The Paradox of Openness

Transparency and Participation in Nordic Cultures of Consensus

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The ‘open society’ has become a watchword of liberal democracy and the market system in the modern globalized world. Openness stands for individual opportunity and collective reason, as well as bottom-up empowerment and top-down transparency. It has become a cherished value, despite its vagueness and the connotation of vulnerability that surrounds it. Scandinavia has long considered itself a model of openness, citing traditions of freedom of information and inclusive policy making. This collection of essays traces the conceptual origins, development, and diverse challenges of openness in the Nordic countries and Austria. It examines some of the many paradoxes that openness encounters and the tensions it arouses when it addresses such divergent ends as democratic deliberation and market transactions, freedom of speech and sensitive information, compliant decision making and political and administrative transparency, and consensual procedures and the toleration of dissent.

Contributors are: Ainur Elmgren, Tero Erkkilä, Norbert Götz, Ann-Cathrine Jungar, Johannes Kananen, Lotta Lounasmeri, Carl Marklund, Peter Parycek, Johanna Rainio-Niemi, Judith Schossböck, Ylva Waldemarson, and Tuomas Ylä-Anttila.
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Biographical Note

Norbert Götz, Ph.D. (2001), Humboldt University Berlin, is Professor of History at the Institute of Contemporary History, Södertörn University, Stockholm. He has published widely on international relations and civil society, including Deliberative Diplomacy (Republic of Letters, 2011).

Carl Marklund, Ph.D. (2008), European University Institute, is a Post-doctoral researcher in political science at the Centre of Baltic and East European Studies, Södertörn University. He has published widely on welfare state issues, including All Well in the Welfare State? (NordWel, 2013).

Table of contents

1. Introduction
Norbert Götz and Carl Marklund

2. The Concept of Openness: Promise and Paradox
Norbert Götz

3. A Nordic Paradox of Openness and Consensus? The Case of Finland
Johanna Rainio-Niemi

4. Ruptures in National Consensus: Economic versus Political Openness in the Globalization Debate in Finland
Lotta Lounasmeri and Tuomas Ylä-Anttila

5. Nordic Openness in Finland: European Integration, Ideational Transfer, and Institutional Traditions
Tero Erkkilä

6. The Nordic Ideal: Openness and Populism According to the Finns Party
Ainur Elmgren

7. The Procedural Openness of Nordic Welfare State Restructuring
Johannes Kananen

8. Open Skies, Open Minds? Shifting Concepts of Communication and Information in Swedish Public Debate
Carl Marklund

9. Openness and Elite Oral History: The Case of Sweden
Ylva Waldemarson

10. Exporting Nordic Parliamentary Oversight to the European Union
Ann-Cathrine Jungar

11. Adopting a New Political Culture: Obstacles and Opportunities for Open Government in Austria
Peter Parycek and Judith Schossböck

12. From Promise to Compromise: Nordic Openness in a World of Global Transparency
Carl Marklund

Index

Readership

All interested in the history and contemporary practices of openness and transparency, and anyone concerned with the Nordic experience of combining the call for openness with consensual political cultures.

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