From the CIAO Atlas Map of Europe 

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Norden: A Community of Asecurity *

Pertti Joenniemi **

Copenhagen Peace Research Institute
Working Papers 6•1996
June 1996

1.  An Agency at Issue

  Traditionally regarded as a fairly stable configuration, Norden has in recent years become one of the more uncertain cases on the European agenda 1 . Obviously, it cannot remain unaffected once a new and different logic sets in and drastically reshapes the political landscape also in the northern part of Europe. The range of options is quite broad. Norden might establish itself as a central acronym or, on the contrary, develop into one of the more problematic configurations with a rather bleak future.

  To explore these alternatives a number of profound issues and fundamental questions will be addressed. Norden, as a specific form of communality, is problematized rather than treated as something analytically self-evident and well-established. It is not understood simply as an object "out there" to be tackled in an straightforward manner, nor is it viewed as a settled politico-geographic delineation or a given set of political relationships. The problematization centres on Norden's relationship to the nation-states as well as issues of security, and how the discourse on security has worked as a way of framing the construction of political space. The aim is not one of objectifying Norden but to analyse and highlight some of the processes through which such an entity is founded and reproduced, this pointing to a constructivist analysis.

  The reason why such a profound enquiry is called for consists of that Norden is increasingly in the focus of various representations that clash over a preferred definition in search of a broadly acceptable and durable ground. The aim is one of ordering the debate on the essence of Norden in a meaningful way, to use the openings available, to trace old limits as well as more recent ones preventing a renewal, and thereby to offer perspectives for navigation in current European politics and international relations at large. More specifically, the purpose is to shed light on Norden's encounter with Europe and to explore why this relationship seems to be quite problematic. The question is whether the Nordic form of communality is in essence different from the European one, and if this turns out to be the case, what are the implications for Norden and European politics more broadly.

2.  Winds of Change

  As radical change has shattered many of the time-worn accounts of political order on the European continent, Norden has also been destabilized. It has become increasingly difficult to sustain as a spatialization, and there are views according to which Norden, in its traditional form, is growing weaker, becoming anachronistic and possibly withering away unless a remedy is found. The decline seems to cover both the discursive  and interactive  aspects of the Nordic configuration.

  However, also some countermoves are present in the debate as there are those who are convinced that Norden still has a future, although in a broader and different form.

  There is no doubt some ground for an optimistic interpretation. The subjectivity of Norden seems to be more or less in line with the requirements of the new, more cooperative, communal and less security-geared political scenery that has evolved over the past years. Many of the Nordic traditions provide departures that are also applicable in the new situation. Norden, as a political configuration, has been far more about cooperation, networking, joint identities and transcending the narrowly conceived borders of nation-states than sovereignty or security in a traditional statist and territorial sense. It has broadened the expression of allowed identities and interests. The 'domestication' of security that is now underway in many parts of Europe has, one might argue, been a Nordic practice for a considerable period of time. In being less statist, vertical and hierarchic than international constructs usually, and being structured 'bottom-up' rather than 'top-down', the Nordic entity could quite naturally assume the position of a major European regional formation. It could, as a non-sovereignty shaped process and a transnational network, grow in importance along with a number of other cultural regions in Europe that have rehabilitated their existence in recent years.

  The encounter with Europe should, according to this line of thinking, strengthen rather than weaken the Nordic entity. There should be resonance rather than confrontation as Norden and the European Union are both vehicles for cooperation and forms of communality that have transcended the nation-states (cf. Sæter 1995). As an entity without any sovereign centre, and therefore with rather weak external borders, Norden could well fit into the new political landscape of post-sovereign politics.

  It appears, however, that the opportunity might be lost. There seems to be incongruence more than positive resonance. Norden is taken to be out of tune with some crucial developments and to be showing signs of a loser in the contest for political space in the new circumstances. It adopts, copies and increasingly assumes features of an ordinary, vertical and hierarchic arrangement between statist entities. It remains no doubt as an institution, but in general the interactive aspects are growing weaker. It is even more important that Norden is in danger of losing its character as an entity out of the ordinary, this weakening the discursive ground. Norden as an alternative to the blocs dominated by the two superpowers, each with their own ideology (Stråth 1992), is no longer so attractive, and the whole notion of a "third way" has grown pale. The discursive strength of Norden is also suffering from that the "Scandinavian model" pertaining to welfare policies is no longer as attractive as it used to be.

  Very little new discursive capital is generated as the policy pursued appears to be one of standardization rather than making use of Norden's many special qualities that should, at least in principle, still have broad applicability, in some respects perhaps broader than before. For quite some time there has been space for the Nordic project and identity alongside the nation-states in Northern Europe, but the competition with the European project and a European form of communality appears as well as the new regional projects unfolding in norther Europe seems to have a more tough quality, reducing the options available for Norden.

  The Nordic arrangement may therefore have to share the fate of many other configurations that have become rather problematic in recent years. Nordicity may have lost some of its appeal, attractiveness and ability to inspire, and it no longer forms the same sphere of energy as previously. The underlying ideals have turned pale and the 'Nordic model', which points to a dependency on the modern project, has perhaps become too defensive to survive in any autonomous form

  With the increased plurality of international relations and, most particularly, the blurring of lines between the Nordic region and Europe at large, Norden is no longer able to remain as contained as previously. This constitutes a rather profound change. Instead of staying apart Norden has to open up towards an international environment that calls for plurality and consists, in one of its aspects, of far less self-contained regional groupings. While being previously defined inside-out, the mode is now increasingly one of outside-in, and this change in the mode of constitution with the increased importance of external factors seems quite hard for the Nordic configuration to digest 2 .

  Quite obviously the task of remodelling Norden to fit the new, broader and far more communal conditions that prevail in Europe at large is formidable. There are conceptual constraints but also some quite concrete obstacles because of the rather sharp divisions that have emerged inside the Nordic agency with Denmark, Finland and Sweden as members of the EU and Norway together with Iceland remaining outside. The European arena is sometimes understood as being composed of competition between statist entities, this leaving little space for any joint Nordic policies. The EU is so dominant as a frame that it does not leave much space for other frames such as the Nordic one as indicated by the tendency prevailing among the Nordic EU-members not to give signals of applying anything of a separate grouping.

  The existence of divisive tendencies also became evident in the negotiations for entry into the EU. Instead of forming a joint front, as one may have expected on the basis of their assumed concern for each others, the Nordics showed clear signs of rivalry. Quite deliberately the Nordic countries have refrained from appearing as a groupings. The most recent indication of these centrifugal tendencies is the absence of any policy coordination in the run-up to the EU's intergovernmental conference (Petersen, 1996).

  These new tendencies in the Nordic policies can be illuminated by a fourfold table indicating preferences for (+) or against (-) Norden or Europe in the encounter between these two entities.

Norden + - __________________________ + 1. 2. Europe __________________________ - 3. 4. ___________________________

  Traditionally Norden has rested on the understanding that its relationship to Europe is one of contrariety. Norden and Europe have been depicted as incompatible, i.e. the Nordic actors have chosen to remain aloof and to stay in a category of their own. The Nordic alternative, or "bastion" as some researchers have called it (Mouritzen, 1995), has been seen as a way of avoiding involvement with questionable European politics (3).

  With the EC/EU growing in importance, leaving less space for any oppositional stance, this distanciation has become more costly; or, if seen from another perspective, with the EU becoming increasingly hegemonic as a form of communality, the option of embarking on the European project has grown in attractiveness. First Denmark in 1973, and then Finland and Sweden in 1995 abandoned their previous policies of distanciation and opted for Europe. The adoption of EU-membership and an inclusive strategy in the approach chosen may, on the ground of the policies pursued previously, be interpreted as a movement towards position 2, with the EU/European pushing away the Nordic. This conclusion is justified in that much of what previously was part of Nordic cooperation now takes place in the context of the EU. The opting for EU has been a move against Norden, as it has deprived Nordic cooperation of much of its content in terms of social policies and other issues of integration.

  Norway and Iceland have, for their part, continued to adhere to their traditional positions (3). They have been unwilling, or unable, to square the distance to the European alternative. They have also been more inclined to stay with their traditional 'Norden', or have to some extent aspired to postures that would allow them to preserve much of the previous Norden and at the same time use it as a vehicle for cooperation or a way of inroad into the EU (1). However, their basic choice, particularly in the case of Norway, has been pitted against Europe in the sense of rejecting Union membership.

  This leaves the Nordic countries divided on essential issues. The majority has transcended the borderline that used to rather important for the Nordic self-understanding, while others have remained with these policies. The point that the illustration tries to make is that the 'Nordens' of the various Nordic countries now seem to be less compatible than has been the case traditionally. Norden is no longer the same joint meeting-ground it used to be now that a major constitutive wall or external borderline, that of 'Europe', has fallen. Potentially the alternative of 'Norden' as an aspect of European politics (1) could again unify the departures of the different Nordic actors, with Norden regaining its function as a meeting-ground. This requires, however, that both the Nordic EU-members and those remaining outside agree on turning Norden into a vehicle for their European policies.

  It is obvious, however, that with the changes that have taken place on the current European scene there is less space available for an autonomous and distinct Nordic profile. It is therefore not surprising to find that the more pessimistic expectations about the future of Norden appear now to be coming true. Carl Bildt, for instance, made the critical remark that "There is a risk that the Nordic Council becomes a reservate for an additional amount of empty rhetorics". In the case of Sweden he stressed, speaking in his capacity of Prime Minister, the need to adopt a clear European identity, the message being that such an identity substitutes the Nordic one (Mouritzen, 1995). These are strong statements, particularly as Sweden and Swedish key politicians have been regarded as the most central guardians of the Nordic entity. The Nordic "model" has in essence been based on the Swedish one. It seems evident that the encounter with the EU and the new Europe has, on a number of accounts, turned out to be a difficult one (cf. Wiberg, 1992; Wæver, 1992).

  The essential question to explore, if one is to grasp the interplay between similarity and difference, is what the two entities basically are. Is it over with Nordic specificity, and if so, why does the demise appear at a juncture that in general seems to favour diversity? The increasing diversification and autonomization would seem to provide space for the Nordic configuration as well, and could do so to the extent that the Nordic form of communality could potentially be applied as an approach and a posture for influencing European politics and the development of the European Union in particular.

  A number of explanations pertaining to practice, various interests and concrete facts are readily available and have indeed been used in the debate, but there is yet an element of surprise in the way that things have been unfolding. It seems, on a more general level, that there is some incongruence between the Nordic 'progress-machine' and the way that progress has evolved over the past years - or to phrase it differently: Norden and Nordic forms of communality are no longer as autonomous as they used to be, and their reproduction has increasingly become tied in with the European process, one that represents a hegemonic, but different form of communality. Instead of being avant garde  and a model for others to copy, Norden has been forced to adopt a rather defensive posture. The discursive strategy of drawing on the strength of the modern project no longer seems to pay dividend, and a different strategy would be needed.

  It appears that in order to sustain a distinct profile, Norden needs the language of division and exclusion. This option is not taken to be there to the same extent as previously; Europe is no longer so helpful in distinguishing the inside from the outside in having abandoned, it seems, classical power politics. It does not signal the difference needed to construct Norden as something unique and a case in a category by itself. Instead of the previous moves of exclusion, Norden as a body politic has to be established in inclusive terms in taking into account and joining what previously formed the outside. The distinctiveness has to be established as positive difference, perhaps comparing the various forms of communality, Nordic and European. It is conceived that in the encounter between these two, the EU has basically turned out to be so similar that it appears to outcompete Norden in addressing the same problems. The EU is also based on communality, although Catholic rather than Protestant in its origins, and it advocates many of the same solutions, but is larger, more institutionalized and appears also to be more instrumental and effective.

