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Politik i sak: C.J.L. Almqvists samhällstänkande 1839-1851
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History of Literature and History of Ideas.
2005 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Politics in Practice : C.J.L. Almqvist's Thinking on Society 1839-1851 (English)
Abstract [en]

This thesis concerns the political ideas of the Swedish author, journalist and thinker Carl Jonas Love Almqvist (1793–1866). The main source material consists of his theoretical works and the slightly more than 700 articles that he wrote for newspapers such as Aftonbladet and Jönköpingsbladet between 1839 and 1851. The study consists of an introduction and ten chapters dealing with various aspects of Almqvist’s political thinking, among them his view of man, history, religion and educational policy as well as his commitment to the Scandinavist movement and his standpoint in the question of the Swedish representative system.

The dissertation shows that Almqvist had well-reasoned ideas in all these areas and that he argued from a liberal point of view throughout. He was a political reformist who emphasized individualism, freedom and tolerance. He also had confidence in man’s ability to decide his own destiny and a negative attitude towards the old privilege society and all kinds of institutions regarded as irrational. In addition, he believed that society becomes more and more democratic and that in the long run all adults, even women, servants and unpropertied, should become citizens with political rights, even if it was still not time for a truly democratic system. So even if Almqvist had an ideal of a consistent democracy with universal suffrage, he did not consider the society of his day to be ready for such a reform. First, the people have to raise their level of political awareness and learn what a democratic form of government really implies. In that process the educational system, the press and political associations may have an important function.

Almqvist always tried to combine his utopian visions with concrete reform proposals. He did not only dream of a utopian society; he also tried to show some possible paths towards attaining that society. Besides the utopian feature in his political thinking, there is an unmistakable striving after concreteness and a desire to exert an influence on the contemporary society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Eslöv: Brutus Östlings bokförlag Symposion , 2005. , 446 p.
Keyword [en]
C.J.L. Almqvist, liberalism, political ideologies, democracy, deliberate reformism, Aftonbladet, Jönköpingsbladet, public sphere, E.G. Geijer, Scandinavianism, history of ideas
National Category
History of Ideas
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-725ISBN: 91-7139-744-2OAI: diva2:197912
Public defence
2005-11-25, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2005-11-03 Created: 2005-11-03Bibliographically approved

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