Explaining Swedish Exceptionalism on COVID-19: Nordic Perspectives

Is the Swedish approach to Covid-19 exceptional? Can we explain the approach based on history or the political system? In this webinar we bring together scholars and scientists from the Nordic countries to try to explain the divergence. 

Det svenske flagget

Is Sweden's approach to Covid-19 exceptional? And can we explain why the Nordic approaches differ? Illustration: Shutterstock


During the last two months, differences in Nordic approaches to Covid-19 have attracted global attention. Sweden's milder lockdown has puzzled observers that have associated the state with strong forms of social control, with its “corona model” now being hailed by the American right.

Moreover, Sweden’s divergence from its neighbors in the early stages of the lockdown has raised questions about the idea of a collective Nordic model.  It has triggered intense cross-Nordic debates – as journalists and opinion defend vigorously their own national approach – and provided a natural experiment for researchers. The differences between the Nordics provide a foundation for comparative research on managing pandemics in countries so often considered similar."

Weighing in on the ongoing debate, we seek to explain the Swedish approach from a Nordic perspective. The idea is to unpack 'Swedish exceptionalism', considering how or whether the difference in approach to Covid-19 is an exceptional case, or if it follows from the history and political context of the different Nordic countries. Bringing together scholars and practitioners from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, we hope to have a fruitful discussion on the political, administrative and social differences between the countries, in order to better understand the diverging Nordic approaches.

The panel:

Bo Rothstein, Professor, University of Gothenburg

Bo Lidegaard, Author and Managing Director, Macro Advisory Partners-Europe, and former Editor in Chief of Politiken

Johan Strang, Professor, University of Helsinki

Kristin Sandvik, Professor, University of Oslo 


Professor Tore Rem, University of Oslo / Professor Malcolm Langford, University of Oslo


UiO:Nordic and Nordic Branding: Politics of exceptionalism

Publisert 26. mai 2020 10:06 - Sist endret 26. mai 2020 10:06