Stockholms universitet

Klara ArnbergUniversitetslektor, docent

Om mig

Jag är docent och universitetslektor i ekonomisk historia. Min forskning undersöker relationen mellan konsumtion, marknadsföring och medier samt kommersiella aspekter av kön och sexualitet. 

Just nu leder jag forskningsprojektet "Till konsumtionens försvar: Reklam, genus och medborgarskap i Sverige under andra världskriget", finansierat av Vetenskapsrådet.


Rum: A996, A-huset, våning 9



Jag undervisar för närvarande på följande kurser:

- Teoretisk fördjupning för ekonomhistoriker (EHII:1)

- Gendering Global Political Economy (Ma)


Min forskning undersöker relationen mellan konsumtion, marknadsföring och medier samt kommersiella aspekter av kön och sexualitet. 

Pågående forskningsprojekt:

Projektledare för: "Till konsumtionens försvar: Reklam, genus och medborgarskap i Sverige under andra världskriget", finansierat av Vetenskapsrådet.

Forskare inom: "Transbordering Business: passenger ferries as enactments of consumption in postwar Finnish-Swedish relations", finansierat av Jan Wallanders och Tom Hedelius stiftelse.



Nedanstående är ett urval av de senaste årens publikationer

I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • Wartime segmentation: Class, gender, and nation in the marketing of consumers, Sweden 1939–1945

    2024. Klara Arnberg, Jim Hagström. Enterprise & society, 1-32


    In line with recent research that regards the Second World War as a “defining moment” rather than a temporary disruption to the development of consumer societies, this paper explores how consumers were imagined in nonbelligerent Sweden. The main empirical source material consists of business-to-business advertisements from newspaper and magazine publishers aimed at potential advertisers. There, publishers portrayed their readers as suitable consumers, and, given that the division of the press constituted the main infrastructure for reaching different consumer groups, this is interpreted as a key to understanding market segmentation processes. The findings show how geographical, demographic, and psychological factors were considered in optimizing advertising influence and reaching classed and gendered target audiences. Although the segmentation process consolidated during the war, focusing on stable, large consumer groups, the imagined consumer also underwent fundamental changes, combating anxiety and despair through dreams of both future and present patriotic consumption.

    Läs mer om Wartime segmentation
  • Under the Influence of Commercial Values: Neoliberalized Business-Consumer Relations in the Swedish Certification Market, 1988-2018

    2022. Klara Arnberg, Martin Gustavsson, Kristina Tamm Hallström. Enterprise & society, 1-29


    Since the 1990s, a new model for market control organized through tripartite standards regimes (TSR), has expanded globally and affected most market exchanges through standard-setting, accreditation, and certification. This article investigates business-consumer relations under this regime, with a specific focus on the functions of accreditation and certification. In our case study of Sweden, a new picture of consumer protection under late capitalism evolves. Seeing it as a form of neoliberalization, the article uncovers a transition between two regimes of control; from one built on a potential conflict between consumer and business interests, to one based on the assumption that business interests are beneficial for all parties. Although business interest was formulated as pleasing the consumer-or the customer-by both certification firms and the Swedish Accreditation Authority, in practice consumer interest as something worth protecting was made abstract in the era of the TSR.

    Läs mer om Under the Influence of Commercial Values: Neoliberalized Business-Consumer Relations in the Swedish Certification Market, 1988-2018
  • Capital of sex: pornography sales in Stockholm, 1965–1985

    2021. Klara Arnberg. Porn Studies 9 (1), 56-81


    This article demonstrates how Stockholm's reputation as the capital of sex attracted tourists and business alike during the sexual revolution. It follows the rise and decline of the ‘porn street’ Klara norra kyrkogata, and how it was liberally seen and handled by the police as a ‘free zone for pornography’. The article maps porn commerce on this street and in Stockholm city at large shortly before and after the legalization of pornography in 1971. For almost a decade, pornography was part of the accepted economy and could market business in ordinary newspapers. However, all of this changed with increasing resistance and protests against pornography from various groups in the 1970s and some re-regulations of porn in the 1980s. Then porn retailers were evicted, and Klara norra kyrkogata was cleaned up and reconstructed, instead turning into a ‘porn-free zone’ in the late 1980s, in accordance with outspoken political visions.

    Läs mer om Capital of sex
  • Far i fönstret: kommersiell konstruktion av kön och den nya mannen i 1930-talets skyltfönster

    2021. Orsi Husz, Klara Arnberg. Bakom stadens kulisser, 291-337

    Läs mer om Far i fönstret
  • På hemmafronten intet nytt: Kommersiell kvinnlighet under svensk beredskap, 1939–1945

    2021. Klara Arnberg, Nikolas Glover, Fia Sundevall. Historisk Tidskrift 141 (3), 476-509


    The article studies commercial actors and advertisements in the Swedish weekly press in order to trace how the transformed gender roles during the Second World War were handled and negotiated in the commercial sphere. Two key dimensions of consumer society constitute the objects of study: 1) the weekly press’ and advertising industry’s actions and promotion of the role of female consumers during the war; and 2) how commercial advertisements represented female consumers. The weeklies we study, Svensk damtidning, Hemmets Veckotidning and Vecko-revyn reached national readerships and were directed towards households and especially women. The paper concludes that although women were described as essential to national defenseby keeping up home front morale, the war was largely absent in the advertisements. Instead, the latter tended to remind consumers of peacetime affluence and family-based gender ideals. This meant that while many women’s everyday lives changed dramatically as a consequence of national wartime mobilization, their desires were commercially channeled just as they had been in peacetime: toward looking after their appearance, caring for the household and choosing the right consumer goods.

    Läs mer om På hemmafronten intet nytt
  • Könspolitiska nyckeltexter: från Det går an till #metoo

    2019. .

    Bok (red)

    Könspolitiska nyckeltexter är en mångfacetterad introduktion till svensk genushistoria. Genom ett pärlband av originaltexter, från C.J.L. Almqvists roman Det går an 1839 till #metoouppropen 2017, ges en fördjupad förståelse av hur kön har diskuterats, politiserats och iscensatts under nästan 200 år. Varje nyckeltext är kommenterad och analyserad av en forskare.

    Arbete, sexuella rättigheter, familjeliv, diskriminering, våld, försörjning, värnplikt, rösträtt, preventivmedel, skönhet och barnomsorg är några exempel på de många frågor som behandlas i boken, nu i omarbetad och utvidgad upplaga.

    Läs mer om Könspolitiska nyckeltexter
  • Selling the consumer: the marketing of advertising space in Sweden, ca. 1880-1939

    2019. Klara Arnberg. Journal of Historical Research in Marketing 11 (2), 142-164


    Purpose – By studying the marketing of advertising space, this paper aims to study how class, gender and region were portrayed in terms of economic considerations in adverts selling advertising space to potential advertisers. The paper studies how readers were discursively transformed into consumers in this material and how different consumer groups were depicted, divided and framed during Sweden’s early consumer culture. By doing so, the paper highlights the tensions between aiming at a mass audience, on the one hand, and striving to reach more and more specific consumer groups on the other hand.

    Design/methodology/approach – Both qualitative and quantitative analyses are made in order to follow the changes of highlighted consumer groups in the ads. Intersectional analysis is used to see how notions of class and gender intersected during the analysed period.

    Findings – The sectioning of the press is in the paper stressed as a prerequisite for market segmentation and the economic history of mass media is lifted as essential for understanding it. The gendering and classing of market segments were also based on how common interests were interpreted by political movements and their press forums. For surviving in the long run, however, the paper argues that the political press needed to commercialise their readerships to attract advertisers and survive economically.

    Originality/value – The paper concludes that mass marketing and segmentation processes were in many senses parallel in the studied material. Statements of reaching all social classes diminished over time, but notions of the masses were prevalent in both the worker and the women categories. However, how advertisers choose between different media for their advertising campaigns or how they adopted different marketing methods towards different segments are beyond the scope of this paper.

    Läs mer om Selling the consumer
  • Beyond Mrs consumer: competing femininities in Swedish advertising trade publications, 1900–1939

    2018. Klara Arnberg. Scandinavian Economic History Review 66 (2), 153-169


    This article follows the discussion on female consumers in Swedish advertising journals and handbooks. The aim is to problematise the gendered aspects of Swedish consumer and early advertising history, by studying how the notion of the female consumer intersected with notions of social class, marital status and sexuality. The article also closes in on the persons who were invited to embody the consuming women and what kind of interests they represented. The article concludes that, from the start of the twentieth century, gender and class was prevalent in the advertising literature. The married woman was also from the start seen as the head of the consuming family. Therefore, reaching her through advertising became key for facilitating the relations between producer and consumer. With time, different women's organisations, the weekly press, and new theories of advertising from the US addressing the notion of 'Mrs Consumer' came to influence the Swedish advertising trade press. The result became the favouring of a certain kind of middle class, urban and rational kind of femininity, strongly connected to homemaking and women's roles in purchasing for the family. However, this femininity also paralleled notions of 'the flapper' and the professional woman.

    Läs mer om Beyond Mrs consumer
  • From the great department store with love: Window display and the transfer of commercial knowledge in early twentieth-century Sweden

    2018. Klara Arnberg, Orsi Husz. History of Retailing and Consumption 4 (2), 126-155


    This article highlights the transfers and practical uses of thecommercial knowledge of window dressing in early twentieth-century Sweden through the analysis of the professional careerand family business of Oscar Lundkvist, Swedish display pioneerand former window dresser in chief of the largest and firstSwedish department store,Nordiska Kompaniet. Building on richsource material including unique written and photographicdocuments from the Lundkvist family, educational material andtrade journals, we show how the innovative and spectacularbecame ordinary and mundane in retail praxis. We argue that theemergence and professionalization of window display broughtwith it the dissemination and trivialization of the same practice.By focusing on not only the most conspicuous aspects andcultural meanings of window displays but also on the materialsand competences involved, we explain how setting up thedisplays became an everyday commercial practice and how it waspositioned between advertising and retail as well as between theartistic and the commercial.

    Läs mer om From the great department store with love
  • Mad women: gendered divisions in the Swedish advertising industry, 1930–2012

    2017. Klara Arnberg, Jonatan Svanlund. Business History 59 (2), 268-291


    This article constitutes a first attempt to systematically map the presence of women in the greatly changing Swedish advertising industry since 1930. The overarching aim of the study is to analyse how the gendered divisions of labour and business changed in relation to both business structure and the overall labour market in Sweden. While we conclude that women constituted around 40–50% of the workforce over time, we see an increase in the shares of women in higher positions and in women who were self-employed and managers. This upturn, however, stabilised during the 1990s. We argue that the changes in gendered divisions of labour and business coincided with a fast-changing business structure. First, the old cartel broke down in the mid-1960s. Then, the number of firms increased quickly during the 1970s and 1980s, and the market share for the largest firms declined. This, in turn, meant new business opportunities for women at the same time as their overall labour market participation increased. The article stresses the importance of both acknowledging women’s presence in the industry development as well as the structures constituting gender divisions.

    Läs mer om Mad women

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