front cover of Beowulf and the North before the Vikings
Beowulf and the North before the Vikings
Tom Shippey
Arc Humanities Press, 2022
Ever since Tolkien’s famous lecture in 1936, it has been generally accepted that the poem Beowulf is a fantasy, and of no use as a witness to real history. This book challenges that view, and argues that the poem provides a plausible, detailed, and consistent vision of pre-Viking history which is most unlikely to have been the poet’s invention, and which has moreover received strong corroboration from archaeology in recent years. Using the poem as a starting point, historical, archaeological, and legendary sources are combined to form a picture of events in the North in the fifth and sixth centuries: at once a Dark and a Heroic Age, and the time of the formation of nations. Among other things, this helps answer two long-unasked questions: why did the Vikings come as such a shock? And what caused the previous 250 years of security from raiders from the sea?

logo for Harvard University Press
The Poem and Its Tradition
John D. Niles
Harvard University Press, 1983

front cover of The Christianization of Scandinavia in the Viking Era
The Christianization of Scandinavia in the Viking Era
Religious Change in Adam of Bremen's Historical Work
Lukas G. Grzybowski
Arc Humanities Press, 2021
This book discusses Adam of Bremen's perceptions and interpretation of the Christianization of Scandinavia in the Early Middle Ages. The views the chronicler presents in the Gesta Hammaburgensis constitute the central element of this analysis. By departing from the historiography—both the older view of the Gesta as trustworthy, and the recent view of the work as unreliable and biased—this book focuses instead on the Christianization of Scandinavia as an authorial concept. What follows is a reevaluation of the Gesta’s significance both to its medieval audience and the modern historian.

front cover of Crime and Justice, Volume 40
Crime and Justice, Volume 40
Crime and Justice in Scandinavia
Edited by Michael Tonry and Tapio Lappi-Seppälä
University of Chicago Press Journals, 2012

Since 1979 the Crime and Justice series has presented a review of the latest international research, providing expertise to enhance the work of sociologists, psychologists, criminal lawyers, justice scholars, and political scientists. The series explores a full range of issues concerning crime, its causes, and its cure.
Volume 40, Crime and Justice in Scandinavia, offers the most comprehensive and authoritative look ever available at criminal justice policies, practices, and research in the Nordic countries. Topics range from the history of violence through juvenile delinquency, juvenile justice, and sentencing to controversial contemporary policies on prostitution, victims, and organized crime. Contributors to this volume include Jon-Gunnar Bernburg, Ville Hinkkanen, Cecilie Høigård, Hanns von Hofer, Charlotta Holmström, Janne Kivivuori, Lars Korsell, Tapio Lappi-Seppälä, Paul Larsson, Martti Lehti, Torkild Hovde Lyngstad, Sven-Axel Månsson, Anita Rönneling, Lise-Lotte Rytterbro, Torbjørn Skardhamar, May-Len Skilbrei, and Henrik Tham.


front cover of Economic Performance in the Nordic World
Economic Performance in the Nordic World
Torben M. Andersen
University of Wisconsin Press, 2021
The Nordic countries stand out in international comparisons for having both high living standards and low inequality. The welfare state and public sectors are large and the tax burden is high. How have these countries managed to achieve such favorable economic performance? 

Economist Torben M. Andersen shows how the Nordic model rests on two pillars: the social safety net, which offers income compensation to the majority of those unable to support themselves, and the provision of services like education, childcare, and healthcare to all. The Nordic model can be characterized as one of employment, since its financial viability rests on a high labor participation rate with few working poor. 

Andersen lays out the structure of the model and highlights factors important for understanding its economic performance. He then looks into specific policy areas based on Denmark's experiences regarding labor market policies (flexicurity), pension systems, and preparation for an aging population; and addresses the challenges arising from new technologies and globalization.

logo for Intellect Books
Engaging with Reality
Documentary and Globalization
Ib Bondebjerg
Intellect Books, 2014
As our world becomes more globalized, documentary film and television tell more cosmopolitan stories of the world’s social, political, and cultural situation. Ib Bondebjerg examines how global challenges are reflected and represented in documentaries from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Scandinavia after 2001. The documentaries deal with the war on terror, the globalization of politics, migration, the multicultural challenge, and climate change.

Engaging with Reality is framed by theories of globalization and delves into the development of a new global media culture. It also deals with theories of documentary genres and their social and cultural functions. It discusses cosmopolitanism and the role and forms of documentary in a new digital and global media culture. It will be essential reading for those looking to better understand documentary and the new transnational approach to modern media culture.

front cover of Equality in the Nordic World
Equality in the Nordic World
Carsten Jensen
University of Wisconsin Press, 2021
By most measures, the Nordic countries regularly rank among the best in terms of equality and business friendliness. Political scientist Carsten Jensen delves into what is exceptional about equality in the region, and outlines “the four equalities” that set it apart: economic, intergenerational, gender, and health.

