Kari Palonen, Professor
Centre of Political Thought and Conceptual Change (PolCon), director
Political Thought and Conceptual History (PolTCH), research team leader
Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy
Phone: +358 408054178
P.O. Box 35 (Ylistönmäentie 33)
FI-40014 University of Jyväskylä
Rhetorik des Unbeliebten. Lobreden auf Politiker im Zeitalter der Demokratie, 2012, 209 p. ISBN 978-3-8329-7135-9 Nomos
Kari Palonen (b. 1947) has been a professor of political science at the University of Jyväskylä since 1983. Palonen was Academy Professor of the Academy of Finland for a 5-year period from 1998–2003. He was a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge from 1998-1999 and a Fellow at SCASSS, Uppsala from 2002–2003, the Aby Warburg Professor at Warburg-Haus, Hamburg from July-December 2006 and Visiting Fellow at the School of History at the FRIAS, University of Freiburg spring 2009.
Palonen is currently the chair of the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Political Thought and Conceptual Change and Academy of Finland Professor for a 5-years periods from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2012. His research project as the Academy Professor is called The Politics of Dissensus. Parliamentarism, Rhetoric and Conceptual History. (Abstract of the research plan)
Palonen’s intellectual profile has been shaped by a life-long project on the history of the concept of politics, which he has studied from different perspectives since around 1980. In more general terms, his work has dealt with continental political thought, particularly that of Jean-Paul Sartre and Max Weber.
Weber remains Palonen’s main source of political inspiration, which he has also extended into a political and rhetorical reading of Weber’s methodological writings. Departing from the concept of politics, he became involved in the contemporary discussions on conceptual history in the 1990s, focusing particularly on its relationships to rhetoric (Quentin Skinner) and time (Reinhart Koselleck).
From this perspective, his study of politics has moved from the question “what is politics?” to questions such as “what are political agents doing when they are acting politically,” which he dealt with in the monograph, The Struggle with Time (2006). This shift also renders it possible to better understand both the study of the rhetoric of defending politicians against adverse audiences as well as the historical and conceptual analysis of parliamentarism as a rhetorical political culture.
Works in progress: Two monographs in German are currently under language correction. An older project, with the title Rhetorik des Unbeliebten. Lobreden auf Politiker im Zeitalter der Demokratie, discusses the rhetorical topoi used in the defence of professional politicians under the last 100 years. The first book of the Academy Professorship will be a rhetorical reinterpretation of Max Weber‘s 1904 essay on ‘objectivity’ with the parliamentary procedure as as model for conducting academic disputes, ‘Objektivität’ als faires Spiel. Wissenschaft als Politik bei Max Weber. A monograph on the rhetorical history of the concept of parliamentarism and a collection of studies on parliamentary debates as sources in conceptual history will follow later.
Palonen co-founded (with Melvin Richter) the History of Political and Social Concepts Group in 1998 and has been the Chair of the European Science Foundation Network The Politics and History of European Democratisation (PHED) from 2003-2005.
He was the first editor-in-chief of The Finnish Yearbook of Political Thought (1997-2000) and resumed editorship of the renamed journal Redescriptions. Palonen is also board member of Max Weber Studies and Politiikka, which is the journal of the Finnish Political Science Association.
He has also supervised 17 completed dissertations from 1990 to 2009, has served as the opponent for one dissertation and served as a member of numerous dissertation committees both in Finland and abroad.