  This is to say that the separateness of Norden as something of an exclusive pocket is seriously in doubt. It can no longer be constituted 'inside-out' and against the different quality of the rest of Europe. Instead, Norden must increasingly be defined as part of Europe, and regarded as a non-othering pattern in this broader context. This is so because there are hardly any points of reference left for the demarcation of negative difference between Europe and Norden, with the subjectivity of Norden suffering seriously in the contest with the EU and the regions that have emerged in northern Europe as part of europeanization 3 . There are also some broader issues concerning the new Europe at stake if it turns out, as seems to be happening, that Norden - as a category of international relations - in a number of ways fails to take stock of the demise of the cold war, and is unable to capitalize on the increased sense of freedom, flexibility and allowance for a broad variety of configurations as well as the intensified search for new patterns of interaction that prevails in the new Europe.

  This is why there are reasons to look anew at Norden's basic character and to examine the way it has been conceptualized and articulated. In a sense the strategy pursued should be one of remembering; it has to lean on scrutinizing the formative processes, excavating the borderlines established and searching into the moves of enclosure as well as the previous understandings. As the challenge is in essence conceptual and pertains to the Nordic identities and self-understanding, the key questions to address are ontological: What is the Nordic configuration thought to be, what is the essence of Nordic communality and how does it compare with the European one?

  By such a revisiting of Norden, ground can possibly be broken for conceptualizations and forms of reproduction that are needed in ensuring Norden a place among the more successful configurations in the new Europe. This could, at best, imply that Nordicity provides the ground for conceptualizations of political space applicable in the discourse on the future of the EU. In the fourfold table presented above this boils to elaborating and providing additional ground for option 1 in the encounter between Norden and Europe.

3.  A Contest of Views

  Norden is a quite established category of international relations, but even so it seems difficult to pin down. It appears to have a strange quality of evading definitions and turning into something rather vague and slippery. There are no grand schemes, either in politics, in the sphere of economics or in defence policies, that would categorically nail it down as an international relations configuration.

  With the fairly wide range of alternatives around, an enquiry into the essence of Norden turns out to be somewhat confusing. Actually there is quite a broad menu; Norden does not consist of a single master narrative grounded in a specific logic, but rather of a variety of interpretations. Norden appears to be something relatively open, light and elastic, with obvious constructivist qualities. It seems to go in the plural in the sense that it has been a meeting-ground for a variety of understandings, some of them statist, some societal and communal 4 . In certain cases the various interpretations may, if compared and played out, clash with each other. However, the various explanations have generally existed side by side without much interaction, and until recently there has been little pressure to arrive at any strict uniformity.

  Any confrontations between these modes of figuring out Norden as a category of international relations have mainly taken place between two different lines of interpretation. One of these has been moulded to fit the needs of a power political or realist understanding, and the other those of an idealist/liberal school.

  The realist interpretation, viewing the political landscape as a derivative of power, has been around in the form of various theories of Nordic balance, i.e. conceptualizations that depict the Nordic configuration in terms that are in line with the normal realist understanding of international relations (cf. Brundtland, 1966 and 1988; Hagard, 1987; Holst, 1973; Huldt, 1985). The strategy pursued is one of standardization in postulating Norden as something of a sub-region within a larger constellation of power politics. It is taken to be somewhat better off, perhaps more peaceful and stable than many other areas. It is depicted as something privileged in relative terms and yet dependent on a larger setting conditioned by rivalry between the superpowers, blocs, power political oppositions and sovereignty shaped politics. The Nordic arrangement contains some peculiarities among the member countries, but void of shaping more generally the nature of relations between states.

  These views, which refuse to grant Norden any self-reliant position or status, reside in the ordinary statist logic and reside with "hard" security. They do not challenge the general assumption of international relations as the site of conflict between statist entities, power politics and war. The explanations offered purport the Nordic nation-states as having been particularly able, in view of their small size, in tackling the harsh conditions of their external environment. By showing a certain concern for each other, these countries are seen as having skilfully exploited the power political rules assumed to be generally applicable in relations between statist entities on the scene of international relations.

  However, these conceptualizations fail to address the issue as to why war does not seem to burden the relations between the Nordic countries themselves. Why does Norden, as a set of political relations, lack the enmity that is assumed to be ever-present according to an ordinary, that is to say the realist account of relations between states? How does it happen that justice, law, freedom and social progress as well as a joint set of egalitarian values seem to govern the Nordic sphere even though these communal qualities are, as a rule, assumed to be missing in the international realm? Silence falls upon these questions. The power political reading avoids tackling the issue of why inter-Nordic relations have assumed different qualities than international relations at large 5 .

  This has been the focus of the idealist/liberal school, often located in the sphere of peace research. Norden has been elevated into something of a model, one that potentially has broader applicability. There has been a refusal to relegate Norden to the margins of international politics, and instead it has been viewed in terms of an area outside the sphere of normal power politics, one that breaks with the realist distinction into inside and outside. It has been pointed out that there has been an unusual lack of expansionism, selfishness and pursuit of 'national interests' in the policies of the Nordic states. The usual bifurcation of political identities into "us" and "them" as something demanding inviolable sovereignty against threatening otherness has not been present in Nordicity. In the absence of strong nationalist movements operating with narrow, territorially fixed delineations of political space, Nordic borders have been less sacrosanct than in many other places. It has been argued that with no stringent identities and divisive borders, Norden has managed to escape the ordinary power political dilemmas. There has been an exceptional degree of tolerance, flexibility and reformism, also allowing transborder loyalties and cooperation - within reasonable limits - to emerge.

  It has also been pointed out that Norden, as a category of international relations, has not been constituted in the ordinary negative way by stressing danger and tackling threats but rather in terms of negotiation, mutual consent and cooperation. It has often been depicted in terms of something unprovocative and intimate, such as "family" or "home". It has been viewed as one of "the small narratives", rather than one of "the great stories". Norden has been furnished with societal, value-oriented and anti-power political interpretations, making it something above the ordinary in the sphere of international relations. Undoubtedly the "soft" security and communality present is at variance with the usual delineations of interstate relations.

  The Nordic case has been extensively used by the idealist/liberal school to indicate that there really are prospects for an alternative order and possibilities to assume an anti-power political stance in the debate on the essence of international relations (cf. Galtung and Øberg, 1992; Wiberg, 1986; Øberg, 1986;) 6 . Norden has provided substance to the argument that integration and modern progress offer possibilities of breaking out of the binary opposition of inside/outside, and the ordinary power political logic of international relations. It undermines the understanding that there are just two political spaces in the modern world of sovereign states; one within states and another between them, these two being constituted as oppositions in the realist discourse, with international relations being the negation of the more communal politics inside states (Hansen, 1995).

  The debate on Norden has been significant and has considerably added to its discursive potential precisely because of these more general issues involved. However, it can also be observed that the delineations used have been heavily detained by this contest between the power political school and the idealist/liberal one. The debate has undoubtedly highlighted alternative interpretations, but it may also have been conducive to standardization, objectification and to the imposing limits for interpretations available. Both schools tend to take an objective approach to security, purport Norden as a legitimate referent for statist security, and they share the view that the project hovers around the issue of war. They represent lines of argumentation that aim at bringing about a certain homogeneity, although in ways of their own. The power political school aims at harmonizing Norden with the supposed harsh conditions of international relations; while the idealist/liberal interpretations tend to treat Norden as a first sign of something more soft, broader and general yet to come once the progress entailed in modernity makes itself fully felt in the sphere of international relations. As this larger pattern tends to be given, and Norden provides what has been in need, there has not been any reason to problematize it further.

  The two interpretations deviate from each other in some regards, but there are also common elements and similar moves of enclosure - so much that the question arises whether they are mutually constitutive. It seems that the realistic and the idealist/liberal approaches, despite their disagreements, coconstitute a certain Norden, one that moves around the issue of statist security. They impose limits on the understanding of what 'Norden' is basically about. This is, in a sense, vindicated by the current juncture of international relations. Instead of one type of explanation gaining ground at the expense of the other, both appear to have considerable difficulties with their 'Norden'. Developments over the recent years have to a large extent undermined the realist views on Norden as some kind of semi-alliance and way of partaking in the power political game, but also the idealist/liberal views of Norden as an advanced and exemplary way of handling issues of security has turned pale.

  The theme that to some extent seems to unify both schools of thought consist, on a more general level, of the notion that Norden has a special relationship to the modern project. Norden is taken to exemplify its far-reaching potential, although the power political explanation has set quite distinct limits for ideas of any decisive change. Both accept the argument that by being reasonable, developed and democratic, the Nordic countries have been able to pull together to the extent that they can, by a certain interaction, resist becoming the targets of major power politics to an unusual degree. The Nordic countries are purported, with their considerable degree of communality, as exceptionally skilful players in the power political game. It is argued that despite being small powers, they have been able to bend the basic rules.

  For the power political school Norden is just a minor deviation without broader applicability, but the explanations offered by the idealist/liberal go much further. They have often been grounded in the view that partaking in the modern project does not only produce well-being and order within nation-states, but it is also conducive to bringing about communality and peace among statist entities if extended to the sphere on international relations.

  The argument then is that in the case of the Nordic countries, modernity has not just been confined to each of the Nordic nation-states; it has also permeated the relations between these actors in terms of linear and evolutionary progress, thereby transforming the usual rules of the power political game that have been assumed to apply almost without exception to the sphere outside the proper site of the modern project, that is the nation-state.

  In broader terms Norden has been taken to convey the message that modernity may, at its best, bring about a qualitative change in the relations between statist actors by downgrading the power political rules. International relations do no longer have to be equated with the state of war. With enlightenment, sufficient progress, the emergence of joint values and democratization, relations between states may assume a new and more positive character. A different generative grammar may enter, transforming the essence of international relations. Modern reason may liberate itself from the constraints imposed by the boundaries of its usual site, the nation-state. It may, in terms of intrasocietal reason, raison de nation  and not raison d'etat  conditioned by the crude necessities of the power political game, prevail to the extent that violence and aggression may be contained and security policies become a joint concern exceeding national borders.

  Within this latter understanding Norden is basically taken to be a very modern way of delineating political space, and in this sense obvious and self-evident. It is not regarded as requiring any specific or deeper explanation. It constitutes a model that deprives international relations of their status of sui generis  and a sphere conditioned by the constant and immutable danger of war. Norden is seen as the ultimate in modernity and a case pointing the way for others to follow.

4.  The Deutschian Interpretation

  This also seems to be the way that Karl W. Deutsch depicted Norden, although he saw it as an opportunity to raise questions about which factors determine whether "men some day might abolish war". In his search for communality Deutsch did not adhere to the rule of international relations research that there is a qualitative difference between the inside and the outside. He found that in some particular cases reason, progress, order and joint values had transcended their usual site, the nation-state, thereby making their way into the sphere of relations between the statist entities. His conclusion was that a high degree of cooperation and common cultural traits, a certain we-ness, have been strong enough for the Nordic region to assume features of a community, and thus to transcend international anarchy 7 .

  Deutsch is one of the analysts for whom Norden has served as an important source of inspiration and insight in challenging the dominant discourse on security in international relations. By relating Norden to core issues of international relations, he established a way of interpreting the Nordic case and a form of understanding that has become something of a standard explanation, and has also had an impact on the Nordic self-understanding. This is why these are good reasons to focus particularly on the explanations offered by Deutsch.

  The way in which Deutsch framed his enquiry into the Nordic case allowed him to circumvent the usual dilemmas of international relations. For him the matter of security did not follow from the nature of international relations as such, but it was something to be explored empirically by analysing and comparing different cases under different circumstances. So although staying within a realistic and state-centric view as well as the limits of the standard discourse on security, he easily transcended the usually untouchable borderline between the external and the internal, the domestic and the foreign. For him the sphere of reasonable policies, progress and communality did not stop at state borders.

