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Marketing a New Society or Engineering Kitchens? IKEA and the Swedish Consumer Agency

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Consumer Engineering, 1920s–1970s

Part of the book series: Worlds of Consumption ((WC))

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Abstract

This chapter shows that the social reformism of the Swedish welfare state was built into the kitchens of the global furniture company IKEA and distributed around the world from the 1970s to the 1990s. Exploring the contacts between IKEA and the Swedish Consumer Agency as well as the implementation by IKEA of the Agency’s guidelines for rational kitchen planning, we show that IKEA’s business model was in practice highly compatible with the consumer policies of 1970s Sweden, which were often regarded as intrusive and hostile to market forces and unlimited consumer choice. Tracing the ideas of kitchen planning applied by IKEA back to 1940s Social Democratic welfare policies, we reveal a peculiar case of consumer engineering in terms of (implicit) Swedishization rather than Americanization.

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Acknowledgements

Our research was supported by grants from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ), The Magnus Bergwall Foundation, and The Åke Wiberg Foundation.

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Husz, O., Carlsson, K. (2019). Marketing a New Society or Engineering Kitchens? IKEA and the Swedish Consumer Agency. In: Logemann, J., Cross, G., Köhler, I. (eds) Consumer Engineering, 1920s–1970s. Worlds of Consumption. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-14564-4_11

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-14564-4_11

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-14563-7

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-14564-4

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