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A new history of knowledge

This book tells the story of how modern environmentalism emerged in postwar Sweden. It shows that the ‘environmental turn’ in Sweden occurred as early as the autumn of 1967 and that natural scientists led the way. The most influential was the chemist Hans Palmstierna, who was both an active Social Democrat and a regular contributor to the nation’s leading morning paper. Thus, he had a unique platform from which to exert influence. Drawing on his rich and previously untapped personal archive, the book explores how popular environmental engagement developed in Sweden. The book also highlights the journalist Barbro Soller, who in the mid-1960s became Sweden’s – and indeed one of the world’s – first environmental journalists. Moreover, it demonstrates how the pioneering historian Birgitta Odén, in collaboration with the Swedish National Defence Research Institute, sought to launch an interdisciplinary research programme based in the humanities and the social sciences as early as 1967–1968. An important conclusion of the book is that environmentalism emerged in Swedish society before there was an actual environmental movement. However, from 1969 onwards new social movements began to alter the dynamics. Hence, by the time the United Nations arranged the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972, environmental knowledge had become a source of conflict between rival interests. The environmental turn in postwar Sweden is the first full-length study to emerge from the Lund Centre for the History of Knowledge (LUCK), and demonstrates how its specific take on the history of knowledge enhances historical scholarship.

Open Access (free)
David Larsson Heidenblad

problems. Each field had its own experts, laws, and technologies. The global systems thinking that characterized the Stockholm Conference in 1972 was not generally prevalent in the summer of 1967. In the next five years a major change occurred in Sweden, as also happened in large parts of the world. 2 This book explores the major social breakthrough of environmental issues in Sweden. What was it that opened people’s eyes to the environmental crisis? When did it happen? Who set the ball rolling? What was done to make it happen

in The environmental turn in postwar Sweden
Rhiannon Vickers

Socialist and Labour Parties, including Germany, to be held in Stockholm to discuss war aims. This caused tensions within the movement. The party’s NEC rejected an invitation in May 1917 to send a delegation to the Stockholm conference,61 but then voted in favour of Vic03 10/15/03 66 2:10 PM Page 66 THE LABOUR PARTY AND THE WORLD attendance at the special Labour Party conference of August 1917 following a plea from Arthur Henderson. Henderson had just returned from an official visit to Russia, sent by an alarmed British government as ‘its most conciliatory

in The Labour Party and the world, volume 1
David Larsson Heidenblad

emergence’. 59 Nature and Youth Sweden was indirectly represented at the Stockholm Conference by the International Youth Federation for the Study and Conservation of Nature (IYF, founded in 1956). In the summer of 1971, the above-mentioned Christina Skarpe and Bo Landin had participated in the organization’s conference in Canada. Their experience from that event was that international environmental protection work was complex and difficult. Cooperation between participants from the industrialized and developing countries

in The environmental turn in postwar Sweden
David Larsson Heidenblad

lines farther back. For the history of ideas and science, the late 1940s were the turning point. But from a history-of-knowledge perspective, the autumn of 1967 is more crucial. It was not until then that knowledge of an environmental crisis seriously began to circulate in Swedish society in general. From an international perspective, this is remarkably early. Moreover, by extension via the Stockholm Conference of 1972, the Swedish breakthrough had global consequences. My second point deals with the actors who were the

in The environmental turn in postwar Sweden
David Larsson Heidenblad

until the Stockholm Conference began in June 1972. First, though, I will examine the media storm around Hans Palmstierna in the late summer of 1971. What did he say that caused such an uproar? What were the reactions? And what position was Axel Iveroth really advocating? Hans Palmstierna’s speech At 10 a.m. on 20 August, Hans Palmstierna was welcomed onto the podium at the Swedish Factory Workers’ Union congress. It was held at Folkets Hus in Stockholm, and many journalists were present. Palmstierna was well prepared

in The environmental turn in postwar Sweden