Finnish Governmentality Investigated : Comparison of the Labor Market Policies in Two Government Programs

University essay from Lunds universitet/Socialhögskolan

Abstract: This comparative document analysis looks at the governmentality of the Finnish labor market policies (LMP’s). This study compares Sipilä’s and Marin’s government programs to see if there are differences. The focus is on depicting neoliberalization and power relations in the policies while investigating the framing of unemployment. The theoretical framework consists of the theory of neoliberal turn on the background. Theories of governmentality and power are at the center of the study. Added to that, cartel polity and corporate polity theories help to distinguish the two government programs. Five main concepts, governmentality, neoliberalization, power, cartel polity, and corporate polity, were chosen for the study. Content analysis, as a method, serves the purposes of this qualitative research. The data sample consists of parts from the two programs, where the LMP’s draw from neoliberal ideas. Clarke’s (2005, 451-453) theory, which links neoliberalization and the citizen’s abandonment, is used as a basis for coding of the four codes. Data analysis shows that both programs contain neoliberalization. These results guide the inductive research process in a different direction than the original hypothesis. The programs’ differentiation is a slow change from cartel polity identified in Sipilä LMP’s to corporate polity present in Marin LMP’s. Lukes’ (2005, 26-27) three-dimensional view of power depicts changes in power relations. The main actors, the state, and the market are slowly changing places of power. Indications to small changes in the understanding of unemployment are moving from a structural problem into an individual problem. This study raises the question of the risk of further marginalization. When the neoliberalization of the Finnish LMP’s is slowly increasing, how will the withdrawal of the welfare state’s responsibilities affect the younger generation?

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