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Working paper

The Divergent Convergence of Multiculturalism Policy in the Nordic Countries (1964 - 2006) : Immigration Size, Policy Diffusion and Path Dependency

Willy Brandt Working Papers Series. http://hdl.handle.net/2043/26873. Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM), Malmö University, 2018. No. 18/5.
Nordic countries are among the main destinations for immigrants in the world because of their traditionally generous policies. They are also some of the most integrated and similar countries. Yet, in the 1970s when they became confronted with the “multicultural question”, they made different choices. This article shows that the presence or absence of a sizeable immigration was the main causal factor. It explains why Sweden adopted multiculturalism while Finland and Iceland did not. However, this factor was sufficient and not necessary. The formulation of multicultural policy provisions (MCPs) in Norway despite a small and late labour immigration was the result of diffusion from Sweden. In Denmark, the absence of sizeable immigration combined with the presence of a nationally-oriented policy legacy to further deny such outcome. There was an upward albeit slow convergence towards multiculturalism. Groupings of multiculturalist and assimilationist countries stuck together until the civic turn in the mid-2000s.