The Nordic Model is the 20th-century Scandinavian recipe for combining stable democracies, individual freedom, economic growth and comprehensive systems for social security. But what happens when Sweden and Finland – two countries topping global indexes for competitiveness, productivity, growth, quality of life, prosperity, and equality – start doubting themselves and their future? Is the Nordic Model at a crossroads?

Historically, consensus, continuity, social cohesion, and broad social trust have been hailed as key components for the success and for the self-images of Sweden and Finland. In the contemporary, however, political debates in both countries are increasingly focused on risks, threats, and worry. Social disintegration, political polarization, geopolitical anxieties, and threat of terrorism are often dominant themes. This book focuses on what appears to be a paradox: countries with low income differences, high faith in social institutions, and relatively high cultural homogeneity becoming fixated on the fear of polarization, disintegration, and diminished social trust. Unpacking the presentist discourse of "worry" and a sense of interregnum at the face of geopolitical tensions, digitalization, and globalization, as well as challenges to democracy, the chapters take steps back in time and explore the current conjecture through the eyes of historians and social scientists, addressing key aspects of and challenges to both the contemporary and future Nordic Model. In addition, the functioning and efficacy of the participatory democracy and current protocols of decision-making are debated.

This work is essential reading for students and scholars of the welfare state, social reforms, and populism, as well as Nordic and Scandinavian studies.

The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

chapter 1|19 pages

Always in crisis, always a solution?

The Nordic model as a political and scholarly concept
ByAnu Koivunen, Jari Ojala, Janne Holmén
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chapter 2|17 pages

Three driving forces

Structural challenges for Nordic democracies in the 2010s
ByHenrik Meinander
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chapter 3|25 pages

Lost land of bliss

Imagined temporalities of the Nordic welfare state
ByAinur Elmgren
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chapter 4|29 pages

More or less equality?

Facts, debates, and policies related to the Nordic model
ByPetri Roikonen, Jari Ojala, Jari Eloranta
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chapter 5|33 pages

Liquid neutrality

Paradoxes of democracy in Finnish and Swedish NATO discussions?
ByMatti Roitto, Antero Holmila
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chapter 6|14 pages

The decline of Nordic social democracy

ByKjell Östberg
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chapter 7|15 pages

Conservatives at the crossroads

Cooperating or resisting extremism and populism?
ByTorbjörn Nilsson
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chapter 8|24 pages

Nordic populists as hegemony challengers

ByEmilia Palonen, Liv Sunnercrantz
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chapter 9|18 pages

Cultural policy and cultural diversity

ByPasi Saukkonen
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chapter 10|17 pages

Managing moods

Media, politicians, and anxiety over public debate
ByAnu Koivunen
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chapter 11|15 pages

Persistent paradoxes, turbulent times

Gender equality policies in the Nordics in the 2010s
ByJohanna Kantola
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chapter 13|15 pages

Education 4.0.

Nordic long-term planning and educational policies in the fourth industrial revolution
ByJanne Holmén
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