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Honourable Merchant or Efficient Businessman: The Transformation of Economic Culture and the Leading Economic Actors in Gävle 1765–1869
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History.
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation deals with how economic actors acted and related to economic institutions that were in a state of change. The question can be formulated as follows: How did the economic culture that Gävle's leading economic actors were a part of change during the period 1765–1869? The aim of the study is to provide new insight into Swedish economic development during this period.

The conceptual starting point involves the concepts of institution and culture. It is through culture – a meaning making of actions and ideas – that human beings perceive institutions. I maintain that there is a particular culture within the framework of the economy – and that culture consisted of a practice and a symbol system. The purpose of the symbol system is to convey a trust that is both based upon and required in practice.

The foundation of practice and of the symbol system that were used in the period before the 1840s was considerations of security associated with the private individual. There was no possibility to effectively supervise contracts entered into. This situation demanded institutions in which the basis of trust was expressed with clarity. The symbol system was aimed to create a relation between the merchant as an individual and his business contacts. After the 1840s it no longer made a difference to determine whether someone was a good person, but rather whether their business was profitable while maintaining technical quality so that one could rely on their products. It was no longer a lack of institutional clarity that called forth the symbol system and the practice that were used, but rather sheer economic insecurity. The honourable merchant who built his practice on security and had a symbol system that demonstrated this was gone. It was now the new efficient businessman who showed the way.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2007. , 297 p.
Studia historica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0081-6531 ; 228
Keyword [en]
History, Economic Culture, Merchant, Businessman, Trade, Industrialization, Practice, Symbol, Institutions, History, Gävle, Sweden, Production
Keyword [sv]
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-7467ISBN: 978-91-554-6793-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-7467DiVA: diva2:169643
Public defence
2007-02-23, 10:00
Available from: 2007-02-02 Created: 2007-02-02 Last updated: 2014-10-02Bibliographically approved

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