Nordic Political Culture and ‘the Nordic Model’.The period after the mid-1800s. 3511

Course Objectives

The Course will

  • Present an introduction to Nordic political culture as it has developed after circa 1850.
  • Provide an understanding of the distinguishing characteristics of this political culture and how and why these qualities have evolved.
  • Furnish a summary of the development of the Nordic welfare states.
  • Present and evaluate differing views of the “Nordic Model”.
  • Provide insight into the working methods of the historians and the fundaments of historical science.
  • Develop an understanding of current historical research in other Nordic countries through cooperation with outside learning locations and specialists.
  • Exercise the students’ ability to evaluate historical material and professional historical theories critically and independently.
  • Develop a capacity to write and verbally present original historical material.

Course Description

The course will focus on:

  • “The Nordic model”: What is the “Nordic model”- different ways of understanding the concept. Should we really talk about a Nordic model?
  • Ideology, religion and political power as a starting point for the creation of political culture. How did the elite classes view the state and society around the middle of the 1800s?
  • The democratization of the Nordic countries, including the driving forces; inhibiting factors; relevant dates; the importance of international relations and the importance of popular organizations.
  • The basis for the social-democratic power position in the Nordic region. The rise of the Scandinavian labour movement with an emphasis on similarities and differences.
  • The roots of the Nordic welfare state. What does the term ‘welfare state’ mean, and which approaches are used to study the subject?
  • The development of national identities in the region.
  • Social Democracy after the Second World War. To what extent is it possible to talk about a Social Democratic dominance in the Nordic countries? In this context, what distinguishes the Nordic countries from the rest of Europe, and what distinguishes the Nordic countries from each other?
  • The modern Nordic (welfare) state.
  • Nordic cooperation. The political and ideological background of “Northism” and Nordic cooperation.

The course is research-based and the lecturers include active scholars who teach and draw on their own experience where relevant. During the excursion related to the course (see below), the students will also have direct contact with active researchers.
The course is part of the specialization study programme in history (please refer to separate document); it is expected that this course will be taken together with Overview of Nordic History (3508) and another specialization course, each comprising 10 ECTS credits. The course, Overview of Nordic History (3508), provides background knowledge and the methodological foundation for the specialization course (3511), and should therefore always be taken together with it, or prior to it. It may vary from year to year whether 3511 is offered, and also whether it is taught in the spring or autumn semester.

Learning Methods

Instruction is given in the form of seminars where active participation is required. Students must be well prepared for the lectures in order to attain the learning outcomes. Total instruction per week will normally comprise about three hours; the instruction is not compulsory. However, it is recommended that students regularly attend classes.
In addition to teaching at the university college, the course includes an excursion of 4-7 days to another Nordic country. The excursion will be related to the 3511 course, if the course is taught in the same semester. The excursion is compulsory for students who are taking at least 20 ECTS credits in history in the autumn semester. The excursion will normally take place in October. Students who may have legitimate reasons for not participating in the excursion must apply for an exemption early in the semester. The excursion is normally heavily subsidized, but students will have to cover a portion of their expenses.

Students who do not attend classes (in whole or in part) may be required to submit one or more compulsory assignments before they will be allowed to sit the final course examination (see below); the subject teacher is responsible for arranging such requirements. The course also includes compulsory work, such as the submission of assignments. These compulsory requirements must be fulfilled before students will be allowed to sit the final examination (this includes external candidates and students taking re-sits, unless an exemption has been granted). Apart from these assignments, students must also complete a compulsory home assignment. The teacher may wish to discuss the assignment with the student before it is approved.
Where appropriate information concerning compulsory attendance and submission requirements will be specified in the semester plan.

Assessment Methods

The assessment consists of either a home examination (two weeks) and an oral examination, or a six-hour written examination in the college at the end of the semester. The form of assessment chosen will be decided by drawing lots each semester, so that students who take both specialization courses offered in history in the same academic year, will have a home examination in one course, and a written examination at the college in the other. The drawing of lots will be done in the autumn semester, and the result will also apply to the form of examination applicable to those students who take only one specialization course.

These examination forms are chosen so that students will be given the opportunity to demonstrate: knowledge and understanding of historical development; the ability to think analytically and critically; the ability to communicate orally and in writing, c.f. learning outcome above.

In the home examination, other relevant literature (for instance, an article) and / or source material may be used, in addition to curriculum literature. In such cases, students will be given the relevant material. The oral examination will supplement the written work. Students will only be called into the oral examination, if they have passed the written examination.

The grade given will be on a letter scale from A to E, where F represents a failing grade.

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Birgit Norendal <>, last modified Ian Hector Harkness - 30/03/2011