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Call for contributions to Open Access anthology about the future of the Nordic media model

05.11.2021 10:37 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Deadline: February 18, 2022

Preliminary title: The Future of the Nordic Media Model: A Digital Media Welfare State?


  • Peter Jakobsson (Uppsala University)
  • Johan Lindell (Uppsala University)
  • Fredrik Stiernstedt (Södertörn University)


  • Peter Jakobsson:
  • Johan Lindell:
  • Fredrik Stiernstedt:

Format: Open Access, double-blind peer-reviewed anthology

Important dates:

Deadline for extended abstracts: 18 February 2022

Deadline for full submissions: 14 October 2022

Peer review: December 2022–February 2023

Expected publication: 2023

For more information, please visit:

Background and aim

Like in many other policy areas (Esping-Andersen, 1990; West Pedersen & Kuhnle, 2017), the Nordic media policy system has stood out internationally. In a seminal contribution to comparative media studies, Syvertsen and colleagues (2014) detailed the traits that set the media system of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden apart from the rest of the world. Although sharing certain qualities with other media systems (see, e.g., Hallin & Mancini, 2004), the system in these countries – referred to as the media welfare state – has stood out in a number of ways. The media have been approached as public goods which manifest in a strong public service media, and there exist ambitions for universal access to communication infrastructures. Furthermore, the Nordic countries show egalitarian patterns in news consumption and high levels of trust in news media, and they have long and stable traditions of institutionalised editorial freedom. Additionally, media and communications have been regulated within a broader cultural policy framework, and press subsidies have been comparably generous. Finally, the media market has been characterised by consensual relations between stakeholders (Syvertsen et al., 2014). This media system – which is celebrated internationally by media scholars (Benson et al., 2017) and supported locally by voters (Lindell et al., 2021) – facilitated the egalitarian democracies in which they were shaped (Enli et al., 2018).

The Nordic media model is, however, challenged on several fronts. First, a neoliberal policy regime emerging in the late 1970s has had a significant impact, not only on the welfare state more generally (Kvist et al., 2011), but also on media and communications policy (Ala-Fossi, 2020; Jakobsson et al., 2021). Previous policy measures and institutions that were designed to limit the impact of market forces, or to compensate for market failures, have been either abolished or gradually transformed (Jakobsson et al., 2021). Second, the rise of radical right-wing attacks on the key institutions of the media welfare state – for example, public service media – pose new threats to the Nordic media model (Holtz-Bacha, 2021; Jakobsson et al., 2021). Third, the globalisation and the subsequent digitalisation of the media, and the dominant role played by transnational platform companies and global tech giants in media and communications have made national media policy an increasingly difficult endeavour (Syvertsen et al., 2014).

These contemporary challenges to the Nordic media model raise many questions. What remains of this system today? Is the Nordic media model, as has been suggested, merely an “image in the rearview mirror” (Ala-Fossi, 2020: 146)? Is it a viable alternative for the future? What are the risks – and possibilities – of a transforming Nordic media model? Would it be worthwhile to defend or adapt the Nordic media system to deal with future challenges? What arguments exist for welfare in the media and communications area, and what does welfare mean in this context? What normative basis is there for welfare more generally, and for media welfare specifically?

This edited volume aims to address these and other issues, and to bring together contributions on the current state and the possible futures of the Nordic media (post-)welfare states. We invite both empirical contributions from scholars in all the Nordic countries on the current state of Nordic media welfare, as well as analyses of the possible future (or futures) of the Nordic media model (or models), and theoretical and normative work on the general concept of media welfare and its wider social implications.



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