English title: The Nature of Public Opinion on Education in Norway, Sweden and Finland – Measuring the Degree of Political Polarization at the Mass Level

Author(s): Audun Fladmoe -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2012


The aim of this article is to investigate public opinion on education in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Two questions are investigated: (1) whether there is a “Nordic model” of public opinion, and (2) whether public opinion is characterized by political consensus or conflict. Large-scale surveys from 1981 to 2009 are analyzed. The findings reveal that the nature of public opinion on education differs between Norway and Sweden on one hand and Finland on the other. In Norway and Sweden there is a tendency for supporters of the social democratic parties to have the most positive perceptions of the education system, even though the degree of polarization decreased during conservative participation in government. In Finland, political polarization was almost non-existent. Finally, the findings suggest that some of the dissatisfaction with the education system, as with other public institutions, was explained by support in populist parties. The article contributes to our understanding by filling a gap between research on education and public opinion.

Volume: 56

Issue: 5

From page no: 457

To page no: 479

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1080/00313831.2011.599420

Journal: Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research

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