The consortium Tackling Biases and Bubbles in Participation (BIBU) builds a novel multidisciplinary research setting that explores the dynamics of citizenship in Finland.
We study Finland as a testing ground for globalisation, exploring how worldwide changes affect citizens’ political capacities, interests and emotions, as well as how the political system responds to them.
The current global flux – involving globalisation, economic restructuring, urbanisation and migration – is challenging democratic systems. In Finland, the cohesive policy practices of the nation state are in turbulence. At the same time, citizens’ participation is troubled by biases, inequalities, which generally favour the most resourceful citizens and the strongest interest groups, and bubbles, the fragmentation of participation into polarised micro classes.
BIBU provides a sound knowledge of these changes in Finland. We explore how globalisation, economic restructuration, urbanisation and migration have set production systems and demographic groups in motion, and how these changes are reflected in citizens’ and decision makers’ political capacities, interests and emotions. Moreover, we analyse how policymaking responds to various interests in policies that define the future of the Nordic model. BIBU has a very strong policy orientation.
BIBU not only identifies but also combats the inequalities and the fragmentation in participation – the biases and bubbles – to make the political system more inclusive and responsive to citizens’ interests. We show which mechanisms cause exclusion from civic and political participation. Economics, political systems, the media, welfare models and digital participatory innovations are often studied in silos, making it difficult to grasp the dynamics between them. Our multidisciplinary setting overcomes these silos to provide a holistic view. We embed relevant information in a customized format into policy-making by interacting with civil society, interest groups, political decision-makers, the business sector and civil servants.
BIBU also develops participatory innovations, such as digital platforms for law making, digital diplomats, citizen and public dialogues, and courses for decision makers.
With these innovations, BIBU updates the Nordic practices of policy making – transparent governance, co-operation and inclusive participation – for the digital age and profiles Finland as an innovative democracy incubator of international standing.
Other consortium partners are University of Helsinki (Anu Kantola, leader), University of Tampere (Kaarina Nikunen), National Institute for Health and Welfare (Pasi Moisio), University of Turku (Markku Jokisipilä), Stanford University (Tanja Aitamurto) and Demos Research Institute (Aleksi Neuvonen).