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“The Swedish Sonderweg in Question: Democratization and Inequality in Comparative Perspective, c. 1750–1920”

Bengtsson, Erik LU (2019) In Past & Present 244(1). p.123-161
Abstract
During the twentieth century, Sweden became known as a country with an unusually egalitarian distribution of income and wealth, an encompassing welfare state, and an exceptionally strong social democracy. It is commonplace among historians and social scientists to consider these equal outcomes of the twentieth century as the logical end result of a much longer historical trajectory of egalitarianism, from early modern free peasant farmers or from a peculiar Swedish political culture that was egalitarian and consensus-oriented. This article questions the Swedish interpretation of Sonderweg. In 1900, Sweden had some of the most unequal voting laws in western Europe, and more severe economic inequality than the United States. This throws the... (More)
During the twentieth century, Sweden became known as a country with an unusually egalitarian distribution of income and wealth, an encompassing welfare state, and an exceptionally strong social democracy. It is commonplace among historians and social scientists to consider these equal outcomes of the twentieth century as the logical end result of a much longer historical trajectory of egalitarianism, from early modern free peasant farmers or from a peculiar Swedish political culture that was egalitarian and consensus-oriented. This article questions the Swedish interpretation of Sonderweg. In 1900, Sweden had some of the most unequal voting laws in western Europe, and more severe economic inequality than the United States. This throws the purported continuity from early modern equality to social democratic equality into question. The roots of twentieth-century Swedish egalitarianism lie in exceptionally well-organized popular movements after 1870, with a strong egalitarian counter-hegemonic culture and unusually broad popular participation in politics. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
During the twentieth century, Sweden became known as a country with an unusually egalitarian distribution of income and wealth, an encompassing welfare state, and an exceptionally strong social democracy. It is commonplace among historians and social scientists to consider these equal outcomes of the twentieth century as the logical end result of a much longer historical trajectory of egalitarianism, from early modern free peasant farmers or from a peculiar Swedish political culture that was egalitarian and consensus-oriented. This article questions the Swedish interpretation of Sonderweg. In 1900, Sweden had some of the most unequal voting laws in western Europe, and more severe economic inequality than the United States. This throws the... (More)
During the twentieth century, Sweden became known as a country with an unusually egalitarian distribution of income and wealth, an encompassing welfare state, and an exceptionally strong social democracy. It is commonplace among historians and social scientists to consider these equal outcomes of the twentieth century as the logical end result of a much longer historical trajectory of egalitarianism, from early modern free peasant farmers or from a peculiar Swedish political culture that was egalitarian and consensus-oriented. This article questions the Swedish interpretation of Sonderweg. In 1900, Sweden had some of the most unequal voting laws in western Europe, and more severe economic inequality than the United States. This throws the purported continuity from early modern equality to social democratic equality into question. The roots of twentieth-century Swedish egalitarianism lie in exceptionally well-organized popular movements after 1870, with a strong egalitarian counter-hegemonic culture and unusually broad popular participation in politics. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Past & Present
volume
244
issue
1
pages
39 pages
publisher
Oxford University Press
DOI
10.1093/pastj/gtz010
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
5467987b-c08f-4515-b42b-1e0fed9508eb
date added to LUP
2020-10-16 10:44:15
date last changed
2020-10-16 13:34:14
@article{5467987b-c08f-4515-b42b-1e0fed9508eb,
  abstract     = {During the twentieth century, Sweden became known as a country with an unusually egalitarian distribution of income and wealth, an encompassing welfare state, and an exceptionally strong social democracy. It is commonplace among historians and social scientists to consider these equal outcomes of the twentieth century as the logical end result of a much longer historical trajectory of egalitarianism, from early modern free peasant farmers or from a peculiar Swedish political culture that was egalitarian and consensus-oriented. This article questions the Swedish interpretation of Sonderweg. In 1900, Sweden had some of the most unequal voting laws in western Europe, and more severe economic inequality than the United States. This throws the purported continuity from early modern equality to social democratic equality into question. The roots of twentieth-century Swedish egalitarianism lie in exceptionally well-organized popular movements after 1870, with a strong egalitarian counter-hegemonic culture and unusually broad popular participation in politics.},
  author       = {Bengtsson, Erik},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {123--161},
  publisher    = {Oxford University Press},
  series       = {Past & Present},
  title        = {“The Swedish Sonderweg in Question: Democratization and Inequality in Comparative Perspective, c. 1750–1920”},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gtz010},
  doi          = {10.1093/pastj/gtz010},
  volume       = {244},
  year         = {2019},
}