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Democracy in the Plural?

The Concepts of Democracy in Swedish Parliamentary Debates during the Interwar Years

Anna Friberg

The article explores some of the composite concepts of democracy that were used in Sweden, primarily by the Social Democrats during the interwar years. Should these be seen as pluralizations of the collective singular democracy or as something qualitatively new? By showing how these concepts relate to each other and to democracy as a whole, the article argues that they should be considered statements about democracy as one entity, that democracy did not only concern the political sphere, but was generally important throughout the whole of society. The article also examines the Swedish parliamentarians' attitudes toward democracy after the realization of universal suffrage, and argues that democracy was eventually perceived as such a positive concept that opponents of what was labeled democratic reforms had to reformulate the political issues into different words in order to avoid coming across as undemocratic.