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Sweden 1950–2015: Contentious Politics and Social Movements between Confrontation and Conditioned Cooperation

Chapter in book
Authors Abby Peterson
Håkan Thörn
Mattias Wahlström
Published in Mikkelsen F., Kjeldstadli K., Nyzell S. (eds) Popular Struggle and Democracy in Scandinavia: 1700-Present
Pages 377-432
ISBN ISBN 978-1-137-57849-5
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Place of publication Basingstoke
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Gothenburg Centre for Globalization and Development (GCGD)
Pages 377-432
Language en
Subject categories Sociology


In this chapter we provide a historical overview of the major trends in contentious politics in Sweden from 1950 to 2015. Considering that protest during this period (especially from the 1960s onwards) rapidly proliferated, involving a number of forms and acting on a multiplicity of social conflicts, we provide a thematic account, focusing on the major conflicts and the social movements that defined the space of contentious politics of the period. Four protest waves are outlined, which largely correspond to transnational developments but in many cases display strong elements of national and local articulation. We argue that contentious politics in Sweden in the post-war era is profoundly influenced by the particular relationship between state and civil society defining the Swedish welfare model.

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