  Using a constructivist approach with behavioralist methodological connotations, Deutsch made a clearcut choice in arguing that the Nordic region had become a pluralist "security community", a community not in terms of common security with some specific, sovereignty-based, statist and centralizing arrangements to provide for it, but something unstructured, societal and an island of peace amidst a broader setting based on the presence of the danger of war.

  The recipe for doing away with the danger of war, in his view, consisted of far-reaching consultation, communication and cooperation. By their affinity and the establishing of a useful cooperative relationship, the Nordic countries had overcome the usual hardships of relations between states and eliminated the expectations of war in their inter-relations.

  In attempting to explain why war has become unthinkable among the Nordic countries, Deutsch ascribed properties to their interrelations that are usually understood to be located within states. Thus he set Norden apart from the rest of the European constellation, attributing to it not only democracy, justice, virtue, openness and legitimate authority, but also a communality and identities that transcend the usual boundaries of the state. Such constitutive moves implied the breaking of the standard formula in international relations research, one that restricts community to the inside and places threat outside. In doing so, Deutsch also undermined, without explicitly saying so, the assumption present in the traditional realist discourse on the timeless ontological quality of danger and anarchy attributed to international relations, and substituted it with perceptions of the presence of political community.

  In other words, Deutsch was not seeking to strike a balance between two basically different conceptualizations and thereby to square the tension between the general play of power politics and the features characteristic of the Nordic region. He placed, by resorting to a sociological type of enquiry, Norden clearly within the domain of the domestic. Deutsch depicted the Nordic configuration as something quite separate, making it synonymous with specificity and elevating it into a sphere with particular norms and consensual features of normal politics.

  For Deutsch the Nordic countries were no longer a case in-between, a peculiar meeting-point of different conceptualizations. He saw them as configurations outside the ordinary toughness of international relations, and a grouping demonstrating the strength of instrumental reason in dealing with issues of security, thereby forming an essential example of a security community in his study on developments in the North Atlantic area.

5.  A Framework for Interpretation

  Many analysts concerned with the essence of the Nordic arrangement have followed the path opened by Deutsch. It has often been repeated that the hallmark of Norden is that war has become an impossibility amongst the countries of the region, and this without any hegemonic and strong institutions to quash the disorder assumed to be inherent outside the sphere of the domestic. While the empiricist approach applied by Deutsch in explaining this state of affairs has withered away, the Nordic peacefulness and lack of enemy perceptions among the countries of the region has assumed something of a dogmatic status. The presence of such an achievement is so strong and so obvious that no particular explanations are considered necessary any more 8 . Norden has been frequently labelled as a "security community" outside the domain of war without any deeper reflexion. What was once turned from axioms into subjects of investigation seems to have faded again into its previous position of a given state of affairs.

  One may assume that the optimism which undoubtedly colours such views is grounded in the understanding that the limits of the nation-state will not forever form the limits for the progress that is the hallmark of the modern project. The project may, according to this transformational view, once pursued skilfully, do away with the threat of war even in inter-state relations. The security dilemma is not as endemic as it appears once the achievements of modernity are carried further: the anarchy, fragmentation and enmity of international relations is to be overcome by integration leading to interdependence, joint values and a high degree of communality built around the aspiring for security. As the Nordic countries are taken to be quite advanced, progressive and democratic, it is easily assumed that this model nature also provides the explanation as to why essential borderlines have been broken precisely in this part of the world. What has been regarded as a very idealist stance in view of the "realities" of international relations, has materialized in Norden, the Mecca of modernity

  But where does this path lead and what are the conclusions regarding Norden's future?

  Karl W. Deutsch was relatively optimistic that a security community could, over time, be attained in Europe and the larger North Atlantic area as well. In a sense his prediction has turned out to be quite correct. The communality that for him constituted the essence of Norden, has lately also unfolded in a larger European and North Atlantic context.

  This interpretation implies that Norden has the character of a forerunner to the European Union, presaging more far-reaching integration-based communality in Europe. This view is correct in the sense that the EU may, along with Norden, be described as a sphere of profound communality and a sphere based on the nurturing of amity instead of enmity. In a sense Europe seems to have joined the Nordic endeavour in overcoming and leaving behind power politics.

  However, if this interpretation of a larger European non-war community is accepted, what is left of Norden as an autonomous model? The discursive value is clearly inflated. Why should Nordic cooperation continue as a sphere of its own if the same aspirations can be achieved on larger scale, within the European Union? What need is there for a separate Nordic entity if the same security functions can be taken care of and addressed much more explicitly within a larger European constellation, one that has rendered the intra-regional security concerns moot due to extensive integration? Or even more seriously: where to anchor the Nordic case if the salience of security declines in importance and a new agenda, based on centrality or peripherality, inserts itself in Europe at large and becomes decisive for the constitution of political space?

  In other words, the security-geared and broadly accepted representations of Norden as a "security community" do not invite such a specificity that would keep it afloat in the present circumstances. These representations standardize Norden in a manner that deprives the formation of a future of its own. It is prevented from assuming, as a political configuration without borderlines that would qualify a distinct difference, any particular profile of its own. The conclusions appear to be clear: the options that remain at the current juncture boil down to copying, adapting and merging within a larger context.

  However, the argument advocated here is that there might still be options available. It is claimed that Norden may on good grounds, by detachment from conceptualizations that are too narrow, tied to the modern project and too strongly oriented towards objectification and in that sense sociological analysis, assume forms that are specific and still provide the Nordic agency with a profile of its own.

  In order to substantiate this argument and to open up such a route, we need to return to issues of ontology and moves of enclosure. Established views on Norden could be tackled by going back to the basic triangle of security-identity-integration that implicitly formed the ground for the Deutschian interpretation. In that context, it is necessary and possible to make an explicit distinction between the state, nation and region as the main foundational categories in the constitution of political space, and to try to define Norden in regard to this broader set of options of construction.

  If these principles are systematized and linked to each other, the pattern that evolves may be depicted as follows:
integration   identity

  In this undoubtedly somewhat schematic triangular setting, based on corners consisting of the concepts of security, identity and integration, each side is identified as having affinity to its own foundational principle in the constitution of political space. The statist logic resides primarily on the security-integration axis, nation-formation links in with identity-security related questions, and regional formations pertain above all to identity-integration. This mode of presentation also involves a hierarchy in the sense that security, as a high policy issue, is on the top of the pyramid, while the two other conceptual departures - integration and identity which form the basis for regional formations - are at the bottom due to their "low politics" character.

  So what is Norden's place within this frame-work?

  It appears that representations of Norden are rarely, because of their pluralist nature, sophisticated enough to distinguish between identity, security and integration as separate corners. Some basic postures are there, but there is a lack of definitions that systematically cover all the relevant aspects. The same goes for the foundational principles of state, nation and region. State and nation are mostly fused into one: the category of nation-state, and the formation of regions is not ascribed any standing of its own as a foundational principle on the political arena.

  This lack of precision and ground for alternative delineations is exactly why the triangle appears to be useful. It provides subjectivity to each of the sides (state, nation, region), and does not make any of the three principal categories a derivative of some other. It appears to point out, in being non-hierarchic as to the relationship between the three foundation categories, some tendencies, extends borderlines and offers departures needed in the discovery of some missing options or ways of representation in the understanding of the Nordic project.

6.  A Strategy of De-securitization

  Deutschian representations of Norden display a pattern that has a distinct place within the triangular setting of the figure sketched above. They have primarily moved on the security-integration axis, and the political logic applied has been limited in a constructivist sense in being still to some degree statist, although the Deutschian approach provides considerable space for a societal perspective. Success or failure has been measured in terms of security and peacefulness, i.e. the ability to do away with the institution of interstate war, and in this sense the presence of war has been a core constituting factor. The statist inclinations that remained in the approach followed from the Deutschian endeavours to downgrade any idealist notions by resorting to empirical measurement and interactionist rather than discursive approach, and to stay relatively closely to what has been understood to be a realistic perception of international affairs. The approach applied hence rested on somewhat conventional ground, and the radical aspects consisted mainly of a preparedness to transform axioms into subjects of empirical investigation, factors to variables and more generally to treat political bodies like Norden in rather malleable terms.

  But one may ask whether this has been the way that the Nordics themselves have argued their case during the formative period. Has the project, as a spatial and political reality, been primarily about the avoidance of war between the Nordic statist entities and in relation to the larger environment, as the Deutschian approach leads one to think? Are the interactionist aspects as outstanding as implied by the Deutschian approach?

  The answer appears to be in the negative; basically the discourse on Norden employed a different frame. There has been efforts to securitize Norden both in terms of "hard" and "soft" security, but over time it has proved - until recently - to be quite resilient to such efforts. Looking back, it seems that Norden has not been about statist security and only to a limited extent about political, economic or social cooperation. Various schemes of integration have been put forward, but on merits of their own and not as ways of tackling and downgrading the institution of war. Ideas about a joint currency and a customs union were floated in the debate 9 at a very early stage, pointing to liberalist and interactionist endeavours of diminishing the impact of state borders, and 1873 saw the forging of a Scandinavian currency union, which gradually grew into a monetary union by 1901.

  However, the liberalist aspirations remained rather weak, although they have been there in the form of creating a Nordic citizenship and doing away with various hindrances that have prevented people from cooperating and moving around in the region. The federalist aspirations of creating joint structures above the states have been even weaker as the gist of Nordicity does not pertain to security in trying to stem the dangerous tendencies that reside with the states, and in this sense the Protestant Nordic communality and the European Catholic one seem to consist of quite different qualities and aspirations 10 . In being less geared towards security - or any other political category - in a traditional sense, the Nordic formula does not aim at tackling the states as the root cause for war. It does not focus on various measures and schemes that aim at downgrading the war-prone tendencies residing in the relations between statist entities.

  The issue of Nordic integration entered the agenda in a systematic and institutional manner relatively late with the establishment of the Nordic Council at the beginning of the 1950's. In order to stay attractive the Nordic arrangement had to assume forms resembling those of the European one. Towards the end of the 1960's a serious effort was made to establish, in the form of the Nordek-plan, a free-trade area, but the plan never materialized. Since 1972, when Denmark joined the EC, the Nordic grouping has been divided in terms of its policies of integration; the same situation has continued after the mid-1990's when Finland and Sweden joined the EU while Norway and Iceland decided to stay outside.

  The link between identity and integration (in a more formal liberalist or federalist sense) has thus remained relative weak, at least on the side of statist policies. In general, Nordicity, as a cultural theme and one that operates with identity as the core security referent, seems to have been able to resist various efforts to build into it some social element 11 . Being strong in such (cultural) identity, there has been little need to open up for statist forms of securitization, that would then have allowed attachment to some more established containers of modern social life, i.e. state, nation (as part of a political project) or nation-state in the inscription of political space. And seen from another angle: the lack of securitization also explains the non-competitive relationship.

  Such an avoidance has paved room for a Scandinavian/Nordic identity to emerge, and to do so without challenging in any outright way any of the existing basic identities or the primacy of sovereignty as a constitutive principle. This endeavouring at not replacing those basic foundational departures already on the scene with another but to add yet another category of political space has clearly contributed to the differentiation of the political landscape in northern Europe. A multiplicity has emerged that should not be there according to an ordinary, sovereignty-based reading of the political landscape.

  It appears that with Nordicity being detached from security, there has been little pressure to invent and introduce interactionist schemes to settle or circumvent the dilemmas of security. In general Nordicity has not been introduced as any competitor to statist configurations as states have been viewed as a legitimate category per se.  The states have been around and co-existed with the Nordic, and they have not been viewed as being the problem and root cause bringing about insecurity, nor have they been perceived as a form a definite category offering the way out.

  In this respect the Protestant communality, as evidenced by Nordicity, seems to differ considerably from the European Catholic- one. They each have a discursive ground of their own. Both are forms of communality, but the essence of the Nordic communality consists of that security in a traditional manner has only an indirect place on the agenda, while peace and security, due to two world wars and the constraints present in the relations between the states involved in the relationship, have explicitly been part of the European project.

