Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Sprach- und literaturwissenschaftliche Fakultät - Nordeuropa-Institut

Project Gemenskaper - Working Papers 1c: The Cultural Construction of Communities in the Process of Modernization: Sweden an Germany in Comparison


"The Cultural Construction of Community in the Process of Modernization: Sweden and Germany in Comparison" is the title of a research project which, from January 1996, is financed by the Bank of Sweden's Tercentenary Foundation for a preliminary period of two years. This leaflet contains the final, revised text which was included with the application in 1995. The following describes the goal and plans for the completion of the project. A German and a Swedish version of this text are also available.
The original Swedish language application was built upon the work of the future project participants. For the translation of the German contribution and for the final editing Bo Stråth had primary responsibility. The Swedish and English revised editions are derived from a revision of the original text which was first done in German with translations by Claudia Beindorf, Ursula Geisler and Heike Igel and final editing by Stephan Michael Schröder. The (re-)translation into Swedish was done by Bo Stråth and the English translation by David Randolph.

Berlin and Florence in March 1997


Goal 7
Perspective and Presentation of Research Problem
 1. Background 10
 2. Theoretical Assumptions 11
 3. State and Society 14
 4. Community and Society 15
 5. Symbols as Construction and Representation 16
 6. Cultural Science and Social Science 19
Participants Projects 22
Research Organization 39
Bibliography 41


Sweden and Germany have, during this century, developed many similarities when it comes to culture, politics and the economy. Both are part of a Germanic language and symbol world with visible parallels in societal organization as a result.
These similarities have to a large degree been overshadowed by the obvious differences which developments during the inter-war period clearly revealed. During certain periods in culture and social scientific research and social debate the similarities have been emphasized while in other periods the differences have been emphasized. During the post-War period the Swedish model oftentimes was seen as the antipode of the German catastrophe. An earlier Swedish cultural, political and economic orientation toward German was replaced, after 1945, by an Anglo-American orientation in a distancing from the German.
At the same time a picture of the Swedish model as an ideal type and vision gradually began to develop in Germany not without political controversy but rather as an instrument hereby. In turn, the growing interest in Sweden, on the part of the rest of the world, was incorporated in Swedish identity. The feeling of having been chosen, and the experience of Sweden as a "model" country, was strengthened.
The overarching question which this research program wishes to address is how the construction of community and identity occurred through language and symbols and through delimitation into "we-they" categories in different historical situations in Sweden (Scandinavia) and Germany. The construction of community has, in turn, informed important points of departure for political action and political and economic institutions within, for example, the labor market and society as a whole.
The program participants represent not only two different countries and two different universities but also different disciplines with different scientific traditions. This is clearly noted in the view/understanding of the concept of symbols which is constitutive of the formation of community. Two principle views are to be found in the scientific debate: symbols as construction and symbols as representation. Both views are represented among the participants which should be seen as a strength. One goal is, namely, to theoretically problematicize and overcome the dichotomy construction-representation. Under the heading Perspective and Problem Formulation (see below), why this would be an achievement is motivated.
Through a systematic cultural scientific comparison of Swedish (Scandinavian) and German patterns of modernization and social organizational solutions throughout the past two hundred years an increased understanding will be reached of how fundamentally similar problems can result in very different solutions. Empirical results will be combined with theoretical and methodological innovation in view of modernization through a perspective which, in the analysis, begins with language and symbols; with culture as an arena for the production of relations. Not the least, a comparison of the discursively constructed identity creating concepts of the "people" and the "nation" from a comparative culture scientific analysis perspective open new horizons of understanding.1
Other fruitful questions are how the picture of the Swedish, through comparison and contrast, are incorporated into German views of modernity and vice versa. Increased understanding will be achieved of how visions of the Swedish (Nordic) developed during the construction of community and identity in German (social) debate and vice versa. Thus, it will be highlighted how, in such processes of heterostereotyping, interests for other cultures during the construction of community and identity (självförståelse) occurs through debate and controversy. At the same time, the culture which is the target of these visions is influenced in that the world's interests are not only taken note of but are also incorporated into and transform one's identity/self-understanding.

