project leader

New book compares Nordic approaches to societal security

The new work, Nordic Societal Security – Convergence and Divergence, is a product of a recently completed NordForsk-funded project by the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Security Technologies and Societal Values (NordSTEVA). The book maps the evolution of societal security thinking in the Nordic countries from the end of the Cold War to today. According to the authors, there are just as many differences as similarities between the Nordic countries’ approaches to and understanding of societal security. Researcher and lecturer Sebastian Larsson of Stockholm University co-authored the book: 

“It is important to acknowledge and learn from the differences between the Nordic countries in the field of societal security, because it would be simplistic to paint the Nordic region as completely uniform. One of the book’s main points is that while there are many similarities, there are also many differences among the Nordic countries.” 

The findings presented in the book are particularly targeted towards students pursuing educational programmes in societal security, Nordic politics and international relations, but the authors say the book will also be of benefit to politicians and decision-makers. 

According to Project Leader Karen Lund Petersen, who also contributed a chapter, the book has Nordic added value: 

“It is the countries that are closest to us that can give us the greatest insight into what we ourselves don’t do, so comparing Nordic practices in security policy has enormous benefits for the political process as well, ” says Project Leader Karen Lund Petersen.  

According to Karen Lund Petersen, it will be advantageous to further strengthen collaboration between researchers in the Nordic countries because it will give Nordic research a stronger foundation in both a European and international context. 

Nordic Societal Security – Convergence and Divergence is part of open access and is available in digital form to all interested parties free of charge.

The book can be read and downloaded here. 

Read more about the NordSTEVA project.

Background for the programme  

Threats to society can take many forms – from cyber attacks capable of paralysing digital infrastructure to extremists who carry out terrorist attacks to volcanic eruptions or other natural disasters.  

The Nordic countries are considered to be small, open and safe societies but they are still vulnerable to external pressures. How can the Nordic countries best protect themselves against such threats and potential risks? This question is the key focus of the Nordic Societal Security Programme. 

The Nordic Societal Security Programme was launched by NordForsk in 2013 and receives support from all the Nordic countries as well as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. 

Read more about the programme.


The Nordic Societal Security Programme is a collaboration between the Research Council of Norway, the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, the Icelandic Centre for Research (RANNÍS), the Academy of Finland, the Ministry of the Interior in Finland, the Danish Emergency Management Agency, the Dutch Research Council (NWO), the Economic and Social Research Council of the United Kingdom and NordForsk.