Some people are aware that the Nordic countries excel in education, gender equality, prosperity, human rights, health care, green technology, and responsive democracy. And, it is not a new idea that Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden lead the world in progress because of culture. But, is culture really the foundation of progress, and if so, what specific Nordic attitudes and values influence progress? Is Nordic culture a hand-me-down from England; if not, where did it come from? How do Nordic attitudes and values compare with their counterparts in the United States, and what are the consequences of cultural differences?
Exploring an Alien Culture answers these questions. A few of the answers may seem obvious, but more often the answers are surprising and sometimes they are disturbing. Readers will come away with an overview of both Nordic culture and American culture--why we do things the way we do--which will enable them to weigh and interpret current events or issues.
Plain-spoken and enlightening, Exploring an Alien Culture should appeal to readers who are interested in current events, education, women's issues, the environment, health care, ethics, politics, and it will appeal to readers who are interested in Scandinavia.
"When compared with Americans . . . [Norwegian students] value hard work rather than personality, they want to be independent rather than well-liked." -- Christen T. Jonassen
A side-by-side comparison of Nordic and American culture reveals well-defined differences, for example: American individualism versus Nordic group identity, American competition versus Nordic cooperation, American ideology versus Nordic practical thinking, and American equal opportunity versus Nordic equality. These and other significant differences might explain why Nordic countries lead the world in progress while the United States does not rank high on progress indexes when compared to other developed countries.
"Not the constitution, but free land and an abundance of natural resources open to a fit people, made the democratic society in America." -- Frederick Jackson Turner
Exploring an Alien Culture, 258 pages, is generously documented and includes an extensive bibliography. Pages 1 - 18 outline the reasoning, method and principal argument. Pages 19 - 114 describe eight elements or facets of Nordic culture. Pages 115 - 124 summarize well-publicized progress indexes compiled by a variety of organinzations. And they compare progress rankings for the Nordic countries, other European countries and English speaking countries. Pages 125 - 189 attempt to describe American culture and compare it to Nordic culture. This side-by-side comparison includes the author's interpretation of how elements of culture appear to be related. For example, commonly accepted ethical principles may be altruistic with American individualism, but that is not true with Nordic group identity.
Exploring and Alien Culture is available at your favorite local bookstore for $10.00. Curiosity is a good enough reason to read this book, but there's a better reason--Nordic culture works.