User Tag List

+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: The Swedish Theory of Love

  1. #1
    Points: 472,328, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 78.0%
    Achievements:
    SocialRecommendation Second ClassYour first GroupOverdrive50000 Experience PointsTagger First ClassVeteran
    Awards:
    Discussion Ender
    Chris's Avatar Senior Member
    Karma
    398690
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    152,359
    Points
    472,328
    Level
    100
    Thanks Given
    16,006
    Thanked 46,265x in 34,010 Posts
    Mentioned
    1736 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    The Swedish Theory of Love

    PIPPI LONGSTOCKING: THE AUTONOMOUS CHILD AND THE MORAL LOGIC OF THE SWEDISH WELFARE STATE (.pdf) presents the political sturcture found in Sweden and contrasts it with that in Germany and the US. Sweden is the extreme example of ideological individualism.

    Lars Trägårdh has fittingly dubbed this normative ideal “the Swedish theory of love.” In most countries mutual dependency is seen as intrinsic to love and intimacy—the ties that bind. From this point of view, we are always and unavoidably enmeshed in social relations that circumscribe and limit our sovereignty. Indeed, it is the very giving up of radical sovereignty that makes us human; as a fundamental social virtue, love is all about unmediated and absolute duty towards one’s fellow man. In Sweden—and perhaps Scandinavia at large—on the other hand, the premise is the reverse. Rejecting the idea of love as constitutive of unequal and hierarchical social relations, and basing instead the ethos of love on the principle of egalitarianism, the Swedish theory of love posits that all forms of dependency corrupt true love. Only mutual autonomy can guarantee authenticity and honesty in human relationships.

    It is true, of course, that simply as an abstract idea this is not original or peculiar to Sweden: the most eloquent expression of the notion of transparency in human affairs is Jean Jacques Rousseau. But, we argue, both through direct influences from Rousseau and, more importantly, in the form of anti-feudal peasant traditions that predate Rousseau by hundreds of years, this ideal of autonomy has, in practice, had a greater impact in Sweden than in most other parts of the western world.

    The Swedish pre-occupation—some might even say obsession—with individual autonomy cannot be understood simply as a cultural idiosyncrasy. It is, in fact, rooted in a historically grounded praxis that has to a high degree has been institutionalized in the institutions of the Swedish welfare state. What is unique about Swedish social policy is neither the extent to which the state has intervened in society nor the generous insurance schemes, but the underlying moral logic. Though the path in no way has been straight, one can discern over the course of the twentieth century an overarching ambition to liberate the individual citizen from all forms of subordination and dependency in civil society: the poor from charity, the workers from their employers, wives from their husbands, children from parents (and vice versa when the parents have become elderly). In practice, the primacy of individual autonomy has been institutionalized through a plethora of laws and policies affecting individual Swedes in matters minute and mundane as well as large and dramatic. As we shall see later, the ethos of individualism Swedish style has become manifest in many areas of legislation, including taxation policy, family law, rules regulating students loans, the production of day care centers, the family leave act, and, not least, the rights of children.

    One way to illuminate the peculiarity of Sweden’s social policies is to make explicit comparisons with other countries. Though most welfare regimes share a number of characteristics, there is a marked difference in the basic set up of the Scandinavian models as compared with both their Anglo-American and continental European counterparts. In Germany and other continental European states, a strong family is both a means and an end for social welfare policies. The state protects and supports the family and other institutions in civil society, so that they in turn can provide for the welfare of the individuals. In the United States, there is a general antipathy toward state intervention, both when it comes to the family and the individual. The individual citizen should, ideally, either provide for him- or herself on the level playing field of the market, or trust in the goodwill of the family and the community. Sweden is like Germany characterized by much greater acceptance of state intervention, but in this case the key alliance is between state and individual, rather than family and state. The aim, it appears, is to avoid subjecting individuals to the charity of others, and to make even relationships within the family as equal and voluntary as possible.

    One can illustrate this difference by way of a triangle: in Germany the state and the family trump the individual; in the Unites States the individual and the family co-operate to keep the state out; and in Sweden the state and the individual ally themselves against the family. (See figure.)

