Fighting Pluralistic Ignorance Through Urban Public Space : Feminist Street Media in Kallio Neighbourhood, Helsinki

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202006293487
Title: Fighting Pluralistic Ignorance Through Urban Public Space : Feminist Street Media in Kallio Neighbourhood, Helsinki
Author: Jones, Rachel
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Matemaattis-luonnontieteellinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science
Helsingfors universitet, Matematisk-naturvetenskapliga fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202006293487
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/317083
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Kaupunkitutkimuksen ja suunnittelun maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in Urban Studies and Planning
Magisterprogrammet i urbana studier och planering
Specialisation: USP Peoples
USP Peoples
USP Peoples
Discipline: none
Abstract: Violence against women causes serious health and psychological impacts and is pervasive in society. This is partly due to gender and social norms. These have been addressed through educational campaigns, aiming to overcome pluralistic ignorance - when people wrongly believe that they feel differently from their peers, even though they are behaving in the same way. Pluralistic ignorance can prevent people intervening or reporting gender-based violence. This project proposes that public space can also play a role in overcoming pluralistic ignorance, through the medium of street political messages, such as stickers and graffiti. To show that this is possible, fieldwork exploring the existing feminist street messaging in Kallio and interviews based on this data were conducted. The interviews asked what role street media can play in spreading feminist messages, what the advantages and disadvantages of street media are and whether the existing street messaging in the Kallio district can help with overcoming pluralistic ignorance around gender-based violence issues. Four key aspects of theory are used in the thesis. Firstly, an exploration of gender-based violence literature found that domestic violence is a difficult topic to get people to engage with and that using outreach tools can spark important conversations. Secondly, a sociological study of pluralistic ignorance found that educational campaigns are the main route taken to address gender-based violence issues and that there is a gap in studies of pluralistic ignorance when considering the role of everyday public life in addressing these issues. Thirdly, public space is explored, determining that it can play a key role in feminist activism because it provides an open forum and an anonymity which prevents the activist from being verbally abused or silenced. Finally, street media were explored. This found that the eye-catching and unexpected nature of the media can catch people’s attention. In the fieldwork, seventy feminist street messages were found in Kallio, with a variety of agendas. The majority were in sticker form and located on posts on the streets of Kallio. Interviews conducted with activists and a community group determined the importance of stickers in spreading feminist messages. Street messaging had advantages of being easy to spread, having high outreach, anonymity and as conversation starters. Identified disadvantages included illegality, the potential to provoke people or trigger trauma, limited space for text and that messages can often be too niche for a general audience. The study concludes that street messaging can help overcome pluralistic ignorance by acting as a conversation starter and as a confidence boost to people. However, the results indicate that street media alone will not be enough to address pluralistic ignorance and that wider conversation is needed to have a real impact.
Subject: Violence against women
Pluralistic ignorance
Street art
Feminism
Street politics
Public space


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