Susanne Alm: Institute for Futures Studies, Postal: Box 591, SE-101 31 Stockholm, Sweden
Abstract: The study analyzes three generations of future studies on work life and leisure, performed at the Secretariat and later the Swedish Institute for Future Studies. The ideal types of Tore Frängsmyr, “The efficient society” and “The good life”, are used as analytical tools. The primary information consists of program declarations and reports from projects in the 1970- 1980- and 1990s. In the 1970s the original plan to produce a final report failed, and the analyses here show that differences in terms of the ideal types here used could explain the failure. While in one of the reports studied, the focus is on how Sweden is to maintain a high export ratio and a prominent position in international competition, the two other reports are written from an explicit Marxist perspective and discuss how the sharp split between work and leisure in modern capitalist societies could be remedied. That is, while the first report is focused on “The efficient society”, the two latter deal exclusively with a version of “The good life”. The final report from the project of the 1980s is characterized by a reserved, but still in some sense accepting, attitude towards the high-technological society. Utopian thoughts of a completely different society are non-existing, but the discussion mainly focuses on ways to make high-technological society as tolerable as possible to humans. In terms of the here used terminology the report can be said to deal with “The good life” within the realms of “The efficient society”. In the final report from the 1990s the point of departure is that industrial society is being replaced by a new post-industrial one. Unlike in earlier projects here studied, the entire discussion of driving forces behind societal development is on the structural level. The possibilities of individuals to shape their future seem small or non-existing. Neither are consequences at the individual level of structural development in focus. It’s is difficult to label the report according to the ideal types “The efficient society” and “The good life” respectively, mainly since it aims at pure description of the development at structural level, rather than it offers a value-based discussion on how to shape future society. Finally in the study the general lack of continuity and cumulativity within future studies is discussed, and a call is made for increased documentation and research of the history of the field.
42 pages, June 2007
Price: 25 SEK
Note: ISSN: 1652-120X; ISBN: 978-91-85619-10-8
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