Challenging the Nordic model?

The cultural policies of populist parties in Finland and Sweden

Cultural policy is increasingly re-politicised by populism amid shifting political discourse in Europe and beyond. This article investigates the re-politicisation of cultural policy in Sweden and Finland, set against the backdrop of rising populism, which is potentially reshaping the traditionally stable Nordic cultural policy landscape. It focuses on the cultural policies of two populist parties: the Finns Party in Finland and the Sweden Democrats in Sweden. Employing qualitative analysis of party programs, this study reveals both parties’ opposition to several aspects of the Nordic cultural policy model. The parties advocate for ‘regular people’ as opposed to the ‘elite’ and emphasise national identity over economy-driven policies, marking a shift from the neoliberal tendencies of the past decades. Our analysis highlights the role of these parties in politicising culture and challenging the long-standing consensus in Nordic cultural policies. These findings shed light on the evolving dynamics of Nordic cultural policy under growing populist influence.

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