Teacher: Brendan Sweeney Lessons: 4 /week
NOTE: This subject is usually a continuation of Contemporary Denmark, but can be studied on its own.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Nordic countries were among the poorest in Europe, suffering from mass emigration, low birth rates and high levels of social inequality. By the second half of the century, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland could count themselves among the richest, most dynamic and most equal societies on the planet. How this transformation took place will be one of the chief focuses of this course. Along the way we will also ask what is unique about this region, and what is special about the Nordic way of life and the welfare states that have evolved here. By examining media and films we will also explore the cultural roots that underpin these prosperous and highly modern societies.
The topics to be covered include the historical background of Nordic identity, changes in family life and gender issues, relations between Nordic countries and the rest of Europe, secularism and religion, the development of the welfare state, labour markets, political parties, the media, immigration and integration. A number of case studies based on individual countries will be examined, and there will be time to look at peripheral countries such as Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Students will be expected to discuss differences and similarities between their own country and Nordic countries as well as work on group presentations.