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Conceptions of ‘public interest’ in the context of local governance reform in Finland Raine Mäntysalo & Karoliina Jarenko YTK.

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Presentation on theme: "Conceptions of ‘public interest’ in the context of local governance reform in Finland Raine Mäntysalo & Karoliina Jarenko YTK."— Presentation transcript:

1 Conceptions of ‘public interest’ in the context of local governance reform in Finland Raine Mäntysalo & Karoliina Jarenko YTK

2 “Public interest” The state = good of the state A modernist grand narrative Planning and policy tool for measuring, directing and justifying the welfarist redistribution of tax revenues Implies a oneness, one interest serving everybody

3 Critique Epistemological: complexity of planning problems vs. resources in use for the identification of it -> No scientific objectivity possible Cultural/postmodern: public interest a tool in creating the modernist monoculture. -> Not justifiable in the postmodern times of pluralism Economical/neoliberal: public interest a tool in the welfarist regulation model. -> Inefficient and not agile enough to respond to global market demands.

4 The persistence of public interest ”Modernist planning emerged as a state activity precisely because of the recognition that there are important goods which are manifestly in everyone’s interest to have but in no one’s interest to provide.” ”Often scorned at, but still remains a pivot around which debates of planning and its purposes turn” Campbell & Marshall 2002

5 New definitions? New discourses?

6 Service municipality Service municipality Citizen municipality Citizen municipality Administrative municipality Administrative municipality (Roivainen 2002) Analytical framework Focus of public interest: Process or outcome? Focus of public interest: Process or outcome? Nature of public interest: Subjective/objective? Nature of public interest: Subjective/objective? Campbell & Marshall 2002 Illustrated with definitions given by planners and municipal decision makers

7 Three municipality models (Roivainen 2002; see also: Vigoda 2002; Hambleton 2004; Leadbeater 2004; Bäcklund 2007)

8 The interviewees’ conceptions of public interest

9 Conclusion the concept of public interest still holds some ground It finds different, even contradictory discursive logics in different governance contexts. “We are free to abandon the concept but if we do so we simply have to wrestle with the problems under some other heading” Flathman 1966


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