Democracy, governance & law

This page provides articles on both the well-established, democratic traditions that the Nordic countries are famous for, such as the welfare state and the Nordic model. It also includes content about the challenges to the social democratic order, such as digitalisation and neoliberalism. Articles also include those that are tagged as being to do with minorities, public policy and education. New articles are added on a regular basis.


A picture from Seta's (Finnish LGBT rights organisation) magazine in 1976. Source: Seta's archive.

2020.03.30 | The Quick Read, Ásta Kristín Benediktsdóttir, Elsi Hyttinen, Hafdís Erla Hafsteinsdóttir , Riikka Taavetti, Tuula Juvonen, Íris Ellenberger, Minorities, Gender

Uncovering intra-Nordic queer migration in the 20th century

The view of the Nordic countries today as a place where LGBTIQ individuals and communities can enjoy equality overlooks intra-Nordic variation as well as the complicated histories found in the region. This variation has been a motivation for migration within the Nordics. Much migration, such as from Finland to Sweden and Iceland to Denmark,…

Non-standard employment such as part‐time or temporary work and low‐skilled service jobs have grown over the last couple of decades, and, they have become more uncertain, unpredictable and risky in terms of job and income security in recent decades. Photo:colourbox.dk.

2020.03.19 | Article, Young-Kyu Shin, Petri Böckerman, Research, Public policy, The Nordic Model

Trade union-administered unemployment benefit and precarious workers in Finland

The Nordic countries have some of the highest trade union rates of membership in the world. This has by some been attributed to unemployment insurance being largely administered by trade unions. Since around 1910, unemployment insurance in the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland and Sweden has been based on a voluntary system (‘Ghent’), rather than…

Were correspondence courses in Tanzania in 1960s and 1970s essentially 'Swedish' or 'African' or a mixture of both? Photo: colourbox.dk.

2020.03.02 | Article, Nikolas Glover, The Nordics in the World, Education, Research

Nordic adult educators encounter Tanzanian development in the 1960s and 1970s

In 1962 Sweden was said to be the country with the most extensive correspondence education enrolment per capita in the world. This was explained with reference to its sparse and widespread population with a high level of literacy, an efficient publishing industry and reliable postal services. None of these conditions existed in Tanganyika (renamed…

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 …

2019.12.19 | Video, Lill Tove Fredriksen, Literature, Minorities

Interview: "we won't be silenced" - Sámi language and literature

In this short video, Lill Tove Fredriksen, Associate Professor in Sámi Literature at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, discusses the Sámi language pre-, during and after Norwegianisation, taking four generations of her family’s women as a starting point.

2019.12.18 | Video, Elisabeth Tveito Johnsen, Belief systems, Education

Interview: The border between religion and culture at Christmas time in Scandinavia

Schools and TV programmes are important in shaping children and communities. In the Nordic countries, schools and broadcasters are frequently tasked with presenting cultural heritage to the public – particularly at Christmas time. Is cultural heritage exclusively Lutheran in Denmark and Norway? How do headteachers and broadcasters decide what is…

A young Bengt Lindqvist. Photo: Synskadades Riksförbund.

2019.12.04 | Biography, Anna Derksen, Minorities, The Nordics in the World

Bengt Olof Lennart Lindqvist (1936-2016)

Bengt Lindqvist was a Swedish politician and an active member of Swedish and international disability organizations. He became deputy minister for social security in 1985, the first Swedish minister with a visual impairment, and served as the first United Nations Special Rapporteur on Disability from 1994 to 2002. In both the national and the…

Guest workers striking against forced redundancies in front of DA (the Danish Employers' Association), 1978. Photo: Arbejdermuseets Arkiv (The Workers Museum's Archive).

2019.11.07 | Article, Niels Wium Olesen, Astrid Elkjær Sørensen, Thorsten Borring Olesen, Rosanna Farbøl, Labour markets, Minorities

Danish immigration policy, 1970-1992

In 1973, the Social Democrat government introduced an immediate stop to labour immigration because of growing unemployment. Immigration was, however, not a particularly problematic subject in the political and public debate in the 1970s. From the beginning of the 1980s, more refugees came to Denmark, particularly from the Middle East and the…

Studio-Based Learning is not only for the arts, but is also used to teach students to think imaginatively in business for example. Picture: KADK, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design, and Conservation, Denmark. Source: https://kadk.dk/galleri/

2019.10.17 | Article, Sille Julie J. Abildgaard, Education, Business, Research

Studio-Based Learning in the Nordics

Studio-Based Learning (SBL) is an educational tradition with a student-centered approach. The practice originates in Northern Europe, where Nordic arts and design programs have a long tradition of using studio spaces for teaching. The physical space is considered a powerful factor in facilitating learning and accomplishing instructional goals, and…

From the period 1956-1970, the welfare state model that is known today in Denmark was established and public welfare benefits began to reach many different parts of society rather than just the weakest. Photo: Jason Vosper, colourbox.dk.

2019.10.09 | Video, Peter Yding Brunbech, Governance, Nation building, The Nordic Model

Mini-lecture on the Danish welfare state

Even though the welfare state in the Nordics is under pressure and its design is continously debated, it has rarely been more strongly supported in Danish history. Today, nearly all Danish political parties support the basic welfare society model, and they compete over who is best to secure it. Watch this mini-lecture and hear how, from a…

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