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Nation, ras och civilisation i svensk arbetarrörelse före nazismen
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History.
2006 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Nation, Race and Civilisation in the Swedish Labour Movement before Nazism (English)
Abstract [en]

Ideas of nationalism, race and anti-Semitism are usually connected to right wing ideology and politics. This thesis, however, is studying them in the context of the socialist labour movement. That a radical left wing patriotism, inspired by the French revolution, developed intertwined with workers’ internationalism is well known. But this left wing nationalism has, in the Swedish case, been characterised as an “internal” tool for obtaining democratic rights and social reforms and not directed against other peoples and nations. Inspired by postcolonial studies of whiteness the thesis examines the views of development of mankind and of national difference expressed in Swedish socialist publicity since the 1850’s up to the late 1920’s. Empirical studies of magazines, brochures and books show that it is possible to distinguish a trace of socialist whiteness in the production of ideas from the labour movement, influenced by liberal radicalism. Here, by socialist whiteness is not primarily meant identities of skin colour but ideas that the working class was the true and purest part of the nation and that socialism primarily was of concern to the white races on top of the chain of development. How this whiteness could be counter-posed to peoples and races considered different or “lower placed”, such as Slavs and Jews, has been of particular interest. In opposition to import of foreign labour, “usury Jews” and Tsarist Russia, arguments of socialist whiteness could be developed. With the Russian October revolution in 1917 bolshevism could be described as an Asian threat under Jewish leadership, alien to Swedish labour. Eugenic concerns for the Swedish race also found spokespersons in the socialist milieu of the 1910’s and 20’s. When fascism in the 1920’s captured the most radical themes of socialist whiteness ideas of Jewish threat and race purity could no longer be combined with defence of democratic ideals and find a public space in social democracy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Historiska institutionen , 2006. , 550 p.
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 5
Keyword [en]
History, socialism, labour movement, whiteness, nationalism, race, civilisation, anti-semitism
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-946ISBN: 91-7203-764-4OAI: diva2:200691
Public defence
2006-04-27, MA 624, Södertörns högskola, Alfred Nobels allé 7, Huddinge, 10:00
Available from: 2006-04-06 Created: 2006-04-06Bibliographically approved

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