Studies in Parliamentary History at the University of Jyväskylä

The comparative study of the history of political thought, discourse and cultures combines a variety methodological approaches inspired by the linguistic (discursive, spatial and movement) and cultural turns in the study of ‘new’ political history, paying attention to the influence of political and social structures as well. By ‘political culture’ the research group refers to the norms, values, discourses, concepts and practices that have surrounded and structured political thought and action in the past.

Methodologically the research group's work is related to the study of political and policy discourse in political science and language studies. The research group aims at developing multidisciplinary (historical, linguistic, political and ethnographic) analyses of multi-sited and mutually linked political discourses, proceeding beyond conventional history of political thought and conceptual history. The understanding of a political culture can be deepened by analysing its long-term change between the early modern period and the present day or by comparing it to parallel political cultures.

The research group aims at combining the comparative study of national cases with the analysis of transfers and transnational interaction. Special attention is paid to temporal multilayeredness of political cultures: change and continuity; dissimultaneity of the simultaneous; temporal, spatial and cultural differences. Research within the team has recently focused especially on the role of parliaments in various northwest European political cultures, but also political thought and culture in general and foreign policy decision-making are being explored. Constructions of national identity in European political cultures continue to be of major interest to the team. Furthermore, special attention is paid to the handling of postwar situations in various political cultures.

The current projects on parliamentary history at the University of Jyväskylä include:

(i) Parliamentary Means of Conflict Resolution in Twentieth-Century Britain, led by Professor Pasi Ihalainen at the Department of History and Ethnology, the Faculty of Humanities, and funded by the Academy of Finland in 2010–2013. For more information, see the project homepage at

(ii) The Politics of Dissensus: Parliamentarism, Rhetoric and Conceptual History, led my Academy Professor Kari Palonen at the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, the Faculty of Social Sciences, and funded by the Academy of Finland in 2008–2012. For more information, see the project homepage at

(iii) An anthology on Parliament as a Political Concept for the planned new European Conceptual History Series. The anthology will be edited by Cornelia Ilie (Malmö), Pasi Ihalainen and Kari Palonen. The first workshop surrounding this project are scheduled for late 2010.

Recent publications include:

Ihalainen, Pasi & Kari Palonen, “Parliamentary sources in the comparative study of conceptual history: methodological aspects and illustrations of a research proposal”. Parliaments, Estates & Representation, Vol. 29, 2009, pp. 17­–34.

Ihalainen, Pasi, Agents of the People: Democracy and Popular Sovereignty in British and Swedish Parliamentary and Public Debates, 1734–1800. Brill: Leiden & Boston 2010.

Palonen, Kari, The Politics of Limited Times: The Rhetoric of Temporal Judgment in Parliamentary Democracies. Nomos: Baden-Baden 2008.