Nordic Peace Revisited

Two-day Conference in Oslo that explores the concept and idea of Nordic peace from diverse and interdisciplinary perspectives

Illustration: Colourbox

In contemporary political mythology Norden is both a region of peace – a quintessential Deutschian ‘no-war’ security community of social cohesion and societal resilience – and a region for peace – as active proponents of multilateral peace support, humanitarian and development aid and a rules-based international order. Although questions can be raised about this image it is one that endures, with regional leaders often depicting the Nordic countries as being ‘world leaders in peace’. Indeed, peace has often been portrayed as a Nordic export and competitive edge, with this no less evident than in how the region is often described as possessing unique expertise in conflict resolution and where Nordic peace has been cultivated as a global brand – most evident in the annual awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Given the prevalence of such images it is surprising that academic analyses of the phenomenon have been relatively limited. Those that do exist have generally sought to account for the emergence and endurance of Nordic peace either by arguing that it was a product of the Cold War balance of power and/or that it has been fundamentally reliant on the region’s (proclaimed) high levels of cultural commonality and convergence. Both explanations can be challenged. However, broader questions related to the historical development of Nordic peace, its mobilization in foreign policy and its infusion into the identity politics of the region have received less coverage. Meanwhile, discussion of contemporary challenges and potential opportunities for Nordic peace is limited. With the ‘post-Cold War era’ now increasingly depicted as over, and in a context of new regional, European and global challenges, the time is ripe for revisiting theoretical and empirical debates about Nordic peace, and in particular considering how ‘Nordic peace’ is being re-inscribed for a new age.


March 18

Public event - PRIO, Hausmanns gate 3

10:00 – 10:30: Key note - Peter Wallensteen, Professor, Uppsala University

Moderators: Torunn Tryggestad (PRIO) and Malcolm Langford (UiO)

10:30 – 12:00 Panel discussion

Moderators: Torunn Tryggestad (PRIO) and Malcolm Langford (UiO)

Ingibjörg Gissladottir, Director, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

Kai Eide, Former diplomat, Norway

Pernille Kardel, Diplomat, Denmark

Pertti Joenniemi, Senior researcher, University of Copenhagen

Peter Wallensteen, Professor, Uppsala University

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch


Conference start

13:00-13:15 Welcome and opening of conference

Christopher Browning and Marko Lehti

13:15 – 15:00 Panel 1 – Historicizing Nordic Peace

Moderator: Torunn Tryggestad

The Lutheran heritage and political developments in the Nordic community, Hans Morten Haugan, Professor, VID Oslo

Revisiting the early Nordic Peace Movement: Fredrik Bajer and the Pan-Scandinavian Origins of 'Nordic Peace', Frederik Forrai Ørskov, PhD fellow, University of Helsinki

End of Nordic Peace, Johan Strang, Professor, University of Helsinki

15:00 – 15:15 Coffee


15:15 – 17:00 Panel 2 – Nordic peace identities and brand(s)

Moderator: Inger Skjelsbæk

Mapping Nordic Cooperation and the potential of the “Nordic peace brand”, Isabel Bramsen and Anine Hagemann, Postdoc and PhD fellow University of Copenhagen

Nordic Peace between geopolitics and status, Kristin Kamøy, Griffith’s Asia Institute

A Community of the Like-Minded or Geopolitics of Small States? Development as Peace in the Nordic Commitment to NIEO in the 1970s and Agenda 2030 in the 2010s, Carl Marklund, Postdoc, Södertörn University

Finnish Commitments to a Post-Cold War CSCE and a New Russia, Bradley Reynolds, PhD fellow, University of Helsinki

18:30 Conference dinner for participants at Südøst

March 19

09:00 – 10:30 Panel 3 Theorizing Nordic Peace

Moderator: Marko Lehti

Stuck in the middle with you, Benjamin de Carvalho and Hallvard Leira, Senior researchers NUPI

Are we a happy family? A sociology of Norden, Thiago Babo, PhD Fellow, Unviersity of São Paulo

Nordic identity without Nordic Peace? Ontological security in the 21st century, Matilda Af Hallstrom, PhD Fellow, University of Helsinki

Fantasy, Ontological Security and the Stickiness of the Nordic Peace Brand, Christopher Browning, Professor, University of Warwick

10:30 – 10:45 Coffee


10:45 – 12:15 Panel 4 - Nordic Peace as model for others

Moderator: Malcolm Langford

Exporting Nordic Peace: Can the Nordic Model Operate in the Postsocialist EU? Robert Imre, Researcher, University of Tampere

‘‘Sae come aa ye at hame wi’ Freedom’: Imagining Scotland’s future role and relationship with a Nordic-style peacebuilding’, Struan Kennedy

Time’s arrow: Adaptation in the Norwegian peace and its discursive mechamism, Javier Fabra-Mata, Norwegian Church Aid

12:15 – 13:00 Lunch


13:00 – 14:30 Panel 5 – Nordic peace-making/peace policies

Moderator: Christopher Browning

The Birth of Nordic Peacekeeping: Can It Withstand Closer Scrutiny?, Martin Ottovay Jørgensen, Assistant Professor, Aalborg University

Norway’s Peace Engagement: What’s Gender Got to Do with It? Torunn Tryggestad and Inger Skjelsbæk, Deputy Director and Research Professor PRIO

Exploring the Nordic Way: Cooperative Interaction between Official and Private Peacemakers, Marko Lehti, Professor, TAPRI

14:30 – 14:45 Coffee

14:45 – 15:30 Way forward

Published Dec. 5, 2018 4:08 PM - Last modified Feb. 27, 2019 4:12 PM