Former Chancellor and Professor of Political Science at the University of Turku Jaakko Nousiainen has passed away at the age of 90. Nousiainen started in 1963 as the first permanent professor in political science at the University of Turku. He led the development of the Turku school in political science, centered around the research of political institutions.
Nousiainen worked as chancellor at the University of Turku in 1994–1997. As a chancellor, Nousiainen did not seek to become a policy-maker, but acted more as a controller of lawfulness.
Before his chancellor term, he worked in several positions in University administration: as Dean of both the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Social Sciences, as Vice Rector of the University in 1975–1978 and as the Chair of the University Council in 1985–1988.
Jaakko Nousiainen was Professor of Political Science at the University of Turku in 1963–1993. During 1987–1992, he worked as Academy of Finland Research Professor. He led the development of the Turku school of political science, centered around the research of political institutions. It was characterised by research interest on the operations of governmental institutions and their power structures. Nousiainen’s own interests included the standing of the president, the government, and the parliament in the Finnish political system. In the 1980s, these institutional research projects broadened and became international cooperation in comparative study of governments and systems of parliamentary representation in developed democracies.
For the students of the University of Turku, Nousiainen was a well-liked lecturer. He became familiar for all Finnish students of political science particularly through his book The Finnish political system. The first edition of the book was published in 1959, and it was a central political science textbook in Finnish universities for decades. It was translated in English in 1971.
For the general public, Nousiainen became a well-known figure as a regularly consulted expert on the Finnish political system and parliamentarianism in media. He was a familiar commentator for the whole nation in particular during elections.
Nousiainen has left his distinct mark on the Finnish constitutional development from the period of over five decades. He e.g. worked as an expert member in a constitutional evaluation committee in 1982–1983, a committee for the constitution in 1991–1993, and the 1992 Constitutional Committee in 1992–1994. He was also a member of the preparatory working groups and committees for the 2000 constitutional reform.
The Finnish Cultural Foundation granted him an award for his significant cultural achievements in 2016 for promoting parliamentarianism.
Nousiainen was born on 20 December 1931, graduated from Joensuu upper secondary school, and completed Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Licentiate degrees and, in 1956, Doctoral degree in Political Science at the University of Helsinki. Before starting at the University of Turku, Nousiainen worked as Assistant Professor in Social Sciences at Jyväskylä College of Education in 1961–1963.
Jaakko Nousiainen and his teacher wife Eva had two children.
The University of Turku had a flag flying at half-mast on 24 March 2022 in memory of Jaakko Nousiainen.