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Pining for the fjords: international perceptions of Nordic work, education and career guidanceThis chapter explores the way in which Nordic work, education and career guidance are seen by those outside of the Nordic region. It draws on an online survey of international informants which gathered respondents’ opinions about the Nordic countries. It finds that respondents are overwhelmingly positive about the Nordic countries, even though they do not claim to be particularly informed about these countries. They report that on average the Nordic countries are better places to work, study and receive career guidance than their own countries. The chapter makes the argument that the way that the brand of ‘Nordicity’ has been disseminated internationally can account for at least some of this international perception. While the ‘Nordic’ has become a powerful and positive signifier, it is an ambiguous one onto which the international community can project their own meanings and use to serve their own political ends.
Setting Nordic career guidance in contextThe introduction to this volume discusses the importance of situating career and career guidance in context. It makes a connection to wider research and writing that challenges the idea that career theory can be global and universal and argues that there is a need for attention to local context and culture. It then moves on to set the scene for a volume focusing on the Nordic countries, by defining the ‘Nordic’ and exploring key features of the region including the Nordic welfare model and the history of collaborations in career guidance across the region. It proposes the four ‘COs’ of Nordic career guidance (context, community, co-construction and collaboration) before outlining the structure of the volume and looking to the future.