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Who killed the ideologies or were they just resting?: Tingsten, technocratism and ideology in Sweden 1930-1970
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History, Science and Technology Studies Center.
2013 (English)In: History of European Ideas, ISSN 0191-6599, Vol. 39, no 1, 103-120 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article examines the reception and interpretation of the ‘death of ideology’ thesis in Sweden. The thesis was launched by the political scientist Herbert Tingsten in several works, and generated much attention and debate in the 1960s. The main opponents of the idea saw it as a liberal utopia, and also as an attack on Swedish social democracy. It is largely this interpretation that has gone down in history. This article seeks to demonstrate that Tingsten's idea can be given another interpretation and a quite different significance if it is set in the context of the period when it was first conceived, namely in the 1940s. According to this argument, the idea that ideological clashes were being given less and less weight implied not so much an attack on social democracy, but on the contrary heralded a new emphasis on the importance of social engineering and on the use of social science as vehicle for societal reform. Thus, instead of being seen as a liberal utopia, the so-called ‘death of ideology’ in Sweden can be seen as much more compatible with the socialist ends that were influential in mid-twentieth-century Sweden. These are, this article maintains, the true background against which Tingsten's analysis must be understood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 39, no 1, 103-120 p.
Keyword [en]
Death of ideology, Tingsten, Myrdal, social science, political science, technocratism
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-181527DOI: 10.1080/01916599.2012.664388ISI: 000322299900006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-181527DiVA: diva2:556545
Available from: 2012-09-25 Created: 2012-09-25 Last updated: 2013-09-02Bibliographically approved

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Hasselberg, Ylva
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