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Nordic authoritarianism: Child-rearing values and political behavior in a multiparty context

Vilja Helminen, Hanna Wass, Anu Kantola, Marko Elovainio


This article explores how authoritarianism as a factor in child-rearing values (CRV) is associated with political orientation, party support, and policy preferences among voters and societal elites in the Nordic context, which is characterized by social trust and solidarity, feelings of affinity, and a modest degree of ideological polarization. Based on a representative citizen survey conducted in 2018 (n = 4,076) and an elite survey conducted in 2020 (n = 948) among Finnish political, administrative, advocacy, business, and influence elites, our findings suggest that authoritarianism in Finland mostly relates to culturally conservative, and less to economically conservative, political orientations. While authoritarianism is connected to policy preferences and political orientations on both cultural and economic dimensions, it has more relevance for preferences regarding cultural issues than economic ones. Our findings support the notion that authoritarianism plays a role in political orientation mainly in the cultural realm. Overall, our study indicates that authoritarianism as captured by the CRV scale might be a politically important underpinning among both citizens and societal elites also outside the U.S.

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Unpolitical solutionism: Wealth elite sentiments against democracy and politics

Hanna Kuusela, Anu Kantola


The last few decades have been marked by discourses that challenge many basic presumptions supporting liberal democracy. Populist parties in particular have raised criticism against democratic systems, and authoritarian programmes have made electoral gains. This article offers the elite's perspective on this phenomenon, which is often discussed in the context of lower income groups. Drawing from qualitative interviews with 90 Finnish top earners, the article shows how wealth elites sustain strong discontent towards liberal democracy and see it as an ineffective and sometimes fundamentally flawed system. They are concerned with its alleged (in)efficiency and disagreements typical of democratic processes and are correspondingly fascinated by solutions that are presented as self-evident but that no one has the courage to execute. In this article, we refer to this type of reasoning by introducing and developing the term unpolitical solutionism, which refers to a preoccupation with quick solutions to complex problems that are political in nature. The concept of unpolitical solutionism builds on discussions of unpolitical democracy (Urbinati) and technosolutionism (Morozov) and brings them to our dialog. By analysing wealth elites' views in a Nordic democracy and by developing the concept of unpolitical solutionism, this article contributes to recent discussions on different forms of unpolitical argumentation in the context of (liberal) economic thinking.

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With status decline in sight, voters turn radical right: how do experience and expectation of status decline shape electoral behaviour?

Zhen Jie Im, Hanna Wass, Anu Kantola and Timo M. Kauppinen


We distinguish between the experience and expectation of subjective status decline in relation to electoral behaviour. Studies often link support for radical parties, especially radical right ones, to voters’ experience of status decline. A few other studies argue that voters’ expectation of status decline also triggers radical right support. Using multivariate analyses, this article finds that voters who expect status decline consistently prefer radical right parties more than voters who expect status improvement. However, there is no robust evidence of radical right support among voters who have experienced status decline. These findings suggest that the expectation, not experience, of status decline drives radical right support. If these expectations trigger radical right support in Nordic welfare states, they may be even more pertinent in less comprehensive welfare states.

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Uneasy self-promotion and tactics of patience: Finnish MPs’ ambivalent feelings about personalised politics on social media

Mona Mannevuo


This article examines Finnish politicians’ ambivalent attachments to social media – specifically Facebook and Twitter – in candidate-centred, personalised politics. The analysis draws on 20 semi-structured interviews with members of parliament (MPs) to investigate the tactics of adaptation and adjustment politicians develop in a work setting that precludes digital detox. To investigate the MPs’ contradictory feelings, the analysis builds on cultural and media theory to contextualise the porous border between the personal and the political that exists on social media. The analysis revolves around four interconnected themes: uneasiness of self-promotion, Facebook’s ordinariness, Twitter as a necessary evil, and tactics of patience MPs utilise when they encounter various forms of online harassment. The article suggests that in parliamentary research, social media should be considered an ambivalent social glue that holds things together rather than merely a platform for self-promotion.

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The Future of Democracy and Welfare in a Transforming Europe: Four Scenarios of Europe in 2040

Anna Björk, Aleksi Neuvonen and Nour Attalla

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Demokratia kuilujen ja kuplien jälkeen: Neljä skenaariota Suomesta 2040

Anna Björk, Aleksi Neuvonen ja Nour Attalla

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Democracy for the next era



This live, event discusses the launch of new research & grassroots initiatives to support democracies in realising societal transformations.