The goal of the research program can be summarized in three points:

  • On a more overarching level contribution will be made to the question of the governability of modern society. Historical method will be combined with cultural scientific theory construction in such a way that the interdisciplinary point of departure is achieved in the problem formulation rather than, as is common, solely in the organization (and presentation) of the research results.
  • A further goal is to make the research results available not only to an academic community but to the general public as well. This goal seems all the more important as research is on identity and self-understanding and thereby should be able to provide immediate contributions to today's social debate.
  • A third goal is the intensification of research contacts along with increasing international research mobility with German (and Scandinavian) environments in order to work out alternative reference points to today's dominant Anglo-American.

Perspective and Presentation of Research Problem

1. Background

The first half of the 1990s have meant that the question of the relation to German patterns of development have become more important than ever in the course of the past fifty years. During the five or six years since the fall of the Soviet empire, which some observers saw as the end of history, the eastern European economic and political crisis has spread to the western democracies. Questions regarding the governability of society and the ability of politicians to deliver solutions to ever more difficult social problems has led to critical views about the capabilities of the national state at the same time that the nation as identity, and nationalism as ideology, have become stronger. The Swedish debate on whether to join the European Union has, in this regard, many parallels with the German.
In the search for continuity within the understanding of today's situation a comparison of Swedish and Germany patterns of development is more meaningful than ever. A comparison which problematicizes, and through a historical perspective, compares concepts such as state, society, nation and people (folk/Volk), and thereby pays attention to similarities as well as differences, would offer new intellectual tools for a discussion of the topic of threat and possibility in the Europe of the future. Present intellectual instruments have, to a large degree, derived from an Anglo-American ideal type of modernization built on industrial production and economic growth. This Anglo-American standard, in today's transnational and post-industrial world, has increasingly become less satisfactory.
Not only similarities and differences between Sweden and Germany but threat as well as possibility for social development stand out clearly in a Swedish-Germany comparison of previous times of the experience of crisis. Especially during the 1890s and the 1930s. The comparison can be made even more interesting and deeper through expansion to the other Scandinavian (Nordic) countries. The intention is to accomplish this through network links of this project to other Scandinavian research environments with similar approaches.
Important questions in such a Scandinavian-German perspective begin from the fact that the Scandinavian countries' democratization and modernization can, in large part, be seen as an integrative movement from below (popular movements) while the German path was initiated more from above (von oben).2 Here there are important differences between the Scandinavian countries (and, within Germany, between different regions) as, for example, the meaning of the independence struggle and the language struggle in Norway and Finland or between Grundtvigianism in Denmark compared with more puritan popular movements in Norway and Sweden. Other questions concentrate on the role of Scandinavian/ Nordic ideology ("Nordism") and to the degree one can speak of a specific Scandinavian social model. Is there a special Scandinavian variety of Protestantism not just in relation to Catholicism but also in relation to German (Prussian) Protestantism? What distinguishes the Swedish in relation to the Scandinavian? What distinguishes the Scandinavian in relation to the German?

