New Book
Towards Sustainable Work in Europe

Abrahamsson, K. & Ennals, R. Eds., forthcoming 2022, Peter Lang

Preview by Richard Ennals

One remarkably constant figure in Swedish Working Life Research for over 30 years has been Kennetn Abrahamsson, who has organised and financed research in the field on behalf of Swedish government agencies.

In the Swedish “Work Life 2000: Quality in Work” programme 1997-2001, which culminated in the Swedish EU Presidency Conference in Malmo in January 2001, Kenneth was a workshop organiser and facilitator. Each of the 64 specialist workshops was led by Swedes, who invited international participants to join dialogue in Brussels and around Europe. The idea was to introduce Swedish researchers to the international research community, and vice versa. I served as rapporteur for the workshops and the conference.

Swedish researchers were understandably proud of their research tradition, and had undisguised ambitions to see it as a European driving force. This was aided by the role of Allan Larsson as Director-General for Employment and Social Policy in the European Commission.

We can now consider the imminent submission of “Towards Sustainable Work in Europe”, which Kenneth has edited, with my support as co-editor, for publication by Peter Lang of Berlin.

The Swedish National Institute for Working Life was closed in 2007, but a core of familiar Swedish researchers have continued. Allan Larsson wrote the Preface. Lennart Levi provided an important chapter. Maria Albin had led a project funded by Innova. Together with Elisabeth Lagerlof, Chris Mathieu and Kenneth, they co-edited a special double issue of the European Journal of Workplace Innovation, 6.1-2, March 2021. The momentum of the collaboration continued.

The new book includes additional invited chapters, which provide the broader European context in which Swedish research has been taken forward. There are chapters from leading members of the European Workplace Innovation Network (EUWIN), as well as from Eurofound, EU-DSHA and the Perosh network. We hear from Norway, Netherlands and the UK.

The book looks forward rather than back. It brings together, in fresh dialogue, traditions of Workplace Innovation and Sustainable Work, bridging the gap between social science and occupational safety and health. It has not depended on external institutional funding, but principally on Kenneth’s inexhaustible energy and commitment. We hope that the book will stimulate further dialogue, development, and progress towards Sustainable Work in Europe.

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European Workplace Innovation Network (EUWIN)

EUWIN was established by the European Commission in 2013 and is now entirely supported by contributions from an international network of partners co-ordinated by HIVA (University of Leuven). EUWIN also functions as a network partner for the H2020 Beyond4.0 project.

Contact: Workplace Innovation Europe CLG (