The four types of equality have their origins in unique political compromises made in the twentieth century. The resulting social market economies of these countries affect their growth and levels of equality even today.

front cover of Essays on Scandinavian History
Essays on Scandinavian History
H. Arnold Barton
Southern Illinois University Press, 2008

Essays on Scandinavian History examines important aspects of the history of Sweden and its Nordic neighbors between the later eighteenth and the beginning of the twenty-first century. Historian H. Arnold Barton has selected thirteen of the numerous essays he has published over the past forty years on the history of Scandinavia.

This is a companion volume to Barton's The Old Country and the New, an essay collection on Swedish emigration and the Swedes in America. Included here are studies of the special significance of the eighteenth century in Sweden's history and culture, the relationship of King Gustaf III to the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, the impact of the American Revolution in Sweden, and Gustaf III's ambitions in the East Baltic region. Also detailed are the king's early reaction to the French Revolution and his efforts to organize a European coalition to crush it, a reassessment of the reign and internal reforms of Gustaf IV Adolf, and the Swedish succession crises of 1809 and 1810.

In addition, Barton examines the increasing tension between the Pan-Scandinavian movement and the rising Finnish national movement. He deals with the historians of the Danish Agrarian Reforms of 1784-1814, parallel developments in Finland and Norway between 1808 and 1917, the discovery of Norway abroad, Swedish national romanticism, and Sweden's transition from a warfare state to a welfare state, now exemplifying the rational and humane ideals of the twentieth century.

Essays on Scandinavian History highlights important topics in the history of the Scandinavian region, which has remained all too little known outside the Nordic lands themselves, while also offering broader perspectives on Europe since the mid-eighteenth century. Twelve keyed-to-text illustrations, a bibliography of Barton's publications on Scandinavian history, essay endnotes, and an index augment this work.


front cover of Eugenics and the Welfare State
Eugenics and the Welfare State
Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland
Gunnar Broberg
Michigan State University Press, 2005

In 1997 Eugenics and the Welfare State caused an uproar with international repercussions. This edition contains a new introduction by Broberg and Roll-Hansen, addressing events that occurred following the original publication. The four essays in this book stand as a chilling indictment of mass sterilization practices, not only in Scandinavia but in other European countries and the United States--eugenics practices that remained largely hidden from the public view until recently. Eugenics and the Welfare State also provides an in-depth, critical examination of the history, politics, science, and economics that led to mass sterilization programs in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland; programs put in place for the "betterment of society" and based largely on the "junk science" of eugenics that was popular before the rise of Nazism in Germany. When the results of Broberg's and Roll-Hansen's book were widely publicized in August 1997, the London Observer reported, "Yesterday Margot Wallstrom, the Swedish Minister for Social Policy, issued a belated reaction to the revelations. She said: 'What went on is barbaric and a national disgrace.' She pledged to create a law ensuring that involuntary sterilisation would never again be used in Sweden, and promised compensation to victims." Ultimately, the Swedish government not only apologized to the many thousands who had been sterilized without their knowledge or against their will, but also put in place a program for the payment of reparations to these unfortunate victims.


front cover of The Great Debate
The Great Debate
Nietzsche, Culture, and the Scandinavian Welfare Society
Georg Brandes and Harald Høffding
University of Wisconsin Press, 2024
In 1889, Danish literary critic Georg Brandes published “Aristocratic Radicalism: An Essay on Friedrich Nietzsche,” which transformed the as-yet-unknown German-Swiss philosopher into a European, and ultimately global, phenomenon. The article sparked a furious public debate between Brandes and a fellow Dane, philosopher Harald Høffding, who swiftly issued a rebuttal,  “Democratic Radicalism: An Objection.” What began as a scholarly disagreement over Nietzsche’s philosophy rapidly spiraled into a sprawling contest of competing visions of society’s future, one radically aristocratic and the other radically democratic.

Marking the moment at which the uniquely Nordic concept of social democratic welfare was first contested in the public sphere, this debate provides insights into not only Nietzschean philosophy and its immediate reception but also the foundational concept of modern Scandinavian social, cultural, and political organization. This volume presents, for the first time in any language other than Danish, the debate in its entirety: three essays by Brandes and three by Høffding. A critical introduction by editor and translator William Banks explores the exchange in its context and convincingly argues that the principles contested by the two Danish luminaries still very much resonate in Western society today.

front cover of Happiness in the Nordic World
Happiness in the Nordic World
Christian Bjørnskov
University of Wisconsin Press, 2021
Denmark is consistently among the countries with the happiest and most satisfied populations, and it regularly places at the very top with the rest of the Nordic countries in international surveys. Why do the Nordic countries as a whole constitute the happiest region in the world? 