2. Theoretical Assumptions

At the heart of the research program is a theoretical perspective which assumes that power over language and symbols, as they are used in institutions (that is to say society's norms and rules with attached organizational expressions) and political culture, are important in every social organization. In the struggle over how social problems should be defined and solved interpretations and intellectual hegemonies are established. The framework is set for which problems will be presented and which will be suppressed. With concepts, symbols and metaphors identity and community are created as well as demarcation and conflict along with the interpretative framework for social debate.
The modernization of western industrial society over the past two hundred years can be seen as a summary of a number of processes such as industrialization and technological development, bureaucratization, professionalization and democratization. These processes oftentimes have different rhythms of time which produces tension between them. This tension is experienced as a problem. Periods of an especially large accumulation of problems is experienced as crisis. At this time established truths either erode or collapse. The attempt to create new concepts or frameworks of interpretation, or to give new meaning to the old, is intensified.3
In such phases of crisis similarly organized societies can come to seek solutions in very different directions. Within each society a totally new path can be taken whereby development can lead on to totally new paths. Weber, in his famous railroad metaphor, spoke about, switch operators, who led development on to new tracks. New visions, Weltbilder, thereby, played a significant role in informing action.
Crisis phases with particular problem accumulation in Scandinavia and Germany have been the 1890s, 1930s and the period from the 1970s.4 The goal is to, within the framework of the research program, shed light on these phases of crisis in Sweden (Scandinavia) and Germany within a systematic comparative perspective. From an historical and politiological research, these empirically established phases of crisis constitute the point of departure for a culture scientific oriented interdisciplinary (history, politology, science of literature, semiotics, social-anthropology) closer definition. They are, thereby, to be seen more as heuristic assumptions which remain to be filled with concrete empirical content. An interesting question, for example, is to what degree phases of crisis are mirrored in fiction.
The object, with these phases of crisis as a heuristic point of departure, is to avoid drawing a black and white picture of a catastrophic German development path and a Swedish/Scandinavian success story where development was more or less pre-programmed in specific social pre-conditions. Instead, we wish to present history as an open process, where the future in every society, to a significant degree is uncertain. Instead of a pre-determined black and white we begin from the well known example from perception psychology where one either sees an old lady or a beautiful woman depending on the choice of the observer. We wish to explore how near to each other the Scandinavian and German social organizations and symbol worlds actually are to each other. How, despite similarities, development took very different paths as well as to what degree, in these similarities, the seeds to difference is also found.
Therefore, we will problematicize the German social-historical research and Sonderweg debate which viewed 1933 as pre-programmed in the feudal social structure of the 1870s.5 From a comparative perspective we do not want to attempt to explain the different development with socio-economic, so-called "objective" factors such as the dominance of feudal structures in Germany in contrast to egalitarian farming structures in Sweden/Scandinavia, where the developments have been more or less determined from the start. Rather than causal explanations in a true scientific meaning the ambition is to study consequences.
This research program has the ambition of developing a linguistic-cultural perspective which, with the so-called, linguistic turn has increasingly come into focus in the social science debate. We would especially like to loosen hard and fast dichotomies as state-society, structure-actor, object-subject and continuity-discontinuity through the development of new concepts. Rather than a static society we seek to study society in constant transformation. Rather than social formations we seek to study societal/social transformations.
The foundation for the above outlined theoretical perspective, applied to a Scandinavian-German comparative analysis, has been laid in the National Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation financed CONDIS Project at Gothenburg University.6

3. State and Society

The concepts state and society are excellent examples of how the search for new communities is an on-going process and that established communities are in constant transformation.
At the middle of the 18th Century every political thinker in Europe used the concept societas civilis in order to describe a political community which created an imperative for it's members with the aim of guaranteeing inner peace. The concept of civil society was a part of an older European tradition which, from the 18th Century, stretched backwards over natural law and Cicero's idea of a societas civilis to the classical political philosophers, especially Aristotle who spoke about a society, polis, which in itself encloses and dominates all other societies. After 1750 this undisputed concept began to be used more loosely.7 It became fragile and ambiguous and the object of intensive discussion and controversy. From 1750&173;1850 civil society remained a key concept. However, around 1800 civil or civic/bourgeois society and state began to be seen as two different things. Within the concept of societas civilis the two had been linked. The inner loosening of the classical concept began in Great Britain and France. At the same time that the concept began to be associated with a constitutional centralized state as a support for it's subjects one began to speak of the importance of protection against authoritarian tendencies in this state. The development of voluntary, independent associations within this civil society was emphasized.
In a second phase the concept was increasingly used to emphasize that these independent associations legitimately could defend themselves against the state. The concept of the state had now begun to be separated from the concept of civil society. State and society began to be seen as in opposition to each other.
In phase three civil society began to be experienced as too anachronistic. The necessity of rules and social integration through legal, administrative and political control was emphasized. Interestingly enough it was in Germany that this slide began. A highpoint was Lorenz von Stein's plea for a state dominated society.
In a fourth phase during the 19th Century, where Alexis de Tocqueville played a leading role, the vitality of the German discourse diminished in favor of the British and French. Once again one was afraid that civil society would be stifled by new forms of regulative state power. One sought a formula which united representation and social freedom.
This search continues today. A concept which permanently unites those of the state and society under one hat has not been found since the 18th Century despite the fact that, like the two sides of a coin or antiquity's Janus face, both clearly belong together. The nearest that one has perhaps come was the Swedish model's heyday during the 1960s when concepts such as "the strong society" hinted toward a symbiosis between state and society. This age, however, was short-lived.
State and society expressed different attributes in an imaginary community. Those attributes which were sought after appeared to be those which in every given situation were the least emphasized and which one therefore miss, in a movement back and forth, in a constant search for better communities, where that which one does not have becomes the goal of new visions. Taking the symbiotic character of the concepts into consideration, rather than standing in opposition to each other, or being entities which exclude each other, they are, much like the two sides of a coin, essential to each other.
A second conceptual pair which can partly be seen as synonymous to society and state is freedom and equality. These concepts arose during the French Revolution and were thought of as one but soon enough drifted apart. In practical politics either one or the other has been emphasized which, not the least, the transition to a new-liberal discourse during the 1980s shows, even if one, rhetorically, sought to hold the concepts together.

