Norwegian Euroscepticism: Values, Identity or Interest
19 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2012
Date Written: May 2012
This article presents a new theory – the VCR (Values, political Culture and Rural society) model – to clarify what Norwegian Euroscepticism is really about and explain why so many Norwegians do not want their country to be a member of the European Union. It argues that at the centre of Norwegian Euroscepticism is a concern for post‐materialist values, political culture and rural society, and that values (the desire to make Norway and the world a better place) is a much more potent explanation for Norwegian Euroscepticism than economic interest (the desire to make Norway a richer place) or perceived threat to Norwegian national identity. The VCR theory finds support in the empirical study conducted: a thematic analysis of newspaper debates in a major Norwegian newspaper from the 1960s, 1970s and 1990s. The findings also indicate that the Euroscepticism found in Norway in the 1990s is extremely similar to that which was formed during the first membership debates in the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to contributing towards the literature on Norway and the EU, the article makes a contribution to the general study of Euroscepticism by putting forward a new approach to studying and comparing the subject across time and across countries.
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