Scandinavian Politics

Drawing of Scandinavians promoting human rights and green policies.

I have a long-time interest in Scandinavian politics. I explore the link between the Scandinavian welfare states and their foreign policies.

The Scandinavian Welfare State and Foreign Policy

In The Routledge Handbook on Scandinavian Politics, leading experts analyze a wide range of policy areas.

Some of my work seeks to identify the general characteristics of Scandinavian politics. I co-edited The Routledge Handbook of Scandinavian Politics with my good colleague Peter Nedergaard. In this book leading experts on Scandinavian politics analyze a wide range of policy areas.

Peter and I co-authored the introduction and the conclusion. In the introductory chapter, we trace the history of Scandinavian politics and unpack what characterizes Scandinavia and Scandinavian politics. In the conclusion, we sum up the findings of the book and address the paradox that in a time when Scandinavian politics has become still more prominent as a benchmark for how to do politics, it has also become less distinct and has adapted to European politics in general.

This strain between showcasing the distinct features of Scandinavian politics and ‘Nordicness’ and a pragmatic adaptation to ‘Realpolitik’ is also the subject of my Peace Review article What Happened to the Nordic Model for International Peace and Security?. In the article, I identify the characteristics of the Nordic model for international peace and security and discuss how and why it has changed.

In King in the North: evaluating the status recognition and performance of the Scandinavian countries, an article published in International Relations, Pål Røren and I measure the status recognition of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. We find that despite Danish and Norwegian status seeking efforts, Sweden continiuously receive significantly more recognition than both Denmark and Norway. We discuss why this is the case focusing on the stickiness of status (for small states in particular), the international visibility of Sweden, and the strong Swedish narrative linking Swedish foreign policy to welfare state values.

Scandinavia and the European Union

Scandinavia has traditionally been characterized as the ‘other European community’. Global activism has been combined with scepticism towards EU-integration.

Drawing illustrating that the Scandinavian welfare states have typical been reluctant towards supranational european integration.

In Scandinavia and the European Union: Pragmatic functionalism reconsidered, Caroline Grøn and I discuss the historical origins of Scandinavian engagement with the EU and explore different ways of understanding the relationships between the Nordics: how they relate to the EU in terms of specific policies and how they engage with EU institutions. We identify the similarities and differences in Nordic approaches to the EU. Our main argument is that Nordic EU policies can be explained in terms of pragmatic functionalism seeking to protect the welfare state.

In The Nordic Countries and the European Union: Still the Other European Community?, Caroline Grøn, Peter Nedergaard and I work with a group of leading experts to analyze the relationship the Nordic countries and the EU. We look at the historical frame, institutions and policy areas, addressing both traditional EU areas such as agriculture and more nascent areas affecting the domestic and foreign policies of the Nordic countries. 

Nordicness in Danish Foreign Policy

Some of my work zooms in on the links between Scandinavian welfare state values and Danish foreign policy and between Nordicness and Danish foreign policy.From Peacemaker to Warmonger? Explaining Denmark’s Great Power Politics conducts a neoclassical realist analysis of Danish foreign policy after the Cold War. I argue that now as in the past, the Danish contribution to international peace reflects a combination of international demand and the ability and willingness of Danish policy-makers to meet this demand in accordance with their liberal-egalitarian welfare state values and pragmatic approach to international relations. In Forerunner, follower, exceptionalist or bridge-builder: Mapping Nordicness in Danish foreign policy I identify for different roles for Nordicness in Danish foreign policy. I explore each of these roles discussing what they tell us about the importance of Nordicness in Danish foreign policy, and how the roles play out in different issue areas. I discuss to which extent the importance of each role has changed over time. I argue that while each role depicts Denmark as a fringe Nordic country, Nordicness continues to play an important, but mostly uncredited, as a source of ideas for Danish foreign policy.

Recently published: New article on status recognition in world politics

Small states states seek status to compensate for lack of power. In Scandinavia, Sweden continues to win the status competition. Pål Røren and I explain how and why in the most recent issue of International Relations.

USA, det transatlantiske forhold og den europæiske sikkerhedsorden: Krisen i den liberale internationale orden og Europas normalisering
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