Many experts attribute the region's high levels of happiness to factors such as greater relative national wealth and well-functioning institutions. Yet, a number of other countries in Europe and parts of Asia share those qualities and rank far lower in life satisfaction. Others credit the region's high levels of happiness to its welfare state model, but these have changed considerably over time—and Iceland does not share this feature. 

Instead, economist Christian Bjørnskov argues that the most important factor to come out of international comparisons is the importance of social trust—the ability to trust other people one does not know personally. The populations in three of the five countries are also characterized by a very strong sense of personal freedom. These two key factors contribute to a fuller and richer life. Bjørnskov ends by discussing to what extent these factors can be exported to other parts of the world. 

front cover of History Of Scandinavia
History Of Scandinavia
Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, And Iceland
T.K. Derry
University of Minnesota Press, 2000

This concise account traces the history of the Scandinavian countries from earliest times to the present, emphasizing common features in their heritage and in their contribution to the modern world.  The author’s aim is to describe each country’s history, traditions, and way of life and to examine the political development of the five nations in the context of the whole Nordic region.


front cover of Homeward To Zion
Homeward To Zion
The Mormon Migration from Scandinavia
William Mulder
University of Minnesota Press, 2000

The classic history of this emblematic moment in U.S. immigration.

In the late nineteenth century, thirty thousand Mormons from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland immigrated to Utah, dissatisfied with conditions in their homelands. As their countrymen were farming rich fields in other parts of the United States, Scandinavian Mormons were making their way to Salt Lake City. Homeward to Zion tracks this movement from northern Europe to the western desert, examining the Mormon recruiting efforts in Scandinavia as well as the arduous journey across the Great Plains. Mulder draws extensively from personal narratives of these immigrants to relate their pioneering experience and their role in the history of Scandinavian migration and of the settlement of the American West.


front cover of The <i>Beowulf</i> Manuscript
The Beowulf Manuscript
Complete Texts and The Fight at Finnsburg
R. D. Fulk
Harvard University Press, 2010

Beowulf is one of the finest works of vernacular literature from the European Middle Ages and as such is a fitting title to head the Old English family of texts published in the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library.

But this volume offers something unique. For the first time in the history of Beowulf scholarship, the poem appears alongside the other four texts from its sole surviving manuscript: the prose Passion of Saint Christopher, The Wonders of the East, The Letter of Alexander the Great to Aristotle, and (following Beowulf) the poem Judith. First-time readers as well as established scholars can now gain new insights into Beowulf—and the four other texts—by approaching each in its original context.

Could a fascination with the monstrous have motivated the compiler of this manuscript, working over a thousand years ago, to pull together this diverse grouping into a single volume? The prose translation by R. D. Fulk, based on the most recent editorial understanding, allows readers to rediscover Beowulf’s brilliant mastery along with otherworldly delights in the four companion texts in The Beowulf Manuscript.


front cover of Ice Floe II
Ice Floe II
International Poetry of the Far North
Edited by Shannon Gramse and Sarah Kirk
University of Alaska Press, 2011

The long-awaited second volume of the newly revived Ice Floe series, Ice Floe II features new and exciting works of poetry from a vibrant and diverse group of writers from Alaska, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Iceland, and beyond. All work is presented here in both its original language and in English translation. With contributors that include former Alaska poet laureate Tom Sexton, Riina Katajavuori, Yuri Vaella, Gunnar Randversson, and dozens of other established and emerging poets, this wonderful collection of voices from the northern latitudes will be a great read for all lovers of poetry and international literature.


front cover of Ice Floe
Ice Floe
New & Selected Poems
Edited by Shannon Gramse and Sarah Kirk
University of Alaska Press, 2010

Ice Floe, the celebrated and award-winning journal of circumpolar poetry, is here reborn as an annual book series. This first volume features the best of the journal's first seven years, along with evocative new poetry from Alaska, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. All work is presented in both its original language and in English translation. With contributors including former Alaska poet laureate John Haines, Gunnar Harding, Robert Bly, Lennart Sjögren, and dozens of other established and emerging poets, this wonderful collection of voices from the northern latitudes is a great read for all lovers of poetry and international literature.


logo for Intellect Books
Journalism Re-examined
Digital Challenges and Professional Orientations (Lessons from Northern Europe)
Edited by Martin Eide, Helle Sjøvaag, and Leif Ove Larsen
Intellect Books, 2016
The digital era has posed innumerable challenges to the business and practice of journalism. Journalism Re-examined sets out an institutional theoretical framework for exploring the journalistic institution in the digital age and analyzes how it has responded to those profound changes in its social and professional practices, norms, and values. Building their analysis around the concept of these changes as reorientations, the contributors present a number of case studies, with a particular emphasis on journalism in the Nordic countries. They explore not just straight news and investigative journalism, but also delve into lifestyle and documentary coverage, all with the aim of understanding the reorientations facing journalism and the ways they might present a sustainable future path.

