Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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The aim of the article is to analyse changing partisan constructions of unemployment security in Finland during the 1990s. In the article, a corpus of 143 texts comprising partisan statements on un/employment policies is analysed by using Perelman’s (1971/1958) rhetorical design. The focus lies on how the leading parties interpreted state responsibility for labour market failures, the nature of social rights for unemployed persons, and the generosity of unemployment benefits. Were there major reformulations of unemployment security as a reaction to high unemployment, fiscal problems and globalisation? And if so, what kinds of rhetorical argumentation were used in order to legitimate these reformulations? The results show that partisan constructions of unemployment benefits changed in a contractual and reciprocal direction, indicating that elements of so-called workfare rhetoric became rooted in the Finnish political discourse during the Mid-90s. The political elites also moved closer to a narrower interpretation of the concept of social right for unemployed.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): argumentation; discourse; rhetoric; social rights; unemployment; unemployment security
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