  Both are there as perceived communities with the actors choosing to act as if there is a community. However, Nordic communality is based on the absence of the image of war, and may thus remain relatively weak in any organic/substantial sense. There is little need for such 'sociological' qualities as war among the parties is not imaginable in the first place. 'Europe', on the other hand, is based on a very different image and discursive approach. With the image of war as a major constitutive factor and one that creates the bonds for (a political) communality to emerge, the European project contains far stronger organic and substantial features. The issues of war and security pertain to a variety of statist themes, this making the European project much more conducive to a sociological type of analysis.

  In the Nordic case the link between identity and integration emerged in the 1950's under the pressure of having to protect Nordic spatialization in view of the various European schemes of integration. This is to say that its nature changed with efforts of adapt to the European politico-economic environment. However, it seems that the link between identity and integration has primarily emerged due to external challenges originating with the need of having to respond to the challenges posed by European integration rather than as part of the original model.

  Recently there have also been attempts to activate the link between identity and security by proposing the establishment of a Nordic defence union, but these proposals aiming at placing statist policies in the very centre of the project have at least so far failed to attract any decisive attention. Looking back, one could go as far to argue that Norden has been there despite the considerable efforts of inserting security on the Nordic agenda. In general security has been a non-topic: as an issue it has failed to get any real foothold in the debate on the essence of the Nordic project. It has been around, and researchers on international relations have been among those that have tried to inscribe it on the agenda. Some proposals that would securitize Norden if implemented have been aired quite recently as the outside-in constitution has grown in importance, but it is not very probable that the link will be essentially strengthened in the near future

  At least a partial explanation for this lack of eminence is that security and insecurity are not exhaustive options. As pointed out by Ole Wæver (1995c), there is also the possibility of non-concern, i.e. one of asecurity, this being described as "If you don't feel insecure, you don't necessarily feel or work on being secure - you are most likely to engage in other matters". This posture of non-concern would seem to capture the essence of the Nordic case better than the more security-geared suppositions.

  Another way of putting this is to say that security has, in the first place, not been a joint Nordic concern. Norden has actually been "a community of asecurity". The Nordic project has not emerged as a way of handling security; such an impact has emerged more or less inadvertently. Security, in the ordinary power political sense, has remained with of each of the Nordic nation-states, and has stayed there. There has been an important borderline between Norden as an identity project and the more instrumental one that pertains to security. Nordicity has by and large resided in the sphere of culture, and has been doing so without turning into anything social or structural. As the emergence of a joint Nordic identity across the borders of the nation-states has been there, there has not been any need, or possibility for that matter, to insert the issues of security in the traditional sense on the joint Nordic agenda and therefore to aspire for intense interaction among the Nordics. This lack of detachment and ability to resist to a considerable degree efforts of being fused with any ordinary social category seems to be the essence of Nordic communality 12 . In being primarily about identity or the guarding of joint Nordic values, and as a true form of community something quite different from the sovereignty-based understanding of security, there has been little need to link up to various schemes of integration.

  More particularly, the avoidance of tackling the issue of security within the Nordic project has provided some constructivist leeway and helped to ensure Nordicity a place alongside the Nordic nation-states. If the Nordic configuration had started to revolve around the concept of security, the relationship would probably have become far more competitive and challenging for the statist actors. There are good reasons to think that Norden would not have existed as an entity that transcended statist borders if war - or some other explicitly political concept - had been elevated into a major constituting theme. This theme had to be downplayed in order to avoid activating issues that would almost automatically have provided states with a central position in the configuration that emerged, or offended them, if they were not ascribed such a crucial role.

  Instead, the way to frame issues in the context of Nordicity has been to elevate the importance of identity and cultural questions, and to stick to identity only. The aim has not been to try and settle "hard" issues important for the state actors, but to focus on the "soft" needs of identity, culture and the pursuit of egalitarian values. It seems that by departing from such a "soft" reason and feelings of togetherness, one has indirectly succeeded in settling a number of issues high on the statist agenda, i.e. by focusing on "low-politics" an answer has been found to some security-geared "high-policy" questions as well 13 .

  Another way of putting it is to say that the mode of establishing the Nordic body politics has not been one of hovering around the concept of sovereignty or related matters, thereby tying the entity aspired for to the state and to the specific substance of military affairs, or issues such as territorial integrity or border protection. It has not been driven by fear or otherness as the basic horizons. Thus the preconditions for any joint, centralizing and stifling statist arrangement have not been there, and the formation of identity and political personality have followed another, non-statist route leaving plenty of room for strong civil societies and allowed for networking across the borders of the Nordic states.

  A different framing has paved the way for options and liberties that have usually been suppressed by statist concerns. In this sense the Nordic communality, with its strong Protestant inclinations, appears to be quite different from the European Catholic one. The Nordic entity has not been enacted by making foreign, or by fearing each other, and consequently there has been little reason to link identity to issues of security and evaluate success or failure in regard to war and the avoidance of war. It can therefore be argued that in privileging security in the ordinary military sense, the Deutschian interpretation - and various other efforts to challenge dominant themes in the sphere of international relations - resorted to a discursive apparatus and a certain thickness applicable to European integration at large, but one that appears to have less explanatory power in the case of the Nordic project.

  This is to say that the mode of articulating Norden has not been one of dramatizing, claiming high priority, making it a matter of survival and placing it on the agenda of high politics. On the contrary, it has figured primarily as a 'speech act' (cf. Walker, 1993; Wæver, 1995a), a different way of articulating and framing the issues at stake. It consists of an approach that has been soft and modest, pertaining to issues such as culture, language, joint values and common heritage. It has been there as a feeling and in the form of various ideals rather than in the shape of an institution or a structure aiming at something instrumental. It constitutes a perceived community rather than a community in any organic/substantial sense, i.e. a form of belonging that transcends the nationess linked to each of the Nordic states in the form of a political nation. The concept thus comes close to that of an ethnic definition with identity being rooted in a historic, religious and linguistic core.

  The central issue has been one of identity, a feeling of being part of the same 'family'. The criterion for becoming, for Norden to exist, has not been that it functions as a subject in the security field. Subjectivity has rested on a different, a-securitized ground. The impetus has often been coming from below and it has dealt with issues such as reforms in spelling in order to harmonize the typography of the Scandinavian languages, i.e. the critical social movements have not entered the field as securitizing agents but have instead inflated the value of security as a signifier by focusing on other, more ordinary issues 14 . In some cases the essence has consisted of an ideal, or even a dream (Hansen, 1994). Nordicity has been embedded in a certain solidarity deeply rooted in the citizenry and their aspiration for liberty, and has been less concerned with statist issues in the first place. There has, no doubt, been a cultural affinity transcending the formation of the nation-states that has been strong enough - or unwilling - to influence the constitution of political space in the Northern part of Europe (cf. Børresen, 1991; Rerup, 1994). The symbolic dimension of social relations, one that does not evoke a Hobbesian form of life, seems to have been particularly outstanding and influential in the construction of Nordicity.

  Quite obviously Norden stands as a version of the national-romantic winds that were blowing from the 1830's, focusing on heritage, culture, language and religion. The ideas underlying the project were expressive rather than instrumental. They were, more importantly, directed against the homogenization and formation of exclusive categorizations of political space, as required by the modern nation-state project and its underlying binary logic with strict divisions into inside and outside. Difference turned into a positive category instead of transforming into distinct otherness between the countries in question.

  Norden appears to have escaped this dualism and pressure towards homogeneity. In the trade-off between citizenship and some more broadly conceived alternatives, among them humanity, citizenship attached to the state has almost without exception been the winning ticket. Norden does not seem to abide to this rule, and it has remained a different, less statist and territorially fixed mode of belonging and framing political space. In this sense it may be looked upon as an alternative route of modernity, a project that also included some pre-modern, non-modern or anti-modern features. It appears that the Nordic project had elements of resistance leaning on the unity, originating partly with the common links between the Scandinavian monarchies, that prevailed in the region prior to the setting in of the ordinary modernist, more divisive and political logic of the nation-states. It has been able first to escape, and later to resist a conflictual framing of social relations (including the one embodied in the scholarly debate), one that pushes towards clearcut distinctions between friends and enemies.

  All this seems to imply that Norden did not transform into a "security community" after having first followed the ordinary course of modern development with an emphasis on nation-states as the prime categories of political space with progress inside and threat outside. Instead of having become "more modern", as is often implied, or being the next twist in the modern development to follow the first one close to the 'realist' understanding, Norden seems to have constituted a deviation all along. It has been doing so by escaping the ordinary securitization of political space at an early phase, and has thereby also avoided becoming a statist and interaction-geared arrangement, or alternatively an arrangement directed against states once these are seen as a source of danger and insecurity.

  Interestingly enough, it has been argued that in essence Nordicity is part and parcel of cultural modernity that merged with certain orientations of a political kind. In terms of cultural radicalism it amounted to a specific Nordic ideology, which then paved the way for societal development of its own kind during the 20th century. According to Uffe Østergård "A cultural modernism merged with political conceptualizations and boiled down, under the heading of cultural radicalism, into an autonomous Nordic ideological phenomenon" 15 . "Autonomous" could be taken to mean that Nordicity contained certain features of its own, and "cultural radicalism" that it played out above all in the category of culture without being immediately linked to the usual political, social or economic categories of modernity.

  The impulsive and temporal nature of the formation could well be covered by addressing it in terms of a network 16 . The political personality provided with a central place in the discourse has not been the state, but the citizens or people and their joint culture, and sovereignty has not been the core foundational principle. The Nordic arrangement have taken the form of a decentralized horizontal order - the "cultural radicalism" brought up by Uffe Østergård, pointing to premodern or postmodern rather than modern features in the ordinary sense of the concept. These are all factors that explain why it has been relatively easy for the Nordic states to tolerate Nordicity. The states have not been seriously offended as the discourse rarely touched upon anything that belonged to the sphere of the Nordic states themselves, it had few interactionist consequences and the states have to a large degree remained indifferent to the whole Nordic spatialization (if seen in an international relations perspective), nor has any Nordic state been dominant enough to be able to take over, politicise and transform Nordicity into a statist project of its own.

  It seems, however, that statist representations have been gaining ground with time. In recent years, with the increased aspects of being constituted outside-in, Nordic cooperation has assumed a number of features that have strengthened the governmental side 17 . Under pressure, it has assumed features that make it less autonomous and original as an idea and symbolic order. The borderline between the cultural and the statist has become vaguer. This was already evident with the establishment of the Council of Ministers at the beginning of the 1970's to compensate for the failure of the Nordek-plan. More recently, the importance of Nordic cooperation as a vehicle for the governments seems to have increased with issues such as relations to the EU, Barents Region and Baltic Sea cooperation high on the Nordic agenda. These issues are primarily handled by the governments, but they are also reflected, in the form of special sessions, in the work of the Nordic Council as the regular sessions of the Council have been reduced from two to one. As part of the new procedures, one of the Nordic Prime Ministers is annually appointed to assume responsibility for the advancement of Nordic cooperation. Moreover, there are more joint foreign policy statements, common endeavours such as the Nordic Battalion in Macedonia or joint schemes of military procurement among some of the Nordic countries. While the Nordic states have increasingly opened up for liberalist (but not federalist) forms of communality in a European context, they seem to compensate for this by intensifying their grip over Nordic communality, thus making the remaining forms more statist, and thereby also part of the ordinary discourse on international relations.

