Project Details


WhiKnow’s trans-generational and interdisciplinary team studies polarisation in contemporary societies, identifying a ‘whirl of knowledge’ that intertwines media, politics and science. The project engages in theoretical and comparative empirical work, combining big data with qualitative and experimental research and media ethnography.

WhiKnow explores how social media hypes brokers or meaning-makers and how these produce identifications, affects and emotions in polarisation. Politicians promote polarized forms of knowledge, scientists take part in talk shows and journalists step in as politicians. A neutrally intended scientific tweet can end up in a completely different constellation – trolled and contributing to political antagonism.

It appears that the affective spin of the ‘Whirl of Knowledge’ is fueled by blending and intertwining knowledge, ‘cultural populism’, and polarizing knowledge that generates new forms of subjectivity. Affect, belief, and intimacy molds together media, politics and science, and previously distinct modes of knowledge in social media may lose their status as democracy’s control mechanisms as societies polarize.

We study how societies change through relation and transmission of knowledge. The polarised societies in East Central Europe we study are relevant for the future of Europe: Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Czech Republic. Our partners engage us in other polarised/ing societies: Belgium, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the UK.
Short titleWhiKnow
Effective start/end date01/01/201931/12/2022

Fields of Science

  • 517 Political science
  • 518 Media and communications
  • 511 Economics
  • 611 Philosophy

Research Output

Kymmenen pointtia demokratiasta

Translated title of the contribution: Ten points about democracyPalonen, E., 25 Feb 2020, In : Kotiseutublogi.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleGeneral public

Open Access

Nordic Populist Parties as Hegemony Challengers

Palonen, E. & Sunnercranz, L., 2020, (Accepted/In press) The Nordic Economic, Social and Political Model: Challenges in the 21st Century. Routledge

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Ten Theses on Populism and Democracy

Palonen, E., 2020, The Populist Manifesto. Eklundh, E. & Knott, A. (eds.). London: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers , p. 55-69 15 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientific


Webinar: Rajat sulkeutuvat Euroopassa – kuinka käy demokratian ja kansalaisyhteiskunnan

Emilia Palonen (Invited speaker)
8 Apr 2020

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Roberto de Rosa

Emilia Palonen (Host)
31 Jan 20202 Feb 2020

Activity: Hosting a visitor typesAcademic visit at UH

Sara Garcia Santamaria

Emilia Palonen (Host)
19 Feb 202021 Feb 2020

Activity: Hosting a visitor typesAcademic visit at UH