Engaging Scandinavian civil society
Lars Skov Henriksen, professor at Aalborg University, visited the Department of Comparative Politics on Wednesday. His talk about Scandinavian civil society was very popular and well attended by the academic staff.
This month’s Sampol Seminar was organized by the research group Citizens, Opinion, Representation. Lars Skov Henriksen presented a book project in collaboration with Kristin Strømsnes, professor at the Department of Comparative Politics. The project concerns comparative perspectives on Scandinavian welfare states.
The aim of the project is to explore and understand similarities and differences between the Scandinavian civil societies. Volunteering and related unpaid activities is the primary field of study. In addition, the researchers aim to develop a broader understanding of the changing nature of civic engagement.
The empirical basis of the project is a series of population data on volunteering and other civic engagement which have been continuously collected in the three Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden and Denmark) since the beginning of the 90s.
Great international interest
According to Henriksen, there is great international interest in the Scandinavian welfare models, but most of this interest is directed to the balance between state and marked. The importance of civil society, on the other hand, is rarely addressed. In other words, the book project can make an important contribution within both the international research field on civil society, as well as on the Scandinavian welfare model.
Henriksen also highlighted current economic and demographic changes, such as education, equality and immigration. These changes challenge the welfare state and influence civil society.