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category: peer-reviewed article

title |

Swedish trade unionism: A renewed social movement?

author(s) | Abby Peterson, Mattias Wahlström, Magnus Wennerhag

journal | Economic and Industrial Democracy

publication year | 2012     issue | 1-27

abstract | Claims as to the emergence of a new phase of unionism – social movement unionism – returning to its original ‘counter-cultural roots’, are closely allied with the claims as to a ‘new labour internationalism’ that is a significant break from the influential postwar trend of nation-statist unionism. This article interrogates these two popular paradigms from the perspective of the Swedish labour movement. The analysis is based on qualitative interviews with union officials, as well as quantitative analysis of union homepage content and responses to surveys among May Day demonstrators. The general conclusion as regards social movement unionism in Sweden is that the major unions, although increasingly interested in cooperation with social movement organizations, are still far from changing the repertoire of action that has been predominant in the postwar period. International solidarity – among both union officials and grassroots activists – is strongly ambivalent, and attitudes to international support oscillate between charity and self-interest.

country project | The Netherlands

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