Between activism and ambivalence: The Nordic states and international human rights

by Johan K. Schaffer

Paper to be presented at the Workshop for Inter-disciplinary Researchers „Mobilization of Law in Pluralistic Society,“ 19-20 May 2017, Evangelische Hochschule Berlin (Protestant University of Applied Sciences, Berlin)

In this paper, I ask why Nordic governments seem no longer to be forerunners in the expansion of the international human rights regime, in light of their historical engagement. Existing research tends to portray the Nordics as exceptional in terms of either their international commitment to human rights norms, or their domestic reluctance toward constitutionalism, judicial review and legal individual rights, and grounds their exceptionalism in deep-seated value traditions within Nordic societies.