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Spatial diffusion of social organizing: Modeling trade union growth in Sweden, 1890-1940

  • Christofer Edling
  • F. Liljeros
Publishing year: 2003
Language: English
Pages: 267-290
Publication/Series: Advances in Strategic Management : A Research Annual
Volume: 20
Document type: Book chapter

Abstract english

We develop a model to analyze the growth of social organizations as a spatially nested mixed-influence diffusion process. Drawing on gravity models and threshold models, we split the social system into social units and model the diffusion process as a system of differential equations. The diffusion of a new organizational form in a social unit is a function of an internal process within the unit and external processes in the surrounding units. The model is confronted with data on the growth of trade unions in Stockholm, Sweden, between 1890 and 1940.


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
  • organizations
  • networks
  • movements
  • framework
  • threshold models
  • product growth
  • sociologi
  • sociology


Christofer Edling
E-mail: christofer [dot] edling [at] soc [dot] lu [dot] se


Faculty of Social Sciences

+46 46 222 88 62



Centre for Economic Demography




+46 46 222 88 62




I earned my PhD from Stockholm University in 1999. Between 2002 and 2005 I was Torgny Segerstedt Pro Futura Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study at Uppsala University. I received my Docent-title in 2003, and was appointed Associate Professor at Stockholm University in 2004. From 2006 to 2008 I was Head of the Department of Sociology at Stockholm university. Before coming to Lund in 2012 I served as Full Professor of Sociology at Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany. I have been a fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2004/05) and Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (2013).

Department of Sociology
Lund University
Visiting address: Sandgatan 11, House G, Lund
Postal address: Box 114 , SE-221 00 LUND, SWEDEN
Telephone: Student Office +46 46-222 88 44, Lund University Switchboard +46 46-222 00 00

Faculty of Social Sciences