International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought

Jyväskylä University, Villa Rana building, 13-14 June 2011,

Course procedure
Every participant is kindly requested to send his or her paper (max. 20 pages) not later than on 31 May 2011 by e-mail to the entire list of participants, including the lecturers, discussants and organisers. You can do so by replying to this message.
Due to the possibility to read all the papers in advance and in order to maximise the time for discussion, the oral presentation of the course participants’ papers is strictly limited to 5 minutes.
The lectures will be based on the oral presentation and will not be sent in advance to the participants.


Monday 13 June 2011

9.00 Coffee (Villa Rana, Paulaharju Lecture Theatre)

9.15 Opening by Helge Jordheim, Kari Palonen

9.30-10.15  Keynote lecture
Willibald Steinmetz, Parliamentary debates, conceptual history and the analysis of arguments
Chair: Kari Palonen

10.15-10.45 Discussants: Jussi Kurunmäki, Alexander Semyonov

10.45-11.15 Discussion

11.15-12.00  Keynote lecture
Cornelia Ilie, Analysing parliamentary discourse at the micro-macro interface
Chair: Pasi Ihalainen

12.00-12.30 Discussants Helge Jordheim, Ann-Christina Lauring Knudsen

12.30-13.00 Discussion

13.00-14.15 Lunch (Lozzi student cafeteria)

14.15-15.45 Papers in parallel sessions

15.45-16.00 Coffee break

16.00-17.00 Papers in parallel sessions

Parallel session I Parliamentary History (Historica, H105)
Chair: Pasi Ihalainen

Discussants: Willibald Steinmetz, Alexander Semyonov, Jonas Harvard, Jussi Kurunmäki       
Onni Pekonen, The Concept of Obstruction in the Finnish Parliamentary Reform of 1906 and the Early Eduskunta Procedural Debates
Anna Friberg, Expanding Democracy: The Concept of Democracy in Swedish Parliamentary Debates, 1921–1939
Anna Kronlund, Rhetoric of the exception: Debating Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution in Germany, 1919-1929
Mårten Johannes Winstrup Hansen, Danes in European Transnational Parliamentary Assemblies 1949-1989
Miina Virmasalo, German parliamentary debates concerning the future of nuclear energy in 1991-2001 from the perspective of parliamentary political culture

Parallel Session II Parliaments and International Politics (Villa Rana, Paulaharju Lecture Theatre)
Chair: Suvi Soininen

Discussants: Cornelia Ilie, Rinna Kullaa, Evgeny Roshchin, Ann-Christina Lauring Knudsen
Marie-Christine Boillard, International parliamentary and quasi-parliamentary institutions as
sources in the study of global conceptual history: methodological issues and considerations.
Claudia Leskien, Hosting Europe: The Seat Question of the European Parliament and Local Politics
Ratih D. Adiputri, Political Language in the Indonesian Parliament
Matti Roitto, The Role of Questions and Adjournment Debates in the British Parliamentary Activity – A Case Study concerning British Atomic Matters 1945–1946
Teemu Häkkinen, The House of Commons and Going to War: Effects of Parliamentary Language to Decision-making, 1990 – 1991

Coffee break

17.15-18.15 Papers – Methodology of parliamentary studies (Villa Rana, Paulaharju Lecture Theatre)
Chair: Kari Palonen
Jens Wendel-Hansen, Methodogical Analysis of Semantic Fields
Jenni Rinne, Between Aesthetic and Mimetic: Representation in Parliamentary Committees

Dinner at 19h restaurant Alba:

Tuesday 14 June 2011
 (Villa Rana, Paulaharju Lecture Theatre)

9.00-9.45  Keynote lecture
Dirk Jörke, Redescribing Parliamentary Democracy
Chair: Helge Jordheim

