Further information

Research coordinator Alisa Vänttinen,