Scandinavian Working Papers in Business Administration

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 2004:19: The Role of Civil Society. The Case of Sweden in International Comparison

Filip Wijkström ()
Additional contact information
Filip Wijkström: Center for Organization & Management, Stockholm School of Economics, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: Sweden; civil society; nonprofit sector; popular movement; foundation; organization type

30 pages, First version: May 21, 2004. Revised: June 28, 2007.

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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