4. Community and Society

When the concept of community was brought into use in the Paris and Rome Treaties in 1951 respective 1957 it was to express a purposeful intention toward an organizational unity which superseded the concept of the nation-state which was corrupted during World War II. As with the conceptual pairs state-society and freedom-equality community has oftentimes been seen as an alternative to society. This dichotomy extends back to Tönnies who was clearly influenced by the distinction between culture and civilization when he coined his thesis of an archaic community which, on the basis on the Enlightenment, was transformed into a rational society on a higher stage of development. Community was a conscious endeavor; society an organizational principle. The example of the EU as well as the use of the concept by the Nazis' during the Weimar Republic and the Swedish Social Democrats' People's Home community shows, nonetheless, that community-society cannot be seen in a dichotically linear path of development. It is, rather, a constant change of scene between both sides of the face of Janus in order to combat the alienation of modernization.
Society is not, in this respect, an overarching order but manifold represented unity which in itself, however, can also contain residual conflicts. This unification is of very different scope, durability and substance. In order to attain such unity existing or newly created rules are not enough. Rather, "social work" is also required in order to interpret situations and to adapt the interpretations to each other. Unity in itself cannot be derived from the participants social position, or out of a certain type of conflict, but rather is about a variety of criteria for how situations are interpreted. Unity is a constantly ongoing social activity which necessitates a continuous construction of community whereby persons and objects, which by nature are not alike or equivalent, are made to be equal.8
One of the limitations with many modernization theories is the correlation between modernization and nation, on the one hand, and the emphasis on discontinuity in modernization on the other. In the concept of the nation there is an emphasis on continuity. The distinguishing of different phases of modernization emphasizes discontinuities. This leads to the difficulty of properly understanding the content of nationalism and to the problematic assumption that nationalistic claims of continuity alone must rely upon concepts such as "fiction" and "construction."

5. Symbols as Construction and Representation

In their own ways Ernst Cassirer and the Tartu Semiotics stand almost ideal typical opposites. While Cassirer emphasizes symbolic construction the semiotics in Tartu speak about representation. This research program does not intend to choose between a perspective which emphasizes construction and discontinuity and one which emphasizes representation and continuity. Instead, we seek to set them against each other in order to go above and beyond the dichotomy between them and to find the interlacing of continuities and discontinuities.
Ernst Cassirer's semiotically grounded understanding of "reality" sees this as an ensemble of symbol forms. Reality is constructed with symbols. One of the most important products of this construction is culture which, as such, takes on a very general meaning and, due to it's scope, runs the risk of nearing the border to the analytically meaningless. On the other hand, it indicates an analytical potential through it's tension relationship to the Tartu semiotic perspective which emphasizes continuities and structural coercion.9
The historical semioticians in Tartu view culture as an un-inherited or inheritable memory within a society expressed through a symbolic and representative order. Thereby, culture constitutes a corrective to numerous studies of society as a continuous stream.10 Changes are resisted by customs, rituals and ingrained ways of thinking.11
One of the Tartu semioticians' methodological strategies is built upon the presumption that culture is a system of symbols which can be studied in it's functional interactions. The problem with this analytical method is that reconstruction of intellectual hegemonies occurs as a constant movement between different cultural "texts" (literature, art, political pamphlets, social rituals, everyday custom) in the search for their smallest common denominator. However, even if the semiotic method seeks continuities and structural coercion rather than discontinuities there is an insight that national traditions are not simple and uncomplicated storage places for common symbols for which entire populations have one and the same relationship. Rather, traditions are places for antagonisms and conflict over meaning and definitions. The un-inherited memory is presented through mystification of an inheritance around which a continuous feud is carried out.
Even if the role allotted the past by no means is constant the collective memory acting as a bulwark against chaos in at least two ways:

  • Through a complex selection and interpretation process in the construction of memory (including mystification) societal identity is upheld and resists disintegration.
  • The collective memory is filled with moral imperatives which regulate duties and rights as well as understandings of what is right and proper.

