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Nordic model(s) in the global circulation of ideas, 1970-2020


The concept of a ’Nordic model’ has long been recognised, and plays an important role in shaping perceptions of the Nordic countries, internally and externally. The concept enjoyed a remarkable renaissance following the global financial crisis that began in 2008, and a decade later it continues to attract attention from various groups and individuals, including politicians on the left and the right in different parts of the world and within the Nordic region itself.

But what is the Nordic model and why does the Nordic region attract so much attention? Our project analyses how ‘Nordic models’ have been conceived, debated and used in different contexts over the last half century. When and where did the idea of a Nordic model emerge? What does the Nordic model mean in different contexts, and how have these meanings changed over time? Just how significant are the Nordic countries and the Nordic model?

In exploring these questions we also seek to address broader questions about the global circulation of ideas and models during the period 1970-2020, when challenges such as environmental degradation, poverty and inequality, racism and populism have altered power structures globally and in Norden. We do this by examining the idea of a Nordic model or models in three areas: North America; Western Europe; cases in the Global South.