Reinventing the Third Way: Towards New Forms of Economic and Democratic Conduct

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


What is the role of politics in a globalized economy? Do ordinary citizens have any real influence when competition sets the rules of the game? Instances highlighted in this thesis suggest that the western world is in the midst of a transition, where the society systems created in the wake of the second industrial revolution are outdated and in need of adjustment to the globalised, digitised reality in order to stay relevant and legitimate. The thesis aim at reformulating the relationship between politics and the economy by reusing and reinventing the century-old concept The Third Way. The empirical basis consists of four articles studying governance and innovation systems in the peripheral region of Ostrobothnia in Finland.

In the academic literature of governance, the act of governing has been described as being gradually relocated out of the hands of the government into more or less flexible and ad hoc networks of stakeholders. The cause behind this shift is generally described as the increasing complexity of society, but may also be found in changes in the economic system, in the form of open innovation platforms and free trade, as well as in the social system, in the form of an increasing individualisation of people. The mismatch between the representative liberal democratic system and the globalised economy is described by the concept of audience democracy, while post-liberal democratic concepts are presented as solutions to these difficulties. Concurrently, the economic system is described as having evolved from Fordism to Post-Fordism, where bottom-up type of innovation systems are needed in the place of merely depending on top-down innovation systems with “big science” institutions.

Hence, in both strands of academic literature, increased inclusiveness and participation are viewed as beneficial, and may consequently be regarded as effective both economically and democratically. This blend of economic and democratic theory forms the foundation of the reinvented Third Way.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Print ISBNs978-952-12-3171-1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • new governance
  • Regional development
  • regional innovation systems
  • Democracy theory

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