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Renewing the Nordic Model (REN)

How to Forge a Cooperative Society in a Competitive World? - Testing Radical Interdisciplinarity.

A Norwegian "dugnad" at Siggersvoll

Photo: jonasosthassel (Flickr creative commons)

About the group

In 2013 we established an interdisciplinary research collaboration between the American Evolution Institute and a group of Norwegian researchers representing such diverse fields as biology, cultural history, political science, economics and education. We take as our point of departure an interesting interface between the latest evolutionary science’ concern for successful group adaptation through cooperative, collective action, and an ongoing research on a sustainable and fair society in the humanist and the social sciences.

In particular, we are inspired by the “third wave” of evolutionary biology which increasingly studies human development as an interplay between genes and culture, and hence calls for overcoming the legendary gap between the social-humanist and the natural sciences (e.g. Wilson 2014; 2015, Richersen and Boyd 2005, Corning 2011).

About the Project

The second half of the twentieth century saw a maturation of the Nordic coopetative model. At the same time, the emergence of neoliberalism which accellerated into competition driven globalization. Today this "Cooperative spirit" must relate to a ruthless market competition. This Project studies the conditions of sustaining and renewing the Nordic cooperative society in an increasingly competition driven world.

Our objective is to shed a new light on the cultural, economic and political mechanisms of the Nordic cooperation model. The Project studies the development of a cooperation ethos in Nordic cultures and school curriculum, as well as the dynamics between cooperation and competition in business and political processes.

 The prosjektet attempts to answer the following questions:

  1. How can Nordic countries renew their models of cooperation as to better answer to challenges of the global market, climate change and increased migration?

  2. What is the destiny of Nordic "prosocial" values at an international level? Is it possible and legitimate to universalise certain forms of cooperative society?

  3. To which degree can the interdiciplinarity of a project like this offer new insights of the cultural evolution of Nordic cooperative society? Can we overcome the legendary gap between natural and social  science? (CP Snow, «Two Cultures», 1959).



Published June 30, 2016 11:18 PM - Last modified Feb. 7, 2020 5:11 PM


Project leader

Nina Witoszek

Project coordinator

Gudrun Cecilie E. Helland