Seventh Annual Jyväskylä Symposium on Political Thought and Conceptual History
University of Jyväskylä, 8-9 June 2012, Building Agora, Lecture room Delta
Organised by Finnish Centre in Political Thought and Conceptual Change; Academy of Finland
research project The Politics of Dissensus. Parliamentarism, Rhetoric and Conceptual History;
EuPolCon Marie Curie Fellowship project; Master’s Programme in the Civil Society Expertise;
Master’s Programme in Cultural Politics
In his famous 1919 lecture Politik als Beruf Max Weber distinguished between professional and
occasional politicians. One of his main point was to insist that citizens are by no means opposed
to politicians but form, on the contrary, a special version of them. In Weberian terms citizens are
– or have a chance to be – occasional politicians in a double sense, namely acting occasionally as
politicians and have the occasion to choose making an attempt to become professional
Today Weber’s distinction remains as actual as ever. In the contemporary debate on civic politics
we can, however, distinguish both a more extensive palette of forms to act as occasional
politicians. At the same time the ambiguity of occasional politicians towards professional
politicians and their prototype, the parliamentarians, persist.
Weber mentions three typical forms of acting as an occasional politician: voting, speaking and
writing. Today all these practices persist and play still a prominent role for the citizens. Other
forms of civic action have, however, been multiplied, for example: demonstrations, protests,
boycotts, campaigns as well as interventions as expert, scholar, artist or object of political
measures. Politics has, furthermore, become an inherent part of choices in everyday life,
regarding the forms of eating, clothing or travelling for example. One cannot make a distinction
between political and un-political phenomena, but everything depends on the situation and the
competing interpretations of it. Even silence and inaction can occasionally be interpreted in
political terms. Many of these forms of politics have also become professionalised and developed
their own types of politicians, such as the professional activist or the intellectual that intervenes
regularly in the media.
In this situation it is crucial to take a new look at the distinction between occasional and
professional politicians and their civic and parliamentary paradigms. In which respect they do
differ, in which they resemble each other? Are the differences polar opposites or rather pure ideal
types on the same scale? Are the occasional and professional forms of politics exclusive
alternatives or rather complementary to each other? Does civic politics require the abolishment
of all politicians, the replacement of its current types of politicians or new chances to
complement the professional politicians? Do the professional politicians demand a monopoly for
the ”political class” outside the elections? Or, do they activate citizens to act politically and
increase the competition between different types of acting politically?
At first the occasional and professional manners of acting politically look irreconcilable. The
civic politics is direct, immediate, spontaneous, consensual, informal, irregular, physical,
independent of space and time, whereas the parliamentary politics is indirect and mediate (=
representative), reflected, dissensual, procedural, regular, verbal and situated in space and time.
In civic politics the adversaries are outside and the division between ‘us’ and ‘them’ stable, an
object of pressure or negotiation, whereas in parliamentary politics the adversaries sit in the same
audience and the division between proponents and opponents is fragile, alterable in principle by
every new item on the agenda and by every speech in the debate.
Still, we can consider these pairs of opposites as ideal typical rhetorical figures that can be and
have been mixed and mediated with each other in different manners in the complex historical
realities. Different forms of politicking can be applied in different types of situations. The
borders for example between parliamentary and unparliamentary language and conduct are
historically variable and can be tested with, as the interpretations of the rules of game in general.
Or, all assemblies and meetings follow the rules of parliamentary procedure as a model, to higher
or lesser degree, independently how militantly they take stand against parliaments and
professional politicians.
Historical changes in the divide between the two types of politics and politicians are currently
prominently been produced by the European Union. It challenges the national horizons of
professional and occasional politicians as well as many concepts and distinctions regarding the
manners of acting politically. It not only dissolves the venerate distinction between foreign
policy and domestic politics and creates a new level of parliamentary politics and the forms of
professionalization appropriate to it. It also creates both occasional and professional forms of
civic politics from activist movements via euro-expertise to lobbying in Brussels.
With these considerations as a background we want to take a fresh look at the distinction
between parliamentary and civic politics, both in the past and present.

We are particularly interested in contributions tackling the respective forms of political action,
their similarities and their differences, as well as the relationships between parliament,
professional politicians and political movements and the civic activities
 - how are citizens’
activities mediated to parliaments and vice versa?
- how does communication and mutual response between civic and parliamentary politics
- which role do the debates in parliaments and among citizens play in relation to political
decisions at various levels?
We invite scholars with different thematic and disciplinary background as well some
parliamentary and civic politicians to reconsider these distinctions, their character and their
precise forms to shift the forms of current political-cum-academic constellations of debate.

Friday 8th June 2012, Agora Delta

Coffee and opening of the Symposium: Kari Palonen, Esa Konttinen Parliamentarism and Civic Politics I
Kari Palonen, Politics of Parliamentary Times 10.00–10.30 Comments: Niilo Kauppi, Pantelis Bassakos 10.30–11.00 Esa Konttinen, Civil Society and the Regulation of Radicalism in Finland – the Case of an Environmental Movement 11.00–11.30 Comments: Per Selle, Marja Keränen 11.30–12.30 Claudia Wiesner, Chances of Parliamentarism in the EU Parliamentarism and Civic Politics II
Chair: Anna Björk
Pertti Lappalainen, Deliberative Civic Action Marja Keränen, Civic Politics, Old and New Tuula Vaarakallio, Re-activating the Parliament of Eloquence? Sarkozy’s Procedure Reform in the French Assemblée Nationale Cancelled 15.20–15.40 Miikka Pyykkönen, Governmentality and ”Counter-Conduct”: Power, Governance and Resistance in Foucaultian Civil Society Notions
Saturday 9th June 2012 Agora Delta
Parliamentarism and Civic Politics III
Chair: Miikka Pyykkönen
Suvi Soininen, Parliamentary Style of Politics and its Rivals. Responses to Crisis of Parliamentarism in Britain Tapani Turkka, The Constitutionalist Alternative to Parliamentarism. Judicialization in Contemporary Europe Parliamentarism and Civic Politics IV
Anthoula Malkopoulou, A Concept’s Movement from the Right to the Left. Mandatory Voting on the Parliamentary Agenda 10.50–11.10 Taru Haapala, Parliament as a Model for Debating 11.10–11.45 Discussion: Parliamentary and Civic Politics, Confluences and Differences Chair: Claudia Wiesner


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