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STATECORP analyses the relevance of structural choice politics and historical legacies for corporatisation patterns in Norway and Sweden (1950–2020) as well as their consequences for organisational legitimation. The project seeks to enhance our current understanding of corporatisation at the fringes of the public sector, bridging separate literatures and taking into account the multitude of actors that are activated in (and implicated by) these dynamics. By studying the causes of corporatisation and its consequences, especially for the organisational legitimation of corporate entities, the project adds to various scholarly debates and sheds light on an oftentimes overlooked yet arguably large part of the modern democratic state.

STATECORP follows an inter-disciplinary approach and links explanatory theoretical perspectives on structural choice politics and historical legacies with an evaluative theory on organisational legitimation. It applies a mixed-method research design and combines state-of-the-art quantitative analyses with a set of historical case studies, inter alia based on extensive document analyses using also text-as-data techniques.

The project generates knowledge and data relevant to various disciplines. Its findings inform debates on the structural dynamics of the democratic state and corporatisation as a key structural dynamic in the Scandinavian context, studying the importance of actors and their context as well as sectoral or organisational legacies. Likewise, its evaluative view on organisational legitimation examines how these corporate forms manage legitimation, i.e. performative, moral, technical, and legal reputation towards various audiences in society. Lastly, STATECORP provides actionable knowledge on corporatisation that is of direct use for those involved in these dynamics and their consequences.

Project duration: October 2021 - April 2026

Funding: The Research Council of Norway




Prof. Dr. Julia Fleischer

Dr. Ole A. Danielsen (NIBR Oslo)

Prof. Dr. Simon Neby (University of Bergen)

Dr. Rasmus Nykvist (Ratio Stockholm)