logo for University of Minnesota Press
Journeys from Scandinavia
Travelogues of Africa, Asia, and South America, 1840—2000
Elisabeth Oxfeldt
University of Minnesota Press, 2010
For all of the scholarship done on postcolonial literatures, little has been applied to Scandinavian writing. Yet, beginning with the onset of tourism beyond Scandinavia in the 1840s, a compelling body of prose works documents Scandinavian attitudes toward foreign countries and further shows how these Scandinavian travelers sought to portray themselves to uncharted cultures.
Focusing on Danish and Norwegian travelogues, Elisabeth Oxfeldt traces the evolution of Scandinavian travel writing over two centuries using pivotal texts from each era, including works by Hans Christian Andersen, Knut Hamsun, and Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen). Oxfeldt situates each one in its historical and geopolitical context, and her close readings delineate how each travelogue reflects Scandinavia’s ongoing confrontation between Self and the non-European cultural Other.
A long-overdue examination of travel literature produced by some of Denmark and Norway’s greatest writers, Journeys from Scandinavia unpacks the unstable constructions of Scandinavian cultural and national identity and, in doing so, complicates the common assumption of a homogeneous, hegemonic Scandinavia.

front cover of The Languages of Scandinavia
The Languages of Scandinavia
Seven Sisters of the North
Ruth H. Sanders
University of Chicago Press, 2017
From fjords to mountains, schools of herring to herds of reindeer, Scandinavia is rich in astonishing natural beauty. Less well known, however, is that it is also rich in languages. Home to seven languages, Scandinavia has traditionally been understood as linguistically bifurcated between its five Germanic languages (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, and Faroese) and its two Finno-Ugric ones (Finnish and Sámi). In The Languages of Scandinavia, Ruth H. Sanders takes a pioneering approach: she considers these Seven Sisters of the North together.

While the two linguistic families that comprise Scandinavia’s languages ultimately have differing origins, the Seven Sisters have coexisted side by side for millennia. As Sanders reveals, a crisscrossing of names, territories, and even to some extent language genetics—intimate language contact—has created a body of shared culture, experience, and linguistic influences that is illuminated when the story of these seven languages is told as one. Exploring everything from the famed whalebone Lewis Chessmen of Norse origin to the interactions between the Black Death and the Norwegian language, The Languages of Scandinavia offers profound insight into languages with a cultural impact deep-rooted and far-reaching, from the Icelandic sagas to Swedish writer Stieg Larsson’s internationally popular Millennium trilogy. Sanders’s book is both an accessible work of linguistic scholarship and a fascinating intellectual history of language.

front cover of Louis I. Kahn
Louis I. Kahn
The Nordic Latitudes
Per Olaf Fjeld
University of Arkansas Press, 2019
Louis I. Kahn: The Nordic Latitudes is a new and personal reading of the architecture, teachings, and legacy of Louis I. Kahn from Per Olaf Fjeld’s perspective as a former student. The book explores Kahn’s life and work, offering a unique take on one of the twentieth century’s most important architects.

Kahn’s Nordic and European ties are emphasized in this study that also covers his early childhood in Estonia, his travels, and his relationships with other architects, including the Norwegian architect Arne Korsmo.

The authors have gathered personal reflections, archival material, and other student work to offer insight into the wisdom that Kahn imparted to his students in his famous masterclass. Louis I. Kahn: The Nordic Latitudes addresses Kahn’s legacy both personally and in terms of the profession, documents a research trip the University of Pennsylvania’s Louis I. Kahn Collection, and confronts the affiliation of Kahn’s work with postmodernism.


front cover of The Madisonian Turn
The Madisonian Turn
Political Parties and Parliamentary Democracy in Nordic Europe
Torbjörn Bergman and Kaare Strøm, editors
University of Michigan Press, 2013

"The Madisonian Turn is an outstanding assessment of the functioning of democratic institutions in the Nordic countries. If democracy is in trouble in Scandinavia, then it is surely facing problems everywhere, so the book will be read carefully by those concerned about contemporary governance in all modern democracies."
---Michael Gallagher, Trinity College, Dublin

"This welcome and timely re-evaluation of Nordic politics constitutes a major contribution to comparative government, and is likely to stand as the definitive treatment of politics in the region for many years to come."
---Peter Mair, European University Institute

