Stockholm university

Elin Åström RudbergResearcher

About me

PhD, researcher and teacher at the Department of economic history and international relations at Stockholm University. 


Since 2019, I have been teaching the following courses: 

  • World economic history (as part of the International Business and Politics (IBP) program, a cooperation with Stockholm Business School and the Deparment of Political Science)
  • Economic thought in world history (the IBP program)
  • Tankar om ekonomin på Ekonomisk historia I
  • Stora omvandlingar på Ekonomisk historia II
  • Självständigt arbete i ekonomisk historia på Ekonomisk historia II
  • I'm also supervising students on the bachelor and master's level and I'm assistant supervisor to Ph.D. candidate Susanne Berghofer who is working on a thesis about the employer organizations in the Swedish textile industry in the postwar period.


Research interests:

  • The historical development and regulation of markets
  • The role of ideas and norms for the legitimacy of markets
  • History of advertising and marketing
  • Swedish business and the European market
  • Marketization and neoliberalism

During the fall semester of 2023 I am associated reseacher at the Centre of International History and Political Studies of Globalization at Lausanne University in Switzerland. I have also been a visiting scholar at the European Institute at Columbia University in New York. Since May 2021, I am coordinator in the research programme Neoliberalism in the Nordics. I am one of the founders of the Advertising historical network in Sweden (Reklamhistoriska nätverket) that started in 2017.

My dissertation Sound and Loyal Business. The history of the Swedish advertising cartel 1915–1965 was one of three nominated for the best dissertation prize in business history between January 2018 until January 2022, awarded by the European Business History Association in Madrid, Spain, 22-24 June 2022. 

Research projects

I am currently working in the following projects: 

'The market of self-realization (Självförverkligandets marknad: Svensk korrespondens- och distansutbildning, 1890–1970-tal)', starting in August 2020, financed by Jan Wallanders och Tom Hedelius Stiftelse). The project is connected to the department of economic history at Uppsala University.

'Understanding international cartels in the 20th century: tracing size and scope', I started working in the project in May 2021, financed by Jan Wallanders och Tom Hedelius Stiftelse. 

In January 2022, I am also starting a three year postdoc project as a Wallander grant recipient entitled "Market makers. Advertising's role in the socio-economic transformation of Sweden ca 1970-2000".

Selected publications 

Innset, Ola & Åström Rudberg, Elin (forthcoming, 2023). "Varieties of marketization: Introducing a new framework for the study of market reforms in Nordic welfare states", in special issue on Capitalism and the "Nordic model" in Nordic Welfare Studies. 

Åström Rudberg, Elin (2023). “Satsa på dig själv! Näringslivets politiska marknadsföring mot ungdomar på 1970-talet” (Invest in yourself! Organized business’ political marketing towards youth in the 1970s), in Andersson, Jenny, Husz, Orsi, Glover, Nikolas & Larsson Heidenblad, David (eds.), Marknadens Tid (The Market Era), Nordic Academic Press.

Åström Rudberg, Elin & Husz, Orsi (2023), "The technicians of consumer society: The creation of advertising men and practical advertising knowledge in early twentieth-century Sweden" in Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, (open acess).

Åström Rudberg, Elin (2022), "The rise of entrepreneurship in Swedish schools",,   

Åström Rudberg, Elin (2022), "Doing business in the schools of the welfare state: Competing ‘entrepreneurial selves’ and the roots of entrepreneurship education in 1980s Sweden", Enterprise & Society,

Åström Rudberg Elin & Kuorelahti, Elina (2021). "'We have a prodigious amount in common'. Reappraising Americanization and circulation of knowledge in the interwar Nordic advertising industry", Business History, (open access).

Åström Rudberg, Elin (2021). "Så blev svenskarna sålda på att starta eget"Svenska Dagbladet, Under Strecket, 20 oktober 2021.   

Åström Rudberg, Elin (2020). "Kartellen som kontrollerade svensk reklam", Företagshistoria, No. 3, pp. 38–43. 

Åström Rudberg, Elin (2019). Sound and Loyal Business. The history of the Swedish advertising cartel 1915–1965. PhD diss. Stockholm School of Economics. 

Åström Rudberg, Elin (2018). ‘Selling the concept of brands. The Swedish advertising industry and branding in the 1920’s’, Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 494-512.



A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Varieties of Marketization: Introducing a new Framework for the Study of Market Reforms in Nordic Welfare States

    2024. Ola Innset, Elin Åström Rudberg. Nordisk välfärdsforskning | Nordic Welfare Research 9 (1), 11-27


    The article develops a new framework for the study ofmarket reforms in Nordic welfare states based on a divi-sion between “markets”, “quasi-markets” and “pseudo-markets”. The two latter types of marketization have been themost common, and the article exemplifies them by revisiting the early 1990s Swedish school reform, “Friskolere-formen”—which instigated a quasi-market for publicly funded schools run by both for-profit companies and non-profit actors—and the Norwegian hospital reform, “Foretaksreformen” of 2001—which created what we call a pseu-do-market, in which public hospitals were reorganized to mimic the structures of capitalist enterprise. By discussingthe different reforms in relation to justification, the typeof welfare state sector, and the political orientation of thegovernment implementing the reform, our study sheds new light on similarities and differences in marketizationprocesses in the Nordics. Particularly, we find that the justification for the reforms differed, with the Swedish reformbeing justified in ideological terms and the Norwegian in technocratic terms. Contrary to some literature, we holdthat marketization has fundamentally altered Nordic welfare states and the relationship between capital and societyin the Nordics, and we suggest that our framework could be used for future comparative studies of market reforms.