  It seems then that Nordic cooperation has increasingly assumed features of normal governmental cooperation vis-à-vis  the external environment. There are signs that security has to some extent enhanced its position. Security and integration are increasingly linked; the two fields are becoming mutually reinforcing. It appears that Norden has assumed, under pressure of European integration and the demise of the cold war, forms that correspond to the Deutschian interpretation in the sense of having security more explicitly and intentionally on the agenda. Issues of culture and identity are still there, but increasingly as residual categories with the issues understood to constitute the core of Nordic cooperation moving towards the sphere of instrumental and security-related statist cooperation.

7.  The Reference of Identity

  As indicated above, there is much in Nordicity that appears to fall outside the departure applied by Karl W. Deutsch - or the efforts of representing Norden as ultimate in modernity. In dealing with the concrete and measurable, he remained within the traditional frame and meaning of security in international relations theory. For him, Norden was an empirical argument, not an ontological issue. Likewise, security was something objective, a matter of survival in the ordinary statist sense and a goal to be achieved by concrete policies with measurable consequences. Although challenging some aspects of the dominant power political interpretation, he nevertheless remained within the limits of the understanding permeated by the same (societal) logic, and therefore bypassed those more communal and non-political aspects of Norden that have not been marked by the more traditional discourse on international relations 18 .

  With his descriptive approach, Deutsch no doubt strengthened the image that Norden has been explicitly about overcoming the war system by politics of dependency, integration and joint identities, thereby securitizing the issue. He bypassed those parts of the Nordic project that have not revolved around the axis of security-integration, or security-identity for that matter. What was overlooked appears to be that identity has been constituted sui generis  without pointing out a threat. Norden, as a referent based on identity, has been so strong and self-evident that there has been little need to back it up by security-related arguments by singling out some antagonistic 'otherness' or with the establishment of different interactionist schemes. It has been about talking rather than doing, and security has not been a central theme.

  The point here is that the articulations of Nordic identity have not been predominantly marked in their very meaning, as has usually been the case in a statist context, by a security problematique. These articulations have leaned on difference, for example in regard to Russia and later the Soviet Union, or in some cases Germany. Sometimes the borders between 'we' and 'them' has been established by singling out Europe and treating it as an inherent sphere of power politics pursued by the major actors. However, these representation seem to have stayed in the category of difference, and this without swaying over to profound 'otherness' in any strict sense. The avoidance of purporting any antagonistic divisions in the context of Nordicity has been possible because security remained the monopoly of the Nordic states. This is also why Norden may not be portrayed as another twist of the ordinary discourse on security. Rather it has to be conceptualized as a serious breach of that discourse. By refraining from the usual logic, the self-fulfilling prophecies that lie at the hart of the security dilemma have been undercut, and possibilities have opened for efforts to alter the frame, find space beyond the usual modernist dichotomies and strict lines of demarcation such as those of 'East' and West' during the years of the cold war.

  A somewhat different way of articulating what is at stake is to say that the distance across which one can act politically has been narrowed down considerably (although some of it remains) by removing the logic of war in the constitution of the Nordic, opening up options for a different kind of communication as well as ways of dealing with ambivalence, and thereby the creation of positive, or as it has been sometimes argued, critical political space (cf. Pieterse 1993) and a public arena for civility and civil action 19 .

  The Deutschian moves have, no doubt, been progressive in pointing to alternatives in the constitution of political space and in contributing to the liberation of the concept of security from its fixation to military matters and gearing it towards culture and socio-economic issues. However, the overall frame did not change and the debate waged remained centred on security as an issue of primary importance. The representation of Norden remained part of a discourse on danger, one based on the fear that some otherness will not let "us" survive as a subject 20 . Yet it seems that the logic applied and the signifiers used in the making of Norden- have been quite different. The formation of Nordicity as an identity has been guided by not being determined in the usual way by fear and otherness, including otherness built into the very understanding of what "we" are. As noted by Bo Stråth (1995):"The Nordic became an integrated element of the national identities expressing internal community and consensus more than external demarcation and conflict".

  This orientation towards the internal and the cultural is not properly reflected in the Deutschian analysis, which has contributed to making Norden into a story that revolves around security. Due to a certain ontology, Nordicity contains in-built constructivist limits and moves of enclosure from the very start in dealing with an entity and spatialization that is not marked in its very meaning by the presence of war. The approach chosen fails to grasp articulations that displace security and may not, as a sphere of political space, be framed as the ultimate of modernity in settling a core dilemma of the sovereignty-based system of international relations.

  Upon closer examination, it appears that the theme that ties the Norden together and allows the parties to communicate in quite friendly terms, has not been a struggle against power politics and the danger of war. The language has been a different one. It has been based on a certain strategy of domestication, acceptance of diversity and the erection of political space based on lack of concern in regard to security rather than bringing up the issue in the first place. To depict Norden in terms of a "security community" is hence far from accurate and does not capture its essence. The term has connotations of something explicitly political, instrumental, intentional and skilfully applied. It purports Norden as being associated with an arrangement that is planned and deliberately aspired for in the context of suffocating war. In fact, there is little to support such a stance

  It can also be stated that Norden has not resulted, as is sometimes implied, from a gradual transformation evolving from a scene labelled by power politics in stages first to become a "security complex", then a "security regime", and finally to reach the ultimate stage of a "security community". The Nordic case exhibits no such linear and staged evolution, one that than avails itself to uncovering by objectifying research. True, the Norden has strong features of a community, but to link it with the traditional concept of security and to have it measured in relation to war provides Norden with a twist that appears to misinterpret rather than clarify its essence.

8.  Another Form of Nationalism?

  As Norden does not seem to fit in with a statist, sovereignty-geared logic, are there other departures that would yield better results? Would Norden unfold more naturally if the representations used leaned on the concept of a nation in linking Nordicity with a category of social organization?

  This is no doubt a proper question to ask, for it is obvious that the spectrum of options has to be broadened. There might be nationness present because the formation of the Nordic has been based on the existence of movements rather than the logic of the state. The aspects of "bottom-up" have been more important than those of "top-down", or to put it differently: it is concept-driven rather than anything based on a distinct political initiative or assemble by the forces of the market. Norden - as a debate on Scandinavianism - emerged in the form of a flow of ideas around the Nordic area, to be followed by the establishment of Nordic associations. The discursive aspects were quite strong and the interactionist one's relatively weak, although one could one could describe Norden as a set of translocal relations located at the dual interface of the domestic and the international.

  This movement-nature is also reflected in the fact that as an institution Norden - once the idea at a relatively late stage took an institutional form - has been linked to parliaments and parliamentarians, i.e. bodies representative of society as much as the state. As early as 1907 a Nordic branch was set up as part of the Interparliamentary Union. It is clearly to be observed that the states of the region have not spearheaded the process of transborder unification. On the contrary, they have shown a relatively modest interest in the Nordic configuration 21 . There has been no outright resistance but a certain competition for political space, and the governments have to some extent been on their guard against the parliamentarians, using the Nordic platform to interfere in high politics and penetration into the sphere of governmental issues more generally. In fact, there has been little for the governments to fear. Not even the Nordic Council has turned into anything supranational, or evolved into a firm decision-making body along the lines of governmental procedures but remained mainly (some say merely) a forum of debate and discussion, i.e. a construction talked into being.

  This rather light character as well as the movement-nature could be interpreted as indicating that the constitutive principle has primarily been one of cultural nationalism. It could be argued that Norden is grounded in Scandinavianism, a quasi-nationalism that failed to link up with a statist formation and therefore preserved considerable constructivist liberties. As the statist route was blocked by the formation of the Nordic nation-states, it would be logical to argue that Norden remained in the rather loose form of Scandinavian nationalism with an emphasis on identity and citizenship removing the constraints of state borders in some spheres that the states have been willing to tolerate.

  The specificity of the Nordic project seems, depicted in broad forms, to consist in there having been space for alternative frames and a multiplicity of identities. The route chosen has not been geared to the category of (political) nation, and there is, in this sense, a libratory dimension attached to the Nordic project. Those who regard Nordicity as another form of nationalism would say that there have been two different nationalisms present in the constitutive debate. One of these consisted of the ordinary, narrowly conceived and political nation-feeling underlying the nation-state project. This feeling, often mobilized from above, appears to have been relatively strong, providing for quite firm nation-states in the Nordic region.

  It follows from this argumentation that the other form of nationalism provided the ground for Norden. This culturally oriented version has not called for differentiation and exclusive spatialization in the form of a nation-state. Instead of aspiring for divisions along statist lines, it underlined unifying cultural values and goals that transcended the nation-state project and its core constitutive principle, that of sovereignty 22 .

  The duality inherent in such thinking has some merits. It could be argued that the broader conceptualization, the one transcending borders and accepting manifold identities, refrained from leaning on issues pertaining to war or security. The employment of such high policy themes in inscribing the symbolic order that is at stake would have played in the hands of the states. The coming to the fore of these themes would then have prevented the transcending of national borders in the first place, or transformed Nordicity into a firm, interactionist and ambitious federalist project which is what happened with Catholic forms of communality after the world wars.

  As this did not occur with the Nordic form of communality, there was no confrontation and need to narrow down the concept of nation in the usual manner. Scandinavianism had a considerable impact on national values, strengthening certain features and weakening others. Bo Stråth (1995) asserts that Scandinavianism has served as a sounding-board, a dialogue, and a mirror in regard to the national. Another way of articulating what took place is to say that there has been more space on the Nordic arena for the citizen - or the rather egalitarian Nordic yeoman - to be somebody identitywise without being exclusively linked to the state and a particular form of (political) nationness geared towards the nation-state project. The nation-feeling has thus provided the ground for another and detached configuration in the form of the Nordic pre-national and later perhaps post-national entity.

  The emergence of such a decentralized configuration based on multiple identities has, it has been argued, a special historical background. Unlike most European countries there has been 'a middle way' present in Nordic policies. Policies have consisted of compromises and solutions based on consent rather than enforced or dictated settlements. One possible explanation is that the Nordic countries have not been detained, in their process of modernization, by soaring class relations, ethnic rivalry or dissident (sub)regionalist movements that, in turn, would have called upon a very strict sense of nationalism and a strong central state as a unifying element in order to counter-balance the divisive effects of intra-societal conflicts.

  It is open to debate whether there is anything of a Nordic model, but in any case the Nordic countries have been rather well functioning, orderly and quite democratic. The relationship between the state and society has been relatively harmonious, and the word 'solidary' has had a real meaning in Norden, providing leeway for a generative grammar the goes beyond the dictates of state sovereignty. It has been possible to air articulations that have served as points of departure for proposals on alternative - or additional - configurations of political space alongside the nation-states.

  Another way of putting it is to say that the Nordic nation-states have been quite confident about themselves. They have felt so secure that it has been easy to tolerate the coming into existence of parallel, although not competing, forms of politico-cultural organization 23 . Room has been provided for allegiances, other than those attached to the nation-state, transcending statist borders and migrating to the regional level, thus creating an effective and affective foundation for the emergence of a Nordic polity.

  This is to say that the usual bifurcation of political identities into exclusive categories of "us" and "them" as something demanding inviolable sovereignty has not been present in the area. In the absence of strong nationalist movements geared towards a strong state, one which has to gain legitimacy in the eyes of society, Nordic national borders have been less sacrosanct than in many other places. The new nation-state "we" did not altogether crush the previous and different "we" that resided in the past; there has been room for both of these identities. This implies that Norden has been less detained by the usual power political understanding of the word that operates with exclusive categories of "we" than most other regions. It has therefore also been possible to articulate the world in terms that differ from the ones usually used in the formation and legitimation of the nation-state, and deviate from the ordinary way that political space has been unfolding in the context of the modern project.

  But what does this actually mean in basic conceptual terms? Is Norden something "real" and autonomous or just an anomaly and an orientation that has never fully matured and reached the real subjectivity which could potentially have been there? Some endeavours of explanation have been based on this latter understanding.

