Sovereign Consumers Enter the Scandinavian Welfare State: The Case of Denmark

  • Niklas Olsen
Part of the Consumption and Public Life book series (CUCO)


Focusing on the case of Denmark, this chapter explores how neoliberalism and the figure of the sovereign consumer entered political discussions of the Scandinavian welfare state in the 1970s. More precisely, it shows how a new generation of politicians in the Danish liberal party introduced the semantics of neoliberalism into national political debates in order to address the contemporary crisis of the welfare state and in efforts to renew the ideological foundation of their party. This chapter argues that Danish neoliberals expanded the figure of the sovereign consumer by relating its dynamics systematically to the arena of the public sector in an attempt to transform the welfare state into a competition state. Moreover, taking the analysis into the 1980s, it argues that leftist political forces also shaped and disseminated the neoliberal sovereign consumer in a Scandinavian context.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niklas Olsen
    • 1
  1. 1.SAXO-InstituteUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations