Comparative education in the North: Diversity in unity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


“Is there a Nordic block, complete with a Nordic economic model and a special kind of Nordic welfare? Nordic collective security? Nordic values, Nordic sex, Nordic gloom? Undeniably the Nordic countries—the Scandinavian trio of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, plus Finland on the eastern flank and Iceland far north-west in the Atlantic—have a great many things in common. And undeniably the lure of the European Union has been drawing all the Nordics, even stand-offish Norway and Iceland, into an ever tighter embrace of rules and regulations that are bound to have an economically unifying effect. In a generation or so, perhaps, the Nordic five will come more closely together in one big European family. But, this survey will argue, for the next few years they are as likely to stay apart, as they have done since the end of the cold war. Each of them has been following its own particular path. Nordic solidarity? For the moment, forget it”.
So summarized Xan Smiley his view of the Nordic countries in the Economist in 1999 . In February 2013 the Nordic Countries are described in the same context as “the next supermodel”, a new model of Nordic capitalism and are heralded in a special report courtesy of the Economist for their pragmatism, which has led to “generous welfare state[s] that [do] not cost the earth”

"Unless the points are pushed too hard the two traditions could locally be placed in Denmark (N.F.S. Grundtvig) and Sweden (the construction of the “new Sweden”) respectively. Due to differences like these and others, comparison is absolutely possible among the Nordic countries and history shows that we have been good at learning from each other. The fact remains, however, that difference is importance, raising the question: has time come to put more weight on the North in its entirety as a unit of comparison?"


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Educational Sciences


  • the Nordic countries, comparative eduation
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComparing Times and Spaces : Historical, theoretical and methodological approaches to comparative education
EditorsSuvi Jokila, Johanna Kallo, Risto Rinne
PublisherFinsih Educational Research Association. Research in Educational Sciences 69
ISBN (Print)978-952-5401-71-4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch