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Transnational perspectives on Nordic gender equality and welfare

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

In this course we will investigate Nordic gender equality and welfare models from a transnational perspective. We will discuss some of the key features of gender equality and welfare theory, policy and politics in the Nordic social-democratic tradition, including work-life balance, the role of the state, the extent of "women friendliness", and intersectional gender theories and politics. The course aims also to think through growing critiques of the dominant Nordic equality norm as being heteronormative, nationalistic, based on racial principles and unsustainable consumption patterns. We will do this by considering a increasing research focus on indigenous communities, immigration, global chains of care, and environmental challenges, to mention a few areas. The overarching questions that this course will focus on are urgent matters that have transnational reach and relevance: Is the Nordic model applicable to transnational contexts? To what extent do Nordic gender equality principles connect to a growing emphasis on prosperity and wellbeing detached from capitalist economic models, in order to face climate change and environmental crises?

Learning outcome

  • Knowledge about key theoretical and policy frameworks for understanding gender equality and welfare perspectives in the Nordic countries, as well as their transnational perspectives
  • Knowledge about similarities and differences between the Nordic countries and variations based on intersectional approaches to equality
  • Knowledge about critical transnational approaches to the dominant Nordic equality and welfare model
  • Knowledge about key concepts in the field and their differences, such as intersectionality, equality, equity, justice and prosperity

  • Analyse and critically discuss characteristics of Nordic gender equality and how they relate to the Nordic welfare-state model in scholarship and policy
  • Analyse and critically asses a variety challenges to gender equality and diversity
  • Analyse how Nordic models of gender equality and welfare have been developed and implemented in the Nordic countries, and how these policies have been received on a global scale
  • Analyse and critically discuss Nordic approaches to gender equality and welfare in a comparative context

  • Ability to demonstrate deep understanding of Nordic gender equality in a comparative perspective
  • Ability to apply critical perspectives to dominant understandings of Nordic gender equality and welfare, including the ways in which they challenge an emergent alternative framework for global prosperity, justice and wellbeing
  • Ability to apply critical perspectives and reflect on gender equality and diversity in various professional and educational situations


The purpose of this course is to introduce students to an interdisciplinary field of scholarship, which seeks to understand the emergence, proliferation and spread of a specifically Nordic model of gender equality and welfare. After tracing the establishment of the paradigm of "gender equality" in a Nordic social-democratic welfare context, the course discusses contemporary issues, such as work-life balance, intersectional understandings of gender and inequality, global chains of care, and various approaches to prosperity and sustainability. Alongside the Nordic focus, the course actively incorporates transnational perspectives on the topics covered. A principal aim of the course is to introduce students to a body of critical scholarship on dominant Nordic gender equality and welfare discourses, and their transnational connections, as well as questions of inequality, power, and environmental challenges.

Required prerequisite knowledge

Completed bachelor degree


Weight Duration Marks Aid
Term paper1/11 A - F
The exam for this course is a term paper (5000-6000 words). The topic is made available from early in the term, and students will receive individual and group based supervision during the writing process. Active participation in project seminars is expected, as is group presentations. The term paper will be graded A-F

Coursework requirements

Mid-term essay
A compulsory, written assignment must be submitted individually. This assignment will be given a pass/fail grade. Failure to pass this compulsory assignment will disqualify the student from taking the final exam.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Elisabeth Lund Engebretsen

Method of work

The course consists of weekly sessions. These sessions will include lectures, seminars, group work and individual work - adapted to different modes of study. All students are expected to read the syllabus and participate in group discussions and thereby develop analytic reflections in a productive environment with fellow students. This will be done on and off campus, and the course coordinator will facilitate a digital learning platform (Canvas). The working language for this course is English.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
Transnational perspectives on Nordic gender equality and welfare (GEN330_1) 10

Open to

All students on a master's programme at the University of Stavanger.

Exchange students.

Course assessment

Student evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the evaluation system at the Faculty of Social Sciencs


The literature for this course consist of a collection of articles. Information about the article collection will be made available on Canvas prior to the start of the course. Changes in the reading list can occur, and will be announced on Canvas. The curriculum consists of approximately 1000 pages.
Selected literature
de los Reyes, Paulina. 2017. Working life inequalitites: Do we need intersectionality? Society, Health & Vulnerability 8: 15-18.
Detraz, Nicole and Dursun Peksen. 2017. In the aftermath of earth, wind and fire: Natural disasters and respect for women's rights. Human Rights Review 18(2): 151-170.
Eikjok, Jorunn. 2000. Gender in Sápmi. Socio-cultural transformations and new challenges. Indigenous Affairs no 3, pp. 52-57.
Fraser, Nancy (1997) After the Family Wage - A Postindustrial Thought Experiment, in Fraser, Nancy Justice Interuptus: critical reflections on the "postsocialist" condition, Routledge, New York and London. Pages 41-66.
Gracia, Enrique and Juan Merlo. 2016. Intimate partner violence against women and the Nordic paradox. Social Science and Medicine 157: 27-30
Holst, Cathrine. 2018. Scandinavian feminism and gender partnership, In Nina Witoszek & Atle Midttun (eds.) Sustainable Modernity: The Nordic Model and Beyond. Routledge. Pp. 102 - 118
Jacobsen, Christine M. 2017. The (in)egalitarian dynamics of gender equality and homotolerance in contemporary Norway i Egalitarianism in Scandinavia. Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan 2017. Pp. 313-336.
Teigen, Mari and Hege Skjeie. 2017. The Nordic gender equality model. In Knutsen, Oddbjørn P.(ed.), The Nordic Models in Political Science. Challenged, but Still Viable?; pp 125-147. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget. (22 p)

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Sist oppdatert: 02.06.2020