Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2013

Innovation, Human Capabilities and Democracy:
Towards an Enabling Welfare State

Lecturer: Professor Reijo Miettinen,
Institute of Behavioural Sciences,
University of Helsinki, Finland

Main disciplines: Sociology, Political Economy, Innovation Studies, STS

Dates: 29 July - 2 August 2013
Course Credits: 10 pts (ECTS)
Limitation: 30 participants
 

Objectives
The Nordic welfare states have in the 2000s increasingly been at top of the lists of national competitiveness. Among the Nordic countries Finland has often been regarded as a model of information society, high-quality equal education and of systemic innovation policy. The course discusses the Nordic model by analyzing the Finnish experience and by taking the development of human capabilities as viewpoint that helps to clarify the idea of a virtuous cycle between economic development, equality and democracy. The course constructs bridges between political economy, innovation studies, welfare sate discourse, organizational institutionalism and socio-cultural psychology.

An approach of studying institutional change and learning based on cultural-historical activity theory is introduced and used to analyze the emergence and development of the Finnish comprehensive school system. The OECD PISA results show against the neoliberal ideals that a public education system animated by educational equality can produce both excellence and equality with moderate costs. An idea of an enabling welfare state is outlined as a complement and an alternative to the national innovation systems framework.

An enabling welfare state focuses on the development of capability cultivating services that enable citizens to cope with risks and to meet challenges of rapidly changing labor market and to contribute to economy. Its governance is based on local experimentation and learning across organizational and hierarchical boundaries. The concepts of human development, learning and creativity that are needed for a capability policy are analyzed in the course.


Essential reading

  • Miettinen, Reijo (2013). Innovation, human capabilities and democracy. Towards an enabling welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Lecture outline
In addition to the core reading recommended, complementary readings are listed for each lecture. Complementary reading have been commented in core readings and will be discussed during the lectures. They also supply alternative and complementary viewpoints  to those of the core readings. Complementary readings not available in the Internet will be supplied to the students beforehand.


Lecture 1: Innovation, human capabilities and democracy: transcending the boundaries of disciplinary discourses
The starting points of the course are articulated: the contradictions of the Finnish innovation policy in the 2000s, separateness of innovation, welfare, democracy and education discourses and the need for a multidisciplinary dialogue.

Reading:

  • Miettinen, Reijo (2013). Innovation, human capabilities and democracy. Towards an enabling welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Chapter 1)

Complementary reading:

  • Kettunen, P. 1997. ‘The society of virtuous circles’, in P. Kettunen and H. Eskola, (eds.), Models, Modernity and the Myrdals. Helsinki: Renvall Institute Publications 8, 153-173.


Lecture 2: Rhetoric and competing accounts of economic and social change
The nature of policy buzzwords or paradigms living in between science and policy making are analyzed. The most influential of them, national competitiveness, knowledge-based economy and national innovations systems are discussed.

Reading:

  • Miettinen, Reijo (2013). Innovation, human capabilities and democracy. Towards an enabling welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Chapter 2)

Complementary reading:

  • Sum, N-L. (2010), ‘A cultural political economy of transnational knowledge brands: Porterian “competitiveness“ discourse and its recontextualization in Hong Kong/Pearl River Delta’, Journal of Language and Politics 9 (4), 546-573.


Lecture 3: Innovation policy in Finland in the 1990s and 2000s: from NIS to social innovation and broad-based innovation policy
The innovation policy of the 1990ss, the consequences of a transition to social innovation and then into broad-based innovation policy in the 2000s are analyzed as well as the fate of the democracy during the period.

Reading:

  • Miettinen, Reijo (2013). Innovation, human capabilities and democracy. Towards an enabling welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Chapter 4 and 5)

Complementary reading:

  • Edquist, C.  Luukkonen, T. and Sotarauta, M. (2009), ‘Broad-Based Innovation Policy, Evaluation of the Finnish National Innovation System – Full Report’, Helsinki: Taloustieto Ltd, 11–69.


Lecture 4: Strategic literacy, absorptive capacities and the explanations of the Finnish PISA success
The interconnection between the quality and level of literacy and absorptive capacity of firms and other organizations is studied. The reasons presented for the permanent success of the Finnish students in the OECD PISA studies are reviewed and evaluated.

Reading:

  • Miettinen, Reijo (2013). Innovation, human capabilities and democracy. Towards an enabling welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Chapter 6.1 and 6.2)

Complementary reading:

  • Istance, D. 2003. Schooling and lifelong learning: insights from OECD analyses. European Journal of Education 38(1), 85-99.


Lecture 5: Institutional change and learning: The case of the Finnish comprehensive school and its special education system
How to study institutional change and learning? Strangely, the artifacts (signs, tools, instruments) are largely missing from institutional theories (which use habits, shared meanings, norms and rules to explain continuity). It is suggested, following activity theory, that remediation, the acquisition and development of new relevant instrumentalities are essential for institutional learning.

Reading:

  • Miettinen, Reijo (2013). Innovation, human capabilities and democracy. Towards an enabling welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Chapter 6)

Complementary readings:

  • Garud, R. and Karnoe. P. (2003), ‘Bricolage versus breakthrough: distributed and embedded agency in technology entrepreneurship’, Research Policy 32, 277-300.
  • Battilina, J. and D’Aunno (2009), ‘Institutional work and the paradoxes of embedded agency’, in Lawrence, T. B., Suddaby, R., and Leca, B. (eds.), Institutional Work. Actors and Agency in Institutional Studies of Organizations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 31-58.


