100 år av representativ demokrati - Hur har våra ”blivande ministrars” bakgrund förändrats under denna tid?
Sammanfattning: Background, objectives, earlier research, and method The Swedish parliament approved universal and equal suffrage for women and men on 24 May 1919. The election to the Swedish second chamber in the parliament in fall 2021 was the first election according to the new regulations. It has now past more than 100 years since this reform. This C-level thesis in Historical studies takes as objective to investigate differences in personal background between Swedish ministers in governments soon after Sweden became a fully representative democracy and governments 100 years later. The study is based on earlier research theoretical contributions on demands and findings on Swedish coming ministers’ individual backgrounds. The study is designed as a comparison of the background for “coming” members of government in three social democratic governments in the years of 1919-1924 and members of three social democratic governments in 2021-2023. The investigated background data is mainly about age, gender, type, and years of studies and working life experience before becoming a member of government. These data are gathered by public written and online sources. Main findings & Conclusions Based on this study, the conclusions are that the personal background of politicians has changed in several ways since representative democracy was established in Sweden in the 1920s. This is nothing strange or unexpected. Society has undergone radical changes during these 100 years, and it is therefore not remarkable that current ministers' backgrounds look different compared to then. The question is more how they have changed. Some of the more prominent conclusions are that contemporary politicians have substantially less extensive experience of professional working life outside the political sphere. Also, more of the contemporary ministers have made careers as professional politicians, where the political commitment and political duties within the party, trade union, municipal council, county council, part-time and full-time, starting much earlier in life than before. An illustrative example of the difference in this respect is that none of the "early" ministers lacked professional work life experience, while 25% of the contemporary members of the government had no permanent full-time working life experience outside the political sphere. Another illustrative example is that experience from professional working life was more than halved in number of years for the "later" ministers compared to the "earlier" ones. A comparison with earlier research, the study shows great consistencies. The main contribution in terms of addition to earlier research is that the working life experience among “later” or current member of parliament is significantly less than the experience of the “earlier”. Further, the result shows that the academical education level no longer is as far higher than for the population in general, as it was for the “earlier” governments. The subject areas for academical studies seem also to change over times, as well as the type of work life experiences. Future research The study also includes some first outlines to future research. First, to understand what the changes in personal background for members of parliament means, for the representative democracy, further studies are recommended. Secondly, the learning is that a more qualitative approach with deep and comparative case study set-up would be a valuable complement to the more quantitative approach in this study. Finally, a surprising and thrilling tentative result is that it seems like many of the studied members of parliament seems to have several personal traits in common. An explorative study of personal traits among successful members of government is recommended, to get some first understanding if there are some personal traits that are more common among members of governments.
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