scandinavian and baltic studies

October 2012

xii + 230pp



978 1 86057 055 1

Scandinavia and the Baltic - Transational and International Challenges



Co-operatives and the Social Question

The co-operative movement in northern and eastern Europe c. 1880-1950

Edited by
Mary Hilson, Pirjo Markkola, Ann-Catrin Ostman

'an important and delightful book with a multitude of inter-related insights on early co-operative development in Europe...a pleasure to read...scholarly but accessible'
Dr Nad
ezda Johanisova, Masaryk University [Journal of Co-operative Studies]

Whilst co-operative ideas had been discussed in all the Nordic countries from at least the 1860s, it was not until the 1880s that the first permanent organisations appeared.

Of interest to students of both Scandinavian & Nordic Studies and Co-operative Studies and published to mark the UN International Year of the Co-operative in 2012, Co-operatives and the Social Question is a groundbreaking volume that:

  • provides, for the first time English, a study of the development of the co-operative movement in the Nordic countries and eastern Europe.

  • presents a unique comparative transnational perspective on the spread and development of co-operative ideas in these regions, and the links between them.

  • offers a new perspective on late nineteenth and early twentieth-century debates on the social question, modernisation and the foundations of the welfare state.

  • is a wide-ranging co-operative history, ranging from the urban consumer co-operative societies of Sweden to the peasant organisations of Hungary and Galicia in contrast to previous studies that have tended to focus exclusively on either consumer or agricultural co-operation.


A valuable and timely contribution to the study of the international co-operative movement in the English-language , Co-operatives and the Social Question not only provides an overview of growth of co-operatives in those nations, but also traces the regional transnational spread of co-operative ideas and practices and the importance context of the moral and modernising aims of co-operation.

Mary Hilson is Senior Lecturer in Scandinavian History at University College, London. Pirjo Markkola is Professor of Finnish History at the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. Ann-Catrin Ostman is a Senior Lecturer at Abo Akademi University, Finland.

List of Contents

1: Introduction: Co-operatives and the Social Question
Mary Hilson, Pirjo Markkola and Ann-Catrin Ostman

2: Denmark's Road to Modernity and Welfare: The Co-operative Way
Niels Finn Christiansen

3: Centred on the Farm: Co-operation in Iceland 1880-1950
Helgi Skuli Kjartansson

4: Visions and organisation: Kooperativa Forbundet and the Social Question in Sweden
Katarina Friberg

5: Swedish Agrarian Press, Co-operatives & the Social Question c.1880-1917
Fredrik Eriksson

6: Transnational networks in the development of the co-operative movement in the early twentieth century: Finland in the Nordic context
Mary Hilson

7: Salvation and deliverance: The Greek Catholic Church and the Ruthenian Co-operative Movement as agents of modernisation in Galicia 1899-1914
Piotr Wawrzeniuk

8: Civilising and mobilising the peasantry: Co-operative organisation and understandings of progress and gender in Finland, c.1899-1918
Ann-Catrin Ostman

9: The Nordic ideal of a Central-European third way: The Finnish model of Hungarian modernisation in the 1930s
Katalin Miklossy

10: 'Welfare Co-operatives' and social policy between the two World Wars in Hungary
Dorottya Szikra

11: 'The Butter Republic': Co-operative Organisations and Corporative Structures in Estonia 1890-1939
Johan Eellend

Also of interest

Wordless Secrets

Anne Charlotte Leffler
and Modernist Drama


An Anthology of
Finnish Folktales