Nordic Review of International Studies 2024-01-18T11:32:04+02:00 Johanna Vuorelma Open Journal Systems <p>The Nordic Review of International Studies (NRIS) publishes peer-reviewed scholarly contributions within the field of International Relations (IR), focusing specifically on Nordic perspectives. The NRIS is committed to publishing articles that examine the international sphere empirically, theoretically, or institutionally from a Nordic angle. The NRIS is edited by Dr Johanna Vuorelma (University of Helsinki), Dr Sanna Salo (Finnish Institute of International Affairs), and Dr Ville Sinkkonen (Finnish Institute of International Affairs). </p> Editorial 2024-01-16T21:29:04+02:00 Johanna Vuorelma Sanna Salo Ville Sinkkonen <p>The security environment in the Nordic region is rapidly changing as a result of Russia’s war of aggression, which has various political, social, and economic ramifications. The most obvious implications are to do with hard security arrangements including increasing military spending and updating security strategies across the Nordics and the Baltics. There are also identity-related implications as the Nordics needs to re-think their collective identities and relations to the neighbouring regions. The second issue of The Nordic Review of International Studies (NRIS) investigates the Nordics from the perspective of identity.</p> 2024-01-18T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Johanna Vuorelma, Sanna Salo, Ville Sinkkonen Finnish Orientation(s) towards Europe and the West 2023-10-05T14:17:38+03:00 Henri Vogt <p>Finland’s accession to NATO in April 2023 has been celebrated as the final confirmation of the country’s western orientation, also in identity-political terms. By reviewing the Finnish approaches towards European integratory processes since the early 1990s, including the field of security, the article argues that rather than as an effort to develop a new kind of westernised identity, one should perceive this orientation as an affirmation of the traditional Finnish and Nordic, pragmatic and protestant values.</p> 2024-01-18T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Henri Vogt NATO’s Nordic enlargement 2023-10-16T20:27:05+03:00 Minna Ålander Sanna Salo <p>Prompted by Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, Sweden and Finland have undergone a paradigm shift in their foreign policies as they decided to abandon the doctrine of military non-alignment and join NATO. In this discussion article, we argue that the policy changes have been accompanied by fundamental shifts in the countries’ identities. This is particularly the case for Sweden, which long perceived itself as a ‘moral superpower’ in both foreign and domestic policy terms. A key transformation brought about by the changes in the security environment has been a reconfiguration of the relationship between Sweden and Finland. We argue that the changes in the two countries’ identities may be long-lasting, affecting the way in which Sweden and Finland perceive their positions among the Nordic countries – and the broader Western alliance.</p> 2024-01-18T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Minna Ålander, Sanna Salo Nordic, European, or Atlanticist? 2023-10-29T21:56:24+02:00 Iro Särkkä <p>This discussion article explores the interplay of three distinctive but overlapping geographically driven state identities – Nordic, European, and Atlanticist identities in Finland’s official foreign policy discourse during the post-Cold War period (1995–2022). It shows that state identities are used to achieve both physical and ontological security. These geographically defined identities are mutually inclusive and complimentary in character, building on one another. The discussion article argues that even as a member of NATO, Finland should emphasise the Nordic identity, which forms the basis of Finland’s fundamental value-based security community.</p> 2024-01-18T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Iro Särkkä The Nordic carceral system 2023-10-13T18:40:40+03:00 Brendan Humphreys <p>Scandinavian (Nordic) penal exceptionalism is a well-established body of opinion within carceral studies. It means that, judged by international standards, the prison systems of the Nordic countries are considered exceptionally humane. This article asks to what extent is Nordic prison exceptionalism a valid proposition; is the prison estate of the Nordic countries reflective of their broader societies, and if so, how does this relate to the idea of a pan-Nordic identity? The core concepts examined are collective identity, social contract, and Nordic carceral philosophy. The sources used draw from the theoretical literature about Nordic society, the established body of literature on incarceration, and expert studies on the Nordic prison systems. Conclusions largely support the positive view of Nordic incarceration but point to significant challenges to the broader Nordic welfare model.</p> 2024-01-18T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Brendan Humphreys The United Nations and Nordic identity 2023-07-09T13:20:26+03:00 Hanna Tuominen Anna Kronlund <p>Support for the United Nations (UN) has been a strong priority for the Nordic states. The group has been cooperating to promote their shared values and interests since the 1960s. The Nordics have gained a reputation as do-gooders, norm advocates and strong supporters of the UN. This article studies Finland’s UN policy in the 2000s from the perspective of Nordic identity, specifically how the Finnish approach reflects the common identity within the three pillars of the UN system. On the theoretical level the article is based on the literature covering group politics and collective identity. We focus on the value-based, expressive and instrumental dimensions of Nordic identity, drawing on Finnish foreign policy documentation and interviews with key Finnish UN diplomats and policymakers. According to the findings, Nordic identity is essential for Finnish UN policy, even if there is variation in time and in policy areas.</p> 2024-01-18T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Hanna Tuominen, Anna Kronlund Continuity over change, institutions over innovations, organised over organic 2023-10-13T14:36:53+03:00 Johanna Ketola <p>This study approaches Nordic resilience as a continuum and a multi-level process exploring the resilience perceptions across the region. Through a mixed-methods approach combining earlier literature and a unique set of interviews collected in the Nordic countries and regions in 2021–2022, the study develops a heuristic model of Nordic resilience, which is composed of three overlapping phases: resistance, endurance, and transformation. While the study does not attempt to evaluate whether resilience to certain dangers exists either spatially or temporally, it builds a catalogue of perceived resilience elements specific to the Nordics. The research confirms that despite terminological differences, resilience perceptions across the Nordics are aligned. The identified resilience factors appear mostly at the national and international levels emphasising the state responsibility and centrality in resilience production. Simultaneously, the interviewees give little attention to the micro-level responsibility for resilience, namely the role of individuals and communities. This leads to a Nordic resilience paradox where problems with responsibility and governability of resilience are practically absent but the strengths of a resilience approach are not fully recognised as attention to bottom-up agility, innovation, and organic transformation is lacking.</p> 2024-01-18T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Johanna Ketola