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Attempting institutional change: Swedish apprenticeship, 1890-1917
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History and International Relations.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0579-9101
2016 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Educational History, ISSN 2001-7766, E-ISSN 2001-9076, Vol. 3, no 2, p. 31-53Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sweden never got an apprentice law after apprenticeship was de-regulated in 1864. This has been attributed to unified opposition to legislation from industry employers and trade unions, with the craft employers as the only advocates. Analysing the pattern of agreement and disagreement in the political struggle over apprenticeship in the Swedish case in 1890–1917, it is clear that opposition was not that uniform, nor was the support from the craft employers that undivided. This article makes use of Kathleen Thelen’s model of institutional change in order to shed new light on the developments in Sweden. The model states that any apprentice law requires a coalition of two or more out of the state, the crafts and the metalworking industries – divided into employers and workers. Legislation, in turn, is a near requirement for the survival of strong apprenticeship. In this article the Swedish case will be discussed in relation to two of Thelen’s cases, Germany and Great Britain. In Germany an apprentice law was passed in 1897, while in Great Britain no modern apprentice law was ever passed. Similarities can be found between both of these cases and the Swedish case.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 3, no 2, p. 31-53
Keywords [en]
apprenticeship, training, skill, institutions, Sweden
National Category
Economic History
Research subject
Economic History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-179091DOI: 10.36368/njedh.v3i2.78OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-179091DiVA, id: diva2:1394013
Available from: 2020-02-18 Created: 2020-02-18 Last updated: 2020-02-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Lärlingsfrågan: Institutionell förändring, ekonomiska föreställningar och historiska begrepp i den svenska debatten om lärlingsutbildningen, 1890-1917
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lärlingsfrågan: Institutionell förändring, ekonomiska föreställningar och historiska begrepp i den svenska debatten om lärlingsutbildningen, 1890-1917
2020 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
The apprentice question : Institutional change, economic perception and historical concepts in the Swedish debate of apprentice training, 1890-1917
Abstract [en]

The turn of the 20th century was a formative period of industrialisation and class formation, and a key period in the development of European systems of vocational education and training. At that time, apprenticeship training was frequently debated in Sweden, just as it was in many other parts of Europe. However, even though the apprentice question was seen as important enough to be repeatedly examined in public inquiries in the decades around 1900, Sweden did not get an apprenticeship law.

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate why Sweden did not get an apprenticeship law in the period 1890–1917, with a focus on the debate about what, if anything, to do about apprentice training. Using language-oriented analysis, the thesis contributes new knowledge about the development of the Swedish system of vocational education and training. The studies are based on primary sources from multiple actors – from the craft employers’ organisations to public inquiries and consultation statements by industry employers, unions and parliament. However, the focus is on the craft employers, who were the main proponents of apprentice legislation.

The first article analyses agreement and disagreement in political argumentation. Many of these arguments contain an economic aspect, and the second article investigates economic perceptions of apprentice training. The first and second article, in line with much of the existing literature, emphasises the impact of class conflicts and the growth of industry on the politics of apprenticeship. The third article therefore takes a closer look at how these structural changes are imprinted on the craft employers’ language in the debate on apprenticeship, by analysing historical concepts connected to yrke and fack (both of which can be roughly translated as vocation, occupation or trade, although fack is also a Swedish term for trade union), klass (class) and stånd (estate).

The main findings highlight a previously overlooked level of support for the idea of apprenticeship legislation among both employers and unions, combined with strong disagreements concerning the content of the proposed legislation. It is clear that there was both a craft/industry divide and a worker/employer divide. The latter has in previous research been emphasised as detrimental to the prospects for apprenticeship legislation. In the Swedish case, this class conflict reduced the chances of such legislation, as the state was also either unwilling or unable to introduce an apprentice law without agreement between employers and workers. The first article outlines much of these findings, while the second and third articles, in exploring other aspects of the apprentice question, further reinforce and nuance the main results.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för ekonomisk historia och internationella relationer, Stockholms universitet, 2020. p. 94
Series
Stockholm studies in economic history, ISSN 0346-8305 ; 70
Keywords
apprenticeship, apprentice, institutions, institutional change, educational history, Sweden, vocational education and training, crafts, industry, economics, human capital, on-the-job training, 1890-1917, conceptual history, trade, occupation, vocation, class, estate, employer, producer, master craftsman, lärlingsutbildning, lärlingsfrågan, lärling, utbildningshistoria, yrkesutbildning, institutioner, institutionell förändring, nationalekonomi, humankapital, ekonomiska föreställningar, begreppshistoria, yrke, fack, klass, stånd, mästare, idkare, arbetsgivare, 1890-1917
National Category
Economic History
Research subject
Economic History
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-179092 (URN)978-91-7911-006-2 (ISBN)978-91-7911-007-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-03-27, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2020-03-04 Created: 2020-02-18 Last updated: 2020-02-25Bibliographically approved

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