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Demokratin utmanas: Almstriden och det politiska etablissemanget
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2005 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of the thesis is to describe how the political establishment understood the Elm Conflict (Almstriden) in Stockholm in 1971, and the way in which the establishment expressed that understanding when it made sense of the challenge to itself and to how local politics worked. The political establishment is defined as politicians in central positions in Stockholm and at the national level and the editorial pages of the Stockholm newspapers. Three themes are used to describe the construction of the establishment: a) what the cause was for the elm issue having developed the way it did; b) why that which happened was wrong; and c) why it could happen at all in Sweden. The analysed empirical material consists solely of texts and statements produced at the time of the Elm Conflict. The thesis shows that the establishment, examined at close quarters, explained the Elm Conflict as caused by either media behaviour or political inability. The political establishment was in relative agreement on the matter of local democracy: municipal democracy was first and foremost a matter for the parties and politicians. No priority needed to be given to municipal reforms. What was needed was better information about why politicians had taken specific decisions. The Liberal Party leader and newspapers differed in this respect, however, exercising more caution in pointing at more far-reaching proposals for reform. When it came to political methods, Hjalmar Mehr proved to be the person who condemned the events most strongly, and this would seem to stem from his view of democracy. The Social Democratic Party at the national level was of the view that the conflict should be condemned, but had difficulties with the criticism levelled at local democracy. The newspapers and Liberal Party leader went the farthest in their positive statements concerning the method but had difficulties putting this in words. When it came to the causes of the Elm Conflict in a larger context, explanations were sought in a world gone mad, outside forces that wanted to overturn democracy, and politicians who failed to understand people’s concerns in the face of social change. The thesis also touches on why the politicians in Stockholm found themselves involved in the conflict and on the relationship of the Social Democrats to parts of the radicalisation trend of the late 1960s.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Statsvetenskapliga institutionen , 2005. , 279 p.
Stockholm studies in politics, ISSN 0346-6620 ; 109
Keyword [en]
Almstriden, Civil disobedience, Municipal democracy, Stockholm, Hjalmar Mehr, Social Democrats
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-711ISBN: 91-7155-136-0OAI: diva2:197665
Public defence
2005-11-18, hörsal 8, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 13:00
Available from: 2005-10-27 Created: 2005-10-27Bibliographically approved

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