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The Role of Civil Society. The Case of Sweden in International Comparison


  • Wijkström, Filip

    () (Center for Organization & Management, Stockholm School of Economics)


Civil society organizations are found in all possible parts of Swedish society, conducting a multitude of different tasks, involving all types of people in a rainbow-like organizational plethora. We can understand civil society development as a number of waves of interpretations of problems and new needs in society – and the particular social movements and other organizational solutions developed to meet these problems and needs. It is argued that the different traditions found in these waves are replacing each other in a slow process as the dominant – but not only – civil society tradition in a country. In this paper, this process is recognized as an important factor in deciding how a country’s civil society is shaped. In three tables, the situation of civil society in Sweden is compared to the situation in other countries. The resulting picture of a rather extreme end position for civil society organizations in Sweden is used as a background to discuss the future, particularly in relation to the state sphere and that of industry and trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Wijkström, Filip, 2004. "The Role of Civil Society. The Case of Sweden in International Comparison," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration 2004:19, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 28 Jun 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhb:hastba:2004_019
    Note: Paper presented at The 1st International Korean Studies Workshop on: “Civil Society & Consolidating Democracy in Comparative Perspective”, Yonsei university, May 21-22, 2004, Allen Hall/ New Millennium Hall

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Susan Rose-Ackerman, 1996. "Altruism, Nonprofits, and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 701-728, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hvenmark, Johan & Wijkström, Filip, 2004. "The Popular Movement Marinade – The dominant civil society framework in Sweden," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration 2004:18, Stockholm School of Economics.


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