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Stålbad - från medicamentösa bad till nedskärningspolitik
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Scandinavian Languages.
2013 (Swedish)In: Språk & Stil, ISSN 1101-1165, no 23, 9-30 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

During the past two decades, the Swedish word stålbad – a compound word combining stål (steel) and bad (bath) – has frequently been used as a designation for and summary of a neoliberal economic policy. The article traces the semantic development of the word, with its roots in two disparate, literal meanings, both of which – at least partially based on the German Stahlbad – were established in the middle of the nineteenth century: the first is a medicinal, curative bath in iron saltwater (a chalybeate bath), the other is a metallurgical term of art (steel melt). Common to both oft hese meanings is the notion of a positive result, that something good is generated in the course of events, and this semantic component is also found in the different metaphorical usages. At the earliest stage, the metaphor stålbad had solely positive connotations in most cases: It was applied to experiences that were not only invigorating but also quite pleasant. However, the metaphor later developed – here too in line with the use in German – to exclusively designate different kinds of painful but supposedly hardening experiences, such as poverty, unemployment and, not least, war. More and more marginalized after the second world war, the current – and for Sweden unique –use of the metaphor was apparently triggered by a speech given by the Minister of Finance in 1989, where he in rather archaic terms connected the word stålbad with the threat of growing unemployment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Adolf Noreen-sällskapet för svensk språk- och stilforskning , 2013. no 23, 9-30 p.
Keyword [en]
lexicology, semantics, literal and metaphorical usage, language contact, political parlance, Swedish
Keyword [sv]
lexikologi, semantik, egentlig och metaforisk användning, språkkontakt, politiskt språkbruk, svenska
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Scandinavian Languages
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-213735OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-213735DiVA: diva2:683302
Available from: 2014-01-03 Created: 2014-01-03 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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Larsson, Lennart

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