CENS engages in academic research and teaching, public debates and policy related knowledge. We promote critical research on different features that make the Nordic countries Nordic, with special focus on comparative perspectives. Our philosophy and mission is to be a facilitator and strong network partner for internationally high class and relevant research on the Nordic region.
CENS was founded in 2002 as the first research unit in the Nordic region dedicated to research on the region itself. CENS mission from the start has been to identify and analyze the particular factors, historical experiences, societal arrangements, cultural voicing and political conduct that make the Nordic countries Nordic.
CENS invests its resources in broking new networks and new research projects making use of the individual academic expertise of the staff, as well as its extensive national and international networks. Because of this, CENS urges its researchers to develop competences both as scholars within international arenas and as administrators of research projects. Academic, organisational and networking skills are all equally important.
Our international approach means that the academic work at CENS is conducted mainly in English and that most of the projects have a non-Nordic component or are part of a larger (European or global) endeavor.
We study the Nordic countries in their international context acknowledging the challenges of the globalised world. Especially topical is to ask what the Nordic countries have to put on the table in international discussion as examples of best/good practices or cautionary example of bad practices.
We ask to what extent is it fruitful to analyze the Nordic countries as a particular region? What are the historical experiences that unite and what are the national narratives that divide? To which extent is there a common Nordic agenda in the world? We aim thus to avoid essentialization of the culture and the political life of the Nordic countries. What unites and what differs are equally important.