  Lorenz Rerup (1994) departs from the notion that the existence of a broader Nordic nationalism has been somewhat exaggerated. In his study on the relationship between nationalism and Scandinavianism, he concludes that no entity like the Scandinavian "people" or "folk" saw the light of day. In his view, no joint 'pan-Nordic' communicative field came into being among the inhabitants in the Scandinavian area. Nothing sufficiently strong existed on the grassroots level to carry the notion of Norden, and the joint statist interests and strategic reasons were relatively weak as well, i.e. the Nordic states are not to be held responsible for the emergence of Norden.

  Rerup thereby views Scandinavianism as something that has evolved in parallel to or beyond the nationalisms that emerged in each of the Scandinavian countries. Lacking any precise concepts that could be ontologically defended, he calls it "a transnational ideology on Scandinavian or Nordic unity" and claims that the central ingredient consisted of a cultural identity, one based on values of liberty in contrast to those that dominated the formation of political space in the German or Russian cases. It is argued that culture has not been sufficiently strong to carry the Scandinavian project. There was no sophisticated and advanced culture, in the form of shared language or advanced literature to provide it with the form of a common nation. Norden has, in this sense, been different from Germany with its "hochdeutsche" and a joint advanced literary culture. The specificity of the Nordic consisted, in Rerup's view, of the unsettled tension between the "noble idea" and the way that political space unfolded in concrete terms. He speaks of a "metanationality" that failed to turn into nationhood in an ordinary fashion, i.e. find political expression through some 'proper' nationalism and therewith transform into some 'real' political space, presumably in a federalist manner.

  The claim is, in more general terms, that neither the category of state nor that of nation have served as durable departures; no larger arrangement and point of anchorage emerged along the lines of development in Germany or Italy. Statist interest "from above" and cultural fluctuations "from below" did not merge, nor was there anything corresponding to Bismarck or Garibaldi to impose and implement Nordic unification 24 . The two basic foundational categories hence seem to be largely inapplicable in the Nordic case.

  No doubt Rerup points to a valid problem: Norden is there as a politico-cultural configuration but there is no proper social category or general frame, at least in a narrow (or sociological) sense, to provide it with a firm backing. He settles the issue by describing Norden as a kind of failure. He regards it as an incomplete and residual case that does not fit into any of the foundational categories of political space. As there are, in his reading, only two basic categories structuring political space, Norden has to be something of a left-over and a project that has been left in the shadow of the more proper ones, i.e. the ones that explicitly took the form of a political project.

  In view of this interpretation, the conclusion could be that history is now finally catching up with the Nordic anomaly (actually it should have occurred long ago, if this thinking is correct, once it turned out that there was no sufficiently strong social category or frame to carry the Nordic case, and this detracts from the strength of the argument). Its weak standing and lack of any firm point of fixation is finally being exposed and it is time to draw the conclusions.

  Rerup is certainly right in pointing to the inadvertent nature of the Nordic project and highlighting the problems pertaining to the foundational categories. However, his conclusions are open to discussion in that there might be other avenues providing more space for the Nordic case to unfold. A more pluralist interpretation, baked for example in the term post-national, could yield alternative insight. It is conceivable that the problem does not reside with Norden as such, but might stem from a rather narrow choice of categories and points of fixation offered, as well as from the argument that Norden has to be attached to some of the usual categories of explanation in order "really" to be something. The issue has a broader background in the sense that the interpretations governed by the modern script do not seem to allow for other foundational categories than those of state and (a political) nation to be applied.

  In aiming at a clean sweep, a modernist interpretation narrows down the options available and restricts the constructivist liberties to a minimum. Only the categories of state and nation are offered as true springboards of subjectivity. Consequently, there is a limited and a rather problematic ground for Norden to apply. It is obviously not to be slotted into a statist category but to provide Norden with a subjectivity as some kind of second order nationalism, nationness without really being a nation-project, also lacks in credibility.

  The existence of such a second, apolitical and stateless form of nationalism would not correspond to the way that the modern project has evolved in general. For an orderly and regulated pattern to emerge in the form of centralized and vertical structures, nationalism has to reside with the state. It is allotted the function of serving, in a standardized form, as a bond between the territorial power of the state and its subjects. Norden, if provided with a subjectivity of its own, would in the light of such a departure turn into a category that refuses national-statism and breaks its monopoly in the spheres of culture and territorial control. It would evade the unificatory function, dismantle essential borderlines and entail another fixing of insides and outsides. More generally, a second nationalism would, by the obscurity embedded in such a duality, distort the clarity, standardization and instrumental rationality aspired for in the context of the modern project.

  So why has Norden not disappeared once it has become clear that it is short of any genuine frame or foundational category? Why has it taken so long to grasp the message in the northern part of Europe that has been an integral part of the modern project ever since the French Revolution? Why has Norden been heralded as something particularly modernist if already the constitutive moves behind that configuration follow a very different patter?

9.  A Regionalist Formation?

  The fact that Norden cannot be categorized as a state or a nation but has nevertheless been around for over a considerable period of time, could point in the direction of a (neo)region. The loose, rather constructivist and relatively weak nature of regionality in social terms might well suit the Nordic needs. Regionality appears to offer much better options than the more established categories of political space if one departs from the idea that some point of fixation towards the social has to be there if Norden is to gain any subjectivity of its own.

  As a regionalist formation Norden seems to have certain special qualities, but the concept is flexible enough to allow this. Norden does not correspond to the image of a local or part-state arrangement in the way that regions are traditionally depicted, neither does it carry connotations of an oppositional or a provincial formation. Instead, Norden may be viewed as an around-the-state formation that extends community beyond the customary limits, and thereby introduces considerable variance into the modernist political landscape. It is not heavy, authoritative and respectful in regard to traditions, that is strong in subjectivity in a traditional sense, but falls quite well in line with the features of what has been called the new regionness (cf. Hettne, 1993), that is regionalism marked by a regional awareness, provided with a rather diffuse line between economic, cultural and political issues and having a multidimensional character. The concept of a region could offer considerable protection against the recent efforts to transform Norden into an explicitly politicised project.

  In fact, Norden's features of a regionalist entity are quite strong, and have been so all along, although there has a lack of a category that would have allowed such an articulation of the Nordic configuration. In comparison to the traditional categories, the Nordic arrangement operates on a different wavelength and applies another political code. There is a strong civil dimension present, and Norden may well be viewed as a public arena for exercising civility within a concrete framework 25 . The strength of this dimension gives ground for Norden to be categorized, among the various alternatives, as an identity region rather than a functional or an administrative one, these latter two forms of regionality being stronger as categories of the social 26 . The dimension of civility, civil meaning basically bourgeois, i.e. going without uniform, is quite helpful in shedding light on why the issue of security has a relatively weak standing in the discourse on Norden and, more generally, why regionality is such a desecuritized concept and category of political space in the first place.

  Although a regionalist interpretation provides Norden with a considerable standing, there appears to be good reasons to avoid an explicitly oppositional reading, one that contrasts Norden's regionness with the more traditional foundational categories of state and nation. Such a move would not be in line with the essence of Norden as a formation that aims at extending the opportunities available instead of narrowing them down. As a region extending across statist borders, the Nordic configuration has been able to co-exist without aiming at any authentic difference or supremacy at the expense of other categories of political and social space. In being relatively informal, non-hierarchic, light in interactive terms and loaded with rather positive connotations, Norden has succeeded in avoiding suspicions that it is there in order to conquer space at the expense of other formations. Yet it exists, and has existed in a rather persistent manner. In organizing political, economic and cultural space, Norden may for good reasons be regarded as a frame and an entity that offers opportunities to explore, experience and participate on many levels. The trademark appears to be precisely one of constructivist openness, this making Norden exceptionally difficult to pin down in any categorical terms.

  Moreover, Norden adds a horizontal dimension to the international scenery based mainly on vertical structures. It is not a top-down entity but above all an arrangement that links into the dynamics on the grassroots level. The Nordic formation is a multi-levelled construction in consisting - as to its more formal features - not only of state-parties but also the self-governed regions of Aaland, Faero Islands and Greenland. The Sami people have acquired a standing of their own as well. It is basically a centreless formation and leans on proximity, but is not territorially fixed in the way statist systems usually are. As a regionalist entity, Norden appears to be complementary rather than supplementary. Instead of aiming at ousting some other categories, and narrowing down the range of options, it adds to the plurality of the political and social setting. Norden is there in its own right, and has been doing so without having run into outright conflict with other foundational conceptualizations and categorizations.

  It has to be added, however, that it has not been common-place to purport Norden in regionalist terms. The label of region has occasionally been used, but mainly as a geographic delineation or a description without any analytical depth. As the understanding of regions has been rather fixed and permeated by the modernist logic, the term pointing mostly to local and sometimes opposition formations, Norden has been left with a status sui generis , and has in this sense been placed in a category of its own.

  A different setting is now emerging as (neo)regionality has taken on quite a new life since the late-1980's, although Norden has been rather slow in making use of this opportunity. There are still options to be exploited as Norden has not, in any decisive way, been viewed as a European region on par  with other similar formations such as the Mediterranean region, the Barents Euro-Arctic region or the Baltic Sea region. Quite recently there have been some efforts to elevate its regionalist features, including some scholarly works, but so far these have been exceptions rather than a consistent pattern 27 . It could well be that efforts of regionalization are still to enter the debate, but it is also possible to think that Norden as a form of being  is so strong that in contrast to the other, more recent formations there is no need to argue that one has to do  something jointly - if this is thought to be the essence of regionality - in order to be convinced that the being is meaningful. Norden has existed for a long time with a rather weak interactionist background and might do so also in the future.

  Actually Norden's strong character as a form of being might be a bit of a problem. In contrast to many of the more recent regionalist projects, Norden is no longer a vision and a fresh idea to be explored. It does not invite for an adventure having been there solidly over a considerable period of time. The interesting this about Norden not that it has to be created and given content, but that the content changes and the previous discursive departures are more harmful than helpful in securing it a future.

  The explicit linkage to the concept of region might in the case of Norden be one of the strategies needed in giving it a push into the future. Such a move breaks new ground and creates curiosity as regionality has in general not been ascribed with any subjectivity of its own in the sphere of international relations 28 . It has mainly been analyzed in functional and administrative terms, and viewed as something to be subordinated to the core categories of state and nation. It has been felt, in the final analysis, to spell trouble if the regionalist claims for subjectivity become too strong. The growth of regionality is often viewed as a phenomenon that detracts from the orderly conduct of public affairs as guided by the more statist logic. It is taken to contribute to the destabilization of nation-states as the two major containers of politics.

  If seen in the usual modernist light, region-formation is thought of as introducing divisions and pockets of restraint and thereby to be harmful rather than helpful in the organization of political space. It is interpreted as leading astray in challenging key aspects of the modernist script in deviating from the centralist, statist and security-geared Weltanschauung  that underlies much of the hegemonic reading. Regionality does so, it is thought, by delivering false promises and by endangering basic features of the modernist way of conducting political affairs 29 . The bottom line entailed in such reading is that region-formations, as forms of ambiguity, constitute something quite unwarranted and malevolent, and should therefore not be allowed unduly to grow in significance and guide the formation of international politics.

  These understandings have over time been quite dominant and this might partly explain why Norden has rarely been thought of as a full-fledged regionalist entity. However, this is no longer valid reason for avoiding the linkage, rather to the contrary, although in doing so there should be a sufficient degree of interpretative pluralism present. Norden should be looked upon as a region, i.e. a rather political project on its own terms without submitting it to anything pre-given, and the concept of a region appears to be flexible enough to allow for this.

  The viewing of Norden as a regionalist entity would bring forth a number of issues that usually recede in the background, and in general this would be a rather healthy manoeuvre. Regionality challenges the primacy of state politics, statist spatialization and the understanding of state boundaries as ultimate demarcations of society, community and political life. Unlike clearcut statist demarcations, regionality leans on unbundled territoriality, builds community across essential divides and operates in terms of change, interaction and acceleration, i.e. predominant themes of the postmodern period.