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  • Satsa på dig själv! Näringslivets politiska marknadsföring mot ungdomar

    2023. Elin Åström Rudberg. Marknadens tid, 81-102


    I kapitlet analyseras det organiserade svenska näringslivets satsningar för att påverka ungdomar under 1970-talet, särskilt den uppmärksammade kampanjen "Satsa på dig själv" från 1979 som har kommit att bli en omtvistad symbol för hela marknadsvändingen i Sverige.  

    Read more about Satsa på dig själv! Näringslivets politiska marknadsföring mot ungdomar
  • The technicians of consumer society: the creation of advertising men and practical advertising knowledge in early twentieth-century Sweden

    2023. Elin Åström Rudberg, Orsi Husz. Journal of Historical Research in Marketing


    Purpose:The purpose of this paper is to investigate an unexplored part of advertising history; namely, the education of a large, mundane, nonelite group of advertising professionals, so-called advertising technicians and the knowledge they acquired. Examining correspondence courses in the technology of advertising, we focus particularly on the production of technified knowledge and mass personas. Design/methodology/approach:The study is based on a qualitative analysis of course material from Sweden’s two largest correspondence schools in the 1930s and 1940s. Two theoretical concepts guide the analysis: the concept of market devices and the notion of personas, both of which we use to show how the courses crafted a particular kind of advertising professional as well as knowledge. Findings:The study shows that courses created a template-based persona of the advertising technician, who possessed what we call bounded originality characterized by diligence, modesty and rule-governed creative imagination. Similarly, the courses created a body of knowledge that was controllable and highly practice-oriented. The advertising technician was expected to embody and internalize the advertising knowledge, thus, becoming an extension of this knowledge on the market. Originality/value:By directing the searchlight at the cadre of ordinary, middle-class advertising professionals instead of the high-profile “advertising creatives” and innovators, the paper brings to the foreground the nonelite level of the advertising industry. These practitioners went to work in the business world to produce the everyday advertising that was not necessarily groundbreaking but was needed in a growing mass-consumption society.

    Read more about The technicians of consumer society: the creation of advertising men and practical advertising knowledge in early twentieth-century Sweden
  • Doing Business in the Schools of the Welfare State: Competing “Entrepreneurial Selves” and the Roots of Entrepreneurship Education in 1980s Sweden

    2022. Elin Åström Rudberg. Enterprise & society


    This article concerns the rise of young entrepreneurship education programs in 1980s Sweden, which entered schools surprisingly early and quickly, backed by organized Swedish business. The increased popularity of entrepreneurship education toward the end of the twentieth century in many European welfare states is usually associated with a shift toward neoliberal, market-oriented, policies. It is argued here that an important reason for young entrepreneurship’s success was its ability to connect with the Swedish tradition of cooperation and democratic decision making, in combination with values such as individualism and competition. A case in point is the surprising compatibility between progressive pedagogical ideas and “neoliberal” entrepreneurialism. The article is based on a study of Ung Företagsamhet (Young Entrepreneurship, henceforth UF), the Swedish version of the American organization Junior Achievement, and the ambition of the consumer cooperative movement’s think tank, Koopi, to offer a different kind of entrepreneurship education. In the analysis, the concept of “the entrepreneurial self” is applied to these two different programs, and the results show how they clashed, but also overlapped, in ways that help explain the success of UF. The article is a contribution to our understanding of how entrepreneurship discourse emerged and manifested itself in everyday environments in the late twentieth century, and as such also contributes to the history of Nordic neoliberalism.

    Read more about Doing Business in the Schools of the Welfare State: Competing “Entrepreneurial Selves” and the Roots of Entrepreneurship Education in 1980s Sweden
  • The rise of entrepreneurship in Swedish schools

    2022. Elin Åström Rudberg.


    Entrepreneurship training was introduced in selected Swedish high schools already in 1980 and has since gained a strong position in the school system. In order to understand this development, we need to examine how the discourse of entrepreneurialism was connected to key tenets of the welfare state (such as progressive educational ideals) as well as neoliberal ideas.

    Read more about The rise of entrepreneurship in Swedish schools
  • ‘We have a prodigious amount in common’: Reappraising Americanisation and circulation of knowledge in the interwar Nordic advertising industry

    2021. Elin Åström Rudberg, Elina Kuorelahti. Business History


    This article discusses the interwar collaboration in the Nordic advertising industry in relation to the literature on ‘Americanisation’ in advertising and business history. We argue that the focus on Americanisation has caused research to overlook other important arenas for sharing knowledge in the development of advertising and commercial practices in twentieth-century Europe. We show the importance of the systematic collaboration between advertising communities in the Nordic countries through which Anglo-Saxon ideas, as well as domestic experiences, were shared. The collaboration was a crucial platform for the advertising industry to achieve increased societal clout. We also find that the Nordic advertising industry, as a collective, clearly distanced themselves from continental Europe based on a perception that Anglo-Saxon and Nordic advertising shared the same foundations. The results raise questions concerning assumptions about Americanisation and the role of alternative sources of inspiration and transnational collaboration in advertising history.

    Read more about ‘We have a prodigious amount in common’

Show all publications by Elin Åström Rudberg at Stockholm University