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Nordic Branding

The interdisciplinary research project Nordic Branding investigates how the imaginaries of the Nordic region, countries, and models are constructed and appropriated and used in politics and in law.

Nordic branding

Photo credit: Bryan Boyer

Project description

In scholarship, there is no shortage of glowing descriptions of the region’s global performance. The Nordics are ‘moral superpowers’ (Dahl 2006), ‘agents of a world common good’ (Bergman 2007), ‘havens of gender equality’ (UN-CEDAW 2003), and the ‘referent’ for welfare states (Esping-Andersen 1990). Our starting point was that these striking and consistent descriptions of the Nordics were suggestive of a “brand” – specific, simple, and stable. These statements, however correct or not, can be themselves treated as research objects. We can ask how and why did these ideas and narratives of exceptionalism emerge? Who drove their development? And how are they used strategically in politics and practice?

The project also seeks to advance the theory of branding, particularly its use as an analytical concept.

For more information about us and our research projects, please see the first post of our blog.

Closing report

The project's official operations ended in 2021. Our closing report can be accessed here.

Organisation of the group

The coordinating institutions are from the University of Oslo's Faculty of Law, Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, and Centre for Environment and Development (SUM).

The administering institution is the Department of Public and International Law and the Forum for Law and Social Science is the host research group. Other University of Oslo departments involved include the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law  and Norwegian Centre for Human Rights.

Our group researches a diverse range of topics from gender equality as branding to the Nordic peace image. More information about as well as a complete list of our research groups can be found here.

About the group

Nordic Branding is led by Eirinn Larsen, together with Malcolm LangfordSidsel Roalkvam, and Inger Skjelsbæk. It was previously led by Malcolm Langford.

The project involves 42 researchers from the University of Oslo and beyond. The disciplines covered include law, sociology, criminology, psychology, history, political science, economics, marketing, and anthropology.


The project brings together leading branding experts with experts on social models from the University of Oslo and fourteen other institutions in the Nordic region and UK. These include:



Published Jan. 26, 2017 9:06 AM - Last modified May 18, 2022 11:38 AM


Project Leader and Cross-Cutting projects
Eirinn Larsen

Social Welfare Pillar
Sidsel Roalkvam

Gender Equality Pillar
Inger Skjelsbæk

Rights & Democracy Pillar

Malcolm Langford


Project Coordinator
Charlotte Aslesen

Department of Public and International Law