Kaisa_2012_3_photo by Veikko Somerpuro

Nordic Welfare State -course 2019

Course coordinator:

Sami Outinen (Faculty of Social Sciences, political history − sami.outinen@helsinki.fi)

Course description:

In this course visiting lecturers discuss the Nordic welfare state in historical and contemporary perspectives. Together, the eleven lectures provide an overview of the foundations of the Nordic welfare states, the history of their central institutions, as well as the current challenges facing them.

Lectures are held in English. The course includes in the Master's Programme in European and Nordic Studies. It also compensates optional Welfare State -course (YMV-P509) for the students of Bachelor’s Programme in Society and Change and Master’s Programme in Society and Change (a part of Society and Change 25/35 credits module). Furthermore, the course is a part of the teaching of The Centre for Nordic Studies (CENS), optional for the students of International Masters in Economy, State & Society (IMESS) and open to another students of University of Helsinki including students with Flexible Study Rights at the University of Helsinki if their right to study covers this course.

Passing the course gives to a student a wide knowledge on the historical welfare state research especially from a Nordic point of view. This means that the student manages to analyse the history of welfare states and form a well-grounded understanding on the actors, goals and discrepancies in this field. The student is also able to use the above mentioned knowledge in her/his further studies including dissertation.

The lecturers introduce different stages and sectors of Nordic welfare states as well as different interpretations which have been presented on the topic in the research literature. The development of Nordic welfare states, its political dimensions and related societal consequences will be examined in the course.

Maximum amount of students: 100.

Selection criteria: 1. Students of the Master's Programme in European and Nordic Studies; 2. Students of Bachelor’s Programme in Society and Change; Master’s Programme in Society and Change; International Masters in Economy, State & Society as well as Bachelor and Master Programmes of Centre for Nordic Studies (order of registration); 3. Fastest other registrants (order of registration).

Period of registration: 3.10.2019−30.10.2019

Coordinator confirms registrations 31.10.2019 which means that it is still possible to cancel registration immediately after the introduction lecture and participate to the course from second lecture onwards. This ensures that as many students as possible are able to participate to the course if the number of registered students is higher than the maximum amount of participants.

Time and place: Period II: Wednesdays and Fridays 30.10.–13.12 10.00−12.00 Porthania, Auditorium Suomen Laki.

Passing the course (5 credits) requires
1) participation in the 11 lectures and writing an accepted lecture diary (lectures 2–11). Alongside of the lectures, the students are expected to read Mary Hilson’s book The Nordic Model. Both the lectures and the book will be examined. The students are expected to take part at least 8 lectures during the course.
2) writing a short essay on one of the central themes of the lecture series. For the students of the Master’s Programmes ENS, IMESS, Society and Change and the Centre for Nordic Studies the essay shall be based upon at least three (3) scientific articles. For other students the essay shall be based on 1-3 of the articles that will be announced after each lecture.

Deadline for sending the lecture diary is 6 January 2020 and the deadline for sending the essay is 19 January 2020. In cases of failed or delayed lecture diaries/essays there is a possibility to (re)write these exercises by 22 March 2020. Lecture diary, essay and grading rules will be presented along with course practices and a short introduction to the topic (including a short presentation on Nordic Cooperation) in the introduction lecture 30.10.2019.

Lectures (30.10.–13.12. Wednesday and Friday 10–12 Porthania, Auditorium Suomen Laki)

Lecture 1: Introduction (including a short presentation on Nordic Cooperation)
30.10. 10−12 Sami Outinen and Johan Strang

Lecture 2: Intellectual Foundations
1.11. 10−12 Johan Strang

Lecture 3: State
6.11. 10−12 Johanna Rainio-Niemi

Lecture 4: Education
8.11. 10−12 Marja Jalava

Lecture 5: Care
15.11. 10−12 Heidi Haggrén

Lecture 6: A Cultural History
20.11. 10−12 Peter Stadius

Lecture 7: Labour Market
27.11. 10−12 Ilkka Kärrylä

Lecture 9: Finance
29.11. 10−12 Matti Hannikainen

Lecture 10: Gender
4.12. 10−12 Saara Pellander

Lecture 11: Migration
11.12. 10−12 Miika Tervonen

Lecture 11 Globalization
13.12. 10−12 Pauli Kettunen

3.10.2019 at 09:00 - 30.10.2019 at 23:59
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Here is the course’s teaching schedule. Check the description for possible other schedules.

Wed 30.10.2019
10:15 - 11:45
Fri 1.11.2019
10:15 - 11:45
Wed 6.11.2019
10:15 - 11:45
Fri 8.11.2019
10:15 - 11:45
Wed 13.11.2019
10:15 - 11:45
Fri 15.11.2019
10:15 - 11:45
Wed 20.11.2019
10:15 - 11:45
Fri 22.11.2019
10:15 - 11:45
Wed 27.11.2019
10:15 - 11:45
Fri 29.11.2019
10:15 - 11:45
Tue 3.12.2019
10:15 - 11:45
Wed 4.12.2019
10:15 - 11:45
Wed 11.12.2019
10:15 - 11:45
Fri 13.12.2019
10:15 - 11:45


The course can be completed as part of either the bachelor’s or master’s programme, or the 25/35 cr module. Restrictions on participation will be announced in the annual teaching programme.

After completing the course, students will have a well-rounded understanding of historical studies focused on the welfare state, particularly the Nordic welfare state. They will be able to analyse the different stages of welfare state development, and will have a reasoned understanding of the active parties, objectives and conflicts related to this development. They will be able to put this into proportion with their own knowledge interests, for example in their thesis.

Period 1

The course examines the different stages and fields of the welfare state, as well as different emphases of related research. Welfare state development will be examined from the perspective of the political target setting and conflicts that have had an impact on the development, as well as its social consequences.

Literature required for the literature examination

Four from the following:

Niels Finn Christiansen (ed.): The Nordic Model of Welfare – A Historical Reappraisal

Kees vain Kersbergen: Social Capitalism: A Study of Christian Democracy and the Welfare State

Pauli Kettunen: Työjärjestys. Tutkielmia työn ja tiedon poliittisesta historiasta

Pauli Kettunen & Klaus Petersen (eds.): Beyond Welfare State Models. Transnational Historical Perspectives on Social Policy

Pauli Kettunen, Sonya Michel & Klaus Petersen (eds.): Race, Ethnicity and Welfare States – An American Dilemma?

Pirjo Markkola: Synti ja siveys. Naiset, uskonto ja sosiaalinen työ 1860–1920

Related literature for contact teaching

Applicable research literature, particularly articles from scientific journals available as e-publications

On a scale of 0 to 5. All completed studies will be taken into consideration, while self-assessment is promoted.

a) Course implemented as contact teaching, including literature and assignments

b) Supervised independent written assignments

c) Literature examination

-Completion methods will be annually specified in the teaching programme.