Jorden åt folket : nationalföreningen mot emigrationen 1907-1925

Sammanfattning: This thesis deals with the National Society Against Emigration (Sw.Nationalföreningen mot emigrationen) – referred to as the NE – and its radical right-wing leader Adrian Molin. Th e NE was founded in 1907 in order to stem the tide of emigration from Sweden and facilitate re-immigration by providing jobs and accomodation. Its many bureaus served as employment offi ces, land distribution centres and own-your-own-home companies, mainly aimed at creating smallholdings for Swedish working-class families. The purpose of the study is to investigate the organization, concept and practise of the internal colonization of rural Sweden between 1907 and 1925. By following both the successes and setbacks of the NE during the first decades of the twentieth century, ideas and opportunities circulating in Swedish society in a time of wide-ranging ideological and material change are discussed. Questions in focus include why a society to prevent emigration from Sweden emerged at that particular time; the function it served for both society and the state; the form internal colonization actually took and how it was conducted in comparison with other governmental and private agricultural reforms; and the attitude of the NE toward modernization in general. Theoretically the dissertation takes its point of departure in theories on nation-building and internal colonization (i.e., the establishment of small-scale farming and the cultivation of new land within the national borders), corporatism and attitudes toward modernization. The ideological analysis has been inspired by political scientist Michael Freeden´s theory of the construction of political ideologies via political concepts, as well as an analysis of the view of social categories such as gender, class and ethnicity. The source material is comprised of magazines, newspaper articles, letters and books and offi cial parliamentary publications. The practise of internal colonization has been studied with the aid of preserved accounts of the NE’s small-scale farming colonies, real estate documents, company reports, correspondance and further press materials. The surge of anti-emigration attitudes is explained as a powerful reaction arising at the turn of the century due to the economic upswing in Swedish industry and the social transformations which followed in the 1890s, when the country was seen as a nation with a promising future. That Adrian Molin founded the NE in 1907 is viewed as a consequence of his nationalistic thought. Together with political scientist Prof. Rudolf Kjellén, Molin was one of the country´s foremost advocates of an integrative nationalism. The NE was led by an elite of middle- and upper-class men involved in politics, industry and voluntary associations. Female members and representatives of the lower social classes were mostly absent. In general the NE neglected women in both speeches and plans, being preoccupied with ideas concerning the cultivation of middle-class Swedish men. The NE became a co-actor in a corporative colonization eff ort sanctioned by government financing during the 1910s. In 1920 the NE’s projects were condemned as hierarchical and undemocratic in comparison with other own-home organizations. Many other own-home companies were built on a cooperative foundation, while the NE was run by a national, regional, and local political and financial elite. Suspicions were raised about the raison d´être of the society. The state withdrew its subsidies and loans, and the NE lost it close connections with the government. Though conservative and reactionary in social issues, the NE cannot be characterized as critical of civilization or economic modernization of the country. Its programme intended to aid in the development of both agriculture and industry. The creation of more smallholdings would help bridge the problematic transition between two systems, from agrarian to industrial society.