Different Faces of Civil Society

This is a PhD dissertation in two parts. In addition to the four papers found in this volume, Different Faces of Civil Society (EFl, Stockholm, 1998), the major publication is a book entitled The nonprofit sector in Sweden (Lundström and Wijkström, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1997). The book is the result of a joint effort by Tommy Lundström and the author. Our points of departure in the book were that Sweden, within previous international research, often was described as a country with a small nonprofit sector. Based on a comprehensive set of first-hand empirical data, the book provides the first systematic, consolidated account of the Swedish sector, its development, legal situation and current position, and previous results are questioned. The two initial texts found in this volume focus on conceptual tools. The first article, The Swedish Nonprofit Sector in International Comparison (Wijkstrom, 1997, Annales of Public and Cooperative Economics, Vol. 68, No. 4, pp. 625-663) is based on a critique of the dominant US/economics perspective found in mainstream nonprofit literature. It is argued in the article, that earlier attempts to understand the Swedish nonprofit sector have been biased by a cultural ethnocentrism. The purpose of the article is to broaden the understanding of this part of society by using a socio-economic approach. The second paper, Hate groups and outlaw bikers: part of civil society?, addresses the issue of definitions. The aim of the paper is to test two existing definitions of organizations in civil society. This test is conducted on two extreme forms of organization, the white hate group and the outlaw motorcycle club. It is shown that according to existing definitions - both of these organizations, in their ideal-typical form, can be regarded as civil society organizations. The final two essays are more explorative and the author has taken the freedom to experiment. In Strategic dilemmas for Swedish popular movement organizations, the object of study is the Swedish popular movements (folkrörelserna) and an experienced sense of crisis in some of the organizations within these movements (PMOs). It is argued that a number of major external shifts have had a profound impact on the traditional Swedish PMOs. Underlying reasons for the reactions of the PMOs are discussed and some interpretations of the effects are presented. In the final essay Outlaw biking in alternative frames of interpretation - an even more limited and empirically derived phenomenon is taken as point of departure. The study focuses on outlaw biking and approaches this social phenomenon from three different angles with the help of metaphorical images derived from the outlaw literature. The purpose was not to develop a best possible frame for the study of outlaw biking, but rather to lay bare some already existing images of outlaw motorcycle clubs.


Stockholm School of Economics











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