"This book is unique in its comparative scope and the wealth of information on the state of parliamentary democracy in the Nordic countries. It is particularly useful for the comparativists who do not come from these countries, because the original literature which it covers in detail is often not accessible for the English-speaking audience."
---Hanspeter Kriesi, University of Zurich

"The strength of The Madisonian Turn is to interface detailed empirical evidence on the dynamics of democratic politics in Scandinavia with an elaboration and test of rival theories of change in the politics of postindustrial democracies. This book is an inspiration for students of Northern Europe, but also for scholars of comparative legislatures and political parties more generally."
---Herbert Kitschelt, Duke University

Parliamentary democracy is the most common regime type in the contemporary political world, but the quality of governance depends on effective parliamentary oversight and strong political parties. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden have traditionally been strongholds of parliamentary democracy. In recent years, however, critics have suggested that new challenges such as weakened popular attachment, the advent of cartel parties, the judicialization of politics, and European integration have threatened the institutions of parliamentary democracy in the Nordic region.

This volume examines these claims and their implications. The authors find that the Nordic states have moved away from their previous resemblance to a Westminster model toward a form of parliamentary democracy with more separation-of-powers features---a Madisonian model. These features are evident both in vertical power relations (e.g., relations with the European Union) and horizontal ones (e.g., increasingly independent courts and central banks). Yet these developments are far from uniform and demonstrate that there may be different responses to the political challenges faced by contemporary Western democracies.

Torbjörn Bergman is Professor of Political Science at Umeå University, Sweden.

Kaare Strøm is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.

Jacket Credit: Heidi Hobde Dailey


front cover of Making a Green Machine
Making a Green Machine
The Infrastructure of Beverage Container Recycling
Jørgensen, Finn Arne
Rutgers University Press, 2011
Consider an empty bottle or can, one of the hundreds of billions of beverage containers that are discarded worldwide every year. Empty containers have been at the center of intense political controversies, technological innovation processes, and the modern environmental movement. Making a Green Machine examines the development of the Scandinavian beverage container deposit-refund system, which has the highest return rates in the world, from 1970 to present. Finn Arne Jørgensen investigates the challenges the system faced when exported internationally and explores the critical role of technological infrastructures and consumer convenience in modern recycling. His comparative framework charts the complex network of business and political actors involved in the development of the reverse vending machine (RVM) and bottle deposit legislation to better understand the different historical trajectories empty beverage containers have taken across markets, including the U.S. The RVM has served as more than a hole in the wall--it began simply as a tool for grocers who had to handle empty refillable glass bottles, but has become a green machine to redeem the empty beverage container, helping both business and consumers participate in environmental actions.

front cover of The Media Welfare State
The Media Welfare State
Nordic Media in the Digital Era
Trine Syvertsen, Gunn Enli, Ole J. Mjøs, and Hallvard Moe
University of Michigan Press, 2014

The Media Welfare State: Nordic Media in the Digital Era comprehensively addresses the central dynamics of the digitalization of the media industry in the Nordic countries—Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland—and the ways media organizations there are transforming to address the new digital environment. Taking a comparative approach, the authors provide an overview of media institutions, content, use, and policy throughout the region, focusing on the impact of information and communication technology/internet and digitalization on the Nordic media sector. Illustrating the shifting media landscape the authors draw on a wide range of cases, including developments in the press, television, the public service media institutions, and telecommunication.


front cover of Medieval Scandinavia
Medieval Scandinavia
From Conversion to Reformation, circa 800-1500
Birgit Sawyer
University of Minnesota Press, 1993

front cover of Migration and Multiculturalism in Scandinavia
Migration and Multiculturalism in Scandinavia
Edited by Eric Einhorn, Sherrill Harbison, and Markus Huss
University of Wisconsin Press, 2022
Scandinavian societies have historically, and problematically, been understood as homogeneous, when in fact they have a long history of ethnic and cultural pluralism due to colonialism and territorial conquest. After World War II, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway all became destinations for an increasingly diverse stream of migrants and asylum seekers from war-torn countries around the globe, culminating in the 2015–16 “refugee crisis.” This multidisciplinary volume opens with an overview of how the three countries’ current immigration policies developed and evolved, then expands to address how we might understand the current contexts and the social realities of immigration and diversity on the ground.

Drawing from personal experiences and theoretical perspectives in such varied fields as sociology, political science, literature, and media studies, nineteen scholars assess recent shifts in Scandinavian societies and how they intertwine with broader transformations in Europe and beyond. Chapters explore a variety of topics, including themes of belonging and identity in Norway, the experiences and activism of the Nordic countries’ Indigenous populations, and parallels between the racist far-right resurgence in Sweden and the United States.

