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Erik Bengtsson . Foto

Erik Bengtsson

Universitetslektor

Erik Bengtsson . Foto

Reconsidering the Role of Farmer Politics in Swedish Democratization

Författare

  • Erik Bengtsson

Summary, in English

In discussions of Scandinavian democratization, it is commonplace to argue that long- standing farmer representation in parliament and a lack of feudalism encouraged a democratic-participatory civic culture within the peasant farmer class – or perhaps in the population as a whole. The present essay questions this interpretation in the Swedish case. It centers on a re-interpretation of farmer politics at the national level from a two-chamber system of representation after the 1866-67 reform to the alliance between the farmers’ party and Social Democracy in 1933 and offers a new analytical account of the way that one class’s attitude to democratic inclusion can change over time, owing to changed political and economic relationships to other classes. I show that Swedish farmers did not organize themselves independently of nobles and land-owners until the 1920s, and that they did not play the role of an independent pro-democratic force. On the contrary, the broad-based organizations of farmers in the 1920s and 1930s, with their democratic, participatory culture, appear to have been heavily influenced by the political culture of liberals and the labor movement, which in democratic society opened the door to a re-shaping of Swedish farmer politics that abandoned the old (subservient) alliance with estate owners. It was not
democratic farmers who gave rise to Social Democracy – rather, it was Social Democracy that caused farmers to become democratic. Understanding farmer politics correctly also opens up a new understanding of the determinants of Swedish democratization.

Avdelning/ar

  • Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen

Publiceringsår

2019

Språk

Engelska

Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie

Lund Papers in Economic History. General Issues

Issue

2019:205

Dokumenttyp

Working paper

Ämne

  • Economic History

Nyckelord

  • democratization
  • agrarian politics
  • Sweden, class structure
  • farmers
  • Sonderweg
  • N53
  • N54
  • P16
  • H10

Aktiv

Published