Palonen Kari, Professor emeritus

Palonen Kari, Professor emeritus
Valtio-oppi / Political science
Opinkivi 329.1.

The Relevance and Benefits of my Research

Max Weber re-thinks ”objectivity” with the parliamentary procedure as a model for fair debate pro et contra. My conceptual and historical studies of parliamentary politics analyse the value and uses of fair procedures for presenting and debating opposed points of view for politicians and scholars.


Kari Palonen (b. 1947) is Professor of Political Science at the University of Jyväskylä since 1983, full professor since 1993, with an emeritus status since 2015. Since 2015 he is scientist-in-charger of the Finnish Distinguished Professorship of Professor Niilo Kauppi the TRACE project. He has an unique research profile in having gained international distinction in four types of studying politics. The concept of politics and its history; The political thought and methodology of Max Weber, The principles and practices of conceptual history; The parliamentary politics: concepts, procedures, rhetoric This keeps his thinking in motion, allowing fruitful and unexpected transfer ideas across these four thematics.

Palonen was twice Academy of Finland Professor, first from August 1998 to July 2003 with project Polity, Contingency and Conceptual Change and for the years 2008–2012 with the project The Politics of Dissensus: Parliamentarism, Rhetoric and Conceptual History (with a core team – Tapani Turkka, Taru Haapala, Hanna-Mari Kivistö – a broader circle of scholars. The project has created a parliamentary turn in studying debates, concepts, procedures and rhetorical practices. The Finnish Centre of Excellence in Political Thought and Conceptual Change (PolCon, 2006–2011), and its largest team ‘Political Thought and Conceptual History’ were directed by Palonen. The Centre is continuing as an independent research centre. He initiated the Annual Jyväskylä Symposia on Political Thought and Conceptual History. The Centre played a decisive in giving the University of Jyväskylä an international profile in studying political thought, conceptual history and parliamentary studies.

The journal Redescriptions is another initiative of Palonen, founded as Finnish Yearbook of Political Thought and renamed Redescriptions in 2004 when Palonen resumed the editorship. Since 2014 Redescriptions is published a journal by Manchester University Press. The ‘History of Political and Social Concepts Group’ (now History of Concepts Group) was founded by Melvin Richter and Palonen in 1998. The European Science Foundation Network ‘Politics and History of European Democratisation’ (PHED) was chaired He is the co-chair of the Political Concepts Standing Group within the European Consortium for Political Research and co-editor (with Claudia Wiesner) of the book series Politics – Concepts – Debates /Politik – Begriffe – Debatten of the Nomos Verlag. by Palonen organising five workshops between 2003 and 2005. He has been a member in several Spanish workshop projects led by José María Rosales (Málaga).

Palonen was a Visiting Fellow of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge (in 1998–1999, now a Life Member), Fellow at SCASSS, Uppsala (2002–2003, now a member of the SCAS Erik Allardt Fellowships Board). He was Aby-Warburg-Professor at Warburg-Haus, Universität Hamburg (six months in 2006), and Visiting Fellow at the FRIAS School of History, Universität Freiburg (2009). He is a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters.

Palonen has supervised 25 PhD theses at the University of Jyväskylä. He has served on dissertation committees at the Universities of Hamburg, Málaga, Trento and three times in Stockholm. He has been on the board of VAKAVA, the Finnish doctoral school in political science and international relations and its successor POLITU. He co-organised several of its international doctoral courses. He has served in the editorial boards of journals and written numerous statements to research funding institutions, academic journals and publishers.