Ambivalence or activism? The Nordic states and international human rights norms
MultiRights Seminar with Johan Karlsson Schaffer presenting his paper on Nordic ambivalence to international human rights norms.
In this paper, Johan Karlsson Schaffter analyses why Nordic governments seem no longer to be forerunners in the expansion of 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 rights, and grounds their exceptionalism in deep-seated value traditions within Nordic societies. This paper instead explores their external and internal rights policies as interconnected and as resulting from domestic agents actively mobilizing certain ideas within existing political institutions. Covering the Nordic states’ roles in the establishment and expansion of the global and European human rights regimes, and the subsequent repercussions of these regimes on the domestic orders in the Nordic countries, the article concludes by discussing the maturing institutionalisation of human rights in constitutional practice within the Nordic polities in recent years.