A Working-Class Party? The Swedish Social Democrats and the Descriptive Representation of Workers
The Social Democrats’ have had an incomparable influence over Swedish politics during the 20th century. This study looks at how this working-class party descriptively represents the working-class on its ballot lists for the Swedish parliament, Riksdagen. Using a mixed methods approach this study builds on an original data set including all of the Social Democratic ballot lists for Riksdagen from 1970 to 2014. The data is combined with qualitative interviews with party representatives in two constituencies.
The combined results of the studies show that the Social Democrats are not descriptively representing the Swedish working-class. The party representatives seem to want to represent the working-class and they think that they are descriptively representing this social class. The results indicate that it might be more important for the party to find candidates that are loyal, than candidates who want to represent working-class interests. Furthermore, there are indications that the party might define the working-class in outdated terms; rather than focusing on the level of education, the party defines the working-class largely in terms of those employed in manual labor and heavy industry.
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