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Demokrati bortom politiken: En begreppshistorisk analys av demokratibegreppet inom Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti 1919–1939
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Humanities.
2013 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Democracy Beyond Politics : An Analysis of the Concept of Democracy within the Swedish Social Democratic Party 1919–1939 (English)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation analyzes the concept of democracy as it was used in the official rhetoric of the Swedish SocialDemocratic Party (SAP ) between 1919 and 1939. Theoretically, the dissertation relies on German Begriffsgeschichte, as put forward by Reinhart Koselleck, and Michael Freeden’s theory of ideologies. Together, by supplementing each other, these theories offer a perspective in which concepts are thought of as structures that are under contestation and change due to socio-political circumstances. However, the formulation of this change takes place in relation to the linguistic praxis of each time-period, and renegotiates the relative constraints of established relations between concepts in language.

The analysis shows that the profound changes in society provided impetus for a continuous renegotiation of meanings, allowing concepts to retain their explanatory power under changing circumstances, at the same time the SAP needed new ways to express what kind of society the party strived to realize. The SAP had been one of the leading forces in the struggle for universal suffrage, and when the bill, giving universal suffrage to men andwomen, was passed in the Parliament 1919 this meant a temporary cessation to a long and intensive political debate. However, the SAP did not consider the introduction of suffrage reform as the end of full societal democratization. Rather than seeing the reform as a terminal point, the SAP saw it as the starting point for the struggle for full democracy. The SAP did not limit itself to only one concept of democracy but instead used a number of composite concepts, such as political democracy and economic democracy. The use of composite concepts can be understood as a changing temporalization of democracy. Since parliamentarism and suffrage were seen as central components in democracy, the realization of these institutions meant that the concept of democracy lost its future dimension. Thus, the usage of composite concepts should be seen as a re-temporalization of democracy. The composite concepts pointed forward in time, toward political goals that the SAP envisaged realizing in the future.

Concepts should not be thought of as having cores but rather, as suggested by Freeden, ineliminable features. An ineliminable feature is not of logical nature but has a strong cultural adjacency. By analyzing the ineliminable components of the concepts of democracy that the SAP used, it is possible to discuss whether the composite concepts should be understood as subsets of a whole or as separate concepts. The analysis shows that the composite concepts that the SAP used during the first half of the 1920s shared a number of ineliminable features, but that the commonality of these features started to disintegrate during the latter half of the decade, leading to a rather diversive concept of democracy. During the 1930s the disintegration ceased as the party was faced with new circumstances, for example the growing threat of international war and national clashes between different social groups. There has always been a close relation between language and society. However, the relationship does not follow a simple and clear-cut logic but a complex mixture of various factors at different levels, both within language itself and of society. When society develops, language also has to change if the ongoing process is to be understood. As this study shows, new circumstances require new argumentsand thus revised concepts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Bokförlaget Atlas , 2013. , 352 p.
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X
Keyword [en]
collective singulars, composite concepts, conceptual history, cultural democracy, democracy, economic democracy, historical time, history, industrial democracy, ineliminable features, Interwar years, labor history, labor movement, Michael Freeden, political democracy, political history, political parties, Reinhart Koselleck, Social Democracy, Swedish history, temporalization of concepts
Keyword [sv]
arbetarhistoria, arbetarrörelsen, begreppshistoria, demokrati, ekonomisk demokrati, historia, historisk tid, kollektivsingular, kulturell demokrati, mellankrigstiden, Michael Freeden, nyckelkomponenter, politisk demokrati, politiska partier, Reinhart Koselleck, sammansatta begrepp, social demokrati, socialdemokrati, svensk historia, temporalisering, collective singulars, composite concepts, conceptual history, cultural democracy, democracy, economic democracy, historical time, history, industrial democracy, ineliminable features, Interwar years, labor history, labor movement, Michael Freeden, political democracy, political history, political parties, Reinhart Koselleck, Social Democracy, Swedish history, temporalization of concepts, arbetarhistoria, arbetarrörelsen, begreppshistoria, demokrati, ekonomisk demokrati, historia, historisk tid, kollektivsingular, kulturell demokrati, mellankrigstiden, Michael Freeden, nyckelkomponenter, politisk demokrati, politiska partier, Reinhart Koselleck, sammansatta begrepp, social demokrati, socialdemokrati, svensk historia, temporalisering
National Category
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-17674ISBN: 978-91-7389-435-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-17674DiVA: diva2:606467
Public defence
2013-03-23, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-02-19 Created: 2012-12-12 Last updated: 2015-06-18Bibliographically approved

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