9.45-10.15 Discussants Suvi Soininen, Tapani Turkka

10.15-10.45 Discussion

Coffee break

11.00-13.00 Papers: Parlaments and parties (Villa Rana, Paulaharju Lecture Theatre)
Chair: Tapani Turkka
Christian Houlberg Skov, Conservatism and the concept of parliamentarianism
Silvia Giulia Pirola, A Communist Struggle for Europe:. Italian communists and delegation to the European Parliament during the Cold War
Jussi Kukkonen, A note on the narrativity of 'party' in the literature on political parties
Anna Björk, “Integration” and Citizenship Test Debates: a temporal reading

13.00-14.15 Lunch (Lozzi student cafeteria)

14.15-15.45 Parliamentarism, rhetoric and political theory (Villa Rana, Paulaharju Lecture Theatre)
Chair: Jussi Kurunmäki
Ester Abin, The Contingency of Parliamentary Politics

Taru Haapala, Political Culture of Debate and the Nineteenth-Century House of Commons
Laura-Mari Manninen, The Women’s Suffrage Question in British Parliamentary Debates on ‘Representation of the People’s Act 1918’

Coffee break

Hanna-Mari Kivistö, Parlamentarischer Rat as a parliamentary forum
Anthoula Malkopoulou, The Debate over Compulsory Voting as a Conflict of Political Concepts
Joel Niemi, Parliamentary rhetoric in fiction – Väinö Linna’s use of real life paragons in his novel Under the North Star


Concluding discussion

Texts to be distributed to the list of participants:

– Hubertus Buchstein & Dirk Jörke, Redescribing Democracy, Redescriptions 11, 2007, 178-200, see also
– Pasi Ihalainen & Kari Palonen, Parliamentary Sources in the Comparative Study of Conceptual History: methodological aspects and illustrations of a research proposal. Parliaments, Estates & Representation 29, 2009, 17-34.
– Cornelia Ilie, Analytical perspectives on parliamentary and extra-parliamentary discourses. JJournal of Pragmatics 42(4), 2010: 879-884.
– Kari Palonen, Max Weber’s Rhetoric of ‘Objectivity’: The Parliament as a Paradigm for Scholarly Disputes, Max Weber Studies 10:1, 71-93.
– Willibald Steinmetz, “A code of its own”: Rhetoric and Logic of Parliamentary
Debate in Modern Britain, Finnish Yearbook of Political Thought 6, 2002, 87-104, see also

* * *


University of Jyväskylä, 13-14 June 2011
Venue: Villa Rana, Seminaarinkatu 15 (marked with ’V’)

Organised immediately after the Sixth Annual Jyväskylä Symposium on Political Thought and Conceptual History, 10-11 June 2011, the topic of which is European Conceptual History – Principles and Practices

Co-organised by

The Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Political Thought and Conceptual Change
Project The Politics of Dissensus: Parliamentarism, Rhetoric and Conceptual History
Project Parliamentary Means of Conflict Resolution in Twentieth-Century Britain
POLITU Finnish Doctoral School of Political Studies
University of Jyväskylä, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy and Department of History and Ethnology

Main speakers
Dirk Jörke (University of Greifswald)
Discussants Suvi Soininen (Jyväskylä), Tapani Turkka (Tampere-Jyväskylä)

Cornelia Ilie (University of Malmö)
Discussants Helge Jordheim (Oslo) and Tuula Vaarakallio (Jyväskylä)

Willibald Steinmetz
(University of Bielefeld)
Discussants Jussi Kurunmäki (Stockholm) and Alexander M. Semjonov (Smolny College, State University of St. Petersburg)

Course practices:
The course will consist of lectures, comments and participants’ papers. International specialists in the field of parliamentary studies will give the lectures, other advanced scholars present comments on lectures and serve as discussants for participants’ papers. Applicants should send their paper proposals (an abstract of 200 words) to the course organisers Pasi Ihalainen, Kari Palonen and Suvi Soininen (see email addresses below under heading “organisation”) by 15 April 2011. The accepted participants should then send their papers (max 20 pages) to all participants by 31 May 2011. The participants will receive online or paper copies of several background texts related to the course, including an article by Pasi Ihalainen & Kari Palonen, “Parliamentary sources in the comparative study of conceptual history: methodological aspects and illustrations of a research proposal”, Parliaments, Estates & Representation 29, 2009, 17-34. The extent of the course is 8 ECTS which includes course reading, attendance and essay.

Participants (max. 30):
The participants need to arrange funding for their travel and accommodation, using the resources of research projects, doctoral schools etc. According to an old Concepta practice, a limited number of scholarships for travel and accommodation of participants from countries with scarce research funding will be available. A dinner, coffee and refreshment will be provided by the organisers.

Concepta organiser: Suvi Soininen (
Local organisation: Pasi Ihalainen ( ) & Kari Palonen  ( )
Practical organisation: Anitta Kananen (, facilities, meals and refreshment, accommodation of the speakers and discussants, university and media advertising
Sami Syrjämäki (, accommodation and travel advice for the participants and Concepta board members, Concepta information

Recommended hotels:




Pension Kampus:



Concepta. International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought ( organizes annual “Introduction to Conceptual History” courses at the University of Helsinki and more specialized courses for advanced scholars on varying topic.  The courses provide a meeting place for established academics and young scholars from various backgrounds and disciplines to engage in conceptual explorations. From 2008 it has arranged research courses in Odense, Madrid, Stockholm, Oslo and the next will take place in Budapest autumn 2010. The present proposal connects also to the work of the upcoming book series European Conceptual History, and to the long-term research on political thought, rhetoric and conceptual history around the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Political Thought and Conceptual Change ( A main topic of the Centre members in the recent years has been the search and application of new perspectives on parliaments, discussed from the points of view of conceptual history, rhetoric and political theory.

In relation to the existing practices the course contains an extension of the profile to several directions with conceptual and rhetorical aspects of reading and analysing parliamentary debates, documents and procedures. The conceptual and rhetorical perspectives can produce new or complementary approaches and insights on a number of existing fields of research, such as 1) the parliamentary studies in history, constitutional law and political science related to the institutions of parliamentary research in different countries, 2) linguistic studies on parliamentary rhetoric and discourse in a comparative perspective, 3) political theories of parliament, representation and deliberative democracy. The course recruits its participants among both parliamentary scholars (see the EuParlnet website and conceptual historians interested in parliamentary themes and sources.

Why to study parliaments?

The parliaments are not very popular in the public debates of today. Although they are key institutions of democratic politics, a fierce polemic against their bavardage and culture of dispute has been attended the parliaments since the late nineteenth century. Populists, bureaucrats, business and media people, academics and activists tend to share the anti-parliamentary sentiment.

Nonetheless, this critique also refers to the indispensability of parliaments as a deeply rooted part of the West European political culture. Politically considered, parliaments based on free and fair elections can never be mere rubber stamps to confirm the governmental decisions. On the contrary, parliaments provide an exemplary arena of debating items pro et contra at the different stages of the deliberations. In no other institution the search for alternatives and the critique of proposals is so deeply embedded as in parliamentary politics.

The wide contempt for parliaments has meant that outsiders have lost insights into the singularity of parliamentary political culture. Even new members of parliament have to learn its distinctive practices and the procedural style of politics, indebted to the rhetorical heritage of the parliament. However, the parliamentary origins of the practices of conducting other assemblies, meetings and associations are evident.

New types of parliamentary studies

The parliamentary studies have also been re-activated from different perspectives. In this course the parliamentary politics is re-connected to the studies in political thought, rhetoric and conceptual history. A first aspect specifies the conceptual cluster of parliamentarism as a key concept of European politics and political theory. The second aspect connects to the tradition of parliamentary rhetoric, not just to the speaking practices but also, and above all, to the procedures and institutional practices of the parliamentary form of deliberation pro et contra. The third aspect links concepts to debates by regarding the parliament as an institution in which concepts and debates are not understandable without a reference to each other.

