Norway. Elites on trial

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Publication Date 2001
ISBN 0-8133-3200-1
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Book abstract:

This publication is one of a series by Westview Press, which examines how the nations of Europe are adjusting to the changing world order and the start of a new century. This book focuses on Norway, the only Scandinavian nation not to be a member of the EU, and follows the style of other titles in the series by examining the political, economic and social dynamics facing Norway in the post cold-war era.

The book begins with a brief historical background to the country and a short analysis of how its small size has influenced its position on the world scene. Chapter two provides more social and historical background including a discussion of the political parties and the process of democratisation. In chapter three, the focus becomes more political with a description of the background and current operation of the key political institutions including the parliament, the government, the civil service and the major institutions in international co-operation. Chapter four penetrates the institutions themselves, examining the organisation and ideology of the political parties as well as the processes of selecting candidates for parliamentary positions and of forming governments. The participation of Norwegian citizens in the political process is also examined. Chapter five takes up the economic analysis with a discussion of how the economy and economic policies form the basis of the 'left-right dimension', a key to Norwegian politics. Public policy is examined in chapter six with specific reference to the policies making up the welfare state, the green policies and the policies on gender equality. In chapter seven the focus moves beyond Norway's borders examining the nation's foreign policy and decision-making process in this field. The final chapter summarises the various themes running through the book and examines the overall influence of the country's small size, egalitarian culture and strong periphery in shaping Norwegian politics.

This book provides a thorough and well-balanced analysis of the politics in a country which is often overshadowed by its European counterparts, highlighting the effect of globalisation on smaller states.

Knut Heidar is Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo and the author of several books on Norwegian political parties and West European politics.

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