University of Iceland

The research milieu of the University of Iceland comprises a group of historians and social scientists working in different spheres of welfare research. Some are focusing on the historical development of the different parts of the welfare state while others are dealing with current political, social, cultural and economic issues.

Auður Stykársdóttir has written extensively on the first wave of the women’s movement in Iceland between 1890 and 1930. Guðmundur Jónsson has studied the the social and ideological roots of the welfare state and the agents and institutions influencing the development of welfare services. Halldór Bjarnason has done research on social mobility and the development of the labour market. Harpa Njals, who has recently published a book on poverty in Iceland at the turn of the century, is studying the social environment and the health of children in Iceland in her PhD programme in sociology. Hrefna Karlsdottir has recently finished her PhD from Gothenburg and is interested in taking part in welfare state research. Ingólfur Gíslason has worked in the field of labour history and labour market relations, while more recently he has been involved in gender studies. In her doctoral study, Steinunn Hrafnsdóttir examined the working environment of social service managers but her main field of research is the Icelandic voluntary sector.

The group will be able to contribute to the general Nordic comparison from an Icelandic perspective. As the historical dimension – as well as the institutional and value system – in certain ways seems to diverge from what is generally depicted as the Nordic model this is important for the whole understanding of the concepts of a Nordic model.

Contact: Professor Guðmundur Jónsson, email: gudmjons(at)

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