Europe is currently in a period of transition. The ongoing post-industrial economic and technological transformation are weakening our established societal and political structures. Meanwhile, key 21st-century challenges including climate change, economic inequality, and authoritarian pressures are creating instability across the continent, manifesting as growing political distrust, polarization and extremism. Now the invasion of (authoritarian) Russia in Ukraine has initiated a new phase in the discourse on the value of democracy – and why we have to work very hard to have democratic futures for our societies.

The event:

Democracy for the next era event combines the bird’s eye view with the grassroots initiatives to support democracies in realising societal transformations. The event celebrates the launch of the scenario report on the future of liberal democracy. The scenario work is a part of Tackling Biases and Bubbles in Participation -project, led by the University of Helsinki and funded by the Strategic Research Council by the Academy of Finland (2017-2022).

Date and time

Tue, 14 June 2022
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM EEST


Demos Helsinki
Mechelininkatu 3 D
00100 Helsinki


16.00 — Arrival & welcome

16.10 — Introduction to the theme and the organisations

16.20 — Opening speeches

- Aleksi Neuvonen / Demos Helsinki: "The Future of Democracy and Welfare in a Transforming Europe"

- Anthony Zacharzewski / the Democratic Society: "Not a project, a way of life"

16.50— Panel discussion: "How to combine urgency with democracy?" + Q&A

17.30 — A brief intro on the upcoming project TANDEM (Transdisciplinary and Deliberative equity appraisal of transition policies in Energy and Mobility)

17.40 — 18.00 Closing words & informal discussion

18.00 - event closes


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Mikko Värttö, Anu Kantola, Maija Setälä, Lasse Peltonen, Anna Björk, Maija Faehnle, Henri Vogt, Mari Taskinen & Kaisa Korhonen-Kurki

 Democratic innovations:
A cure for democratic deficits?

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Suomalaisen demokratian kipukohdat ja niiden ratkaisumahdollisuudet

CITIZEN-ohjelman hankkeiden politiikkasuosituksen julkaisutilaisuus


Seuraa julkistustilaisuutta 1.9. klo 14-15.15 verkossa tästä.

Viimeaikaiset mittaukset ovat osoittaneet, että demokratia on heikentynyt monissa jo vakiintuneissa demokratioissa. Ilmastonmuutos, taloudellinen eriarvoisuus ja pakolaiskriisit koettelevat yhteiskuntien kykyä ratkoa asioita demokraattisesti, yhdenvertaisesti ja oikeudenmukaisesti. Maailmaa koettelevat megatrendit haastavat myös suomalaista demokratiaa, mikä näkyy esimerkiksi poliittisen osallistumisen eriytymisenä ja yhteiskunnallisen keskustelun kärjistymisenä.

Olemme tutkineet strategisen tutkimuksen neuvoston (STN) Muuttuvat hallinnan tavat ja aktiivinen kansalaisuus (CITIZEN) -ohjelman hankkeissa neljän vuoden ajan suomalaisen demokratian haasteita ja ratkaisumahdollisuuksia. Kokosimme tulokset politiikkasuosituksiksi, jotka julkaisemme 1.9. pidettävässä tilaisuudessa. Kerromme tilaisuudessa viimeisimpään tutkimustietoon perustuen

  • suomalaisen demokratian keskeisimmistä kipukohdista
  • konkreettisista ratkaisuista demokratian kehittämiseen
  • esimerkkitapauksista, joissa demokratiaa on kehitetty kokeilujen avulla.

Tilaisuus on kaikille avoin. Ei ilmoittautumista.

Politiikkasuositus on ladattavissa 30.8 alkaen strategisen tutkimuksen verkkosivujen Politiikkasuositukset-sivulta "Osallistuva kansalaisuus" -teeman alta. Tälle tapahtumasivulle lisätään 30.8. myös suora linkki julkaistuun politiikkasuositukseen.

Lisätietoja strategisen tutkimuksen sivuilta.

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Julia Jousilahti



Demokratia ei pysy pystyssä itsestään, kuten viime vuosien uutiset Yhdysvalloista ja Itä-Euroopasta ovat muistuttaneet. Suomessa demokratia voi hyvin, mutta sitä nakertavat kansalaisten passivoituminen ja huono osaisten jääminen syrjään päätöksenteosta. Demokratiaa voidaan vahvistaa kehittämällä ja kokeilemalla ja kehittämällä uusia, entistä monipuolisempia ja suorempia osallistumisen tapoja.

Viisi ohjetta onnistuneelle demokratiakokeilulle:

1. Tunnista tarve ja sitoudu kokeiluun. 2. Varaa kokeiluun aikaa ja rahaa. 3. Järjestä yhdenvertaiset mahdollisuudet osallistua. 4. Kerro tulosten käytöstä selkeästi. 5. Kerää kokeilun opit talteen.