Co-operatives and the Social Question

978 1 86057 055 1
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'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.

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