Author Archives: Jani Marjanen

Workshop: In Absence of Representation

In Absence of Representation:
Political Language and Participation in Times of Restrictions


14-15 June,
Workshop at Society of Swedish Literature in Finland
Ritarikatu 5 / Riddaregatan 5, Main hall


It is self-evident that parliaments and other organs for political representation are central for political life in a state. It can even be argued that a modern nation state has been formed through political representation. The way in which the language of politics and political participation has developed relates to the development of representative assemblies and vice versa. This workshop approaches this relationship by looking more specifically into cases in which representative assemblies have not been summoned, their publicity, constitutional status and powers have been restricted, or their constituency/geographical area has been contested in one way or the other. It asks what types of alternative channels for political representation and public debate were created, what kind political language was used to describe the absence or restrictions of representation (if this was indeed seen as something deviating from normality), and how the local representative models were compared to other places in Europe or outside Europe (bearing in mind also fictitious or utopian models)?


Wednesday 14 June


Session I, 14.00–15.15

Opening words
Maren Jonasson, Jussi Kurunmäki and Jani Marjanen

Jussi Kurunmäki (University of Helsinki),
Yrjö Koskinen, his history of parliamentary representation, and the state night metaphor

Kari Palonen (University of Jyväskylä)
Rhetorical genres of representation


Coffe and tea, 15.15–15.45


Session II, 15.45–17.45

Taru Haapala (University of Jyväskylä)
Parliamentary-style debates without national representation: The case of Oxford and Cambridge Unions in the mid-19th century

Markus J. Prutsch (European Parliament)
Constitutional monarchism in Vormärz Germany and the issue of representation


Dinner at 19.30


Thursday 15 June


Session III, 9.30–10.30

Ruth Hemstad (University of Oslo)
Scandinavianism, civil society and the public sphere – political articulation without representation

Anne Engelst Nørgaard (Aarhus University)
Moving towards representation? The case of the Danish peasant movement(s) in the 1840s


Coffee and tea 10.30–11.00


Session IV, 11.00–12.00

Susanna Rabow-Edling (Uppsala University)
Perspectives on political representation in pre-revolutionary Russia

Jani Marjanen (University of Helsinki)
Parliaments as breeding grounds for civic organisations and civic organisations as supplements to parliaments: Swedish and Finnish examples


Lunch, 12.00–13.30


Session V, 13.30–15.00

Maren Jonasson (Åbo Akademi University and University of Helsinki)
Agricultural meetings as a supplementary forum for political debate in Finland, 1847–1863

Onni Pekonen (Leiden University and University of Jyväskylä)
Why does Finland not have a ‘parliament’? Naming and conceptualizing the Finnish representative assembly, 1809–1919

Concluding discussion

Papers at Society of Swedish Literature in Finland

Maren Jonasson och Jani Marjanen presenterade sina forskningsprojekt på Svenska litteratursällskapets forskarträff 25/11 2016.

Maren Jonasson, De allmänna finska lantbruksmötena 1847–1870 som arenor för politiska, samhälleliga och agrara reformsträvanden: med komparativa utblickar mot allmänna svenska lantbruksmöten och danska landmandsforsamlinger

Jani Marjanen, Tidningspressen och offentlighet i Finland efter 1809

Paper in Barcelona

Jani Marjanen attended the The Fourth International Conference of the European Society for the History of Political Thought at the Universitat de Barcelona, 19-21October 2016 with the title “Constitutional Moments: Founding Myths, Charters and Constitutions through History”. His paper was titled “The Constitutional Moment that Happened Abroad: Finnish Public Discourse on European Constitutions, 1809–1830”.

Papers at International Conference for Conceptual History, Aarhus

The project present its work at the international conference on conceptual history held in Aarhus, September 14-16, 2016. Our papers were titled:

How do Concepts Arrive: The Reception of Liberal Language in Early Nineteenth-Century Finland
Jussi Kurunmäki

The Constitutional Moment that Happened Abroad: Public Debate on Constitution in Finland, 1809–1830
Jani Marjanen

Agricultural Meetings as a Forum for Political Debate in Finland, 1847–1863
Maren Jonasson

Kickoff event

Projektets kickoff-seminarium arrangerades den 29 oktober 2015 vid SLS.

Projektmedlemmarna hade följande föredrag:

Kurunmäki: Statsnatten i ny belysning – Vad menas med det?

Jonasson: De allmänna finska lantbruksmötena och lantdagsfrågan 1847–1863

Marjanen: Utländska exempel på konstitutioner under den s.k. statsnatten

What is a Political Night?

More than anything else, political life in Finland during the first half of the nineteenth century was characterized by the fact that there was no formal political representation between the years 1809 and 1863. Metaphorically, this period is sometimes labelled as a “State Night” or “Political Night”. The same time is marked by the breakthrough of written constitutions and political ideologies in Europe, and although Finland lacked representative organizations, the topics were still present in intellectual exchange – albeit through alternative channels. The project Political Night in New Light 1809-1863 is funded by the Society for Swedish Literature in Finland and studies this period from the perspective of conceptual history and alternative representative assemblies. More information can be found here in English, here in Swedish and here in Finnish.