Research

Visions of the Good Future

The project “Visions of the good future: Sustainable development and long-term political thinking in the Swedish climate debate, 1970-2015” (financed by the Swedish Fundation for Humanities and Social Sciences) aims at analyzing ideas about political rooms of manouevre in a temporal sense, with special focus on Swedish climate politics.

 

In a time of radical climate changes, it has become clear how actions in the present have long-term consequences. Simultaneously, political discussions are often accused of favoring the present at the expense of the future. The project focuses on the climate question and investigates how the relationship between the present and the future was conceptualized in terms of sustainable development. The concept sustainable development incorporates both understandings of historical developments, and thereby different traditions of ideas, and expectations for the future. In other words, it reflects different ways of perceiving the relation between the past, the present, and the future. The project will thus provide a historical context for different ways of envisioning a future of sustainable development today.

 

Democracy Beyond Politics

I completed my doctorate at the Department of Humanities at Mid Sweden University in 2013. My dissertation Democracy Beyond Politics is an analysis of the changing meaning(s) of the concept of democracy as it was used by the Swedish Social Democratic Party (SAP) during the years after the introduction of universal suffrage. The analysis shows that the profound changes in society provided impetus for a continuous renegotiation of meanings, allowing concepts to retain their explanatory power under changing circumstances. At the same time the SAP needed new ways to express what kind of society the party strived to realize. The party did not limit itself to only one concept of democracy but instead used several composite concepts, e.g. political democracy and economic democracy. I argue that the use of composite concepts should be understood as a re-temporalization of the concept of democracy. The analysis shows how the composite concepts pointed forward in time, toward new political goals that reached far beyond the political sphere.