The last few decades have seen a rise in rural discontent in many Western democracies.
This rural reawakening is a societal backlash against neoliberal policy reforms, the state withdrawal from welfare provision, cultural and economic globalization, perceived threats to the ‘rural way of life’, and other changes in the countryside. Related rhetoric and protests can often take on nativist, conservative and even xenophobic expressions, making them easily slip into a right-wing populist spectrum. Many European right-wing populists came to power by exploiting and fueling the existing discontent in the countryside.
While right-wing populist sentiment seems to be absent in rural Norway, rural reawakening takes place here as well. This project aims to analyze rural discontent in Norway as an indicator of what some might see as a creeping crisis of neoliberalism. We will explore the similarities and differences between rural awakening in Norway and in other Western countries. We aim to answer the following questions:
- Does Norwegian rural discontent correspond to rural populist sentiments and politics in other Western countries? If so, why does Norwegian rural discontent not have right-wing features?
- Is rural discontent in Norway a sign of the creeping crisis of neoliberalism that develops over long periods of time before it explodes?