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Magnus Karlsson

Magnus Karlsson

Head of department | Senior Lecturer

Magnus Karlsson

Från Jernverk till Hjärnverk : Ungdomstidens omvandling i Ronneby under tre generationer

From mine-work to mind-work : Youth in transition during three generations in Ronneby


  • Magnus Karlsson

Summary, in English

The place is Ronneby, a smallish town in southern Sweden. My subjects are working class and lower middle class men in Ronneby, men who — since the beginning of the century — have encountered changing conditions for reaching adulthood. In this dissertation, I will analyse these changing and increasingly difficult conditions and try to explain how the tradition of starting to work early in life, and thus becoming adult when still very young, has been replaced with a need to postpone adulthood further and further. Old industrial companies like Kockums and L.M. Ericsson used to provide jobs which could be passed on from father to son. Nowadays, they have been superseded by advanced undertakings in Information Technology and by a local university, specialized in teaching software development. The whole situation in Ronneby bears the imprint of the same problems which towards the end of the century have spread through most of the Western world. People who do not understand the new logic of change and cannot adapt to it personally, will be left behind. Ronneby can be seen as a symbol of the disappearance of a Swedish industrial tradition and the coming of a new industrial order, which has little use for a labour force with only lower education. The tools of interpretation are mainly from Margaret Mead and David Riesman. In their respective ways both have described the transformation of society in terms of the relation between character and social structure. Mead concentrates on changing patterns of culture, and she maintains that there was a period in history when parents could safely assume that their children´s lives would become copies of their own lives, whereas we now live in a period when neither parents nor various expert systems in society knows what to expect from the coming generation. Riesman concentrates on the consequences of cultural transformation, and he maintains that there is a correlation between types of society and types of character. The Tradition-directed character – with inherited power relations – later became Inner-directed – with life goals transplanted by parents in their offspring at an early age – and finally Other-directed – a character type which seeks guidance from peers and mass media. To a large extent this dissertation deals with the decline of the family and primary relations, but at the same time with people´s capability of always creating new forms of social bonds and things in common.


  • Sociology

Publishing year





Lund Dissertation in Sociology



Document type



Department of Sociology, Lund University


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • Sociology
  • David Riesman
  • Margaret Mead
  • social bonds
  • structure
  • character
  • cultural transformation
  • patterns of culture
  • youth
  • social change
  • life-history
  • Social changes
  • theory of social work
  • Sociologi
  • Sociala förändringar
  • teorier om socialt arbete




  • [unknown] [unknown]


  • ISSN: 1102-4712
  • ISBN: 91-7267-022-3
  • ISRN: LUSADG/SASO--00/1133--SE

Defence date

15 December 2000

Defence time


Defence place

Carolinasalen, Lund


  • Mats Franzén