Contributors: Ellen A. Ahlness, Julie K. Allen, Grete Brochmann, Eric Einhorn, Sherrill Harbison, Anne Heith, Markus Huss, Peter Leonard, Barbara Mattsson, Kelly McKowen, Andreas Önnerfors, Elisabeth Oxfeldt, Tony Sandset, Carly Elizabeth Schall, Ryan Thomas Skinner, Admir Skodo, Benjamin R. Teitelbaum, Sayaka Osanami Törngren, Ethelene Whitmire

front cover of The Nordic Beowulf
The Nordic Beowulf
Bo Gräslund
Arc Humanities Press, 2022
In such a wide-ranging, long-standing, and international field of scholarship as Beowulf, one might imagine that everything would long since have been thoroughly investigated. And yet as far as the absolutely crucial question of the poem’s origins is concerned, that is not the case. This cross-disciplinary study by Bo Gräslund argues that the material, geographical, historical, social, and ideological framework of Beowulf cannot be the independent literary product of an Old English Christian poet, but was in all essentials created orally in Scandinavia, which was a fertile seedbed for epic poetry. Through meticulous argument interwoven with an impressive assemblage of data, archaeological and otherwise, Gräslund offers possible answers to the questions of the provenance of the Geats, the location of Heorot, and many more, such as the significance of Sutton Hoo and the signification of the Grendel kin and dragon in the sixth century when the events of the poem, coinciding with cataclysmic events in northern Europe, took place.

front cover of The Nordic Model
The Nordic Model
Scandinavia since 1945
Mary Hilson
Reaktion Books, 2008
The political structures of the Scandinavian nations have long stood as models for government and public policy. This comprehensive study examines how that “Nordic model” of government developed, as well as its far-reaching influence.

            Respected Scandinavian historian Mary Hilson surveys the political bureaucracies of the five Nordic countries—Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden—and traces their historical influences and the ways they have changed, individually and as a group, over time. The book investigates issues such as economic development, foreign policy, politics, government, and the welfare state, and it also explores prevailing cultural perceptions of Scandinavia in the twentieth century. Hilson then turns to the future of the Nordic region as a unified whole within Europe as well as in the world, and considers the re-emergence of the Baltic Sea as a pivotal region on the global stage.

            The Nordic Model offers an incisive assessment of Scandinavia yesterday and today, making this an essential text for students and scholars of political science, European history, and Scandinavian studies.

front cover of Northern Arcadia
Northern Arcadia
Foreign Travelers in Scandinavia, 1765 - 1815
H. Arnold Barton
Southern Illinois University Press, 1998

Northern Arcadia is a comparative study of the accounts of foreign visitors to the Nordic lands during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Before the late eighteenth century, few foreigners ventured as far as Scandinavia. The region seemed a cold hyperborean wilderness and a voyage there a daring adventure. From the mid-1760s on, however, foreigners arrived in the Nordic lands in increasing numbers, leaving numerous accounts that became increasingly popular, satisfying a growing curiosity about regions beyond the traditional grand tour.

The pre-Romantic mood of the period—with its predilection for untamed nature and for peoples uncorrupted by overrefined civilization—further stimulated fascination with the North. European titerati discovered the Nordic sagas, finding them exhilarating, passionate, imaginative, and original. The French Revolution and the ensuing European wars effectively closed off much of the Continent to foreign travel, turning attention to the still neutral northern kingdoms.

Travel literature about Scandinavia thus illuminates the shift in the European intellectual climate from the enlightened rationalism and utilitarianism of the earlier travelers in this period to the pre-Romantic sensibility of those who followed them. In a Europe torn by war and revolution, sensitive souls could find their new Arcadia in the North—at least until the Scandinavian kingdoms themselves became engulfed by the Napoleonic wars after 1805.

The first scholar to examine as a whole the travel literature dealing with Denmark, Schleswig-Holstein, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and the Færø Islands, H. Arnold Barton discusses accounts left by both the celebrated and the obscure. Well-known travelers include Vittorio Alfieri, Francisco de Miranda, Mary Wollstonecraft, Thomas Malthus, and Aaron Burr. Literary travelers of the day included Nathanael Wraxall, William Coxe, Charles Gottlob Küttner, Edward Daniel Clarke, and John Carr.

