Democracy in Scandinavia

Consensual, majoritarian or mixed?

By David Arter

Democracy in Scandinavia


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7047-1
  • Pages: 384
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £18.99
  • Published Date: July 2006
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Political structures: democracy, Northern Europe, Scandinavia, POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / European, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy, Political structures: democracy, Politics
  • Series: Politics Today


This book is about the distinctive features of Scandinavian democracy, the state of Scandinavian democracy and the classification of the Scandinavian democracies. It breaks new ground in challenging the established status of the Scandinavian countries as 'consensus model democracies'.

The book poses three main questions. First, what are the distinctive features of the five Scandinavian political systems when compared with the Westminster model of democracy? Next, how well does the evidence from recent commissions suggest that Scandinavian democracy is working in practice? Finally, is Scandinavian democracy consensual, majoritarian or mixed? The nature of legislative-executive relations is explored, with a particular focus on the role of the parliamentary opposition and its involvement in policy-making. The central conclusion is that all the Nordic states are majoritarian democracies, albeit with varying amounts of consensual legislative behaviour.


1. Analysing the Nordic region: a block of distinctive consensus model democracies?
2. Preferential list voting systems in Denmark, Finland and Sweden: a challenge to the party democracy model?
3. The Scandinavian party system(s) since 1970: less unidimensional and less distinctive?
4. The strength of social democracy on mainland Scandinavia: continued dominance or incipient decomposition?
5. The diversity of coalition types and the frequency of minority governments: a distinctively Scandinavian form of parliamentarism?
6. Corporatist interest group systems: (still) a distinctive Scandinavian trait?
7. A common denominator between Westminster and the Nordic region? The growing importance of the office of Prime Minister
8. The state of Scandinavian democracy: democracy "in a state"?
9. Analysing parliamentary opposition parties: both policy actors and policy arenas?
10. Policy-making in the Finnish and Swedish opposition parties
11. The 2003 midsummer bomb and the centre party's 'decisive action strategy' A case of office-seeking with a capital 'O'
12. Minority government, shifting majorities and multilateral opposition: Sweden in the new millennium
Conclusion. Democracy in Scandinavia: consensual, majoritarian or mixed?


David Arter holds the First Chair of Politics at the University of Aberdeen

Newsletter Sign Up

Manchester University Press

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout