Swedish telephone books in the 1960s

The ethnographic eye is sensitive to small details in everyday life.

Here is an observation by Seymour Martin Lipset from 1963:

“Yet Swedish politics remain highly particularistic. For example, Swedish telephone books still list individuals alphabetically within occupational groups. So to look up a Swede in the phone book, you must know his occupation. He is still a doctor, printer, or carpenter before he is a person.”

Lipset, Seymour Martin. The first new nation: The united states in historical and comparative perspective. London: Heinemann, 1963, 236.

This description by Lipset is an allusion to the Burckhardtian (1860) thesis that the core of the western tradition is the discovery of the individual during the Renaissance.

In other words, he suggests that a more or less medieval view of the individual was still relevant in Sweden in the early 1960s.

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