This paper seeks to explain why the two neighbouring Nordic countries Norway and Denmark, despite many political and cultural similarities, have had very different legal frameworks regulating pornography. Denmark was the first country in the world legalizing both literary (1967) and pictorial pornography (1969). Norway, on the other hand, to this date has had one of Europe s strictest regulations, and legalized hardcore pornography as late as in 2006. Through combining the method of most similar designs with process tracing, this paper makes a historical comparative analysis of the political development leading to the different legislative outcomes. The paper argues that there are several reasons why the countries legislations represent opposite ends of the spectre in Europe. First, Christian conservative values have been much more widespread in Norway than in Denmark, as seen by an influential Christian Conservative party and massive popular resistance against liberalization in the four decades after World War 2. Second, Feminist groups in particular, but also Christian organizations and others mobilized massively against legalization in the 1970s and 1980s, contributing to keeping up strict regulations. Third, early legalization was to a much larger extent in Denmark than in Norway supported by the rulings of the court system. Fourth, prominent Danish intellectuals also contributed to a more liberal attitude in the public opinion, while liberal intellectuals in Norway met harsh resistance from other intellectuals and the public in general. The legalization in Norway came only after society, much as a result of influence from abroad, as a whole gradually had changed its attitude towards pornography.
The NPPR Working Paper Series: The Politics of Commercial Sex 2012:01 March 2012
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