Konflikt eller samförstånd? : Management och marknadsreformers konsekvenser för den kommunala demokratin

Sammanfattning: The question under investigation in this dissertation is whether the management- and market-oriented reforms of public institutions in Sweden of the 1980s and 1990s have affected municipal politics in the direction of more or less conflict. The analysis takes its point of departure from Arend Lijphart’s model of majoritarian versus consensus democracy. Majoritarian democracy refers to a form of democracy in which the central role of electing decision-makers and holding them accountable is emphasized. Majoritarian democracy therefore underlines the importance of conflict in politics. Consensus democracy refers to a form of democracy in which the importance of representing the preferences of political minorities, not only those of the majority, is emphasized. Consensus democracy therefore underlines the concern for consensus between political actors. In this study, four municipalities with different political majorities and reform ambitions within the county of Stockholm were chosen for comparative analysis . The study shows that the reforms in all likelihood have affected the political work in a more majoritarian direction. This applies in particular to the efforts of introducing new forms of management. The political relations have become more conflict-oriented and more coordinated or centralized within each political party and between the parties of a leftist and rightist orientation respectively. The political relations within the municipal committees have also become more conflict oriented, primarily by a more public and pronounced expression of divergent views. These results clearly strengthens the argument in Swedish debate that municipal politics is increasingly becoming more similar to national politics, where it is only the political parties in parliamentary majority that governs public administration. The results of this investigation therefore have implications on the organization of municipal politics in Sweden, as it is currently based on a more consensual form of democracy.