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The Role of Professors in the Formation of Finnish Parliamentary Life: The Struggle between Two Conceptions of Parliament

Author:

Onni Pekonen

Leiden University, NL; University of Jyväskylä, FI
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Abstract

The Frankfurt Parliament (1848–49) was subsequently dismissively referred to as the “Professors’ Parliament” due to its heavy representation of scholars and the academic style of its lengthy discussions. Professors have played a prominent role in the deliberations and development of other European assemblies, too. This article examines the role of professors in the formation of Finnish parliamentary life. It moreover underlines the close relationship between the academia and national politics in late nineteenth-century Finland, starting from the European revolutions of 1848. The article highlights how politically active professors, together with the newspaper press, were crucial in transferring European ideas to Finnish debates. Professors promoted ideological conceptions of parliamentary politics, which were inspired by their scholarly interests and formulated by applying European discussions and concepts selectively to the Finnish context. The article focuses on a debate between Finnish professors and their competing conceptions of parliament. The struggle between the Hegelian philosopher J. V. Snellman and the liberal Professor of Law Leo Mechelin reflects a wider European debate on the role and purposes of parliaments as national representative and deliberative institutions. The article evaluates the role of Snellman’s and Mechelin’s conceptions of parliament in Finnish parliamentary culture in the longer term.

How to Cite: Pekonen, Onni. 2017. “The Role of Professors in the Formation of Finnish Parliamentary Life: The Struggle Between Two Conceptions of Parliament”. Redescriptions: Political Thought, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory 20 (1): 116–37. DOI: http://doi.org/10.7227/R.20.1.7
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Published on 01 Apr 2017.
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