Democracy between elections and in everyday life

Last updated: 4 10 2018

Image Boken om Sverige
This material is from the book About Sweden.

It is important for people to be able to make their voice heard in more ways than by voting in general elections.

The public must also have plentiful opportunities to have insight into, participate in and influence political decision-making processes when they so desire between elections. For example, this is possible though contacting a politician, signing a petition or demonstrating.

It is also important to have the ability to influence decisions that affect you or your everyday life. In recent decades, many people in Sweden have attempted to increase participation and co-determination in working life, in school, within families, in associations and in residential areas.

Improving people's opportunities to have influence in their working life means that businesses and organisations attempt to get their employees to be more involved in what happens at work. Everyone has to have the same opportunity to influence their work. However, it is still the boss who make the final decisions.

Increasing participation and co-determination in school means that there is an attempt to teach children to think critically and take responsibility. The teacher does not decide everything. Pupils can be involved in planning the teaching.

Increasing the amount of co-determination within families can mean that there is a desire to make children more independent and confident. Many parents plan with their children and allow them to be involved in decision-making within the family.

Many associations in Sweden have had democratic working practices for a long time. For example, they have rules about how meetings and elections to the board are organised. It is important that all members are able to vote. Each member's vote has the same value.

Participation and co-determination in residential areas means that those who live in the area can be involved in decision-making. For example, they can be involved in making decisions concerning things that those who live in the building use together.