Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 03 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The narrative of Norway is often narrated as series of national liberations culminating recently in deliverance from Nazi occupation. Another strand of the story is that of progressive social equalization resulting in the present welfare state and one of the most egalitarian societies in Europe. These stories have engendered a ‘freedom, equality, and peace’ syndrome in Norway which is a source of tension in central-local relations as well as in internal relations. Fear of losing control has resulted in a lack of constitutional protection for local self-government and two ‘No’ outcomes in referendums on Norwegian EU membership. This article discusses Norway and its assumed declining subnational democracy. Norway is a decentralized welfare state which belongs to the Scandinavian state tradition with distinctly cooperative central-local relations. Whereas local government is legally free to engage in tasks that are not explicitly granted to other public bodies or prohibited by law, in practice most important local functions are seen as joint responsibilities shared by the local and central government. Although decentralization and the transfer of functions were dominant in the early 1990s, these changed in the recent years as the state required the transfer of several functions of the local government to the state. There is also a parallel trend of more active central government intervention in local affairs. This indicated the diminishing tolerance of variation in levels and manners of local governance and local service provision.

Keywords: Norway, declining subnational democracy, decentralization, government, local government, local governance

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.