These are my publications in english and german. A full list of publications may be found here.
Between Denmark and Detroit: Ford Motor Company A/S 1919-1966 and the transformation of Fordism.
In 1919 Ford Motor Company – the world’s largest car company – decided to make a small, Nordic country its bridgehead to continental Europe.
During the 1920s, Ford’s iconic Model T was assembled in Copenhagen, with large quantities exported from there to most of north-eastern Europe. The innovative manufacturing technology employed in Copenhagen was the same as that used in Ford’s American assembly plants, and the Copenhagen plant was actually designed by Albert Kahn – the architect behind Ford’s famous Highland Park factory in Detroit, Michigan.
The Danish Ford Motor Company successfully continued production throughout the recession of the 1930s, the German occupation of Denmark in 1940–1945 and the Cold War and economic boom of the 1950s. The Copenhagen factory closed in 1966, obliged to give way to Ford’s larger operations elsewhere in Europe.
Henry Ford’s pioneering principles of mass production went beyond mere technology. The large-scale serial manufacturing of uniform products was also a way of fulfilling his vision of an affluent consumer society. But as Fordism was relocated across the Atlantic, the rigorous discipline and fast-paced work routines applied in Detroit were challenged by local traditions, shifting market conditions and, most notably, a labour movement that was far more powerful and influential than its American counterpart.
During the 1920’s, Fordism in Detroit was based on an extreme division of work, autocratic management and militant anti-unionism. But in western Europe it is the post 1945 version of Fordism, characterised by a class compromise based on high productivity, high wages, and collective bargaining, with which Fordism typically is associated today, and which has been theorised as a specific form of capitalist accumulation.
This book offers a detailed history of the Danish Ford Motor Company, but the book also has a wider scope, elucidating the concept of Fordism and how it was transformed by its move across the Atlantic.
Between Denmark and Detroit: Ford Motor Company A/S 1919-1966 and the transformation of Fordism. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2021.
Download table of content and sample pages.
Europe meets the World
This book is a collection of essays on European history, from ancient times to the present. It was originally published by the Danish National Museum, as a companion for the 2012 special exhibition “Europa meets the World”.
I have contributed with texts on the industrial revolution and city lights. On economic expansion and a forgotten war in Sudan. On a ghost that became reality. And on a revolutionary idea, which arose in the heart of Europe: that all people are born free and equal, and that leaders get their legitimate right to rule from the people only.
I have combined my contributions to the book into a PDF file, which you are free to download.
Europe meets the World. With P. Grinder-Hansen, E. Kjeldbæk & B.B. Rasmussen. Copenhagen: The National Museum, 2012.
Articles and other contributions
- ”Museums in the age of technical reproduction”. In: K. Braun, et al. (eds.): Wirtschaften: Kulturwissenschaftliche Perspektive, 156-168. Marburg: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Volkskunde, 2019.
- “Arbeitsleben Ausstellen: Ein Beispiel von Musealer Inszenierung der Industriearbeit.” In: Ove Sutter & Valeska Flor (eds.), Ästhetisierung der Arbeit: Empirische Kulturanalysen des Kognitiven Kapitalismus. Waxmann, 2017.
- “‘So who do you think you are?’: Besucher im Dilemma”. In: L von Stieglitz & T Brune (eds.), Hin und her – Dialoge in Museen zur Alltagskultur: Aktuelle Positionen zur Besucherpartizipation. Transcript Verlag, 2015.
- “Between Denmark and Detroit: Unionized labour at Ford Motor Company, Copenhagen, 1919-1939″. Labor History, vol 55, nr. 3, 2014.
- “Bringing the People back in”. In: H. Albrecht, A. Kierdorf og N. Tempel (eds.): Industrial Heritage – Ecology & Economy: XIV. International TICCIH Congress, 394–99. Chemnitz: Sächsisches Industriemuseum, 2011.
- “The textile industry and the forming of modern industrial relations in Denmark“. In: Lex Heerma van Voss et al. (eds.): The Ashgate Companion to the History of Textile Workers, 1650–2000. Ashgate, Farnham 2010.
- “Institutions in textile industry – guilds, unions and states”. In: Lex Heerma van Voss et al. (eds.): The Ashgate Companion to the History of Textile Workers, 1650–2000. Ashgate, Farnham 2010.