Democracy at various levels

The 42nd annual conference of the Finnish political science association is organised by the University of Helsinki in co-operation with the Tallinn University March 11-12, 2010.

The issues related to prospects and problems of democracy form one core field in political science. Contemporary democratic theory has often concentrated on the expansion of dimensions, aspects and contexts of democracy. The trend towards expanding democracy has not been limited to scientific circles only, as practical innovations and new ideas have offered fresh insights to the practice and debate of democracy.

The increased plurality of democratic issues can be described in terms of levels, spaces and forms of democracy. As regards to levels, alongside with vertical order of democratic polities, the concept of multi-level governance has come to refer to institutional structures and inter-level relations of democracy which extend and vary from local to global. The spaces of democracy in turn imply the networks and cultural elements of democracy in which participation and engagement by various actors takes place. Finally, the forms of democracy include various institutional arrangements for democratic processes varying from formal voting and decision-making procedures to more informal deliberative and communicative methods.

This plurality of democratic issues is well covered by the workshops of the conference. The collaboration between the University of Helsinki and the Tallinn University also provides new possibilities for international co-operation. The organising committee warmly welcomes everyone to Helsinki and Tallinn.