  This implies that regionality, in increasingly assuming the position of a foundational principle, also renders problematic those aspects of international politics that are built on stasis, singular identity of nationality, community within and the spatial exclusion of anarchy and otherness, that is a strict delineation of inside/outside. Moving from a marginalized position into a much more central theme, regionality opens up key issues in the organization and conduct of international relations. It appears that in the post-cold war period the borderlines drawn and territorial delineations applied are less strict than they used to be. Change is underway in the sense that regions are no longer as marginal and secondary as has previously been the case. They have taken on a new life in European politics, and such a change could potentially favour the Nordic configuration and provide it with a much stronger backing than has been the case so far.

  The consequences of being linked to this kind of problematique could be quite significant for Norden both conceptually and on a more pragmatic level. Instead of being eurofied on hostile terms, leaning above all on the concept of a nation-state, a different option could be available. Norden would be able to exploit its strong position as a civil power, revive its movement nature, and in a sense be given a chance to rediscover and elevate its features as a regionalist arrangement, one that leans on a non-securitized symbolic order. Making use of its anchorage in culture and civil society, Norden would firmly link itself to present-day European dynamics and the increasingly post-modern political landscape as a major regionalist formation, although with distinct features of its own.

10.  By Way of Conclusion

  But what does Norden stand to gain by its character as a community of asecurity and being increasingly depicted as one of the European regionalist entities? Is it a durable position and would there be space for such a post-nationalist entity without causing outright competition and perhaps even conflict with other foundational categories and more established forms of political space?

  Potentially Norden has much to gain. Purporting it in terms of a region and a regionalist formation is conducive to a certain distanciation both in regard to any statist agency and the issue-area of security. It brings forth a Norden that has considerable specificity in being constituted along principles that deviate from the ones that usually have dominated the discourse on international relations. This difference, pertaining to the explanatory variables used, could be depicted as follows:

  NORDEN I (power-political Norden) 


  NORDEN II (Nordic model, welfare-Norden) 


  NORDEN III (Deutschian security community) 


  NORDEN IV (community of a-security) 

  Norden could hence be comprehended as resting basically on a detachment from both statist and security-geared principles (Norden IV) in the constitution of political space. It is thereby a rather exceptional configuration as the opportunities of detachment have been rarely present with the dominance of the statist and security-oriented principles, the dominance of which has also been reflected in research on international relations.

  However, if perceived in this fashion Norden would no longer be a "mystery" and a category of political space difficult to comprehend and place in a context. It would not just constitute an anomaly that has been there due to rather specific and local circumstances but as a formation that is well in tune with current trends in the formation of political space (although articulated in a manner that tends to disguise this). With both statism and traditional concerns for security being on decline, increased opportunities seem to be opening up for formations that do not hinge on these two principles of constitution.

  This is to say that Norden, as (neo)regionalist formation and community of a-security, has considerable model-value and discursive strength. As regional formations have been acquiring a stronger ontological status in recent years, Norden would achieve a firm anchorage as one of the European regions. It would be provided with an undisputable identity as well as a role as one of the building-blocks in the post-cold war Europe. Moreover, it would grow in subjectivity in being linked with the increased differentiation and autonomization of the smaller non-statist parts of the European politico-economic landscape. Instead of receding with its previous position of sui generis , it turns into a mainstream configuration, one among many, although with some characteristics of its own.

  The new trends tend to emphasize Norden's nature as a network, elevate its cultural and societal aspects and strengthen the features of a bottom-up construction. They are turning Norden increasingly into a meeting-ground for a variety of different actors and a formation that contributes to a Europe with regional formations as important building-blocks: a Europe of regions, and not just a Europe with regions. It strengthens the "Europe of the neighbourhoods", a figure broader than the EU. This is important also in view of that Norway and Iceland are not members of the European Union, and options have to be found also to link in the Baltic countries into the constellation 30 . This is to say that Norden provides an significant inroad into being "European". It allows this to take place without having first to change into some exclusive category of European-ness, and provides a more flexible way of being European 'on the spot', one that builds on the Nordic evasion of securitization, and therefore non-federalist tradition of communality.

  The leaning on Nordicity could also be employed as way of easing the tensions that now exist in the relations between the state and the nation in almost all the Nordic countries, most particularly in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The relationship between Europe and the Nordic nation-states would no longer have to be perceived in zero-sum terms as has been the tendency for some time with the nation-state concept defining both these categories of political space (Holm, 1996:14). By departing from the Nordic and by using it as a linkage and an around-the-state construction, one could ease the tensions in the fusion of the nation-state. The Nordic would, in allowing Europe to be approached without breaking up the basic codes prevailing in the Nordic countries, grow in importance. It would no longer be restricted to the intra-Nordic or reside at the fringes of international life, but become part of a broader movement of crossing borders and transcending previous hierarchies.

  Such postures are backed by some general tendencies, as it seems that regionality has a considerable role to play in present-day Europe. It might even become one of the core principles if the aim of creating a more federalist European Union proves to be too demanding and other departures have to be applied instead. This might well be the case as the plans for deepening and extending the Union appear overly ambitious. Regionalization is bound to grow in importance under such conditions even more than has been the case since the end of the cold war.

  Norden and Nordic cooperation could under such conditions turn, in contrast to the situation that has prevailed for a long period of time, into an argument for political change and a core instrument in influencing European politics. Norden would no longer be based on moves of exclusion (in view to the extra-Nordic) but become an inclusive category of political and social space. It would gain a new meaning and achieve a much broader applicability than previously - provided that the discursive strategies underpinning the Nordic project are altered accordingly, that the concept of Norden allows itself to be politiced and does not rest hooked into an almost ethnic, and thereby a quite exclusive understanding of Nordicity.

  It is obvious, however, that competition will emerge among the different categories of political space, restricting the room available for Norden. This is already evidenced by the policies pursued by the Nordic states themselves. They have become increasingly intolerant about Norden as a non-statist form of cooperation and have taken measures to transform it into a form of ordinary governmental cooperation. The Nordic states are in many ways under pressure, above all in regard to the federalist but also to some degree the more general liberalist, market-oriented tendencies prevailing within the European Union. In being asked to delegate power to the level of the European Union, or to provide more leeway for market principles, they are less inclined to allow the Nordic entity to unfold, at least in an uncontrolled manner.

  It seems that with the more competitive situation the Nordic states have become reluctant to provide space for Norden unless being able to strengthen the statist elements in that process. If the project becomes explicitly political, then the politics have to consist of those of the governments. The extension of Nordicity into the sphere of foreign policy serves such a purpose, and the recent tendencies to securitise Nordic cooperation, for example by joint schemes of arms production or setting up the Baltic Battalion, appear to have a similar background. In a sense the Nordic countries are taking an easy way out; the endeavour of keeping the new post-modern features of the political landscape in check by modernist regulation. The parallel existence of a statist and non-statist spheres of Nordic cooperation is under strain, and the Nordic states appear to undermine the tradition that has prevailed in Nordic policies of allowing another, more regionalist track, and one that does not offend the statist actors, to exist.

  The previously rather non-politised nature of Norden now seems to imply that it is rather defenceless against statist intrusion and the imposing of more classical, sovereignty-based conceptualizations of politics, including those of security. The pre-eminence of the cultural as well as the separation between the cultural and the social, which has formed the essence of the Nordic, has become entrenched; and this is taking place, paradoxically, at a juncture when European politics at large has become increasingly tolerant towards such a stance.

  The relationship to the European Union is also competitive, although here the confusion is largely grounded in ontology. Norden is taken to encounter something similar to itself, a sphere of political space to be labelled post-sovereign 31 . Norden is viewed as something positive, but what is it good for if the European political scene is increasingly dominated by the EU and an interaction between the Union and its member states?

  The previous negation or opposition, with Norden being avant garde  and an indication of a better future, is suffering in credibility. It has become quite difficult to purport Norden as being ahead, and to perceive it as a case representing what Europe could become in the future if modernity delivers what it potentially promises. The European Union has in many ways taken the lead, and Norden seems to remain an identity project in the margins without any wider impact. Within the EU, the formal links between integration and identity have become quite strong, while they have remained relatively weak in Norden.

  Having failed to establish such a linkage due to the prominence of the discursive, it seems that Norden has been unable to present any serious challenge to the EU. Norden has remained a constellation focusing on issues of culture and identity; it missed its chances to develop into an entity strong on integration as early as the 1960's.

  Recent development tends to confirm this and the conclusion appears to be: either Nordicity dries out or one has to accept that it is to be shaped in a far more instrumental, political and state-oriented fashion. The role boils down, even in the best case, to a rather modest one as it is regarded futile to argue that Norden could outcompete the European Union and serve as an alternative framework for instrumental policies and integration. This is taken to be quite clear as over the last couple of years with Nordic integration increasingly unfolding within the context of the EU. Norden has been obliged to adopt and copy rather than develop in any autonomous fashion. For Nordic integration really to take off, the state-parties involved have joined - directly or in the form of the EES agreements - the European project. It is the linkage to the EU, it is argued, that finally has forced the Nordic countries to take the steps towards political and economic integration. Initially this stimulated interactionist tendencies in the form of intra-Nordic cooperation, but more recently the EU has become the dominant frame leaving Nordic cooperation increasingly in the shadow.

  There are, however, still grounds to argue that Norden has future options, and this is so as the EU are not all that similar to each other. Some important differences prevail and may be applied as departures in staking out a distinct place and cumulating discursive capital for Norden in the Europe to come, a Europe with more variation.

  There are reasons to emphasize that Norden and the European Union represent opposite ends on the same horizontal axis in European politics. They both stand out as steps away from the centrality and dominance of the modern nation-states, although they do this in a manner of their own and evolve in opposite directions on the horizontal axis. Norden, in being less conducive to any take-over of the social, tends to assume the form of a more restricted transborder arrangement, while the Union has evolved into a supranational formation covering a much larger sphere. The European project, with security high on the agenda, is closer to high politics while Norden, enjoying a certain cultural autonomy, pertains more clearly to the sphere of low-politics, and identity in particular. The EU has stronger structural and instrumental features, and it takes the form of an administration as well as a bureaucratic-legalistic organization, while Norden is organized in a relatively loose fashion and has obvious features of an identity-project and a movement, thereby enjoying stronger public support and anchorage on the societal level. As Norden is strong on identity in the first place there has been little need to securitise it in the usual manner, and/or to furnish it with a legal framework, structures and bureaucracy.

  It might hence be argued that despite being increasingly confronted with the European project, Norden still has a certain durable ground of its own. It is not forced to copy something quite "foreign", nor does it have to vanish alltogether in order to provide room for some more successful categories of political space. Norden has not become redundant and a residual category that originated with a period that no longer exists. It has not turned into a remnant and a category of political space more harmful than useful because it meets, in a sense, a formation that is in some ways similar to itself, the EU having become hegemonic and thereby the stronger one of the two.

  There is no doubt that Norden is confronted with serious challenges in an environment of eroding lines and disappearing horizons. However, there is no need to assume forms that are more or less an antithesis in regard to its previous self, neither is there any escaping into more narrow, statist and security-geared delineations of the Nordic (i.e. Norden I). Rather, the task pertains to developing a self-understanding and a discursive strategy that corresponds to the needs of an increasingly pluralist political landscape, and to apply this understanding in a creative fashion. It appears that Norden is still very much in the race as a regional formation but also as a civility, and is therewith provided with potential answers to dilemmas that the European project also has to struggle with. It is fully conceivable that Norden, being strong on identity and legitimacy, and therefore less conducive to securitization, is also quite applicable as a model and an articulation of political space on the broader European scene.

