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Archived teaching schedules 2013–2014
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POLVOA41/S28 Scandinavian Politics Today II: New Parties, New Politics and Digital Elections 5–10 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
Degree Programme in Politics
Political Science
School of Management

General description

Aims: 1) To describe, analyse, compare and contrast the nature of politics and policy-making in the five Nordic states of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden 2) To adopt a thematic approach to understanding politics in the region

Objectives/outcomes: 1) At the end of the course students should be able critically to review the main features of the political systems of the Nordic countries and to place Finnish practice in a wider comparative perspective. This teaching period the focus will be on the incidence of high-volatility elections since 1970; the advent and significance of new parliamentary parties (many short-lived); types of new parties on the basis of the process of their origination (Arter 2012); entrepreneurial parties; 'rooted new parties' backed by a 'promoter organisation' (Bolleyer and Bytzek 2013); 'persistent new parties'. The travails of the 'old' 'pole parties' (Rokkan/Sundberg): for example, the Swedish Centre (formerly Agrarian Party) is in danger of not making the 4 per cent national qualifying threshold in 2014 whilst three years earlier its Finnish counterpart plummeted to an historic nadir. In similar fashion, the Social Democrats reached new depths in Sweden (2010) and Finland (2011) and the Danish party has not been the largest party since the turn of the new millennium. The rise of protest parties on the radical right. Turning from parties to the electoral rules and the procedures, the lectures will cover candidate selection (recruitment) procedures (centralised/decentralised); preferential voting systems (Finland, Sweden, Denmark); closed-list PR (Norway); electoral systems as incentive structures; intra-party candidate competition and personal-vote-seeking; candidate types; parties' electoral strategies (pre-electoral alliances, joint lists etc); election campaigns, the main issues; changing campaign styles (canvassing etc); the digitalisation of election campaigns; voters and the Internet (Karlsen 2010); voting machines (Finland); candidate use of websites, blogs, Facebook etc. The 'electoral connection': who do MPS represent, how do they represent them and what do voters expect their representatives to do?

Course Schedule

January 14 Introduction: Why hold elections?

January 16 The Scandinavian electoral systems

January 21 Proto-parties and the Road to Mass Democracy

January 23 PR, Red/Green Parties and the Completion of the Scandinavian Party System Model

January 28 Berglund and Lindström’s ‘Parenthetical ‘S’ question

January 30 The Thaw, the Earthquake and the Rise of Populist Protest

February 4 New ‘Party Families’ – Greens, Christian Democrats and Eco-Socialists

February 6 Individualised Voting and Individualised Campaigning

February 11 Is Party-Based Democracy in Scandinavia in Trouble?

February 13 SEMINAR: “What are the principal determinants of voting behaviour in Scandinavia today?”

February 18 SEMINAR: “How far would you agree that preferential voting systems are more democratic?”

February 20 Conclusions

Enrolment for University Studies

Email registration to david.arter@uta.fi by December 13 essential


David Arter, Teacher responsible


14-Jan-2014 – 20-Feb-2014
Lectures 24 hours
Tue 14-Jan-2014 - 18-Feb-2014 weekly at 12-14, Main building A31
Thu 16-Jan-2014 - 20-Feb-2014 weekly at 12-14, Pinni A3111
30-Jan-2014 at 12 –14 , Pinni B3118


Numeric 1-5.

Evaluation criteria


‘The extent of party system change in the Nordic states can easily be exaggerated’ Discuss

MAXIMUM 6 A4 double-spaced pages in English or Finnish

Plan your answer really carefully and answer the question as best you can. I am looking for relevance

DEADLINE Monday March 3rd 2014: 15.00

Study materials

Indicative Reading

Aylott, N. (2011) ‘Parties and Party Systems in the North’, in Bergman, T and Strøm, K. (eds) The Madisonian Turn, 297-328

Berglund, S. and Lindström, U. (1978) The Scandinavian Party System(s)

Bergström, H (1991) ‘Sweden’s Politics and Party System at the Crossroads’ West European Politics 14, 8-30

Heidar, K. (2004) ‘Parties and Party Systems’ in Heidar, K. (ed) Nordic Politics, 40-59

Sundberg, J. (1999) ‘The Enduring Party System’ Scandinavian Political Studies 22, 221-241

Arter, D. (2012) ‘Big Bang’ Elections and Party System Change in Scandinavia: Farewell to the ‘Enduring Party System’? Parliamentary Affairs 65, 822-844