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What the Hell is a High Standard? The Swedish Employers’ Confederation and the Six-Hour Workday debate in the mid 1970s

Ottosson, Mikael LU and Rosengren, Calle LU (2019) In Time & Society 28(2). p.634-656
Abstract
A concept that lies at the heart of political rhetoric is that of ‘workfare’. The issue, however, is what types of arguments have been invoked to assert the value of the concept. During the 1960s and 1970s, extensive criticism emerged towards a working life that was said to hinder women’s emancipation; a working life that wasted resources and had a negative impact on the environment; a working life that sought material consumerism rather than quality of life. The demand for a work time reduction also received much support. In this article, we have studied the use of language that The Swedish Employers’ Confederation used when publicly formulating their stances on the work time issue in 1975. We have chosen to highlight the argument... (More)
A concept that lies at the heart of political rhetoric is that of ‘workfare’. The issue, however, is what types of arguments have been invoked to assert the value of the concept. During the 1960s and 1970s, extensive criticism emerged towards a working life that was said to hinder women’s emancipation; a working life that wasted resources and had a negative impact on the environment; a working life that sought material consumerism rather than quality of life. The demand for a work time reduction also received much support. In this article, we have studied the use of language that The Swedish Employers’ Confederation used when publicly formulating their stances on the work time issue in 1975. We have chosen to highlight the argument contained in a discussion pamphlet published by Swedish Employers’ Confederation, in a situation where the use of language was determined by the left-wing movement, and solidarity, international aid and daycare places were keywords, rather than growth and consumption. The arguments employed in the discussion pamphlet were based in the idea that non-work entails a lack of solidarity for social development. Those who desired a work time reduction were portrayed by Swedish Employers’ Confederation as environmental villains and opponents to the liberation of both oppressed women and the impoverished of the third world. Swedish Employers’ Confederation’s pamphlet can be regarded as an example on how capitalism may handle major criticism. By reversing the meaning of the core concepts of the criticism, opponents’ arguments were assimilated, which contributed to a new rationalization of the capitalism. One of the major contributions from our study to the research field is an improved understanding of how this process developed. (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
industrial relations, labour history, work ethics, justification, work time reduction
in
Time & Society
volume
28
issue
2
pages
634 - 656
publisher
SAGE Publications Inc.
external identifiers
  • scopus:85067194831
ISSN
0961-463X
DOI
10.1177/0961463X16638230
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ab8dbfbf-57c8-4ce3-bf39-7dee6a82cc9e (old id 4934020)
date added to LUP
2016-04-01 10:44:19
date last changed
2019-07-16 01:17:57
@article{ab8dbfbf-57c8-4ce3-bf39-7dee6a82cc9e,
  abstract     = {A concept that lies at the heart of political rhetoric is that of ‘workfare’. The issue, however, is what types of arguments have been invoked to assert the value of the concept. During the 1960s and 1970s, extensive criticism emerged towards a working life that was said to hinder women’s emancipation; a working life that wasted resources and had a negative impact on the environment; a working life that sought material consumerism rather than quality of life. The demand for a work time reduction also received much support. In this article, we have studied the use of language that The Swedish Employers’ Confederation used when publicly formulating their stances on the work time issue in 1975. We have chosen to highlight the argument contained in a discussion pamphlet published by Swedish Employers’ Confederation, in a situation where the use of language was determined by the left-wing movement, and solidarity, international aid and daycare places were keywords, rather than growth and consumption. The arguments employed in the discussion pamphlet were based in the idea that non-work entails a lack of solidarity for social development. Those who desired a work time reduction were portrayed by Swedish Employers’ Confederation as environmental villains and opponents to the liberation of both oppressed women and the impoverished of the third world. Swedish Employers’ Confederation’s pamphlet can be regarded as an example on how capitalism may handle major criticism. By reversing the meaning of the core concepts of the criticism, opponents’ arguments were assimilated, which contributed to a new rationalization of the capitalism. One of the major contributions from our study to the research field is an improved understanding of how this process developed.},
  author       = {Ottosson, Mikael and Rosengren, Calle},
  issn         = {0961-463X},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {634--656},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications Inc.},
  series       = {Time & Society},
  title        = {What the Hell is a High Standard? The Swedish Employers’ Confederation and the Six-Hour Workday debate in the mid 1970s},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0961463X16638230},
  doi          = {10.1177/0961463X16638230},
  volume       = {28},
  year         = {2019},
}