Date: 15 February 2017
Mikael Holmqvist is Associate Professor of Sociology and Professor of Management at Stockholm University.
All around the world there are ”leader communities”, i.e., places where leaders choose to live and exert their dominion, socialize with other leaders, and, most importantly, form families and raise their children into future leaders.
The most prominent example in Sweden is Djursholm, a suburb some 10 kilometres from Stockholm. Djursholm, with some 9,000 citizens, is generally recognised in Sweden as the preferred residential area of members of the country’s economic elite, its “one percent.” Swedes on Forbes’s “The World’s Billionaire’s List” like to live there, or have friends and relatives living there. It is known for its large houses with extensive grounds and its charming, winding lanes; also a varied and beautiful landscape, and a small commercial centre with high-class shops, restaurants, and other services.
The inhabitants of Djursholm, with a higher educational level than anywhere else in the country, work primarily as executives and decision-makers in the Swedish corporate and financial sectors; but there are also influential politicians and famous artists living there. Their position in society enables them to exert great influence over the country’s economic, political, and social development. Income levels are at the top of national league tables.
The research included a large number of interviews and conversations with people living, working, or in some other way having a relation to the community. It also involved many hours of participation in various activities in that world such as school lessons, reunions, parties and social activities, café and restaurant outings, religious services; also repeated informal visits for activities such as walks, cycling and jogging, days on the beach, treks in the forest; and further, numerous questionnaires for children or young people and their families; detailed statistical research; and extensive studies of archive material and literature of relevance to the workings of this place.
Mikael Holmqvist is the author of The Institutionalization of Social Welfare; The Disabling State of an Active Society; and co-author of Managing Healthy Organizations. Worksite Health Promotion and the New Self-Management Paradigm. His latest book is Djursholm – Sveriges ledarsamhälle.
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