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Labour, Unions and Politics under the North Star: The Nordic Countries, 1700-2000

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Volume 28

International Studies in Social History

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Labour, Unions and Politics under the North Star

The Nordic Countries, 1700-2000

Edited by Mary Hilson, Silke Neunsinger, and Iben Vyff

346 pages, 11 illus., 1 map, 3 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-496-2 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (May 2017)

ISBN  978-1-78920-081-2 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (December 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-497-9 eBook

Hb Pb   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Enhanced with the inclusion of illustrations, tables, maps, and a seven-page index, [this volume consisting of] thirteen erudite and informative articles by experts in the field of labor and trade unionism is very highly recommended for college and university library International Studies in Social History collections in general, and European Labor and Trade Unionism History supplemental studies reading lists in particular.” · Midwest Book Review

“Though these essays range widely, they are held together by an excellent common effort to set each chapter within the broader Nordic context. This is a top-rate contribution to the historiography on European labour movements.” · David Kirby, University College London

“This welcome book provides very interesting and well-argued views on a rich variety of topics in recent and current Nordic labour history research, and on the current state of art in Nordic labour relations and movements.” · Pauli Kettunen, University of Helsinki


Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden today all enjoy a reputation for strong labour movements, which in turn are widely seen as part of a distinctive regional approach to politics, collective bargaining and welfare. But as this volume demonstrates, narratives of the so-called “Nordic model” can obscure the fact that experiences of work and the fortunes of organized labour have varied widely throughout the region and across different historical periods. Together, the essays collected here represent an ambitious intervention in labour historiography and European history, exploring themes such as work, unions, politics and migration from the early modern period to the twenty-first century.

Mary Hilson is Professor of History at Aarhus University, Denmark. She is the author of Political Change and the Rise of Labour in Comparative Perspective: Britain and Sweden 1880-1920 (2006) and The Nordic Model: Scandinavia since 1945 (2008).

Silke Neunsinger is Associate Professor in Economic History and Director of Research at the Swedish Labor Movement Archives and Library. Her research has been concerned with feminist labour history, the history of social movements and methodology. She is currently working on a global history of equal remuneration.

Iben Vyff is Head of Communication at Elsinore Museums, Denmark. Her research has been concerned with the cultural turn in Cold War studies, Americanization and gender. She is co-author of Dansk Skolehistorie: Hverdag, vilkår og visioner gennem 500 år, which received the History Book of the Year Award from the Danish History Council in 2015.

Subject: General History Economic History
Area: Northern Europe


List of Illustrations
List of Tables and Maps
List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Labour, Unions and Politics in the Nordic Countries, c.1700–2000
Mary Hilson, Silke Neunsinger, Iben Vyff, Ragnheiður Kristjánsdóttir

Chapter 1. Connecting Labour: Organizing Swedish Ironmaking in an Atlantic Context
Göran Rydén and Chris Evans

Chapter 2. ‘Forest Men’: How Scandinavian Loggers’ Understandings of ‘Real Men’ and ‘Real Work’ are Rooted in Personal Narratives and Popular Culture about Forest Life
Ingar Kaldal

Chapter 3. Diverse, rather than Desperate: Housewifization and Industrial Home Work in Sweden, 1906–1912
Malin Nilsson

Chapter 4. Housemaids of the Past and Au Pairs of Today in Denmark: Do They Have Anything in Common?
Helle Stenum

Chapter 5. Trade Unionism in Denmark, 1870–1940 – from the Perspective of Work
Knud Knudsen

Chapter 6. Labour Migration and Industrial Relations: Recruitment of Foreign-Born Workers to the Swedish Engineering Industry after the Second World War
Johan Svanberg

Chapter 7. Land Agitation and the Rise of Agrarian Socialism in South-Western Finland, 1899–1907
Sami Suodenjoki

Chapter 8. Strike in Finland, Revolution in Russia: The Role of Workers in the 1905 General Strike in the Grand Duchy of Finland
Marko Tikka

Chapter 9. Radicalism or Integration: Socialist and Liberal Parties in Norway, 1890–1914
Einar A. Terjesen

Chapter 10. ‘Norden’ as a Transnational Space in the 1930s: Negotiated Consensus of ‘Nordicness’ in the Nordic Cooperation Committee of the Labour Movement
Mirja Österberg

Chapter 11. Facing the Nation: Nordic Communists and their National Contexts, from the 1920s and into the Cold War
Ragnheiður Kristjánsdóttir

Chapter 12. Tallinn – Stockholm – Hamburg – Copenhagen – Oslo: The Northern Dimension of the Comintern’s Global Network and Underground Activities, 1920–1940
Holger Weiss

Chapter 13. Danish Cadres at the Moscow Party School, 1958–1960
Chris Holmsted Larsen


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