Northern Arcadia brings out contrasts: among the various Nordic lands and regions; among the reactions of travelers of differing nationality; between the earlier as opposed to the later travelers of the time; between native Scandinavian and foreign perceptions of the North; between conditions in Scandinavia and those in other parts of the Western world; between then and now. It incorporates continuity and change, reality and mentality.


front cover of Odd Couples
Odd Couples
A History of Gay Marriage in Scandinavia
Jens Rydström
Amsterdam University Press, 2011

The concept of marriage as a union of a man and a woman was fundamentally challenged by the introduction of registered partnership in Denmark in 1989. Odd Couples is the first comprehensive history of registered partnership and gay marriage in Scandinavia. It traces the origins of laws which initially were extremely controversial—inside and outside the gay community—but have now gained broad popular and political support, as well as the positive effects and risks involved in state recognition of lesbian and gay couples.  Through a comparison of how these laws have been received and practiced in all of the Scandinavian countries, including Greenland and the Faroe Islands, the author presents a nuanced study of a fascinating political process that began in the 1960s and continues to change the way we understand family, sexuality and nation.


logo for Harvard University Press
Old Norse Mythology—Comparative Perspectives
Pernille Hermann
Harvard University Press, 2017

Old Norse mythology is elusive: it is the label used to describe the religious stories of the pre-Christian North, featuring such well-known gods as Odin and Thor, yet most of the narratives have come down to us in manuscripts from the Middle Ages mainly written by Christians. Our view of the stories as they were transmitted in oral form in the pre-Christian era is obscured.

To overcome these limitations, this book assembles comparisons from a range of theoretical and analytical perspectives—across media, cultures, and disciplines. Fifteen scholars from a wide range of fields examine the similarities of and differences of the Old Norse mythologies with the myths of other cultures. The differences and similarities within the Old Norse corpus itself are examined to tease out the hidden clues to the original stories.


front cover of Peoplehood in the Nordic World
Peoplehood in the Nordic World
Ove Korsgaard
University of Wisconsin Press, 2022

front cover of Restless Pilgrim
Restless Pilgrim
Andrew Jenson's Quest for Latter-day Saint History
Reid L. Neilson and Scott D. Marianno
University of Illinois Press, 2022
Andrew Jenson undertook a lifelong quest to render the LDS historical record complete and comprehensive. As Assistant Church Historian of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jenson tirelessly carried out his office's archival mission and advocated for fixed recordkeeping to become a duty for Latter-day Saints. Reid L. Neilson and Scott D. Marianno offer a new in-depth study of Jenson's long life and career. Their account follows Jenson from his arrival as a Danish immigrant to 1860s Utah through trips around the world to secure documents from far-flung missions, and on to his public life as a newspaper columnist and interpreter of LDS history. Throughout, Jenson emerges as a figure dedicated to the belief that recorded history united past and present Latter-day Saints in heaven and on earth--and for all eternity.

Engaging and informed, Restless Pilgrim is a groundbreaking study of an important figure in Latter-day Saint intellectual life during a transformative era in Church history.


logo for Harvard University Press
Revised and Enlarged Edition
Franklin D. Scott
Harvard University Press, 1975
North Sea oil, garden suburbs, socialized medicine, ombudsmen, economic diversification, party politics, relations with the US and the USSR—these are some of the exciting and controversial aspects of Scandinavian life in the 1970s that Franklin Scott explores in this revised edition of The United States and Scandinavia. An observer of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, Scott shows how the old tradition-oriented communities have transformed themselves into modern change-oriented societies keenly aware of their position in the world.

logo for University of Minnesota Press
Scandinavia since 1500
Second Edition
Byron J. Nordstrom
University of Minnesota Press, 2023

An updated edition of the definitive history of Scandinavia over the past five centuries

Despite certain distinctions and differences, the lands of Scandinavia, or Norden—Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, and the Faroe Islands—are united by bonds of culture, language, and geography, and by a shared history that comes richly to life in this landmark work. Now in an expanded, updated edition, this authoritative chronicle of five centuries of Scandinavian history incorporates the geopolitical developments and momentous events that have marked the Nordic world in recent decades.


Scandinavia since 1500 situates the region’s political history within the traditional European chronology—in which the long “modern” period is subdivided into the Renaissance, early modern, modern, and contemporary. Within this framework, Byron J. Nordstrom traces the various ways in which economic, social, and cultural ideas and practices have come to Scandinavia from abroad, only to be modified and recast in a uniquely Nordic character. Long-unquestioned national mythologies come under Nordstrom's scrutiny, along with historical blind spots and erasures, as he ranges from canonical figures like Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden and Christian IV of Denmark to the constitutions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the resistance movements in World War II, and the Scandinavian welfare states, literary culture, and modern design. Expanded to include the nature and realities of the increasingly postindustrial economies of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries—including environmental concerns, integration with Europe, globalization, and immigration—Scandinavia since 1500 offers a comprehensive yet nuanced portrait of this unique region in all its political, diplomatic, social, economic, and cultural complexity.