    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to Chris For This Useful Post:

    MMC (02-02-2020)

  3. #2
    Original Ranter
    Points: 217,782, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 99.5%
    Achievements:
    SocialRecommendation Second ClassOverdriveTagger First Class50000 Experience PointsVeteran
    MMC's Avatar Senior Member
    Karma
    47610
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Chicago Illinois
    Posts
    55,512
    Points
    217,782
    Level
    100
    Thanks Given
    23,214
    Thanked 16,605x in 12,644 Posts
    Mentioned
    117 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Sweden is like Germany characterized by much greater acceptance of state intervention....snip~


    Whomp there it is!
    History does not long Entrust the care of Freedom, to the Weak or Timid!!!!! Dwight D. Eisenhower ~

  4. #3
    Points: 472,328, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 78.0%
    Achievements:
    SocialRecommendation Second ClassYour first GroupOverdrive50000 Experience PointsTagger First ClassVeteran
    Awards:
    Discussion Ender
    Chris's Avatar Senior Member
    Karma
    398690
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    152,359
    Points
    472,328
    Level
    100
    Thanks Given
    16,006
    Thanked 46,265x in 34,010 Posts
    Mentioned
    1736 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by MMC View Post
    Sweden is like Germany characterized by much greater acceptance of state intervention....snip~


    Whomp there it is!
    Americans don't seem to mind it either.
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to Chris For This Useful Post:

    MMC (02-02-2020)

  6. #4
    Points: 472,328, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 78.0%
    Achievements:
    SocialRecommendation Second ClassYour first GroupOverdrive50000 Experience PointsTagger First ClassVeteran
    Awards:
    Discussion Ender
    Chris's Avatar Senior Member
    Karma
    398690
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    152,359
    Points
    472,328
    Level
    100
    Thanks Given
    16,006
    Thanked 46,265x in 34,010 Posts
    Mentioned
    1736 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    Are people more likely to be lonely in so-called ‘individualistic’ societies?

    Below "There is a popular perception" referes to Why Swedes Are So Lonely: "I spoke to the director of The Swedish Theory of Love about why we Swedes are so lonely, independent, strong and sad...."

    There is a popular perception that countries in Northern Europe are heavily individualistic and because of this people in these societies tend to be much lonelier. The data, however, does not support this claim.

    What is true is that in countries such as Denmark and Switzerland, it is very common for people to live alone. But contrary to what many believe, this does not translate into higher levels of self-reported loneliness....

    ...Loneliness describes a subjective feeling; this is conceptually distinct from objective physical isolation.

    In the chart here we show estimates on self-reported feelings of loneliness among older adults. The data comes from various surveys asking people directly whether they often experience feelings of loneliness (e.g. “I have no-one with whom I can discuss important matters with”).

    The differences in the prevalence of loneliness across countries are very large. At the bottom of the list, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden and the US all have rates below 30%, while at the top of the list Greece, Israel and Italy have all have rates of close to or above 50%.



    ...Similar to loneliness, we can measure perceptions of social support by asking people directly. This is what the polling organization Gallup did in their flagship World Poll survey. Specifically, they asked: “If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them, or not?”

    The chart here presents the results from this survey, plotting the share of people who responded “yes” to this question.1

    Differences across countries are not very large. The lowest and highest average levels of support corresponds to Mexico and Iceland, at 80% and 98% respectively.

    The second point that stands out is that, again, there’s no support for the claim that richer countries that are considered to be more individualistic (e.g. North European countries) have lower levels of family and friendship support.



    ...People do not seem to be more lonely in societies that are traditionally labeled as ‘individualistic’.

    What is true is that in these societies it is particularly common for people to live alone. But being alone and feeling lonely don’t always go hand in hand. Many people feel lonely even if they are not physically isolated; and many people who are physically isolated do not feel lonely. ...

    This really misses the entire point about the atomization associated with individualism.

    The Death of Community and the Rise of Individualism

    ...While generally aware that we live in the “modern” age, as opposed to the “medieval” or “ancient,” with better technology and different social norms, we nonetheless remain oblivious to larger, totalizing, and omnipresent aspects of our world....

    ...One such phenomenon that we often fail to reflect on is the disintegration of our social fabric, namely, social atomization, or the basic unit of society being broken down into smaller parts. In medieval and early modern times, community was the basic unit of society, in part due to the lack of communication and transportation technologies that would allow a person to live securely and independently of their community. Today, the joint effects of technology, the principles of modern citizenship, and relatively open borders give people the ability to decide where to live, with which nation to align, and what lands to call home. As individuals become accustomed to frequently moving and breaking ties with their community of birth, communal identification becomes transient. People lack deep links to any singular culture; globalization makes the individual a sponge that soaks up the norms and beliefs of whichever locale they find themselves in. The result is the absence of a clear and permanent identity, without which the individual cannot truly/fully belong to any one community. Without community, they have no culture to provide shared customs and understandings that create common links and trust between a people. Overall, ties of community dissipate and the individual becomes the basic unit of society.

    The problem is not social. The problem is political. Individualism results in no social order--be it family, religion, community--standing between you and the government.
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Single Sign On provided by vBSSO