What does BIBU do?
The current global transitions involving globalisation, economic restructuring, urbanisation and migration, are challenging democratic systems. In Finland, the cohesive policy practices of the nation-state, coalition governments, the Nordic welfare model and the national media are all under strain. BIBU, Tackling Biases and Bubbles in Participation, is building a unique multidisciplinary research setting, with funding from the Strategic Research Council, which uniquely explores the dynamics of citizenship in the Finnish political system amidst these global transitions.
BIBU is a unique opportunity to explore the dynamics of citizenship in the Finnish political system.
Through holistic analysis, BIBU researches the capabilities of citizens and decision makers, as well as political interests and emotions. We study which citizen groups are not getting their voices heard and therefore are not included in the wider societal discussion. We also examine if some citizen groups are isolated in a bubble, where they listen only to each other and not to wider societal discussions.
Amidst these transformations voters are now more mobile than ever. New political identities and blocs emerge as globalisation creates winners and losers. Social restructuring affects professions and changes the way we work. We investigate if the largest social classes of the agrarian and industrial eras – the farmers and the working class – are transforming into a larger middle class. New divisions between citizens can emerge, for example between permanent workers and temporary ones, between the city and the countryside and between immigrants and the native population.
BIBU researches what is changing inside the middle class. We examine if the upper class, which gained its wealth from globalisation, is raising itself above society or whether there new ways they are marginalizing people from society.
BIBU investigates whether policy making outcomes are biased in favour of certain interest groups. We study the political elite and compare their political capacities, interests and emotions with citizens at large. While we know that participation in policy-making is biased toward the interest groups with the most resources, we do not know whether that also holds true for the policy outcomes. Lastly, we develop socially resilient scenarios of the Nordic model for the future which take into account the egalitarian and consensual principles of the Nordic welfare states.
We aim to update the best practices of Finnish democracy.
BIBU also develops models for democratic innovations to improve marginalized groups’ political capabilities. We tackle the biases and bubbles in participation through democratic innovations, such as digital platforms and hearings in policy-making, citizen initiatives, participatory budgeting, digital diplomacy, empowering digital storytelling and reconciliatory citizen panels. Overall, we aim to update the best practices of Finnish democracy – transparency, good governance, co-operation and inclusiveness – for the digital age and we aim to establish Finland as a democracy incubator, as an innovative democracy with international standing.