The Reconfiguration of the Norwegian Voluntary Sector

  • Bernard EnjolrasEmail author
  • Kristin Strømsnes
Part of the Nonprofit and Civil Society Studies book series (NCSS)


In this chapter, we draw on the analyses presented in the previous chapters and discuss whether modernizing societal trends have disrupted the social movement basis of the Scandinavian voluntary sector model, making it democratically less important, or whether we are witnesses to a reconfiguration of this model. To what degree has the organizations’ integral role in the Scandinavian societies been weakened vertically (links between the local and national levels) and horizontally (contacts with policymakers)? We argue that the social movement model still is the backbone of the Norwegian civil society, even though important changes have occurred, e.g., more organizations set up without local and regional chapters, decline in memberships, and voluntary engagement to an increasing degree being detached from membership. Furthermore, we draw implications of our findings for our theoretical understanding of institutional change in the voluntary sector. The chapter ends with a discussion of to what extent it is still reasonable to talk about a distinct Scandinavian civil society model or whether transformation trends are moving the Scandinavian voluntary sector in a direction which makes it less distinct and more in line with civil societies normally found outside Scandinavia.


Welfare mix Modernization Democracy Reflexive volunteering Societal cleavages 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Social ResearchOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of Comparative PoliticsUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

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