These new perspectives of parliamentary studies allow us also to set new questions of analysis. How can we learn to read and analyse better what parliaments are doing and judge their activities politically? How can the strange practices, the specific parliamentary procedures, mechanisms, rules and conventions be rendered intelligible for the outsiders? What are the historical origins and the political point of practices, such as the parliamentary immunity or the rotation between speakers pro et contra in a debate? How can we judge what is ‘unparliamentary language’ or deal with parliamentary obstruction? What resources do individual parliamentarians have today to mark their political point? Have the reforms aiming at parliamentary efficiency led to an improper advantage of the government over the parliament? What possibilities would there exist for the empowerment of parliaments?

The concept of parliamentarism

Which kind of assembly counts as a parliament and which type of political regime deserves to be called parliamentary? Parliamentarism as a political principle refers, indeed, to a cluster of interrelated concepts that serve as a mark of distinction: representation, deliberation, responsibility and sovereignty. The historical and conceptual relations between the dimensions of parliamentarism are highly variable. Every parliamentary regime has its own nuances, and sometimes it is difficult to draw a clear line between parliamentary and other types of regimes.

The dimension of representation refers to the possibility of the parliament to represent the entire citizenry of a polity, in ‘parliamentary democracies’ through the procedure of free and fair elections based on universal suffrage. Deliberation refers to the character of parliament as an assembly organised by the procedure of debating items from opposite perspectives and based on the free speech and free mandate of members. The responsibility of the government to the parliament is a condition of a parliamentary regime, enabling the parliament to overthrow the government by a vote of no confidence and to control the administration. The sovereignty of the parliament refers to the independence and finality of parliamentary decisions over other powers (monarchy, government, courts, referenda). The historical interplay and opposition between these four aspects of parliamentary politics is a major topic of the conceptual history of parliamentarism

Parliamentary rhetoric

Parliaments produce huge numbers of texts that are officially documented for some 200 years. The online documentation of the debates and documents further facilitates this kind of research. To read the parliamentary debates and documents presupposes a rhetorical competence that is not restricted to the analysis of the speaking practices but refers also to the distinct parliamentary procedure as a further mark of distinction of the parliamentary types of debate.

Since the late eighteenth century the parliament has been recognised as a paradigm for the deliberative genre of rhetoric, of the debate pro et contra. The procedure is the first thing that a newly elected member has to learn when entering parliament. A new member of parliament has to understand that one cannot make the same kind of speech in the parliament as in the public platform, and to make a proposal in the parliament is a different thing from making the same proposal in the electoral campaign speech. Nonetheless, also the tacit rules and conventions of electoral campaign are based on a weak version of the parliamentary procedure. The parliamentarisation of government also requires an acknowledgement of the superiority of the debating over the administrative style of decisions.

Parliamentary concepts

The different traditions to study histories of concepts agree that interesting concepts are always contested and controversial. The existing histories of concepts have hardly studied the parliamentary debates as sources of controversial debates par excellence. The parliamentary debates provide, however, ample possibilities for historical and comparative studies of both long- and short-term conceptual changes worth a closer examination (see Ihalainen & Palonen in Parliaments, Estates & Representation 29, 2009). Studies of single concepts, exploratory or controlling studies based on other sources can easily be conducted with parliamentary debates.

In parliamentary politics the links between concepts and debates are inherent. In many parliamentary debates the concepts themselves are at stake. Parliamentary, constitutional and electoral reforms concern with the concepts of parliamentarism, universal suffrage, citizenship and fair distribution of sets, that is, of debates on concepts themselves. We can also notice that the parliamentary use of concepts also differs according to the types of debates, such as debates on the vote of no confidence, budget debates or question hours.

In the parliament concepts and debates refer to each other. In debates on procedure or on the status of parliamentarians the concepts refer to the conditions of debating themselves. In other cases the concepts may be not on the surface of the debates still present as implicit presuppositions of the parliamentarians. For example in the context of debates on the limits of parliamentary speaking time we can distinguish opposing interpretations of the parliamentary principle of fair play. The debates on the fair distribution of parliamentary time may transcend actual majorities and express the concern for the conditions of parliamentary politics as such.