Outlooks

The outlooks section gives a voice to readers who have a legitimate response to what they have read on nordics.info or elsewhere on the Nordic region. It is primarily aimed at:

(1) researchers who wish to contextualise or critically explore an issue from a particular or innovative angle; and,

(2) researchers and others whose perspectives are often under-represented or overlooked in research.

This section is based on the recognition that exclusively research-based information can sometimes reflect hidden power dynamics and lead to more qualitative perspectives being overlooked. These may be, for example, voices from underrepresented groups or innovative, interdisciplinary angles. With respect to style and form, this section mirrors that of ‘Articles’ above, but allows greater scope for opinion and individual perspective. 

If you can't find what you are looking for, click on a category or use the search function.

The Nordic and their various models function in the American political imaginary as blank screens upon which politicians and pundits project justifications for their own versions of the American dream. Photo: CHUTTERSNAP on unsplash (modified).

2020.10.02 | Outlook, Oana Godeanu-Kenworthy, Democracy, Governance, The Nordics in the World

Imagining Nordicity in the American political discourse

The Nordic region is frequently presented in the American media as prosperous and business-friendly, as well as allowing for extensive welfare benefits. US media coverage often positions one or more of the Nordic countries between the monolithic and highly politicized understandings of ‘socialism’ and ‘capitalism’ – with the many shades of mixed…

Will the welfare services of Denmark, Finland, Norway & Sweden weather the economic crisis resulting from covid-19? Photo: distinctive Norwegian coin, Børge Sandnes, colourbox.dk.

2020.05.11 | Outlook, Ilkka Kärrylä, Public policy, Economy

Nordic public debt: the dangers of restricting public spending due to the covid-19 crisis

The prevailing economic doctrine in the Nordics and Europe has it that, the lower the public debt, the more room there is for economic stimulation in downturns, such as the current covid-19 crisis. Denmark, Norway and Sweden with their comparatively low levels of public debt were able to announce relatively large economic crisis packages fairly…

Ship and habour workers in Kaskö harbour in the 1920s. Photo: finna.fi, CC BY 4.0.

2020.04.16 | Outlook, Sami M Outinen, Public policy, Economy

The Nordic response to the Great Depression – an economic approach to the Corona crisis?

A look back at how Sweden and Finland dealt with two key crises in the twentieth century may be enlightening during the current Corona crisis. Firstly, the depression in 1930s, which led to Keynesian interventionalism - with some key differences - brought with it a series of steps throughout the following decades in both countries. Secondly, the…

Varying histories and democratic traditions are perhaps some of the reasons why Denmark, Finland and Norway have reacted differently to covid-19 - and why Sweden has had a completely distinctive approach. (Note that this map only shows the Nordic countries referred to in the article.) Photo: colourbox.dk.

2020.04.06 | Outlook, Johan Strang, Public policy, Nation building

Why do the Nordic countries react differently to the covid-19 crisis?

Given the striking similarity of the Nordic societies, it is interesting to note how differently some of them have reacted to the current covid-19 crisis. For example, Denmark and Norway were quick to implement a work and school lockdown and close their borders. In contrast, Sweden has raised international interest with a comparatively lax…

The disease of contemporary democracy can be summarised in the famous words of Gramsci: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear”. Photo: Elvis Bekmanis, Unsplash.

2020.02.12 | Outlook, Monica Quirico, Democracy, Nation building

Democracy in the shadow of populism - a Nordic way out?

The “Nordic model” is often presented as a solution to the dominance of neoliberalism and the rise of populism. Populist tendencies within the region, including the reclaiming of nationalist identities and anti-immigration and anti-globalisation sentiment, can often be overlooked by outside observers. Whereas elsewhere economic crises encourage …

The balance of competition and cooperation/justice within the Nordic model may soon be pushed too much towards the former. Photo: Cindy Tang, Unsplash.

2019.12.10 | Outlook, Atle Midttun, Nina Witoszek, Nation building, Research

Is the Norwegian model in danger?

In the first decades of the 21st century, some Norwegian commentators have been calling for an increased emphasis on commercial competition in Norwegian business and education, and an increased focus on profits as a measure of relevance and utility. This trend poses a threat to the social welfare model in Norway as it is traditionally construed. …

In the 1960s, commentators suggested the behavior of Scandinavian mothers, such as dominating child-rearing and going out to work, influenced their offspring's mental health and led to higher suicide rates. Photo: Les Anderson, Unsplash.

2019.11.28 | Outlook, Byron Zachary Rom-Jensen, Reputation, Culture, Research

‘Socialist’ suicide in Scandinavia: a historical view of a common myth

High rates of suicide are often connected with the Nordic countries and their apparently ‘socialist’ policies. Highlighting high suicide rates in Scandinavia can be traced back to at least the 1960s when foreign observers attempted to either undermine or legitimize the welfare states in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. These characterizations forced…

2019.09.10 | Outlook, Thorsten Borring Olesen, Democracy, Nation building, Research

Buying Greenland? Trump, Truman and the 'Pearl of the Mediterranean'

In the summer of 2019, the Trump Administration voiced an interest in buying Greenland from Denmark. The historical background for this stretches at least as far back as a case brought by Norway at the International Court in 1933 when it was decided that Denmark had full sovereignty over Greenland. Since then, Danish governments have engaged in…