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Consensus and Discipline - Constructing Identity in the Swedish Trade Union Confederation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2010 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper aims at examining the role of trade union leaders in the construction of a strong cohesive class identity and its implications for the formation of a unitary labour movement. Class identity and mobilization constitute important factors for developing unitary class organizations which in turn play an important role for the establishment and sustainability of the welfare state. Based on a study of minutes, letters, annual reports and diaries I argue that the leadership of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation for blue collar workers, the LO, strategically decided to construct a strong reformist and consensus promoting identity as a response to the growing left wing threat in the organization and the troublesome high strike level. Through image management, the leadership implemented the reformist consensus image of the organization on the grass root level in Sweden in the 1930s using the newly established education system. Thus the leadership became the driving force in the class identity formation process using education as the tool for the identity formation process. This enabled the leadership to establish a closer cooperation with the employers and to build a strong trade union movement, as it turns out, the strongest in the world.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-140212OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-140212DiVA: diva2:383242
ECPR Graduate Conference in Dublin, 30th August - 1st September 2010
Available from: 2011-01-04 Created: 2011-01-04 Last updated: 2012-10-10

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Jansson, Jenny
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