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“Car-terrorism” and other horrors: Sweden confronts automobility, 1906-1939
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5123-1357
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper explores the emergence of automobility in early twentieth-century Sweden. In today’s Sweden the automobile has a taken-for-granted dominance, though the rule of the car is increasingly being questioned. By reviewing archival materials, including protocols from debates in the Swedish parliament, official government reports, and newsreel films, I try to recover the sense of impending disaster, as well as the sense of impending freedom and progress, that government leaders were confronted with as the automobile gradually moved beyond being a plaything for wealthy men to becoming a form of transportation accessible to wage-laborers. Some Swedish politicians happily retold stories of horses keeling over dead when confronted by automobiles on relatively narrow dirt roads, and warned of the threat of “car-terrorism”, while others welcomed the automobile as a sign of modernity, freedom, and progress. The analysis grapples with the political nature of historical geographical research, as well as the problem of the limits presented by the materiality of these particular sources and to what extent they allow faithful historical interpretation.

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Human Geography
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-287510OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-287510DiVA: diva2:922857
Nordic Geographers Meeting
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P11-0754:1
Available from: 2016-04-25 Created: 2016-04-25 Last updated: 2016-04-25

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Jansson, David
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