Power Shifts and Transnationalization. a Comparative Study of Long-Term Changes in the Swedish Power Elite, 1990 - 2013

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 5:45 PM
Room: Booth 51
Oral Presentation
Anita GÖRANSSON , Deaprtment of Education, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
Ida LIDEGRAN , Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
Martin GUSTAVSSON , Stockholm University SCORE, Sweden

Based on three surveys with a few thousand decision-makers each in top positions in all areas of Swedish society (in 1990, 2001 and 2013), we analyze changes over a period of more than 20 years in the composition and internal power relations of the power elite. It is to our knowledge the first time that a historically oriented study has been made, where three points in time are studied using the identical research design. Also, it is possible to analyze the entire elite stratum (not just a sample) as it is small enough, while at the same time it is big enough to allow statistical analyses.

Comparisons are made both over time and in social space, that is, between different parts of the field of power, characterized and ruled by different logics and relations. The previous studies have shown systematic differences between fields and also between the genders in various respects. Our paper has three parts: the first part gives an overall perspective of the long-term development and changes, and the second part discusses some important results. The third part discusses methodological problems, emerging especially in connection with the growing transnationalization of fields and of elite groups. With the increase of international ties, migration and the merging of big business as well as of cultural arenas, NGOs, and economic and political cooperation, important power seems to be moving from Sweden as a European periphery to the big financial and industrial centers and cultural arenas. What is a national elite group these days?  Also, several sites of power are gender-balanced (or de-gendered) in Sweden. How will the scope, force and hierarchy of the gender-order be affected in the meeting with other gender-orders as part of a transnationalization process?