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19.12. Organizing sub-national government: What does Scandinavia tell us? [Perspektiven der Moderne]

The third lecture in the series ›Perspektiven der Moderne: Soziologie politischer Systeme der Gegenwart‹ is going to be held on December 19 by Lawrence E. Rose, University of Oslo.

19.12. Organizing sub-national government: What does Scandinavia tell us? [Perspektiven der Moderne]

Soziologie politischer Systeme der Gegenwart

On December 19, Lawrence E. Rose, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Political Science, University of Oslo, is going to speak about ›Organizing sub-national government: What does Scandinavia tell us?‹. As usual, the lecture will take place on Wednesday evening, 6 p.m., at Bonner Universitätsforum, Heussallee. We will be happy to welcome you at the event. As usual, we offer drinks and a small snack afterwards.


Abstract: How should sub-national government be organized? Asking this question is much akin to opening Pandora’s box. The issues that emerge are numerous, and they often lack definitive answers.

  • How many levels of sub-national government are needed and why?
  • What should the functions of sub-national government be, and should specific functions or responsibilities be assigned to specific levels of sub-national government?
  • How much discretionary authority should sub-national governments (at different levels) be granted? Should certain functions be obligatory or should they be voluntary in character? And should different units of sub-national government be allowed to enter into legally binding agreements with one another in fulfilling their respective responsibilities?
  • Should there be mandatory political-administrative structures at different levels of sub-national government? If so, which ones, how should they be constituted, and what relations should they have to one another?
  • Should lower levels of sub-national government have an ability to bring issues concerning the exercise of authority by other units and levels of government into the legal system for review and adjudication?
  • How should the activities of sub-national government be financed? Should sub-national governments have taxing and/or borrowing authority, and if so, subject to what stipulations or controls if any? And should some form of inter-governmental transfer of financial resources be established?
  • What is the role of citizens/residents in the operation of sub-national governments? Are they to be granted specific rights allowing them to have some word in local decision-making processes? If so, how should participation of citizens/residents in the operation of sub-national governments to be organized?

These are only examples of the questions that emerge from the Pandorian box of sub-national government. The list can be easily extended. The purpose of this lecture is to illustrate some of these questions and how they have been addressed in various European countries. The Scandinavian countries by no means provide responses that would justify suggesting that they represent a “Paradise of sub-national government”. For some the opposite conclusion might be drawn. A special focus on sub-national government in the Scandinavian countries is therefore merely intended to offer a springboard for some commentary and reflection about questions and issues that have been – and will continue to be – confronted in virtually all countries in contemporary Europe.




Bonner Universitätsforum, Heussallee 18-24, Raum 0.109

December 19, 6 p.m.

The lectures at FIW can be can be counted as component D2 in the Certificate of International Competence.

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