ReNEW Early Career Paper Prize winners

The two ReNEW Early Career Paper Prize winners – one in social sciences and one in humanities - were announced at the Third Nordic Challenges Conference on 7 March 2019. The prize recognizes outstanding early career papers in research about the Nordic region. The 2019 winners are Carolin Schütze from Lund University and Byron Rom-Jensen from Aarhus University.

The winners of the early career paper prize were selected by an interdisciplinary committee consisting of Professor Janine Leschke, Copenhagen Business School, Professor Mitchell Dean, Copenhagen Business School and Professor John Campbell, Darthmouth College. The initiative was launched to recognize talented scholars at an early stage in their career – during the PhD and post-doc period. Scholars are eligible up to three years after their PhD defence and must have participated in a ReNEW event from the 2018 to the 2019 ReNEW conferences.

The winner of the ReNEW Early Career Paper Prize in social sciences is Carolin Schütze for her paper entitled “Feeling Fear in Times of Polarization.  A Systematic Content Analysis of Bureaucrats’ Commentary on Migrants using the Concept of Ontological Security”. The winner of the ReNEW Early Career Paper Prize in humanities is Byron Rom-Jensen for his paper entitled “Translating Nordic Equality - Swedish Gender Equality Policy in the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, 1961-1963”.

In her paper Carolin Schütze addresses an important issue, immigration, but from an angle few have explored, that is from the perspective of bureaucrats’ perceptions. It uses the concept of ontological security (security of being and sense of order) in order to understand bureaucrats’ perceptions towards their work life and migration. Empirically the paper draws on a sample of open-end responses from a nation-wide survey compiled by Swedish bureaucrats employed at welfare institutions in charge of the labor market integration of migrants. The paper is well-written and argued and has a clear structure. The author has a very good grasp of the relevant theories and literature and she does a good job in systematically presenting and discussing her research findings in the confines of the theoretical concepts. The paper uses innovative data in a methodologically sound way.

Byron Rom-Jensen’s paper argues that Kennedy-era legislation for equal pay for men and women was inspired by Sweden but ‘translated’ into a U.S. context. It seeks to demonstrate the utility of the well-known translation perspective in explaining the international diffusion of policy ideas/models.  As such, it can demonstrate the impact (or lack of it) of a Nordic model on a non-Nordic country. The paper is well-written and clearly argued.