07.04.2010

The Problem of Representation and the Role of Talk in the Finnish Parliament

Kyösti Pekonen
Professor
Department of Political Science
University of Helsinki, and
Senior Scientist of the Finnish Academy (1.8.08-31.7.09)

E-mail: kyosti.pekonen(a)helsinki.fi

 
Abstract of the project

 
The aim of the research project The Problem of Representation and the Role of Talk in the Finnish Parliament is to study both theoretically and empirically a trend according to which the position of parliament is again strengthening and, consequently, the role of talk in parliament after a long period of belittling the role of rhetoric in parliamentary procedures in traditional European party-dominated representative democracies. The trend is analysed by using the case of the Finnish Parliament as an illuminative illustration and the interviews made in parliament as the empirical material on which the analysis and conclusions are based. The main argument which will be tested both theoretically and empirically is that the new strengthening of the genuine parliamentary style of politics as speaking open-mindedly pro et contra in the presence of adversaries is possible only when the conception of representation simultaneously changes from the traditional principal-agent model towards a more open model of representation.