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Publicitet för medborgsmannavett: Det nationellt svenska i Stockholmstidningar 1810-1831
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of History.
2005 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Publicizing civic life : Swedish national debate in Stockholm’s newspapers, 1810 to 1831 (English)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to use social debate in political newspapers to study how Swedish national identity was constructed in the period between 1810 and 1831. Never before has the Swedish political press and national identity in the early nineteenth century been analysed using such an approach. 1809 saw the beginning of a turbulent period for Sweden. A disastrous war against Russia led to the loss of Finland, King Gustav IV Adolf was deposed in a bloodless coup, and a new form of government and press freedom were introduced. It became pressing to construct a national identity suited to Sweden’s new political, social, and economic circumstances.

The newspapers’ consideration of social issues and national identity has been studied in the light of specific themes: publicity; the constitution and structure of the state; commerce and industry; the moral standing of nation and population alike; education and upbringing; historical narratives; and Sweden’s attitudes towards the lost province of Finland and the new union with Norway.

Two theoretical perspectives inform the thesis. In the first the newspapers’ message is related to slow change, as Swedish society was transformed from a corporate-based system to a newer, less certain system marked by individualism and liberation from a corporate based society. Linked to this societal perspective, the second perspective identifies the newspapers’ content with the two principal strands in national identity in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries: the ethno-cultural; and the civic.

An important conclusion is that the more radical the message, the more emphasis was placed on a civic national identity, by means of focusing on the constitutional, civic, and public good. Civic national identity stemmed principally from the emerging middle class, who at the time constituted only a few per cent of the Swedish population. By contrast, the conservative political message centred principally on the advocacy of a ethno-cultural national identity that stressed ethnic origin, common language and history, religion, and customs as the determinants in national identity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2005. , 346 p.
Studia historica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0081-6531 ; 216
Keyword [en]
History, Sweden 1810–1831, freedom of the press, public life, national, patriotic, radical, conservative, national identity, civics, ethno-cultural
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-5773ISBN: 91-554-6168-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-5773DiVA: diva2:166317
Public defence
2005-05-13, Sal X, Universitetshuset, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2005-04-21 Created: 2005-04-21 Last updated: 2013-09-11Bibliographically approved

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Edgren, Henrik
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