Construction, which must be held separate from the notion of conspiracy, must always be mediated. Medias construct or reproduce/represent. A defining of their mode of action must go beyond rigid dichotomies such as construction and representation. In this way the symbols are never rigid or unequivocal. Symbols create realities at the same time that they describe realities. It is always a question of an interplay between the creation of the new and the newly created's connection to deeper value patterns. The symbols, thereby, change meaning with incorporation. A national anthem or workers' song, for example, despite that the text and music are unchanged receive another meaning when they officially become national anthems or workers songs.
There is even cause to mention the Durkheimian descriptive method which underlines process rather than structure and customs rather than institutions. The research program's focus upon community and common constructions and representations will require the use of anthropological concepts introduced by Mary Douglas and Victor Turner.12 Especially interesting in this regard are concepts such as ritual, liminality, community, structure, carnival, local knowledge, purity, and pollution.
The Durkheimian perspective of culture as the power of the emotions can be seen as a corrective to the social science dominated Enlightenment tradition which emphasizes the power of reason with Marx and Parsons as the leading spokesmen irrespective of how mutually different they are. From this later tradition follows an emphasis on structure and institutions in social analysis. We would like to confront this view with the former perspective where culture is foremost a conservative power which binds people to a tradition filled past and normative responsibilities or obligations.
To confront means explicitly to contrast and relate to and should not be seen as an alternative. Within divergence itself society is linked to culture and there also the interlacing between continuities and discontinuities could be discerned theoretically and empirically.

6. Cultural Science and Social Science

Central for the entire research project is the concept of culture. Within the German language it is over one hundred years old. The concept arose through de-historicization and revision of the anti-Hegelian concept of cultural history. Cultural science received it's conceptual characteristics primarily within a new-Kantian flow of ideas which in scientific systematization preferred to talk about Kultur- than Geisteswissenschaft since the concept Geistes, through the encroachment of psychology, had become ambiguous. During the 1970s the concept of cultural science experienced a renaissance in West Germany especially within xeno-disciplines such as Scandinavistics where it implied an inner-scientific interest in ennobling the concept Landeskunde. Cultural science as an expression for re-orientation also implied, however, that the literature scientific text concept's delimitation to semiotics was increasingly being undone. In East Germany (the former DDR) cultural science, on the other hand, denoted a subject which had powerful preponderance against culture administration and culture production.
Parallel with these different shapings of the concept of cultural science in the West and the East there was, from the middle of the 1980s, also propagated within the scientific community for a view of cultural science as a systematic concept where humanities and social sciences would be transformed into cultural science in order to serve as a basis for reflection over an increasingly problematically experienced modernization and technological development. The background was the ever greater difficulties, within the social sciences, in finding political courses of action. The introduction of the cultural science concept during the 1980s can be seen as an expression of an experience of crisis within the social sciences as a consequence of increasing problems of political legitimacy and governability.
These different conceptualizations of cultural science have been discussed intensely during the research program's preparation phase. Many work meetings have been held. In March 1995 a larger conference with the title Kulturwissenschaft &173; zum Fachverständnis der Skandinavistik was held in Petzow outside of Berlin.13 For three days the meaning and possibilities of the concept of cultural science were discussed. As a preparation for the conference an annotated bibliography had been prepared which met with great interest as it is the first of it's type.14
During the conference, and in the discussions following, a conception of cultural science as a starting point for this research program crystallized. However, during the course of the program it remains to refine and possibly revise the concept. Culture, as the fundamental category in the construction of community, cannot solely be seen as a cultural phenomenon manifested in symbols. Instead, culture is much more like a software program for shaping cultural phenomena; a model of conduct. At the same time, and on another level, it is also a process for observing and evaluating these phenomena. Culture is a selection process for the reduction of complexity this reduction being unavoidable for the creation of frames of interpretation and community.
During the discussion it became clear that a certain tension existed between culture and modernization, continuity and discontinuity as well as symbolic construction respective representation. Despite the fact that this tension filled relationship between culture and modernization is complex and full of contradictions, not the least through confusion as well as competition and overlapping between different norms, the possibilities for community which cross and counteract alienation tendencies with the modernization process are implied.
At the same time, history reveals the risks of an ideologized, community charged concept of culture. The solution which this research program would like to develop goes in the direction of modernization research where the historical and semiotic analysis of the construction of community is combined with a social scientific analysis of society and social organization. The linking of community to society aims at an ideological un-charging of the concept of culture and to make it into a scientific category of analysis where the dynamic and everything else but friction free unity between constructed community and society in modernization processes can be made comprehensible without the analysis taking the form of "crypto-politics."15
The hope is that with these steps the lack of operative and operational definition of the concept of cultural science is redressed. That which has been outlined above, however, is tentative and preliminary and must, as mentioned, be seen as a starting point for the research program to, within the above framework, be more closely examine in order to later, in definitive form, construct a base for theoretical and methodological innovation.