Lecture 6: Capability cultivating services as a foundation for welfare and innovation policies and crisis of welfare state
The Finnish state established and funded in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s number of capability cultivating public services from child and family clinics and kindergarten to the comprehensive school as well as library and music school systems. Their further development constitute a basis for an enabling welfare state. How this can be reconciled with the economic crisis of the welfare state and increasingly influential ideas of introducing competition and markets to service production?

Reading:

  • Miettinen, Reijo (2013). Innovation, human capabilities and democracy. Towards an enabling welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Chapter 7)

Complementary reading:

  • Esping-Andersen, G. (2009). The incompelete revolution. Cambridge: Polity. Chapter 2 (“The new inequalities”), pp. 55-74).


Lecture 7: What are human capabilities? From human capital to Bildung and creativity
The various concepts of capability in different disciplines and research traditions are analyzed. The limitation of the prevailing cognitive constructivist concept of learning  are indicated and the socio-cultural concept of human development  - and it forerunner – the concept Bildung are introduced. The nature and origins of creative capabilities are discussed.

Reading:

  • Miettinen, Reijo (2013). Innovation, human capabilities and democracy. Towards an enabling welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Chapter 7.4 and 7.6)

Complementary readings:

  • Carruthers, Peter (2002), ‘Human creativity. Its evolution, its cognitive basis and its connection to childhood’s pretence’, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (2), 225-249.
  • Good, J.A. (2011), The German Bildung Tradition, Good, J.A. (2011), http://www.philosophy.uncc.edu/mielrid/SAAP/USC/pbt1.html
  • Sahlberg, P. (2010), ‘Rethinking accountability in knowledge society’, Journal of Educational Change 11, 45-61.


Lecture 8: An enabling welfare state: the next stage of the Nordic welfare state?
The different definitions and interpretations of an enabling welfare state are reviewed. An enabling welfare state as a new developmental phase in the development of Nordic welfare state is discussed as well as associations and institutional learning as ingredients of an enabling welfare state.

Reading:

  • Miettinen, Reijo (2013). Innovation, human capabilities and democracy. Towards an enabling welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Chapter 8.1 and 8.2)

Complementary readings:

  • Curtis, D. (2006), ‘Mind sets and methods: poverty strategies and the awkward potential of the enabling welfare state’, International Journal of Public Sector Management 19(2), 150-164.
  • Dorf, M. C., and Sabel, C. F. (1998), ‘A Constitution of democratic experimentalism’, Columbia Law Review 98 (2), 267–473.


Lecture 9: Governance and democracy in an enabling welfare state
A pragmatist conception of democracy (developed among others by John Dewey) is outlined. In it, associations, professional communities or ‘communities of inquiry’ play an important role in solving the key social problems. It implies theb idea of democratization of innovation by mobilizing professionals, practitioners  and stakeholders in different spheres of society to the development of  new solutions in their organizations and fields.

Reading:

  • Miettinen, Reijo (2013). Innovation, human capabilities and democracy. Towards an enabling welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Chapter 8.4 and 8.5)

Complementary readings:

  • Dewey, J. 1926/1988. Public and its problems. The Later Works of John Dewey. Edited by Jo Ann Boydston. Volume 12. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. (Chapter 6.  The problem of method, pp. 351-372).
  • Miettinen, R. 2000. The concept of experiential learning and John Dewey’s theory of reflective thought and action. International Journal of Lifelong Education Vol 19 (1), 54-72.


Lecture 10: Politics for the cultivation and mobilization of human capabilities
Suggestions for an enabling policy is outlined. They include measures for improving conditions for the development of capabilities in early childhood, among them development of early childhood and play pedagogy for kindergartens and  development of individualized pedagogy in schools. They also include development of the forms of governance that stimulate local experimentation and institutional learning across the boundaries in multiorganizational fields.

Reading:

  • Miettinen, Reijo (2013). Innovation, human capabilities and democracy. Towards an enabling welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Chapter 9)

Complementary reading:

  • Esping-Andersen, G. (2009). The incompelete revolution, Cambridge: Polity. Chapter 4  (“Investing in children and equalizing life changes”), pp. 111-144.


The lecturer
Reijo Miettinen is Professor of Adult Education at the University of Helsinki. Before coming to the academia he worked as an educational planner in charge of in house training of the research scientists at the Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT). In 1990 he joined as a researcher to the newly established VTT group for Technology Studies. In 1995 he removed to the University of Helsinki and acted as a Vice director of the Center for Activity Theory and Developmental Work Research in the Department of Education. He has directed since 1995 a research group that studied the work of research groups, learning in innovation processes, innovation networks and producer-user interaction in innovations. He is interested in theories of learning and creativity and as well as in the comparison of the philosophical and sociological theories of human practice and thought. He acted for five years as the scientific director of the Finnish National Graduate School for Science and Technology studies. He has co-edited the book Perspectives on Activity Theory (1999) written a book on the National Innovation System – Scientific Concept or Political Rhetoric (2002) as well as Dialogue and Creativity. Activity theory in the Study of Science, Technology and Innovations (2009). 

 

Tags: Innovation, Sociology, PhD, Summer School, Welfare State, Political Institutions, Economic Development
Published Aug. 30, 2018 8:55 AM - Last modified Aug. 30, 2018 8:55 AM