STV9363 – Welfare Regimes in Asia and Scandinavia in Comparative Perspective: Changes and Challenges

Course content

The global economy is undergoing rapid change; the centre of gravity is moving eastward; and increasing worries are expressed over the future of the established welfare state in Europe. In Asia, at the same time, new ambitions and new forms of welfare regimes are emerging.

The reading of efforts at social democracy in quite different contexts against each other remains important, but this time we wish to broaden the geographical spectra while focusing more specifically on citizen rights and welfare policies. Our research so far indicates that these issues are crucial in the development of more unified counter movements, especially in the Global South.

This course, which this time too is also part of a scholarly workshop, will aim at a comprehensive survey, based on comparative materials, of models of welfare from Scandinavia to South Africa, and India to South Korea. We focus on four themes:

  1. New welfare policy regimes: theoretical and comparative perspectives. How might we rethink extant classifications of the welfare state to better grasp both trends in the Global North and new efforts in the Global South?
  2. Are European welfare regimes being undermined after the financial crisis, further complicated by migration and the refugee crisis?
  3. Working life and welfare provisioning. It is often maintained that, in the Scandinavian model, generous welfare allowances generate economic growth. Investigating the mechanisms between these factors makes it possible to understand whether and how such a happy coincidence can be repeated in other parts of the world.
  4. Transformative rights and welfare policies Our results so far suggest that while the current conditions in the Global South differ from those that enabled social and political forces to fight for the combination of equity and growth during late industrialisation in the North, counter movements might converge behind citizen and labour rights and welfare agendas as well as improved governance to implement such reforms – but how?

This is a follow-up of the forthcoming book Reinventing Social Democratic Development – Insights from Indian and Scandinavian Comparisons (Lead Editors Olle Törnquist and John Harriss) and a doctoral students’ course and a scholarly workshop on the same theme organised jointly by the JNU and UiO, in Delhi in March 2015.


The course is open to doctoral and M.Phil. students in political science and related disciplines whose research interest relate to the topic of the course.

There is no participation fee, but any cost of travel and accommodation must be covered by the participants. Applicants will be notified about the outcome of their application as quickly as possible after the deadline.

PhD candidates from ISV: Apply for the course in StudentWeb
Other PhD candidates: Application form

Application deadline: 15 April 2016

If you have questions regarding admission, please contact Guro Schmidt Øvregard at the Department of Political Science


Time: 9 - 13 May 2016
Venue: University of Oslo and Holmen Fjordhotell

Main lecturers:


Course examination will rely on a course essay and on active participation of the students in the seminar discussions taking place during the course. PhD students are evaluated on pass/fall.

Submission deadline for draft papers: June 7, 2016
ECTS credits: 10

Facts about this course






9 - 13 May 2016

Teaching language