Co-operation in the Nordic countries before 1914
International networks and the transmission of ideas
in The International Co-operative Alliance and the consumer co-operative movement in northern Europe, c. 1860–1939
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The chapter introduces the co-operative movement in the Nordic countries (excluding Iceland), summarising the history of co-operation in each country in turn. It asks what were the main influences on the development of co-operation in the Nordic context, and in particular, what was the role of foreign models of co-operation. The Rochdale system of co-operation was a common reference point across the entire region, but it was never the only model for how to organise a co-operative society: co-operators also drew on examples from Germany and Ireland, among others. Particular attention is paid here to the role of Nordic contacts in shaping the development of co-operation and how the personal networks of certain key individuals were gradually replaced by more formal institutional links. The chapter examines similarities and differences across the region and considers the extent to which these supported or undermined the existence of a common co-operative movement.

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