Business and the Nordic Welfare States, 1890-1970

Jeppe Nevers, Thomas Paster

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Social scientists have, since the 1990s, shown an increasing interest in the role of business actors in welfare state development, and these debates provide many opportunities for historians of the Nordic countries to contribute with their insights and findings. This special issue brings together six historical studies on the role of business in the development of the welfare states in the Nordic countries, including the role of firms as providers of company welfare as well as the activities of firms and of business interest groups to influence policies and public opinion. Two observations stand out. First, the contributions draw a picture of a gradual shift in this period from that of fundamental opposition, which often dominated up to the mid-20th century, to a more pragmatic approach of cooperation. Cooperation in policy-making co-existed with confrontation in public debate, in which business interest groups promoted alternatives to ‘big government’. Second, these studies underline the value of paying attention to what Reinhart Koselleck called ‘horizons of expectations’. These historical studies show how the vocabulary of the actors changed in this period, and how business interest groups not only influenced political decisions but also adapted their expectations to changes in the political context.

TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of History
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)535-551
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2019
Udgivet eksterntJa

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