Author Biography

Ronja Kuokkanen, M.S.Sc., is a social policy researcher (doctoral candidate) at University of Tampere, Finland, Faculty of Social Sciences. In her dissertation she is studying resident participation and practices fostering eco-socially sustainable well-being in remote communities.


This paper explores how elderly residents’ discursive participation is promoted through the local community in one Finnish municipality. It introduces the case of the Elderly People’s Forum as an interesting example of a self-initiated, informal participatory forum that has established a role in local governance and continuously inspires the wide discursive participation of elderly residents in public discussions. Drawing on the concept of discursive participation, which includes talk in informal settings about matters of common interest as a measure of civic engagement, I argue that by acknowledging the deliberative potential of self-initiated civil society forums, local governance can enhance residents’ ongoing participation and possibilities to exert influence.