Uncovering New Perspectives on Nordic Society

”Scholars doing what they do best: challenging traditional ways of looking at things and raising question marks over assumed ’truths’ about the Nordic region.” This was how editor of nordics.info Nicola Witcombe summed up the podcast series ’The Nordics Uncovered: Critical Voices from the Region’ after the final podcast in the series was published this week.

Since the start of the podcast series in February, twelve scholars from all over the Nordic countries and the US have been interviewed about their research on key elements of Nordic society, including welfare, education, the Nordic Model and gender.

Many assumptions about the Nordic countries have been upheld throughout the series:  The universal welfare state is a key feature on both the political left and right in the Nordic countries. Children are taught to be independent early on, and there is often a greater focus on how a class functions as whole, rather than on individual achievement compared to other countries. History – as well as contemporary history - is littered with examples of democratic cooperation and collaborative movements. Gender equality is, if not a fully realised in the Nordic countries, at least advanced compared to elsewhere.   

But, many traditional assumptions about the Nordics have also been questioned: There is frequently a mismatch between how the Nordics are represented and what actually happens in the region. Neoliberalism has in fact been embraced by all the Nordic countries, to a greater or lesser extent. Gender inequality still exists, both on paper and in every day life. The region’s microhistories have frequently been overlooked; not only voice from colonial regions and the peripheries of the Nordic region, but also from people caught up in societal battles and policy making which often positions those who ’belong’ against those who do not.

Watch a taster of the last five podcasts here:

Find all @KnowledgeOnTheNordics podcasts here: nordics.info podcasts

More about nordics.info and the participants:

nordics.info has grown out of a hub of specialists within the humanities and social sciences, a university hub which seeks to reimagine the image of Norden in today’s world. Many of the scholars being interviewed in this podcast series are also part of the ReNEW University Hub - Reimagining Norden in an Evolving World, coordinated from the Centre for Nordic Studies at Helsinki University.


Nicola Witcombe, university of Aarhus - Email: nwitcombe@cas.au.dk