Skip to content
Main menu hidden.

Temperance and health among workers in early twentieth century Sweden

Time Thursday 2 December, 2021 at 13:00 - 14:00
Place Zoom

CEDAR seminar

Temperance and health among workers in early twentieth century Sweden

The temperance movement mobilized strong public support for reducing alcohol consumption in late 19th and early 20th Sweden. A life style of total abstinence was perceived as the ideal for the individual, and prohibition of alcohol was viewed as the ultimate goal in society at large. At group level, the temperance movement formed their own health insurance societies, to assure their members against labour income losses in the event of illness and accident (and occasionally funeral expenses).

Temperance societies viewed the use of alcohol as a health risk and temperance as a way to reduce this risk. This paper sets out to examine if a favorable selection of risk could have emerged along with the temperance movement in Sweden at the turn of the twentieth century.

Our findings contradict the claim that alcohol per se adversely affected health; but shows that moderate drinkers were not different from teetotalers. Our qualitative evidence shows that the recruitment of members was a strict procedure, based on the recommendation of incumbent members held responsible for any misconduct. Admitting individuals with a reputation of alcohol abuse seems for that reason rather unlikely, while being expelled due to alcohol abuse more expected given the social control of members in health insurance societies.

Event type: Seminar
Staff photo Lars-Fredrik Andersson
Lars-Fredrik Andersson
Research fellow, associate professor
Read about Lars-Fredrik Andersson
Staff photo Liselotte Eriksson
Liselotte Eriksson
Research fellow, associate professor
Read about Liselotte Eriksson
Staff photo missing
Magnus Lindmark
Read about Magnus Lindmark
Mojgan Padyab
Read about Mojgan Padyab