The Nordic perspective on migration and empowerment

Berit Mislund Dahl*, Sofie Buch Mejsner, Leena Eklund Karlsson, Catrine Kostenius , Glenn Laverack, Heidi Myglegaard Andersen, Maria Warne, Johan Lidmark

*Corresponding author for this work

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International migration is a complex phenomenon that touches on a multiplicity of economic, social and security aspects affecting our daily lives. In the Nordic countries' migration is a contentious political topic as the number of migrants has significantly increased in recent decades. The aim of this study is to analyse governmental policy documents on migrants in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden and to identify and compare how they are described within an empowerment perspective. A critical discourse analysis was undertaken of each Nordic country. The findings revealed that all four documents placed migrants in a passive position in regard to decision-making and that an empowerment perspective was lacking. Migrants are similarly treated in each Nordic country as a problem to deal with rather than as a possible resource for the society and the approach seeks to protect the welfare state and the culture of the country. The lack of empowerment perspective may be having a negative impact on the health and well-being of migrants and on their integration in the Nordic society. The article concludes by raising several questions in regard to migration and empowerment in the Nordic context.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Promotion International
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)216-222
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Migrant
  • policy
  • Empowerment
  • discourse analysis
  • Nordic Countries


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