The Nordic Paradox Research Network

Exploring Sexual Victimization, Gender and Cultures of Intoxication.


The aim of this network is to bring together leading Nordic researchers within studies of gender, sexuality, alcohol and youth, to examine the connections between sexual victimization, potentially different cultures of intoxication and social and sexual relations among youth and young adults in five Nordic countries: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland.


Recent research has highlighted high rates of sexual victimization and violence in the Nordic countries, in comparison with the rest of Europe. These findings, coupled with recent media revelations of extensive sexual harassment (#MeToo), indicate serious discrepancies between the reputation of Scandinavian countries as “gender-equal,” and the lived experiences of many Nordic women. Scholars have noted the existence of a ‘Nordic Paradox’, in which high rates of sexual victimization co-exist with institutional gender equality, suggesting a serious gap between “principle and practice.” Although alcohol intoxication has been identified as a risk-factor for sexual violence, as yet little research has been conducted on intoxication as a potentially important factor in understanding the Nordic paradox in Scandinavian countries. Thus, the role of intoxication in sexual victimization and its relationship to gender and notions of femininity and masculinity remains poorly understood.

The study

Using three joint meetings, the members of the network will collaborate on comparing existing data and knowledge from each of the five countries, produce 4 comparative articles as well as plan future research proposals to explore this topic further. The network activities will end with a joint international conference held in Copenhagen in 2024.


The network is funded by The Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF).


The network is led by the Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research at Aarhus University and collaborates with scholars from Södertörn University, University of Tampere, Oslo Metropolitan University and University of Iceland.