Pauliina Lehtonen’s work concentrates on public engagement, urban governance, media and democracy. She is especially interested in practices of knowledge production and communication in public engagement, and the uses of communication technology in civic action. Methodologically, her expertise is in case study and action research approaches as means to further the dialogic co-production of research.
Currently she works as postdoctoral fellow studying local implementation of participatory budgeting in Finland, Poland and the UK (2017–2020, funded by Academy of Finland). This study asks what particularities of participatory budgeting enable its successful translation to a local public engagement tool.
She did her PhD in mass media and communication (2013) on public engagement in urban planning (titled Credible in Public: Citizens’ Experiential Knowledge and the Performative Practices of Participation. Julkisesti uskottavat: Kansalaisten kokemuksellinen tieto ja performatiiviset osallistumiskäytännöt). In the PhD she investigated, in particular, how citizens performed their knowledge when acting in public. After PhD, she scrutinised participatory budgeting as a tool for community based urban planning (2014–2015, funded by ARA The Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland). The action research project piloted participatory budgeting with the City of Tampere to improve a local recreation area as an integral part of the City’s neighbourhood development process in the neighbourhood of Tesoma.