Summer School: Revisiting welfare capitalism in the Nordics: from Middle Way models to Neoliberal Experimentation?

Together with Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science and ReNEW, UiO:Nordic welcomes emerging scholars to the Summer School course: Revisiting welfare capitalism in the Nordics: from Middle Way models to Neoliberal Experimentation?


In the post war era, the Nordics became known as particular socio economic models, built around redistributive welfare states, strong social democracies, and consensus oriented political cultures. The so called Middle Way inspired observers from the American Marquis de Childs to the French Jacques Servan Schreiber, and from the 1930s New Deal era to 1960s and 1970s debates on post industrialism. Surprisingly, despite important changes in the Nordic welfare states at least since the 1970s onwards, notions that they represent a specific model of capitalist development, marked first and foremost by the role of welfare statism, have remained. Not least in social science and the comparative welfare state literature, the Nordics are still predominantly seen as resilient models in a surrounding world of neoliberal market societies, although some scholarships challenges this. At the same time, Nordic scholars have since two decades highlighted the important changes in the ‘models’ following as a result of marketisation and privatization processes, and social scientists in the Nordics have also shown important and sometimes radical social changes in terms of inequalities and new patterns of economic, social, cultural and ethnic segregation. Political scientists have gone from arguing that far right parties were a marginal and passing, nostalgic, phenomenon of ‘welfare nationalism’ –  toward understanding populism in the Nordics as a much more dominant feature and also, as an historically entrenched phenomenon that perhaps has to be understood as coming from within the historic foundations of the ‘model’ itself.


Objectives / outcomes:

We aim with this course to revisit ideas of the Nordic models in the light of the far reaching social, economic, cultural and political changes in the Nordic countries since the 1970s on. We insert these changes into a wider history of the Nordic models, their historic origins but also role as models of political economy in processes of global capitalism and transnational circulation of ideas of the 20th century. We aim to introduce partly new perspectives to the teaching of the Nordic model – in particular the emerging literature on what a Nordic neoliberalism would be as well as discuss the Nordic model in the era of populism.

The course will be organized in a number of interlinked lectures. The lectures are more or less chronologically organized from the 1930s to the present. In order to link lectures with participants own research agendas and allow for constructive feed-back, the program will also include students presenting and discussing their own work.


Published Mar. 7, 2019 2:14 PM - Last modified Mar. 31, 2020 1:53 PM