City in Change: Globalization, Local Politics and Urban Movements in Contemporary Stockholm


In this article contemporary city change in Stockholm is first described against a background of theories on global cities. Stockholm cannot be seen as a global city, but displays many typical signs of the ongoing development in global cities. In the article this is shown by examining the situation in Stockholm regarding the economic structure, especially the expanding IT‐sector, social and economic polarization, local politics and the efforts to improve the infrastructure. In the change of the city social movements have been very active. Since the 1960s three different kinds of movements have existed, which are described and analysed against a background of theories on social movements. The first of these, the so‐called neighbourhood movement, emerged at the end of the 1960s and had all the typical signs of the so‐called ‘new’ social movements of that time. In the 1990s a new environmental movement acted mainly against proposed big traffic‐routes. This movement reflected in its structure some important features of today’s society: fragmentation, individualization and globalization. At the end of the 1990s a third movement emerged as a reaction against the new competitive urban politics and the ongoing change of the city. Finally, the modifying impact that movements and local factors in Stockholm have had on globalization is discussed, as well as the difficulty in estimating the impact of movements on local politics.