RÖRELSEN ÄR ALLT Socialdemokraternas ideologiska utveckling från 1960 till 2013
In this thesis I examine the ideological evolution of the Swedish social democratic party Socialdemokraterna during the period from 1960 until 2013 given that prior research suggests that a change in party ideology could be expected during the period. The thesis draws on prior literature which assumes party ideology to be flexible and prone to change over time, partly due to the tension between politics and ideology. The thesis conceptualises ideologies as distinctive collections of ideas which cannot be easily defined by relating it to reductionist dimensions such as left-right. Instead, a distinctive definition of social democracy is constructed using previous research. Using qualitative, descriptive ideal type analysis of five party programmes I show instances of change and stability in party ideology in relation to an ideal type of social democracy as a reference point. The main findings suggest that the party remained largely committed to the central ideological project of expanding democratic control. However, findings also show that in some key areas party ideology changed in favour of liberal values, especially relating to the role of the free market, the acceptance of capitalist society and, importantly, that the definition of freedom gradually shifted from a largely positive to a more negative conception. I finally argue that paradoxically, making concessions as it pertains to classically social democratic values might actually be consistent with the overarching strategy of the ideology, i.e. the primacy of politics; adjusting to political realities in order to achieve the best relative political gains possible.