chapter  16
12 Pages

From Obsessive Egalitarianism to Pluralist Universalism? A Normative Epilogue

ByThomas Hylland Eriksen

The Nordic countries are world famous for their presumed egalitarian ideologies and practices. If there is a Nordic identity charged with positive qualities, it must arguably be connected to some idea of democracy, welfare and egalitarianism. It is an open question whether such a characterization remains valid. Deregulation of markets has proceeded at great speed in this region like elsewhere in the world, and regarding the educational system, values and principles of market economics are making their impact felt there in several ways. In the same way as ‘Hindu fundamentalism’ feels like an oxymoron, a conceptual impossibility, ‘market run schools’ sound distinctly un-Nordic. It says something about our time that both of these strange anomalies exist and thrive.