Why have civil society groups in Scandinavia increasingly turned to legal mobilization in recent decades? In a recent article, Malcolm Langford (University of Oslo), Mikael Rask Madsen (University of Copenhagen) and I seek to account for how various actors in civil society in Denmark, Norway and Sweden have pursued societal change by using courts as political arenas.
The article analyses how legal mobilisation strategies evolved from the fringes of politics in the 1970s to become a more mainstream repertoire of contention in the 2000s. While legal strategies have evolved along different paths in each state, there are also similar shifts in politico-legal opportunities, such as the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights in the 1990s, that may account for the advent of legal mobilisation strategies.
The article is part of a forthcoming special issue of the Nordic Journal of Human Rights that Isabel Schoultz (Lund University) and I have co-edited. It includes selected papers from a workshop I organised at the University of Gothenburg in June 2022.
Other papers in the special issue analyse class actions as a tool for collective mobilisation in Sweden and Canada (Michael Molavi), legal mobilisation for cultural heritage protection of the so-called Y Block in central Oslo (Sandvik), the legal mobilisation of young persons in homelessness in Denmark (Nielsen & Hammerslev), and how trade unions mobilise for migrants’ rights in Sweden (Schoultz & Muhire).
Schaffer, J. K., Langford, M., & Madsen, M. R. (2024). An Unlikely Rights Revolution: Legal Mobilization in Scandinavia Since the 1970s. Nordic Journal of Human Rights, 42(1), 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1080/18918131.2023.2273652