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Sino-Nordic Welfare Research Network 

Financed by NordForsk (2011-2013) & Nordic Council of Ministers (2013-2015)

enlightened SNoW is open for participation by scholars and PhD students from higher institutions of education and research in China and the Nordic countries interested in welfare research.
China has in historical and comparative terms experienced a unique process of rapid economic and social development over the last three decades. Several hundred million people have been lifted out of extreme poverty, but at the same time inequality between social groups, between urban and rural areas, and between different regions of the country have dramatically risen. About 250 million people today belong to the so-called “floating population”, migrants from rural areas to cities and urban areas, generally with little or no social rights, creating unprecedented social challenges. Chinese academic and political interest in the development of social and welfare policies have, as a consequence, increased significantly during the last 10-15 years. Many social policies have been introduced since the mid-1990s, and the Chinese Communist Party and the government have during the last decade formulated and elaborated an ambitious vision of a “harmonious society”, with nationwide universal welfare programs for health care and pensions stipulated to be in place by 2020. 
The Nordic countries have gained world-wide attention as representing a special kind of “welfare model”, and welfare research has gained a strong position in the Nordic social sciences. Interest in the Nordic experience was recently expressed by Dai Bingran, Fudan University, in this way: 
 “The Nordic group of countries represents a distinct social model in every sense, the welfare state being its most distinct feature. In spite of its limitations, difficulties, and challenges, the welfare state, with its priority on a better balance between economic development and social justice and its emphases on full employment, social security, education, equality, assistance to the less-endowed, etc., enshrines many of the lofty human aspirations…..To China, still in the process of political, economic and social reform and transition, the experience and lessons are of special and specific values” (Dai Bingran, «Preface», in Stein Kuhnle, Chen Yinzhang, Klaus Petersen and Pauli Kettunen (eds), The Nordic Welfare State. Shanghai: Fudan University Press (2010), published in Chinese).
The book on The Nordic Welfare State (ibid.) was launched at a seminar organized by the Nordic Centre at Fudan University in May 2010, is one manifest example of both the growing interest in China in the Nordic experience and in the Nordic scholarly interest in developments in China. On the basis of that event the editors, together with Chinese colleagues and representatives of the Steering Committee of the Nordic Centre of Excellence Welfare Program of NordForsk, took the initiative to organize two Sino-Nordic Welfare Seminars (SNoW): NordForsk subsequently financed one seminar in October 2011 at Fudan and one in June 2012 in Helsinki, both with about 15 scholars from the Nordic countries and 15 scholars from China. One or two book publications will appears as a result of these seminars. 
Core Steering Group (CSG)
Stein Kuhnle, Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen, chairs the SNoW network, and will jointly with Klaus Petersen, Centre for Welfare State Research, University of Southern Denmark, Pauli Kettunen, Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki, and Åsa Lundqvist, Department of Sociology, Lund University, make up the project Core Steering Group. 
Extended Steering Group (ESG)
The ESG consists in addition to the CSG members of Rolf Rønning (Lillehammer University College), Anneli Anttonen (University of Tampere), Peng Xizhe (Fudan University), Xiong Yuegen (Peking University), Pan Yi (CASS), Lin Ka and Wang Zhikai (Zhejiang University) and Kinglun Ngok (Sun Yat-sen University). 
Purpose and Goal
The purpose and goal of SNoW is to:
  1. strengthen Sino-Nordic collaboration in welfare research and higher education;
  2. strengthen networking through publication of an electronic newsletter;
  3. strengthen competence-building and joint research interests through organization of PhD courses and seminars/conferences;
  4. strengthen networking through  mutual  exchange of scholars for shorter periods;
  5. strengthen The Nordic Centre which will serve as the organizational and administrative hub for all activities in China;
  6. increase the visibility of the Nordic welfare state experience in China
Scholars from the following Chinese institutions have participated in SNoW:
  • Fudan University
  • Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
  • Zhejiang University, Hangzhou
  • Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou
  • Peking University
  • Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
  • Renmin University, Beijing
  • Beijing Normal University
From the Nordic countries, scholars from the following institutions have participated in SNoW so far:
  • University of Bergen
  • The Stein Rokkan Centre, Bergen
  • Fafo Institute for Labour and Social Research, Oslo
  • Norwegian Social Research, Oslo
  • Lillehammer University College
  • Lund University
  • Institute for Future Studies, Stockholm
  • University of Stockholm
  • Aalborg University
  • University of Southern Denmark
  • University of Helsinki
  • University of Tampere
  • University of Jyväskylä
Activities planned for 2013
SNoW Publications:

enlightened Relevant News or Archrives