  There seems to space for another approach taking into account that the federalist tradition, one that leans heavily on constant securitization, is experiencing considerable difficulties, and that the liberalist, marked-economy oriented approach is mainly pursued as a second-best option without any major enthusiasm. Nordicity might offer some of the answers needed. It could potentially be quite applicable as an offensive strategy in the debate on the future Europe.

  If defined as a major European region and a significant form of 'civilian power', Norden could link in with important European dynamics, although this would require that the state actors allow the movement logic of the Nordic endeavour to prevail and unfold within the EU perhaps more strongly than has been the case over the last years. The challenging of the Catholic, and federalist form of communality, one governed by securitization, would imply that culture and identity are seen as core constituting themes. This would reverse the prevailing understanding of culture receding mainly with each of the nation-states and strengthen the rather weak endeavours of providing ground for joint European identities.

  However, the major move would consist of challenging the discourse on danger that still operates as the major unifying theme in the construction of the EU, and links it to a sovereignty-related discourse. The Nordic argument points to another route exemplifying that there is also the strategy of downplaying - or bypassing - the theme of security. This would open a variety of new perspectives as to democratization, transparency, the implementation of subsidiarity as well as the content provided to the notion of a European citizenship. It would, more generally, add to EU's features as a configuration beyond the ordinary, i.e. a system that does not challenge the states and statist concerns as such but operates increasingly on other principles.

  The European project would no longer revolve, if ideas central to Nordicity are inserted on the European agenda, as strongly as has been the case around the memory of world wars and a constant reproduction of fears and suspiciousness, but communality in a more profound sense. The option of desecuritization is perhaps not that farfetched taking into account that it has become increasingly difficult, with the experiences gained since the forming of the European Communities, to built the EU around a constant production of fear. If this is true, then Nordicity as a mode of construction has not dried out, but has still capacity left to influence the way political space is unfolding in the present-day Europe. Linking Norden more explicitly with regionality could provide an ontological standing needed in bringing out the existence of such potential.

  However, to arrive at such a stance would require some rethinking on behalf of the Nordics themselves. There has to be an awareness and improved self-understanding, but also courage to challenge the argumentation now underlying prevailing forms of European integration on the basis of ones own experiences. In any case, the constitution of Norden as a non-securitized sphere of political space implicitly questions the legitimacy a variety of securitizing practices, challenges their capacity of ordering, hollows a number of arguments used and, in general, opens up the perspective of Europe reframed as a non-securitized entity.


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*: A first version has been presented at the ISA Convention in San Diego, California, 16-20 April 1996. I am thankful to Jutta Waldes and Ole Wæver for comments and advice. Back.

**: Pertti Joenniemi, Senior Research Fellow COPRI, Denmark. Back.

Note 1: Norden is a somewhat broader term than Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway and Sweden) as it includes also Iceland and Finland. By and large these two terms may be used as synonyms, although "Scandinavia" is more original, and "Norden" has primarily entered the vocabularies after the worlds wars. Back.

Note 2: The useful distinction between 'inside-out' and 'outside-in' approaches, depending on the influence of either internal or external factors, has been developed by Iver B. Neumann (1994). Back.

Note 3: Stein Tønneson (1993) provides, quite accurately, a broader view by arguing that since the mid-1980s there has been a trend where national and increasingly a European rhetoric, identity and thinking has to some extent replaced a Nordic one. Back.

Note 4: Håkan Wiberg (1993) settles, in a condensed but qualitatively rather good study, for a combination of geopolitical, social and ideological factors. In searching for ways to explain what Norden is basically about, he reverts to a mixture of variables instead of narrowing down the explanation to a specific set of factors. Back.

Note 5: For a more detailed treatment of this theme, see Joenniemi 1992. Back.

Note 6: I am focusing almost exclusively on scholars and the scholarly debate in dealing with relevant voices and agents in the construction of the Nordic. There are of course also other voices and agents, so in this sense my approach is a rather limited one. For some recent articulations covering the elite, see Svenolof Karlsson (red.), Norden är död. Länge leve Norden! (Norden is Dead. Long Live Norden!). Nordisk debatt. Nordiska rådet, Stockholm 1994. Many of the interventions are to be found in the discussion waged in Nordisk Kontakt, a journal published by the Nordic Council. Back.

Note 7: Amitai Etzioni (1965) made a similar assessment stressing, in the case of Norden, the common cultural heritage and degree of internal transactions. Back.

Note 8: Ole Wæver (1995 b) has observed that the Nordic case has not been researched to any larger degree, presumably because it has been seen as too easy or self-evident. He also points out, by exploring critically some of the explanations offered, that Norden has a relatively weak theoretical standing. Back.

Note 9: See for example Carl Jonas Love Almqvist, Om skandinavis-mens utförbarhet. Speech delivered in Copenhagen in 1846, Reprinted by the Nordic Council in 1994. Back.

Note 10: This perspective has been elaborated by Teija Tiilikainen, Euroopan yhdentymisen vaikutukset Suomen ulkopolitiikalle. Huru, Jouko & Olli-Pekka Jalonen (Eds.), Euroopplaistu-van Suomen turvallisuushaasteet. Rauhan- ja konfliktintutkimuskeskus, Tutkimuksia,  No. 72, 1995, pp.11-35. Back.

Note 11: This is to say that identity security, and identity as a core security referent, is something quite different from statist security. It is possible to think that once Nordicity addresses identity security, there remains less need to discuss any statist forms of security. Back.

Note 12: It could well be that there is, in research on Norden, a need to draw a more clear borderline between society (Gesellschaft) and community (Gemeinschaft) with society standing for a network of exchange, competition and cooperation between individuals and institutions, and community being based on family, or family-like tied aspiring for identity, unity an autonomy. Through elements of warmth, its language, education, shared memories and myths, community retains some relation to its roots (cf. Hassner, 1993: 56). On this scale the European Union is basically a society while Norden comes much more close to that of community. With society being increasingly assuming a global character. communities feel threatened by constant flows of people, goods and messages, communities are under pressure. Back.

Note 13: This mode of explanations, one that stresses the process nature of Nordic communality and deals with security as an outcome, is perhaps not too far from the approach applied by Karl W. Deutsch, although Deutsch focused mainly on various objectifying features and various linear causal chains checked against assumed realities. It may be interpreted, as pointed out to me by Jef Huysmans, that Deutsch saw security as an end result rather than a factor conducive to the producing of security. Back.

Note 14: This adds a twist to the Walkerian way of calling upon critical social movements to acts as securitizing agents in an alternative, emancipatory ways. On this, see R.B.J. Walker (1986 and 1993) and the effort of Jef Huysmans (1996) to push the issue further. Back.

Note 15: For this analysis, leaning on works of Orvar Löfgren and Jan Olof Nilsson, see Østergård (1994), p. 15. Back.

Note 16: Uffe Østergård (1994) uses this very term to describe the student movement, which then continued later in terms of contacts and cooperation between civil servants, teachers, artists etc. He concludes that these networks worked far better than the grand ideas on formal cooperation in the sphere of high politics. Back.

Note 17: It has been pointed out, however, that in the years leading to German and Italian unification, romantic intellectuals in Denmark and Sweden/Norway discussed whether there should be a Scandinavian state. The programme was not only about region-building but sometimes also about state- and nation-building. See Børresen (1991) and Neumann (1994). Back.

Note 18: Uffe Østergård (1994) has quite correctly observed that a similar phenomenon can be traced in the endeavours of historians to deal with Nordic history. Predominantly, Nordic cooperation has been viewed as an exercise in foreign policy, the perspective being that of the participating statist entities. He argues that research into concrete and practical Nordic cooperation has been more or less neglected. Likewise, there has been little interest in analysing why the various schemes of Nordic integration have not materialized - as the predominance of the nation-state perspective has far too automatically provided the answers. Back.

Note 19: The concepts of civility and civil action seem to open up quite interesting perspectives in the context of the Nordic. These concepts, as used by Denis de Rougemont (1983) and Guy Heraud (1968), have been linked to postmodernity and regionality. Back.

Note 20: For a more comprehensive argumentation along these lines, see Ole Wæver, A Security Reading of Political Identities" (forthcoming). Weaver has been inspired by the writings of Hanna Arendt (1958; 1962). Back.

Note 21: Uffe Østergård (1994) has suggested that the background to this lies in the early phase of Nordic history. In his view the nature of the Nordic project changed in the 1860's. He compares the aims of the Scandinavianist movement to similar movements in Italy and Germany and argues that the outcome could have been the same had there been a sufficiently strong and determined local force to implement the programme. The different outcome, he claims, is to be understood by the fact that the interests on top remained rather weak and there was no national unification at the bottom. With the weakening of the local powers and the strengthening of the external ones, a process of unification became impossible and the vision of political Scandinavianism to evolve into a major power was substituted by cultural cooperation on the level of societies. Back.

Note 22: There is some kind of non-exclusiveness at play here , of regulating border-drawing and inter-state relations not ny enmity, as has been the usual solution, but by moves of inclusion. Arne Ruth (1984) refers to this specific state of affairs by drawing upon Margaret Coles, who wrote in 1938 that "The Swedes are far less possessed by a national history than most other nations in Europe", but does not explore the theme further. Back.

Note 23: Drawing upon the studies of Svein Olav Hansen on Nordic Associations, Uffe Østergård (1994) has observed that Nordic cooperation in its modern forms has been a conse-quence of the nation-states, not an alternative to such forma-tions. The associations came into being in Norway, Finland and Iceland after these countries had achieved their independence. He concludes: "Unchallenged national sovereignty has been the basis for societal transborder cooperation". Success in the sphere of civil society has been there, he argues, as it has refrained from dealing with high policy issues in the spheres of economy, foreign affairs or security. Østergård quotes a commentator who has regarded the Nordic Council "as an executive body of the Nordic Associations". Back.

Note 24: Uffe Østergård (1993 and 1995) is even more explicit in drawing a parallel between Norden on the one hand and Italy and Germany, on the other. Back.

Note 25: This seems to tie in with the conclusion drawn by Björn Hettne (1993) that regionality tends to take the form of a regional civil society. Back.

Note 26: These are the three categories usually applied in the context of regionality. For a more detailed discussion, see Veggeland (1994), pp. 39-42. Back.

Note 27: Ole Wæver (1992) compares Norden with the Baltic Sea region in an analysis of the unfolding of political space in Northern Europe. He thinks that the Baltic Sea region, as something new, fresh and interesting has much better chances of taking off in the new Europe than the more wornout Nordic region. Norden's future is viewed in relatively dark terms, one option consisting of the redefinition of Norden as part of the Baltic Sea region. The threshold has also been crossed by Iver B. Neumann (1992 and 1994) in his more theoretical work on the constitution of regions. I have pursued the idea of Norden as a region in several articles, including a proposal to transform Norden into a European region also more formally in the sense of it being represented in EU's Committee of Regions, and EU being represented in the various Nordic bodies. The arrangement would be similar to the representation that EU has in the Council of Baltic Sea States and the Barents Euro-Arctic region. See Joenniemi (1994 a). Back.

Note 28: I have discussed this at length in "Regionality: A Sovereign Principle of International Relations?" In Heikki Patomäki (Ed.), Peaceful Changes in World Politics. Tampere Peace Research Report No. 71, 1995. Back.

Note 29: For a more thorough treatment of this theme, see Joenniemi (1994 b). Back.

Note 30: This might, however, be quite difficult and perhaps also unwarranted as the Baltic entities lean heavily on a symbolic order in which securitization plays a decisive role. In that sense the Nordic and the Baltic communities - to the extent that the latter exists in the first place - are formations that are quite different in their construction. Back.

Note 31: The more general, and important conclusion here is that in downplaying and loosening the usually rather tight link between the issues of sovereignty, territorial integrity and danger, the principles applied in the constitution of Nordic political space appears to be postmodern rather than modern (cf. Christiansen 1994; Ruggie 1993; Nørgaard 1994: Wæver 1995). Back.