The Aesthetics of Welfare

Name of applicant

Lasse Horne Kjældgaard


Roskilde University


DKK 1,041,618



Type of grant

Monograph Fellowships


The goal of the project is to write a book that investigates the interrelations between aesthetics and the pursuit of welfare in Scandinavia. It will argue that the Scandinavian welfare state model should not only be regarded as a political and social experiment but should also be considered a highly innovative “aesthetic laboratory” where new forms and functions of art have been developed. In order to understand this “laboratory”, the book will trace and analyse a number of international trends and genres within literature and cinema that get transformed into something distinctly new in Scandinavia, due to their transplantation to a cultural context where questions of welfare loom large.


The Scandinavian welfare state is a paradigm that is defining both to Scandinavian self-understanding and to the international reputation of the region. In (international) politics, business, and economics, the Scandinavian model attracts increasing attention, also for the potential solutions it offers to pressing global challenges. By disregarding questions of art and culture, which have always been key to – and precarious to – the Scandinavian welfare state model, we risk to overlook something that is exceptional about this model. For this reason, we need a thorough investigation of the aesthetics of welfare.


By compiling, organising, and analysing the relevant material and write a book about my findings.

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