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The making of 'Swedish democracy': Anti-aristocratic, royalist, reformist and exemplary
Södertörn University, School of Historical and Contemporary Studies, Institute of Contemporary History. Helsingin Yliopisto, Helsinki, Finland.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8089-8468
2019 (English)In: Journal of Modern European History, ISSN 1611-8944, Vol. 17, no 2, p. 147-160Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article investigates the formation and use of the notion of the ancient origins of Swedish democracy before the Second World War. A commonplace of the early rhetoric on the ancient origins of Swedish democracy was its reference to an anti-aristocratic tradition, despite the variety of political positions that the rhetoric served. It was the leitmotif of the first sporadic notions of a democratic past in the 18th century, it was the main topic of the romantic idealisation of a coalition between the monarch and the peasants, and it served as an argument in struggles over suffrage reforms and parliamentary government. When parliamentary democracy was institutionally established, the 'aristocracy' lost its central place in the rhetoric of a Swedish democratic tradition. At the same time, the notion of a coalition between the people and the monarch was revised to a more non-specific notion of the common interest between the people and the government. In the context of the rise of totalitarianism, a 'Swedish' and 'Nordic' democratic tradition was employed as a rhetorical means of defending existing political institutions in the country.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2019. Vol. 17, no 2, p. 147-160
Keywords [en]
Ancient, democracy, modern, Nordic, political tradition, Sweden
National Category
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38115DOI: 10.1177/1611894419835746ISI: 000464522300003Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85063938398OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-38115DiVA, id: diva2:1314653
Note

This research was conducted while the author worked on the projects 'Nationalism and Democracy in the Welfare State' (NaDeWe), funded by Academy of Finland, and 'Statsnatten i ny belysning: politisk kultur i Finland ur ett transnationellt perspektiv, 1809-1863', funded by the Society of Swedish Literature in Finland.

Available from: 2019-05-09 Created: 2019-05-09 Last updated: 2019-05-09Bibliographically approved

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Kurunmäki, Jussi

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Citation style
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