Here’s another opportunity to take a critical look at Nordic claims to foreign policy exceptionalism: Together with Sunniva Engh and Kristian Bjørkdahl, I’m convening a panel at the Development Research Conference in Gothenburg on 22–23 August 2018.Each panel also has a travel grant for a scholar from low-income countries. The deadline for submitting a paper proposal is 23 February 2018. More information on the conference website.
Exporting Nordic goodness: critical perspectives on the ‘humanitarian superpowers’
Johan Karlsson Schaffer, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg
Impressed by the Nordic states’ seemingly exceptional support for decolonisation, high levels of foreign development aid, and conflict mediation and peacekeeping efforts, scholars have described the Nordic states as ‘moral superpowers’, ‘agents of the world common good’, ‘global good samaritans’ or simply ‘good states’. However, while Nordic policymakers have been pleased to mobilize these flattering epithets in support of their foreign policies, a growing body of research questions the veracity of the claims to Nordic exceptionalism or scrutinize precisely how political actors utilize this normative discourse to inflate their political capital.
Seeking to expand this latter literature, we invite papers that address the notion of the Nordic states as a model for others to follow, as exceptional providers of aid and assistance, exporting their domestic experiences to poor countries far away. We seek papers that address Nordic efforts to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law, aid and development policies or humanitarian assistance, or conflict mediation and peacekeeping; how Nordic states link these efforts to other, less altruistic foreign policy goals, e.g. trade or security; and/or how the states and societies that are on the receiving end of these Nordic normative exports have reacted and responded.
The Swedish international development cooperation agency (Sida) offers a limited number of travel grants for researchers from low-income countries (primarily following the DAC list of low-income countries, see list here) whom have had their abstracts accepted for the conference. Each conference panel can have one presenter on a travel grant. The travel grant covers travels, accommodation, and conference fee.