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

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)


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

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. 


Ala-Fossi, M. (2020). Finland: Media welfare state in the digital era? Journal of Digital Media & Policy, 11(2), 133–150.
Benson, R., Powers, M., & Neff, T. (2017). Public media autonomy and accountability: Best and worst policy practices in 12 leading democracies. International Journal of Communication, 11, 1–22. 
Enli, G., Syvertsen, T., & Mjøs, O. J. (2018). The welfare state and the media system: The role of media and communications in the evolution and transformation of Scandinavian welfare states. Scandinavian Journal of History, 43(5), 601–623.
Esping-Andersen, G. (1990). The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Princeton University Press.
Hallin, D. C., & Mancini, P. (2004). Comparing media systems: Three models of media and politics. Cambridge University Press.
Holtz-Bacha, C. (2021). The kiss of death: Public service media under right-wing populist attack. European Journal of Communication, 36(3), 221–237.
Jakobsson, P., Lindell, J., & Stiernstedt, F. (2021). A neoliberal media welfare state? The Swedish media system in transformation. Javnost-The Public, 1–16.
Kvist, J., Fritzell, J., Hvinden, B., & Kangas, O. (Eds.). (2011). Changing social
equality: The Nordic welfare model in the 21st century. Polity Press.
Lindell, J., Jakobsson, P., & Stiernstedt, F. (2021). The media welfare state: A citizen perspective. European Journal of Communication. OnlineFirst.
Syvertsen, T., Enli, G., Mjøs, O. J., & Moe, H. (2014). The media welfare state: Nordic media in the digital era. University of Michigan Press.
West Pedersen, A., & Kuhnle, S. (2017). The Nordic welfare state model. In O. Knutsen (Ed.), The Nordic models in political science: Challenged, but still viable? (pp. 219–238). Fagbokforlaget.

We welcome chapters on topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • the relations between media politics, media policy, media industry, and media users in and between the Nordic countries 
  • tendencies and transformations in audience behaviours and patterns of media consumption
  • media technological development and changing power structures within the media and communications industry 
  • the role and future of public service media 
  • policy development and political transformations in the Nordic countries and the consequences for the Nordic media model
  • the impact of national and international media policy and political leadership on the national and supranational level on the Nordic media model
  • digitisation and datafication and the impact on Nordic media welfare and on the Nordic welfare states more generally
  • comparative approaches within and between the Nordic countries
  • normative arguments for – or against – media welfare and theoretical work on the meaning of welfare as such
  • analyses and arguments for how to defend, develop, or transform a Nordic media model in light of contemporary challenges

We welcome chapters on all of the Nordic countries and which highlight similarities and differences within the region. We particularly welcome chapters with longitudinal or comparative perspectives on the Nordic countries.


Those with an interest in contributing should write an extended abstract (max. 750 words) where the main theme and argument of the intended chapter is described. The abstract should contain the preliminary title and keywords (3–5). How the chapter fits with the overall aim of the anthology – to discuss the value and prospect of the Nordic media model, as well as its current developments and challenges – should be discussed explicitly. 

Include your institutional affiliation and a short biography.

Please send your submission to all three editors – Peter Jakobsson, Johan Lindell, and Fredrik Stiernstedt ( – by 18 February 2022. 

An important aspect when deciding what abstracts to move forward with will be the chapter’s fit with the overall aim of the book.

Scholars invited to submit a full chapter will be notified by e-mail after the extended abstracts have been assessed. All chapters submitted should be original works and must not be under consideration by other publishers. All submissions are submitted to Similarity Check – a Crossref service utilising iThenticate text comparison software to detect text-recycling or self-plagiarism.

During the writing stages, the editors and Nordicom plan to host seminars where the different contributions will be discussed. Contributors are expected to partake in these meetings.

After the initial submission and review process, manuscripts that are accepted for publication must adhere to our guidelines upon final manuscript delivery. You may choose to use our templates to assist you in correctly formatting your manuscript.

About the publisher

Nordicom is a centre for Nordic media research at the University of Gothenburg, supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Nordicom publishes all works under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence, which allows for non-commercial, non-derivative types of reuse and sharing with proper attribution. All works are published Open Access and are available to read free of charge and without requirement for registration. Authors retain copyright.