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A scarce resource? The debate on metals in Sweden 1870–1918
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9558-4621
2016 (English)In: The Extractive Industries and Society, ISSN 2214-790X, E-ISSN 2214-7918Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this article is to explore the historical origins and meanings of metals scarcity in industrial society by investigating which metals were regarded as scarce by Swedish industrial actors from 1870 until 1918 and why. An analysis of material from the Swedish engineering journal Teknisk Tidskrift shows that the actors perceived twenty metals to be scarce during this period. Seven different factors could be identified in the scarcity debate: geological scarcity, technical difficulties in extracting the metals, the lack of substitutes, price variations, limited transport infrastructure, domestic unavailability and legal regulations. The article shows that actors and industries experienced troublesome shortages of metals even before World War I. However, they did not regard it as a geopolitical problem until the eve of the war.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Sweden, Metals, Industrialization, Social construction of scarcity
National Category
History of Technology
Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-184854DOI: 10.1016/j.exis.2016.03.009ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84961908042OAI: diva2:916986
Swedish Research Council

QP 201604

Available from: 2016-04-05 Created: 2016-04-05 Last updated: 2016-04-05Bibliographically approved

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Vikström, Hanna
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