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Coexistence and conflict in the age of complexity (EmergentCommunity)

Tampere University
Duration of project1.1.2021–31.12.2025
Area of focusSociety

The European Research Council (ERC) funded research project Coexistence and conflict in the age of complexity: an interdisciplinary study of community dynamics (EmergentCommunity) explores local and mundane forms of conflict and peaceful coexistence. We are interested in communities and their dynamics as they take shape through practices and processes of community-making. The research project studies these in socio-economically diverse urban environments in Finland, France, and Sweden.


Polarization and increasing diversity and inequalities constitute a challenge to many European societies. These developments put peaceful coexistence under pressure. In the EmergentCommunity project, we will explore how societies change, how they hold together and how people live together. The research design is both multimethodical and interdisciplinary. The project is founded upon multisited ethnography on the basis of which we will create real-life like virtual reality environments. While research participants are immersed in virtual reality, we will gather data on their affective arousal. In addition, we will conduct interviews to gain insight into the meanings assigned to reactions. Through this approach, we can gain nuanced knowledge of how people react to diversity, mundane urban encounters and how they assign meanings to them. 


In the EmergentCommunity project, we are interested in various forms of dialogues and practices of collaboration in which people engage in their everyday lives. How are differences negotiated and conflicts handled? How do people build and maintain collaboration and peaceful relations? The project explores societal change from local and individual perspectives. We are interested in how people perceive and make sense of their everyday surroundings and changes therein. Our goal is to produce knowledge that can be applied to promote functional population relations.

The objectives of the project are:

  • to produce empirical knowledge of the effects of polarisation and diversification and identify challenges and possibilities to promote peaceful coexistence
  • to develop a methodological frame through which it is possible to study community relations and community-making as a political, social, and affective phenomenon
  • to create a theorisation of community as an emergent and situational construction and therewith to provide conceptual tools to understand forms of sociality and political agency that fall outside of our current knowledge

Funding source

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement No. 946012).


Contact persons

Eeva Puumala, eeva.puumala[at]