Dugnad as Part of Norway’s Culture of Cooperation: A Conversation with Carsta Simon and Hilde Mobekk

What is Dugnad? It is a uniquely Norwegian word that identifies an important aspect of its culture of cooperation. David Sloan Wilson talks with Carsta Simon and Hilde Mobekk on their recently published article titled Dugnad: A Fact and Narrative of Norwegian Prosocial Behavior, published in Perspectives on Behavior Science and available open access for a limited time period.

Carsta and Hilde’s study of Dugnad emerged from the Evolution Institute’s Norway Project, which examines Norway as a case study of cultural evolution leading to a high quality of life at the national scale. A book length account of the Norway project titled Sustainable Modernity: The Nordic Model and Beyond, is published by Routledge Press and is permanently open access.


Both the article and the book illustrate a distinctive approach that involves asking four questions about any particular product of evolution, whether genetic or cultural, concerning its function, history, mechanism, and development.


Carsta Simon is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Agder in southern Norway. Hilde Mobekk is a PhD fellow in Behavior Analysis at OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University. Both are trained in Behavior Analysis, which makes them especially well qualified to comment on the “mechanism” and “development” questions concerning Dugnad as an enduring product of cultural evolution.


Other Related Materials (pdfs available upon request):

“Why Norwegians Don’t have Their Pigs in the Forest: Illuminating Nordic ‘Co-Operation” – Carsta Simon [Open Access]

The ontogenetic evolution of verbal behavior” – Carsta Simon [Open Access]

Selection as a domain-general evolutionary process” – Carsta Simon and Dag O. Hessen

Group selection in behavioral evolution“, Rachlin H