Skip to main content

Lund University Publications

LUND UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES

The social origins of democracy in Sweden: the role of agrarian politics

Bengtsson, Erik LU (2022) In Social History 47(4).
Abstract
In discussions of Scandinavian democratisation, it is commonplace to argue that long-standing farmer representation in parliament and a lack of feudalism facilitated early democratisation. The present essay questions this interpretation in the Swedish case. It centres on a re-interpretation of farmer politics at the national level from the 1866 two-chamber parliament reform to the alliance between the farmers’ party and Social Democrats in 1933. It is shown that democratisation was late and rapid; the 1866 reform was profoundly undemocratic. Swedish farmers did not organise themselves independently of nobles and landowners until the 1920s, and did not play the role of an independent pro-democratic force. The broad-based organisations of... (More)
In discussions of Scandinavian democratisation, it is commonplace to argue that long-standing farmer representation in parliament and a lack of feudalism facilitated early democratisation. The present essay questions this interpretation in the Swedish case. It centres on a re-interpretation of farmer politics at the national level from the 1866 two-chamber parliament reform to the alliance between the farmers’ party and Social Democrats in 1933. It is shown that democratisation was late and rapid; the 1866 reform was profoundly undemocratic. Swedish farmers did not organise themselves independently of nobles and landowners until the 1920s, and did not play the role of an independent pro-democratic force. The broad-based organisations of farmers in the 1920s and 1930s, with their democratic, participatory culture, were heavily influenced by the political culture of liberals and the labour movement. The implication for analyses of democratisation is that deep roots are less decisive than often supposed, and that modern political agency and organisation conversely, in contrast to influential research traditions and theories of democracy, can reverse undemocratic traditions. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
In discussions of Scandinavian democratisation, it is commonplace to argue that long-standing farmer representation in parliament and a lack of feudalism facilitated early democratisation. The present essay questions this interpretation in the Swedish case. It centres on a re-interpretation of farmer politics at the national level from the 1866 two-chamber parliament reform to the alliance between the farmers’ party and Social Democrats in 1933. It is shown that democratisation was late and rapid; the 1866 reform was profoundly undemocratic. Swedish farmers did not organise themselves independently of nobles and landowners until the 1920s, and did not play the role of an independent pro-democratic force. The broad-based organisations of... (More)
In discussions of Scandinavian democratisation, it is commonplace to argue that long-standing farmer representation in parliament and a lack of feudalism facilitated early democratisation. The present essay questions this interpretation in the Swedish case. It centres on a re-interpretation of farmer politics at the national level from the 1866 two-chamber parliament reform to the alliance between the farmers’ party and Social Democrats in 1933. It is shown that democratisation was late and rapid; the 1866 reform was profoundly undemocratic. Swedish farmers did not organise themselves independently of nobles and landowners until the 1920s, and did not play the role of an independent pro-democratic force. The broad-based organisations of farmers in the 1920s and 1930s, with their democratic, participatory culture, were heavily influenced by the political culture of liberals and the labour movement. The implication for analyses of democratisation is that deep roots are less decisive than often supposed, and that modern political agency and organisation conversely, in contrast to influential research traditions and theories of democracy, can reverse undemocratic traditions. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Democratisation, farmers, class politics, Sweden, agrarian politics, Democratisation, agrarian politics, Sweden, class politics, farmers
in
Social History
volume
47
issue
4
publisher
Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • scopus:85139445991
ISSN
0307-1022
project
Dynamic peasants? Agency and inequality in Swedish modernization
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
5d5086ab-bc85-4b35-a2d1-cbe4ac159b43
alternative location
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03071022.2022.2112865
date added to LUP
2022-10-12 14:48:12
date last changed
2022-10-17 04:01:48
@article{5d5086ab-bc85-4b35-a2d1-cbe4ac159b43,
  abstract     = {{In discussions of Scandinavian democratisation, it is commonplace to argue that long-standing farmer representation in parliament and a lack of feudalism facilitated early democratisation. The present essay questions this interpretation in the Swedish case. It centres on a re-interpretation of farmer politics at the national level from the 1866 two-chamber parliament reform to the alliance between the farmers’ party and Social Democrats in 1933. It is shown that democratisation was late and rapid; the 1866 reform was profoundly undemocratic. Swedish farmers did not organise themselves independently of nobles and landowners until the 1920s, and did not play the role of an independent pro-democratic force. The broad-based organisations of farmers in the 1920s and 1930s, with their democratic, participatory culture, were heavily influenced by the political culture of liberals and the labour movement. The implication for analyses of democratisation is that deep roots are less decisive than often supposed, and that modern political agency and organisation conversely, in contrast to influential research traditions and theories of democracy, can reverse undemocratic traditions.}},
  author       = {{Bengtsson, Erik}},
  issn         = {{0307-1022}},
  keywords     = {{Democratisation; farmers; class politics; Sweden; agrarian politics; Democratisation; agrarian politics; Sweden; class politics; farmers}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{4}},
  publisher    = {{Taylor & Francis}},
  series       = {{Social History}},
  title        = {{The social origins of democracy in Sweden: the role of agrarian politics}},
  url          = {{https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03071022.2022.2112865}},
  volume       = {{47}},
  year         = {{2022}},
}