University of Oulu

Ville Kellokumpu & Heikki Sirviö (2022) Politics of public interest: Finnish forest capital’s strategy in the Kaipola paper mill shutdown, Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, DOI: 10.1080/04353684.2021.2025412

Politics of public interest : Finnish forest capital’s strategy in the Kaipola paper mill shutdown

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Author: Kellokumpu, Ville1; Sirviö, Heikki2
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.1 MB)
Persistent link: http://urn.fi/urn:nbn:fi-fe2022041128048
Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-04-11
Description:

Abstract

Depoliticization has emerged as a key concept in analyzing the changing political dynamics of capitalist democracies. Yet, the concept of public interest has been relatively absent in depoliticization literature. This article argues for a more systematic inclusion of public interest politics in scrutinizing de- and repoliticization. The argument is advanced through strategic-relational theory by interpreting public interest as (1) a terrain of political struggles, (2) a mode of doing politics and (3) a method of enquiry. These dynamics are examined in the empirical context of Finnish forest industry’s political strategy in the Kaipola paper mill closure in August 2020. The forest conglomerate UPM-Kymmene politicized its paper mill shutdown by shifting the responsibility to the centre-left governmental coalition’s purportedly business-hostile policies. However, analyzing the case through UPM strategies and the paper production crisis, the closure falls in line with the forest industry’s long-term business strategy. The forest industry’s and UPM’s strategy is recognized as a forceful defense of a corporate polity where public interest is equated with the success of key economic actors. The article concludes with an argument for the politics of public interest as a vital research perspective for analyzing contradictions surrounding ‘the economy’.

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Series: Geografiska annaler. Series B, Human geography
ISSN: 0435-3684
ISSN-E: 1468-0467
ISSN-L: 0435-3684
Issue: Online first
DOI: 10.1080/04353684.2021.2025412
OADOI: https://oadoi.org/10.1080/04353684.2021.2025412
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Subjects:
Funding: This study was supported by the Academy of Finland project ‘Justification for agreement-based approaches in Nordic spatial planning: towards situational direct democracy?’ (decision number 315772).
Copyright information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/