Participant's Projects:

Within the framework of the theoretical perspective outlined above we intend to conduct a systematic comparison of a large number of problem areas. The following projects (in chronological order) will be carried out:

1) Alexandra Bänsch: "'Protestant' Romanticism in Scandinavia: A Heuristic Model for the Analysis of Specific Tendencies in Scandinavian Romanticism":
Romanticism (further) developed the already popular representations of nation and individual. The foundation for Romantic poetry and thought was, thereby, to determine the roll of poetry respective religion which will be the object of analysis in this project. The Enlightenment ideal of supreme happiness (lycksalighet) is seen as not being enough in bringing about (social) harmony. Instead, one replaced it with the principle of happiness (salighetsprincipen) in order to construct a higher degree of unity between the finite and the infinite. Between the individual and society.
Despite all of the indisputable differences between the Scandinavian countries it is striking that Romanticism in Scandinavia was oriented toward the relationship between religion and poetry in a different manner than in Germany whereby the "archprotestant" Scandinavian traditions appear significant. In (early) German Romanticism faith was placed, elite as esoterically, in the speculative-intuitive and linguistic artistically unique in (the) form of the poet, who through his poetry redeemed humanity and magically allowed the sacred to pass into the secular. This appears as an exceeding of the Catholic idea of the person as a co-creator of the divine order. Typical of the tendency in Scandinavian romanticism, instead, is an exoteric program which shows overlappings with Lutheran Protestantism. Poetry is not raised above religion but aims to assist every individual reader to a personal and independent relationship to God. Through the betterment of the reader there is also thought possible for there to be a short-term improvement of social reality. Protestant romanticism in Scandinavia remained politically pragmatic and oriented itself, in contrast to German romanticism, not to achieve an earthly paradise in an never attainable future.
The general ability to experience the divine was central in this shaping of Scandinavian romanticism and differed from the German in regards to aesthetic strategy. This has resulted, in it's turn, in that one did not observe the peculiar in Scandinavian romanticism but rather has traditionally been studied in the light of the influential German romanticism. This analysis intends, with examples from Danish, Norwegian and Swedish authors, to show that romantic texts in Scandinavia, in contrast to Germany, did not desire to preach a new gospel but only desired to allow the reader to understand the pantheistic book which nature and history comprised and which was as readily available as Luther's Scriptures. With Oehlenschläger, Wergeland and Almqvist as examples it will be clear how Scandinavian and German language and symbol worlds differed from one another when the delimitation of national identities was in fashion. In Scandinavia the representation of the people, extending over all class/ estate boundaries, as literate led to a Realidealismus which derived power from the historical past and the everyday present in order to constitute national and social community. That, within Scandinavian romanticism, there was never a question of some (randfenomen) shall be shown through an investigation of symbols and motifs (the flower, island, etc.) which the above authors share with other Scandinavian authors but which, in this form or perhaps not at all, occurred in German romanticism.

