Gender equality, Diversity and Societal Security

The Nordic model is traditionally associated with high levels of societal trust, egalitarian values, and peaceful forms of conflict resolution through cooperation within and among political and corporative organizations. These characteristics also constitute the underpinnings for the ways in which security work is perceived and conducted in a Nordic setting, manifested in recent reforms introducing conscription on formally equal terms for men and women in Norway as well as Sweden. In this project, we examine this emerging Nordic model for security, where gender equality and diversity become increasingly important, both in terms of policy and in everyday work within security forces and societal security in the Nordic countries.

This project empirically and theoretically explores how increasing levels of diversity in the personnel of Nordic security forces (military, police and security organizations) relate to changing perceptions of trust and security, both within these organizations and in their broader interactions with society. The project combines empirical studies of four Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland), analysing a range of interconnected phenomena, from the organization of everyday practices within security forces and their interactions with various target groups, to perceptions of diversity and security work within the forces as well as within related policy- and decision-making processes.

The research team has a broad representation in the Nordic countries and a strong multi-disciplinary profile. The project will be based on a mixed methods-approach with an emphasis on qualitative sociological methods combined with political and historical studies. Data collection will primarily be conducted through qualitative interviews, participant observations, and archival studies including document analysis. Our objective is to provide new knowledge about how actors and organizations involved in producing security in the Nordic countries approach the challenges of increasing diversity in terms of perceptions, policies and practices, as well as knowledge about the outcomes of these processes to date.