Workshop Helsinki: Mapping Cultures of Public Trust (Day 2)

The Centre for E-Government has been invited to participate in the Workshop „Mapping Cultures of Public Trust: Open Government and Open Society in Northern Europe and the European Union“. From June 3rd until June 4th, participants discussed concepts and notions of openness and transparency in Northern Europe and the European Union.

Day 2: Strategies of Openness, Public Debate and Limits of Openness

Carl Marklund (University of Helsinki/AGH University of Technology & Science and one oft the organisers) was doing a presentation on Media and Science in Nordic Openness. His project asked how openness has been framed in the contemporary Swedish public debate since the end of the Cold War. By looking at three different aspects (complaints filed tot he Justitieombudsmannen, the problematisation of openness in the „Power Studies“ and the opinions about the changing status of openness among professionals) it was shown that openness itself is at the core of political struggles of post-modern politics.

Peter Parycek and Judith Schossböck (Danube University Krems): The Austrian Open Government Strategy.

In our presentation, we focused on the cultural context and legal framework (e.g. the demand for infomation) as impact factors for the development of an Open Government and Open Data strategy in Austria. Besides presenting pros, hurdles and cons of Open Data as well as bottum up and top town initiatives in Austria, we argued that, if Austria wants to establish a (political) culture of openness, it must aim for changes in legislation and general (working) cultures. At the end oft he workshop, some possibilities to access personal data in the US (criminal records) were shown.

The talk of Johannes Kananen (University of Helsinki) was about the Limits of Openness and Agenda Setting in Welfare State Restructuring and the ideas behind the change in the legismative policy making process. A new paradigm of policy making has emerged in the Nordic countries since the 1980s and the 1990s (Competition state paradigm). At the same time, the still appears to support values of inclusion and solidarity, which is why a gap between elite and popular thinking raises questions about openness and democracy in policy making.

Henrik Stenius (University of Helsinki): Conformity, Consensus and Political Correctness: Giving that in every discourse of modernity, the person is at the center, the actual possibilities of coming into question are very limited. There are 3 possibilities: habits, approval deliberation (power shifts in taking part in a political debate) or imperative mandate. There is also a connection between a lack of representation and the civil war. The broad focus of the presentation also addressed motions of opposition, the enlightening movement in Finnland as well as the role of Helsinki Sanomat in the political field.

Our Finnish hosts have been very welcoming, friendly and well organised. Each presentation was followed by an extensive discussion and we enjoyed the feedback to our workshop as well as the discussions from an intercultural perspective. We will enjoy further contact and idea sharing on the notions of openness and transparency and are looking forward to documents following the workshop.

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