2) Ursula Geisler: "The National Anthems of Sweden and Germany in Culture Scientific Comparison":
This project has, as it's basic assumption, that the community constituting characters of Swedish and German national anthems are able to be examined in a cultural and interdisciplinary manner. A restriction, for example, solely to their political functions without consideration of the musical or pedagogic aspects does not consider the cultural complexity within which national hymns receive their meaning. A transnational comparison is possible with the fact that through national semantic agreements/similarities and dependence national anthems are a European wide and transnational phenomenon. Issues such as adaptation, interpretation and transformation of the Swedish and German national anthems have, since the French Revolution, been arranged within the thematic complex of national constitution which, with respect to Western Europe's national music symbolism, can be regarded as an initial contribution. The thereby original idea of a specific national anthem&173;in addition to the royal songs (kungssångerna)&173;received ever greater meaning in connection with the, toward the end of the 19th Century, intensified self-examination and semantics of distinction surrounding the concept of the nation in both Sweden and Germany. The concrete prolongation in the form of a, for each respective country, unique official anthem intended as an expression for the unity of the population and the idea of a nation was followed in both countries by a text-aesthetic debate which reveal many common themes. Here there are comparative choices of anthem&173;particularly so called popular songs&173;for each respective national future and their arrangement in music pedagogical plans as questions of the musically "beautiful" and the "right/proper" text. Also, through the gradual transformation of the possibilities of officially presenting music (community music in the form of choir arrangements, men's choruses, community singing) common constructing elements are established which can partly be attributed to direct German-Swedish music contacts.
This research assignment understands national anthems as a form of ritualized national songs whose conceptual base is believed to be found in the assumption that music is predestined for the constitution of communities. Therefore, the question of the music pedagogical, aesthetic and the legal consequences which thereby followed in Sweden and Germany stand in the center of examination.

3) Nina Witoszek: "Collective Memory and National Identity: The Case of Sweden, Germany and Italy":
Most recent research on the "politics of identity" concentrates on the images and narratives which assist and articulate the process of modernization and nation building. Less study has been done on the criteria of communal selection of empowering narratives and visions, their development and mutation over time, and the conditions of their persistence and/or survival. The approach to culture advanced in this project is a development of the ideas of the Tartu School of semiotics which defines culture as a "non-hereditary memory of a society expressed in a system of symbols and norms." The main objective is to compare three European trajectories of modernization through the study of memes: imaginative units of social memory which preserve and mediate communal identity or communal crisis over time. The memes comprise rhetorics and practices which constitute cultural cosmologies or meaning worlds that, once built, for better or worse become the "homes" in which we reason and act, places that constrain without determining any of our particular conclusions or actions. They are "charismatic" images and stories which organize the community's past and at the same time provide categories for conceptualizing and responding to new experience. Though they do not determine communal destiny, they enable it. Whoever their authors (community, "schools," individuals), they replicate themselves over several generations and within different cultural texts, modes and genres&173;thus creating an illusion of "history which repeats itself." (It is, in fact, the memes which repeat themselves, not the historical events).
Sweden, Germany and Italy offer three interesting &173; and contrasting &173; cases of memic responses to modernization. Sweden has been relatively unassailed by "lethal memes" of the kind that ravaged Germany or which disintegrate Italy. Though Sweden and Germany have a shared cultural inheritance, it is nevertheless the case that they mobilize strikingly different mythologies and different modes of coping when faced with social-economic disruptions or breakdown. Their contrastive attempts to tackle the exemplary crisis of the 1930s &173; occasionally averted to in comparative studies &173; are but one instance of this divergence. Equally intriguing are their particular ways of defining &173; and approaching &173; their contemporary crisis.
What mythologies have staged a "savage ecological theater" in one country, an "opera buffo" in another and an escapist social-democracy in the third? Is it just the respective sociopolitical structures and economic predicaments which account for these different semiotic-ideological scenarios? Or is there anything in the memic history of the three nations which paved the way for different collective responses (violence, adaptation, escapism) to breakdown and traumas? Finally, what narratives, rites, characters and icons function today as referents of national identity in these three countries? What is their relation to the images and practices mobilized during the crisis of the 1930s? How valid is Fernandez Armesto's claim that

Communism and fascism have been dismissed as extinct dinosaurs, but they will come back, clawing at one another in the streets, like revivified clones out of Jurassic Park. The galactic museum-keepers will classify the Second World War as only the first round in a long, recurrent series of clashes between rival "final solutions"?16

These are questions which can be translated into a larger problematique: What is remembered, what is forgotten and why? What makes some memes more enduring than others? How can one meme generate rival meanings and alternative worlds? And who has control of the memes?
The "memic approach" advanced in this essay inhabits a border-land between social science, psychology and history of ideas. The identification of nationally significant memes calls for the scanning and comparison of many heterogenous texts (such as religious ceremonies, arts, literature, political behavior, family habits) over a historical period. Intrinsic to this procedure is a holistic perspective on culture, an exploration not of isolated sets of phenomena but of diverse cultural practices in their functional interrelationships. The corresponding method is that of a historical, cross-textual search for systematic relationship between diverse areas of symbolic production and their semiotic decipherment. Both the focus of this project and the selection of sources will be further delimited in the course of reading.

