Introduction: Egalitarianism in a Scandinavian Context

  • Synnøve Bendixsen
  • Mary Bente Bringslid
  • Halvard Vike
Part of the Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference book series (ATSIAD)


This Introduction sets out different ways of engaging with the history of the Scandinavian countries to create a framework of the themes and positions regarding egalitarianism in Scandinavia that is pursued in the following chapters. After briefly discussing egalitarianism as a theoretical possibility, it is explored in relation to the ideological and social construction of Scandinavian welfare states, investigating in particular the role of civil society and politics. Then is shown how, in historical terms, egalitarian popular movements have become institutionalized and tied to state policy. One characteristic of this region appears to be that egalitarian movements in Scandinavia have largely been picked up, co-opted by, and made part of the state and its institutions. Then a further elaboration on what egalitarianism as a cultural and social value in Scandinavia may mean, and an exploration of its institutionalization in this context are given. In the final section, how the political project of egalitarianism has been pursued in an era of migration is discussed.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Synnøve Bendixsen
    • 1
  • Mary Bente Bringslid
    • 1
  • Halvard Vike
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Social AnthropologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Department of Health, Social, and Welfare StudiesUniversity College of Southeast NorwayPorsgrunnNorway

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