Introduction: Scandinavian Perspectives on Associative Governance

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This chapter introduces the premise of this edited volume: that in Scandinavia, an important constituent of civil society is a plurality and plethora of self-governed associations, and that this collective activity has been a civilizing factor aiding a variant of Nordic associative democracy. The approach and concept of associative governance is introduced and how this offers a dynamic way to capture diverse and historically shifting forms of state-civil society relations is explored. By exploring l’idée de s’associer, the chapter argues how the distinctiveness of Scandinavian societal development is productively explored through studying relations of negotiation, collaboration, compromise, and institutionalized conflict – what we term associative governance, rather than a “sector understanding” of civil society that distinguishes more categorically between state, market, and civil society. The chapter ends by introducing how the book’s empirical analyses explore various organizational forms and repertories, by exploring both popular movements usually regarded as pre-eminent roots of the Nordic model – the protestant revival movement, the social democratic labor movement, and the cooperative farmer movement – and organizational infrastructures of societal sectors such as housing, savings banks, and commercial business organized as shareholder corporations engage in associative aspects of governance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAssociative Governance in Scandinavia : Organizing Societies by “Combining Together”
EditorsAnker Brink Lund, Haldor Byrkjeflot, Søren Christensen
Number of pages20
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Publication date2024
ISBN (Print)9781032466743, 9781032466767
ISBN (Electronic)9781003382775
Publication statusPublished - 2024
SeriesNordic Studies in a Global Context

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