NLHN seminars


During the autumn 2021 Nordic Labour History Network (NHLN) will arrange a new series of digital seminars on labour history. The seminars are free and open to the public but require registration. After registration you will get a Zoom-link before the seminar.


Autumn 2021

Book Between Denmark and Detroit Ford Motor Company A/S and the Transformation of Fordism 1919–1966

26 October 2021 14.00-15.00

Labour historian Lars K Christensen presents his book “Between Denmark and Detroit”.

In 1919 Ford Motor Company A/S established an assembly plant in Copenhagen, Denmark. The plant, which operated until 1966, was the company’s first on the European mainland, and became a bridgehead for Ford into the Nordic countries.

During the 1920’s, Fordism in Detroit was based on autocratic management and militant anti-unionism. But as Fordism came to Denmark and Europe, it was transformed. The book traces this transformation, in the context of the Copenhagen plant.

It argues, that resistance from organised labour – directly or indirectly – was a major cause for changing Fordism to what it became in the post-war period: a class compromise, based on high productivity, high wages, and collective bargaining,

Lars K Christensen holds a Ph D in labour history. He is head of Research and Heritage Management at the ROMU museums group, Roskilde, Denmark.


Talk Astrid Elkjær Sørensen, Kristin Linderoth: Care work nurses strike

2 November 2021

Mer information kommer.


Roundtable Digital Labour History

9 November 2021 kl 14.00-15.30

The digital age has transformed historical research. Mass digitization of archival sources, novel computational methods and the rise of the digital public sphere encourage us to re-think how we write history in the twenty-first century (see Technology and the Historian: Transformations in the Digital Age by Adam Crymble). It is high time to scrutinize the “digital turn” in the context of Nordic labour history.

Participants: Örjan Simonson, The Popular Movements’ Archive (mass digitization of trade union documents); Risto Turunen, Tampere University (text mining of machine-readable labour newspapers); Jenny Jansson, Uppsala University (the labour movement in the digital age).


Book Democracy and the Economy in Finland and Sweden since 1960

23 November 2021 kl 14.00-15.00

Ilkka Kärryläis presents his book Democracy and the Economy in Finland and Sweden since 1960.

The book explores the relationship between democracy and the economy in contemporary political thought and policy-making. Using the concepts of economic, industrial and enterprise democracy, the author focuses on the history of Finland and Sweden during the latter part of the 20th century. The meanings of the three concepts are examined in the thought of social democrats, conservatives and liberals, as well as in the reforms that they were associated with.

This analysis paints a picture of changing economic thought in the Nordic countries, and the West more generally. Arguing that the concept of democracy has evolved from representation towards ’cooperation’ and ‘participation’ in civil society, this book demonstrates how the ideal of individual freedom and choice has surpassed collective decision-making. These shared characteristics between Finland, Sweden and other Western countries challenge the view that the Nordic countries have been exceptional in resisting neoliberalism. In fact, as this book shows, neoliberalism has been influential to the Nordics since the 1970s.

Ilkka Kärryläis a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Nordic Studies, University of Helsinki. He specializes in the political and intellectual history of Europe and the Nordic countries, especially the history of economic thought and policy.


Roundtable: Social Democracy in the Nordic counties

30 November 2021 kl 14.00-15.30

The purpose of the panel is to bring history researchers from every Nordic country to a virtual roundtable to discuss new directions and perspectives on the research of social democracy history and to create a dialogue between researchers at the Nordic level. Each participant will present shortly their research interest and perspectives. After the presentations, there will be time for discussion.

Chair: Pauli Kettunen, Professor Emeritus of Political History at the University of Helsinki.

Iben Bjørnsson, Ph D is a researcher and curator at Stevnsfort Museum of the Cold War in Denmark.

Matti Hannikainen, Senior researcher, Finnish Labour Archives. 

Guðmundur Jónsson is a Professor of History at the Department of History, University of Iceland.

Urban Lundberg is a lecturer of history and social science at Dalarna University.

Dag Einar Thorsen, associate professor of political science at the University of South-Eastern Norway.


Talk Universal Suffrage? Voting Restrictions and Disenfranchisement in Sweden after 1921

7 December 2021 kl 15.00-16.00

In 2021, Sweden celebrates one hundred years of universal suffrage and what has commonly been described as the end of the struggle for voting rights and democracy. The newly published book Universal Suffrage? Voting Restrictions and Disenfranchisement in Sweden after 1921 – based on a research project with the same name  – challenges these narratives. It explores the many voting restrictions that remained  after 1921, and highlights the continuous struggle for expanded suffrage.

In this talk, the book’s editors Annika Berg and Martin Ericsson, together with the project leader Fia Sundevall, will present the project’s main findings and arguments.

Annika Berg is an associate professor of the history of ideas at the Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University.

Martin Ericsson is an associate professor of history at the Department of History, Lund University.

Fia Sundevall is an associate professor of economic history at the Swedish Labour Movement’s Archives and Library, and the Department of Economic History and International Relations, Stockholm University.


Roundtable Perspectives on Labour History

14 December 2021 kl 14.00-15.30

Labour history with a special focus on labour process studies has been the subject for analysis in the anthology Från arbetets horisont. Perspektiv på historisk forskning om arbete och samhälle under kapitalismen (From the horizon of work. Perspectives on historical research on work and society under capitalism). Nine historians and economic historians in the field are reflecting on their research careers and thereby discussing their theoretical sources of inspiration but also the changing institutional and societal preconditions for their research. Inspired by the contributions to the anthology, the seminar will in more general term focus on these questions but also discuss different ways to analyse and understand Labour history. Questions will also be brought up by the discussants at the seminar.

Contributors to the anthology: Lars Berggren, Eva Blomberg, Karin Carlsson, Lars Ekdahl (editor), Mats Greiff, Maths Isacson, Lars Olsson, Staffan Stranne, Johan Svanberg.