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Arkistoitu opetusohjelma 2012–2013
Selaat vanhentunutta opetusohjelmaa. Voimassa olevan opetusohjelman löydät täältä.
POLVOA32 Still as Closed as the Vatican? The Eduskunta in Comparative Perspective 5 ECTS
Period I Period II Period II Period IV
Language of instruction
Type or level of studies
Intermediate studies
Course unit descriptions in the curriculum
Politiikan tutkimuksen tutkinto-ohjelma
School of Management

General description

This course focuses on the Finnish legislature, the Eduskunta, in comparative perspective. Whilst the empirical material draws heavily on the Finnish case, the course will raise issues with a wider comparative application. The central question is: How democratic an institution is the Eduskunta? Re-stated, what does parliament contribute to democracy? This begs the generic question: How can we assess how democratic a parliament is? According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Working Group document (2006) 'Parliaments and Democracy in the Twenty-First Century' "good democratic practice" involves a legislature that is open and responsive to the citizenry. The relationship between parliament, parliamentarians and citizens will be an important theme in the course. The IPU bias is towards participatory democracy.  Frank Jackson in contrast writes from a functionalist Westminster-influenced standpoint, arguing that in an ideal world "a truly democratic parliament" would meet eight criteria including:  it should provide fair representation for all interests and strands of opinion, it should facilitate stable and effective government and it should hold the executive to account. Jackson also insists that a democratic parliament should retain a direct link between an MP and constituents and it should promote openness in policy-making.  The course will apply Jackson's analytical framework to conduct a 'democratic audit' of the Finnish Parliament, making comparisons throughout with other West European legislatures, particularly those in the Nordic region. The course will proceed on the basis of lectures and seminars and the assessment will be on the basis of class contribution (20%) and course essay (80%). Students will be free to apply the theoretical approaches to case-studies of other national parliaments apart from the Finnish.

Enrolment for University Studies

Obligatory pre-registration by email to David Arter (firstname.lastname@uta.fi) by 17 December.


David Arter, Teacher responsible


10-Jan-2013 – 8-Feb-2013
Lectures 20 hours
Thu 10-Jan-2013 - 7-Feb-2013 weekly at 10-12, Pinni A, Paavo Koli auditorium
Fri 11-Jan-2013 - 8-Feb-2013 weekly at 12-14, Pinni A, Paavo Koli auditorium


Numeric 1-5.

Evaluation criteria

Class participation and course essay (English or Finnish)

The course is primarily intended for Finnish students

Further information


January 10 Introduction

January 11th Following Tiririca: How Representative is the Eduskunta?

January 17th Does the Eduskunta provide for stable and effective government?

January 18th Is holding the Executive to account very unFinnish?

January 24th The Michael Marsh Question: How do Finns do constituency service?

January 25th Is the Eduskunta the ‘Vatican of the North’?

January 31st Is the Eduskunta an ‘Executive poodle’?

February 1st Does Finland need a Democracy Policy?

February 7th Parliaments and Parliamentarians in an Era of Digital Democracy

February 8th Democratic, Representative or Executive lapdog?