Folket, yxan och orättvisans rot. Betydelsebildning kring demokrati i den svenska rösträttsrörelsens diskursgemenskap, 1887-1902.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The People, the Axe and the Root of Injustice: the Swedish Suffrage Movement's Discourse Community 1887?1902, its Production of Meaning and the Concept of Democracy

In this thesis, I present a study of the Swedish suffrage movement's discourse community. The analyses focus primarily on the core of this movement, the Swedish Public Suffrage Association (Sveriges allmänna rösträttsförbund). This association, headed by a board of directors and executive committee, served as a national umbrella association between the years of 1890 and 1900. Traditionally, and in most prior research, Sweden's extensive suffrage movement ? with its all-embracing demands for universal (male) suffrage and (political) democracy ? is seen as a straightforward, liberal-democratic and effective driving force for Swedish democratisation. This thesis uses theoretical approaches derived from Norman Fairclough, Patrick Joyce, Ernesto Laclau, Ania Loomba, Chantal Mouffe and Jacques Rancière, among others, to challenge this understanding of the movement. It formulates an alternative methodological approach, in order to analyse the suffrage movement as an ill-defined and complex political discourse community. The primary sources for this study are the public and widely propagated publications of the Swedish Public Suffrage Association; often polemical pamphlets or leaflets that were being compiled, printed, and distributed at an increasing pace during the decade. My analyses leads me to conclude the following: 1) Between 1887 and 1902, the discourse community of the Swedish suffrage movement was undergoing a process of considerable change; 2) Apostrophising Roland Barthes, it is possible to see how these discursive changes in the suffrage movement's discourse community are textually manifested through four strong and comprehensive mythologies; 3) ?The people? was the single most important concept of the suffrage movement's discourse community. The fundamental reason for injustice and inequality in society was the historically rooted (and constructed) conflict between the upright people and the corrupt elite; 4) My thesis and its analyses generally shed new light, I argue, on the disintegration, breaking up and ?failure? of the Swedish suffrage movement and its realist politics. Finally, the analytical results and conclusions of my thesis are relevant to scholarly (and political) debates extending far outside the Swedish context; scholarly (and political) debates on labour history, the history of popular radicalism, and the condition of ?democracy? and its practices in the western world.


  • Victor Lundberg
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History


  • identity, labour history, liberalism, nationalism, the people, populism, post-colonialism, post-modernism, radicalism, suffrage., Gender studies, Modern historia (ca. 1800-1914), Contemporary history (circa 1800 to 1914), Political history, Genusvetenskap, gender, discourse community, democracy, civilization, Politisk historia
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2007 Dec 15
  • h:ström - Text & Kultur
Print ISBNs978-91-7327-045-8
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2007-12-15 Time: 10:15 Place: Historiska institutionen, Magle Stora Kyrkogata 12A, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Olsson, Tom Title: Professor Affiliation: Historia, Södertörns högskola, Stockholm ---