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The Openness Buzz: How Swedish Political Parties Interpret Openness
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1927-299X
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the wake of globalization and digitalization, openness has become a buzzword, facilitated by technology, mobility, new ways of interacting and novel concepts such as open source, open innovation, open science, and open government. From a planning and policy making perspective the long-term implications of this development cannot not be neglected. However, in recent years, openness in different respects has become increasingly challenged, including in Sweden, one of the most open countries in the world. In order to explore current understandings of openness, this paper focuses on how openness is interpreted in Swedish political parties. Political manifestos from eight political parties from 2006, 2010, and 2014, along with 23 interviews are analysed using an institutional framework of  four levels of social analysis (Williamson, 2000; Lundgren & Westlund, 2016) and comparative analysis based on saliency theory (Budge & Farlie, 1983; Budge, 2015). The results show that political parties discuss openness in two senses: ‘openness to people’ and ‘openness to information, knowledge and ideas’. Openness is discussed at different institutional levels, and no political party holds ‘issue ownership’ over openness.

Keywords [en]
openness, political parties, new institutional theory, saliency theory
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-214429OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-214429DiVA, id: diva2:1141018
Funder
Stockholm County Council
Note

QC 20170914

Available from: 2017-09-13 Created: 2017-09-13 Last updated: 2017-09-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Openness Buzz: A Study of Openness in Planning, Politics and Political Decision-Making in Sweden from an Institutional Perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Openness Buzz: A Study of Openness in Planning, Politics and Political Decision-Making in Sweden from an Institutional Perspective
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In today’s society of increased globalization and digitalization openness has become a buzzword. This raises questions about what we mean by openness and how it is interpreted in various contexts. This thesis has two aims; to explore how openness is interpreted in planning, politics and political decision-making, and to develop an analytical tool to assess openness in different contexts. A new institutional theory framework that centers on the interplay between institutions and actors has been used, and three empirical case studies in a Swedish context were conducted to analyze how openness is interpreted in planning in metropolitan regions, in politics through the political parties and in political decision-making in the Stockholm region. The research concludes that openness in planning, politics and political decision-making is interpreted along two inter-linked narrative lines: ’openness to people’ and ’openness to knowledge, information and ideas’. It was more common to talk about peoples’ accessibility to public services and participation in different parts of society (’openness to people’) than to talk about issues of transparency and ’openness to knowledge, information and ideas’. The institutional framework shows how openness is interpreted at different institutional levels. To what degree openness is expressed at different institutional levels vary by context. In planning for instance, openness is mainly interpreted in terms of governance, whereas in politics and political decision-making, openness is interpreted in an inter-play between culture and norms, institutions, governance and practice. The institutional framework complementary context-specific theories and elaborated into an analytical model, was found useful to explain what mechanisms are at play when dealing with openness in planning, politics and political decision-making, and can be applicable in future research of openness in other geographical or organizational contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2017. p. 66
Series
TRITA-SOM, ISSN 1653-6126 ; 2017:02
Keywords
Openness, New Institutional Theory, Planning, Governance, Saliency
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-214434 (URN)978-91-7729-465-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-10-12, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Stockholm County Council
Note

QC 20170914

Available from: 2017-09-14 Created: 2017-09-13 Last updated: 2017-09-18Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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Output format
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