Christer Ahlberger


Department of Historical Studies
Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41255 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 200
40530 Göteborg

About Christer Ahlberger

Born in 1956 gained Ph.D. in history in 1990. A research assistant at the Department of History in Gothenburg between 1990-94, then lecturer and subseuqently in 2002 a professor at the same department.


Chronologically, my research is situated primarily in the early modern, and to some extent, modern period. My dissertation from 1988 focused on Vävarfolket (The weaving people) with the aim of explaining and understanding the more complex aspects of their industrial transformation. In addition to intimate studies of the organisation of the home industry, systematic attempts were made to connect "the transitional issue" to changing demographic patterns, household size, migrations, etc. A special study was made in order to deepen the knowledge of a peculiar religious movement, the hoofianism, who had many followers among the many weavers.

Alongside issues of industrial, demographic, and religious conversion at the start of the modern age, I have been very interested in urban history. Within this field I have, in addition to a lot of articles, published two monographs: Åmåls stads historia (The history of Åmål) and Den svenska staden. Vinnare och förlorare (The Swedish town. Winners and Losers) The questions that have guided my work in the field are how and why cities developed as they did on the basis of changes in the social conditions and regional and national characteristics. The aim here is to try and understand, and maybe explain, what it is that is happening in the modern society; not least how the modern man emerged during the 18th and 19th Centuries.

A third major research field I have worked in could be described as "consumption and object history." Here I have published through the monograph Konsumtionsrevolutionen (The Consumer Revolution) a broad-based study that, among other things, aimed to solve a then key fundamental question about what the term "modern consumption" used in the research meant. I have also published numerous articles in this area.

My current research falls into two, possibly three, major parts. The first is an extension of my consumer research. The aim is to, based on fiction and edification literature among other things, try to get to questions about how the first generation of "mass consumers" experienced but also created the patterns of consumtion we now describe as modern.

The second area of interest could possibly be described as modern municipal and regional history. The project is driven by the aim to analyze the consequences of the "folkhem" reforms after World War II. The focus is on the last major municipal reform of 1971, which can be described as a "forgotten revolution" because public knowledge of this revolutionary reform is remarkably small. What this forgetfulness was due to as well as the actual effects, in addition to the purely political and "political scientific", municipal reforms have had are a few of the specific questions that drive the project. A third area of interest is to, based on a compilation of the recent decades of research on the "transition" to modern society, try to give an overall picture of the "birth of the modern." One ambition is to link research from subjects such as history, economic history, history of ideas, ethnology, etc. A central role in the representation is taken by the issue of "peasants and the Swedish road to the modern."