Cover alt text: Bold white title and author name across breathtaking snowy landscape of sun-touched cliffs beside a waterway and scattering of homes.


front cover of Scandinavian Folk Belief and Legend
Scandinavian Folk Belief and Legend
Reimund Kvideland
University of Minnesota Press, 1991

An entertaining collection of over 400 folk tales of legends, stories, and magic. Translated from the original Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish, this highly acclaimed work is perfect for bedside or fireside reading.


front cover of Social Norms in Medieval Scandinavia
Social Norms in Medieval Scandinavia
Jakub Morawiec
Arc Humanities Press, 2019
New research methods allow us to explore how relics of the material culture of the medieval north can confront, corroborate, or disprove the depiction of social norms in the Old Norse-Icelandic literary corpus, which remains the most important source of our present-day knowledge of social development in the Viking Age and medieval Scandinavia. This interdisciplinary volume considers in depth how social values such as reputation, honour, and friendship, were integral to the development of rituals, customs, religion, literature, and language in the medieval North.

logo for Georgetown University Press
Strategic Challenges in the Baltic Sea Region
Russia, Deterrence, and Reassurance
Ann-Sofie Dahl, Editor
Georgetown University Press

How should the countries in the Baltic Sea region and their allies meet the strategic challenges posed by an openly aggressive and expansionist Russia? NATO and the nonaligned states in the region are now more concerned about an external threat than they have been since the end of the Cold War. Russia has been probing air space, maritime boundaries, and even land borders from the Baltic republics to Sweden. Russia's undermining of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea worries former Soviet republics with Russian minority populations, nonaligned Sweden and Finland are enhancing their cooperation with NATO, and the Trump presidency has created some doubt about America's willingness to follow through on NATO's collective defense commitment.

Ann-Sofie Dahl brings together an international group of experts to examine Baltic security issues on a state-by-state basis and to contemplate what is needed to deter Russia in the region. The contributors analyze ways to strengthen regional cooperation, and to ensure that security in the region stays at the top of the agenda at a time of many competing strategic perspectives in the transatlantic community. This book will be of great interest to foreign policy and defense practitioners in the US and Europe as well as scholars and students of international relations.


front cover of Urban Planning in the Nordic World
Urban Planning in the Nordic World
Ellen Braae
University of Wisconsin Press, 2022

front cover of Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques
Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques
William R. Short
Westholme Publishing, 2009
A History of the Arms, Armor, and Individual Fighting Strategies of Medieval Europe’s Most Feared Warriors
A source of enduring fascination, the Vikings are the most famous raiders of medieval Europe. Despite the exciting and compelling descriptions in the Icelandic sagas and other contemporary accounts that have fueled this interest, we know comparatively little about Viking age arms and armor as compared to weapons from other historical periods. We know even less about how the weapons were used. While the sagas provide few specific combat details, the stories are invaluable. They were written by authors familiar with the use of weapons for an audience that, likewise, knew how to use them. Critically, the sagas describe how these weapons were wielded not by kings or gods, but by ordinary men, as part of their everyday lives. Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques provides an introduction to the arms and armor of the people who lived in Northern Europe during the Viking age, roughly the years 793–1066. Using a variety of available sources, including medieval martial arts treatises, and copiously illustrated with images of historical artifacts, battle sites, and demonstrations of modern replicas of Viking weapons, the author and his colleagues at Hurstwic (a Viking-age living history organization) and at the Higgins Armory Sword Guild have reconstructed the combat techniques of the Viking age and what is known about the defensive and offensive weapons of the time in general. Throughout, the author corrects some popular misconceptions about Viking warriors and warfare, such as the belief that their combat techniques were crude and blunt rather than sophisticated. In addition, the book provides an overview of Viking history and culture, focusing on the importance of weapons to the society as well as the Vikings’ lasting impact on Europe through their expeditions of trade and exploration.

logo for University of Minnesota Press
The Welfare State and Beyond
Success and Problems in Scandinavia
Gunnar Heckscher
University of Minnesota Press, 1984

The Welfare State and Beyond was first published in 1984. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

The welfare state emerged in a number of industrialized countries after the First World War as a middle ground between capitalism and socialism. The aim of architects of the welfare state was to abolish the injustices and hardships that accompanied capitalism and to do so without wholesale social or economic revolution. Establishment of the welfare state created something close to euphoria among many observers; it was, it seemed, the answer to many, if not all, troubling social questions. But it eventually became obvious that this type of society was not immune to problems.

In The Welfare State and Beyond Gunnar Heckscher examines four Nordic countries—Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden—not to either criticize or defend the welfare state but to shed some light on a number of questions: Has the welfare state achieved what it attempted? Are the results generally held to be satisfactory? What important problems remain unsolved and what types of solutions have been proposed? Although Heckscher has been associated with the Conservative party in Sweden, his objective, clear-eyed analysis cites both the accomplishments of the welfare state and the troubling problems that still await resolution.


Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter