This book analyses the contemporary politics of the nation states of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and the Home Rule territories of Greenland, Faeroes and Åland that together make up the Nordic region. It covers Scandinavia past and present, parties in developmental perspective, the Scandinavian party system model, the Nordic model of government, the Nordic welfare model, legislative-executive relations in the region, and the changing security environment. The Nordic states have a shared history, common linguistic bonds and a common state Lutheran religion. Of the six Scandinavian languages, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are mutually intelligible, whilst Swedish is an official national language in Finland. Turning to a brief overview of nation-building and state-building in the Nordic region, an obvious distinction can be drawn between those 'stateless nations' which went on to achieve statehood and the territories that have not achieved independence. The book presents a brief chronology of events in Norden up to 1922, when Åland achieved autonomy. In Sweden the historic phase of party-building produced a basic two-plus-three configuration and a party system based on five 'isms': communism, social democracy, agrarianism, liberalism and conservatism. By 1930 there was a bifurcated parliamentary left and a fragmented nonsocialist bloc consisting of essentially town-based Liberal and Conservative parties and a farmer-based Agrarian Party. Whilst acknowledging the limitations inherent in the periodisation of party system change, the book focuses on the extent of party system change since the 'earthquake elections' of 1970-73.
If it is probably fair to characterise the style of the Scandinavianpolitical
elite as predominantly pragmatic rather than pugilistic, primarily consensual
rather than adversarial, it is none the less important to avoid perpetuating
stereotyped images of Scandinavia as a block of depoliticised political systems.
Scandinavianpolitics is not generally of the ‘yah boo’ Westminster variety,
nor is it like Australian politics, which, according to Patrick Weller, ‘is played
like Australian sport, up front, down to earth and with a blatant desire to win
culture based on consensus
This has been an aspect of the Swedish model over which there has been
widespread agreement between Swedish and non-Swedish commentators.
Among the former, Olof Petersson (1994: 34) has written that ‘the aim of
political decision-making has been to avoid divisive conflicts; an emphasis
on compromise and pragmatic solutions has led to a political culture based
The Nordic model
on consensus’. In similar vein, the Americans Eric Einhorn and John Logue
(1986: 207) comment that ‘formal Scandinavianpolitical institutions are not
Does European integration contribute to, or even accelerate, the erosion of intra-party democracy? This book is about improving our understanding of political parties as democratic organisations in the context of multi-level governance. It analyses the impact of European Union (EU) membership on power dynamics, focusing on the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party (PS), and the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). The purpose of this book is to investigate who within the three parties determines EU policies and selects EU specialists, such as the candidates for European parliamentary elections and EU spokespersons. The book utilises a principal-agent framework to investigate the delegation of power inside the three parties across multiple levels and faces. It draws on over 65 original interviews with EU experts from the three national parties and the Party of European Socialists (PES) and an e-mail questionnaire. This book reveals that European policy has largely remained in the hands of the party leadership. Its findings suggest that the party grassroots are interested in EU affairs, but that interest rarely translates into influence, as information asymmetry between the grassroots and the party leadership makes it very difficult for local activists to scrutinise elected politicians and to come up with their own policy proposals. As regards the selection of EU specialists, such as candidates for the European parliamentary elections, this book highlights that the parties’ processes are highly political, often informal, and in some cases, undemocratic.
Given the significant similarities and differences between the welfare states of Northern Europe and their reactions to the perceived 'refugee crisis' of 2015, the book focuses primarily on the three main cases of Denmark, Sweden and Germany. Placed in a wider Northern European context – and illustrated by those chapters that also discuss refugee experiences in Norway and the UK – the Danish, Swedish and German cases are the largest case studies of this edited volume. Thus, the book contributes to debates on the governance of non-citizens and the meaning of displacement, mobility and seeking asylum by providing interdisciplinary analyses of a largely overlooked region of the world, with two specific aims. First, we scrutinize the construction of the 2015 crisis as a response to the large influx of refugees, paying particular attention to the disciplinary discourses and bureaucratic structures that are associated with it. Second, we investigate refugees’ encounters with these bureaucratic structures and consider how these encounters shape hopes for building a new life after displacement. This allows us to show that the mobility of specific segments of the world’s population continues to be seen as a threat and a risk that has to be governed and controlled. Focusing on the Northern European context, our volume interrogates emerging policies and discourses as well as the lived experiences of bureaucratization from the perspective of individuals who find themselves the very objects of bureaucracies.
head of state no longer possesses ‘quite significant powers’ (Duverger 1980);
rather, the new constitution has elevated the role of the prime minister. Since
the recent Scandinavianpolitical science literature has pointed to the growing
importance of the office of the prime minister, the final section of the chapter
examines whether a fundamental convergence across the region has witnessed
the emergence of prime minister-dominant parliamentary executives.
‘Executive–legislative balance’ and ‘executive dominant’ systems
A striking feature of the political
special issue of ScandinavianPolitical Studies in
which Torbjörn Bergman and Kaare Strøm distinguish between a parliament’s
position in relation to the executive and its position in the wider external
environment. They conclude that ‘reforms have strengthened the constitutional parliamentary chain’ – a parliament’s position vis-à-vis the domestic
executive – but that there has also been a ‘general deparliamentarisation of
modern politics’ (Bergman and Strøm 2004). Three broad strands in the ‘deparliamentarisation thesis’ may be noted briefly. The first points to a
Summing up on the structural changes to the Scandinavian party systems
since 1970, three points warrant emphasis. First, there has been the establishment of new ‘party families’ articulating post-materialist (Greens and
eco-socialists) and anti-secularist values (new Christians), which cannot
readily be located on a conventional left–right continuum and which may be
said to have lent the party systems added dimensionality. Second, a numerically
significant radical right has emerged in Scandinavianpolitics for really the
first time. Predicated on such ‘new politics
really the first time in Scandinavianpolitics was predicated on a diffuse antiEstablishment poujadisme – a tirade against the oppressive and inequitable rules
and regulations imposed by the ‘democratic Leviathan’ that was the central
state. The anti-Establishment parties that emerged in Finland, Denmark and
Norway between 1970 and 1973 were ‘entrepreneurial issue parties’ (Harmel
and Svåsand 1993), founded and led by political entrepreneurs, with a strong
populist instinct, who deployed a rich and original rhetoric to rail against
the ‘old parties’ and so
Retreat of Social Democracy (Manchester: Manchester
EIROnline (2007) ‘Unions criticise proposal to cut unemployment and sickness
(accessed 21 November 2007).
Elvander, N. (2002) ‘The labour market regimes in the Nordic countries: a comparative analysis’, ScandinavianPolitical Studies, 25 (2).
EU Observer (2007) ‘Swedish trade unions lose EU labour case, 18 December’:
http://euobserver.com/9/25359 (accessed 19 December 2007).
Forsman, E. (2007) ‘Trygghetsavtal ger arbetslösa nytt