Konsum und politische Kommunikation
Planning and participation in the regulated consumer societies of Sweden and Norway, 1930-60.
In the 1930s, the regulation of consumption was integrated into the overarching policy of scientific management in the Scandinavian social democracies, which aimed at rationalising the whole fabric of socio-economic relations. As part of a programme of scientific reformism, the language of increased productivity through rationalisation was transferred from the industrial workplace to the home. However, there was no collective organisation of consumers corresponding to the trade unions of workers ready to negotiate these reforms. The tide was flowing in the opposite direction: Consumer organisations were losing territory to the state by the same movement as the housewife-as-consumer was gaining in visibility. Through an increasingly centralised home economics sector the consumer emerged as an ideal yet strangely silent character in the political communication of the Social Democratic regimes during the transition to affluence.