A1 Journal article (refereed)
Comparisons, Categories, and Labels : Investigating the North–South Dichotomy in Europe (2021)

Tervonen-Gonçalves, L., & Oinonen, E. (2021). Comparisons, Categories, and Labels : Investigating the North–South Dichotomy in Europe. Critical Policy Studies, Early online. https://doi.org/10.1080/19460171.2021.2006072

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Tervonen-Gonçalves, Leena; Oinonen, Eriikka

Journal or series: Critical Policy Studies

ISSN: 1946-0171

eISSN: 1946-018X

Publication year: 2021

Volume: Early online

Publisher: Routledge, Taylor & Francis

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/19460171.2021.2006072

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/78877


The paper presents genealogy-oriented analysis of how the Nordic model gained its dominant characterization as modern, advanced and superior to other European welfare models while Southern European countries came to be labelled laggards in the welfare domain. To illuminate the relational nature of these, and all, comparisons, the analysis accentuates how researchers, politicians, and civil servants alike designate Nordic and Southern European states, their societies, and their welfare models. The empirical analysis focuses on scholarly writings about welfare-state comparisons (1986–2017) and on European Union documents addressing cohesion policies (1986–2021).

Analysis of the vocabulary and labelling illuminates how the Scandocentric and the South-related bias have been produced and reproduced.The analysis indicates that labels, once established, tend to get replicated without question and grow unquestionable in science and policy-making both. While reducing complexity and increasing predictability, this process simultaneously constrains alternative ways to interpret changing situations and alternative contexts.

Keywords: welfare state; models (objects); comparison; international comparison; dichotomies; discourse analysis

Free keywords: comparisons; labelling; welfare state modelling; dichotomies; Europe; policy discourse analysis

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: No, publication in press

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2021-02-12 at 13:19