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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2018

Chapter 1 Scandinavia: Traits, Trends and Tensions

From the book Contesting Religion

  • Knut Lundby and Pål Repstad


The Scandinavian welfare societies depend on strong states to provide public services and to redistribute income. Scandinavians enjoy comprehensive welfare systems that offer citizens social security within open economies. Scandinavia combines international market capitalism with government regulation. The political-economic crisis in Europe influences Scandinavia as well, with pressure from globalization and immigration, and new political divisions that are articulated by right-wing populism. The Scandinavian countries are built on egalitarian values and practices and the level of trust between people is high. However, the countries are finding that these egalitarian values also have unintended, problematic consequences, especially as these once relatively homogenous societies experience growing diversity. Today, there are peculiar contrasts in the Scandinavian cultural-religious landscape, between old churches with large majorities of the population as members, and levels of secularity in Scandinavian societies that position the region as the most secular corner of the world.

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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