Digitala Vetenskapliga Arkivet

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  • 1.
    Spross, Linn
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
    A dilemma for the welfare state: managing the cost for shorter working hours, 1919–20022017In: Labor history, ISSN 0023-656X, E-ISSN 1469-9702, Vol. 58, no 1, p. 26-43Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this article is to study how the Swedish welfare state has managed the cost of shorter working hours. During the twentieth century, several official reports were published in order to produce knowledge about this issue and to deal with the cost for the reform. This article aims to examine the arguments and beliefs of the political economy of the welfare state that emerge from these formulations. An examination of shorter working hours as social policy sheds new light on the relationship between the welfare state and capital, in addition to limits for social policy imposed by the economic system. A reduction of work hours has never been justified as a reform that simply gives more time for leisure and less time for work, but has been assigned a cost that was necessary to manage. The reform was considered possible because it was interpreted as helping to reproduce labor power or capitalism as a whole. It was thought impossible and undesirable when considered to be a threat to this reproduction.This article shows the process of managing the cost for shorter working hours in Sweden and how arguments fundamentally changed over time, although the basic premises remained the same.

  • 2.
    Spross, Linn
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
    Ett välfärdsstatligt dilemma: Statens formuleringar av en arbetstidsfråga 1919–20022016Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The purpose of this thesis is to study how the Swedish welfare state formulated a question of shorter work hours, 1919—2002. During the 1900s, several official reports were published in order to produce knowledge about this issue and construct a manageable inquiry about shorter work hours. The aim of this thesis is to examine what were formulated as problems and solutions and which arguments and beliefs emerged from these formulations. Official state reports are regarded as instruments of knowledge production by the state. This intelligence was required to justify the possibility and desirability of the reform that shaped the question of shorter work hours in the welfare state.  

    The aim of the official reports was to create knowledge, which determined the value of working time reduction. Leisure as welfare meant that the state interpreted the citizens’ needs and formulated working-time reduction as either a possible or impossible reform. Working hours have never been justified as a reform that simply gives more leisure and less time for work. The reform was instead considered possible and desirable because it was interpreted as helping to reproduce the labour force or capitalism as a whole. It was thought impossible and undesirable when considered to be a threat to this reproduction.  

    However, there were two major reformulations of the question of shorter work. In the middle of the selected period, the matter moved from the sphere of production to a consumption sphere, meaning that the issue became less conflicted. The state’s responsibility to push the reform was deemphasized. Another reformulation is when flexibility was formulated as a solution, and thus made regulation of working time undesirable and unnecessary. This study shows how the conception of a question of shorter work hours was a process requiring formulations and reformulations and how these expressions fundamentally changed over time, although the basic premises remained. 

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