4) Erik Tängerstad: "The Construction of Nations and Film Production":
That we are not born with a distinct nationality but that instead national identity is something that one acquires during the course of one's life is the starting point for this project. How, though, does one construct and maintain a national identity? How, what is the process of identification? It is this problem which comprises the foundation for this study.
The fundamental assumption is that identities are, in history, constructed though human actions. No natural or ideal identity is provided for us by some sort of power outside or beyond history but that every form of human identity and identification is historically constructed. Neither can one say that identity is created through some sort of concrete intervention by a single creative person but rather that identity is the result of a collective, human production process over time.
The overarching question from which the project begins is how Swedish respective German identity arose and was maintained as well as to which degree these identities developed dependent upon each other. That which in the general framework of the project is to be studied is how a picture of one's own history is represented. As identity develops over time reflection over one's own history becomes a central element of the process of continuous formation and maintenance. The relationship to and representation of one's own history becomes a central part of every identity formation. In contrast to the above presumption one often, in the process of identity formation, begins with the assumption that one's own identity is provided to us by some sort of natural, ideal and metaphysical power. The representation of the origins of one's own identity is, therefore, of central importance. The origins, thus, will be seen as comprising mythical events as one's own identity arises and enters history. From such a perspective on the roll of myth it will be, in the continuous process of identity formation, of importance to attempt to go against the flow of time and through history attempt to reach backwards to a mythical origin. In this way, one's relation to history is of utmost importance for the establishment and maintenance of identity.
During the second half of the 19th Century the Great Powers in Europe, more or less newly constructed or reconsolidated national states, attempted to make history into a national project which was to comprise the foundation for legitimacy for these modern nation states. Since this time there have even been competing international forces striving after a global market and the maintenance of commercial, modern identities. In the modernization process these national and international oriented identities are constantly clashing with each other.
Through a close study of commercially oriented silent films from the 1920s, within the genre called "historical realism" or "costume films," these identities' processes of transition within an overarching modernization process will be examined. The interesting aspect here is how the international and commercially oriented film industry attempted to not only construct national identities but also exploit them in transnational markets. The film industry in Sweden as well as Germany during this time period was active and export dependent which, to a large degree, was due to the fact that silent films did not have language and translation problems. At the same time this industry was commercially based and independent of the State as well as transnational through many international connections. Within the framework of this internationally oriented film industry were produced films which attempted to exploit national identity as a theme. The analysis of how this exploitation was carried out in Sweden respective Germany will be related to the question of how Swedish and German identity was constructed and maintained during the 1920s. The approximately ten films which were produced in Sweden and Germany during this epoch will be studied from three aspects: an analysis of the conditions of production under which the films were produced, a content analysis of the films as well as an analysis of how the films were received during this period. The investigation strives, therefore, to contribute to our knowledge of the construction and maintenance of Swedish and German identities.

5) Stephan Michael Schröder: "Literature and Silent Films, 1895&173;1930. Interference Between Two Social- and Sign Systems":
Confronted with film as a prototypical expression for the modern literature, from the beginning of the 20th Century, was forced to re-examine it's position and function as social producer of meaning. The artistic medium which had been central in 18th and 19th Century "civil society" (bürgerlichen Öffentlichkeit) was placed against a new medium which appeared as a competitor, a complement, a synergy, (that is to say "co-worker") but which, in any case, soon enough made literature's position as primary creator of meaning even more disputed.
The overlap between literature and film from 1896 to 1930 will be examined. That is to say the period between the first film in Scandinavia and the breakthrough of sound films. Overlapping, "interference" refers not only to an older medium's adaptation to a new, a film format writing, the literary intelligentsia's stance toward film, etc. but determines the institutions "literature" and "film" as social system and symbol system. The question is which support this system supplied for the societal production of relations and meaning during the building up of a mass society and how this support changed during years of mutual influence.
Such an investigation, at the same time, must give rise to reflection over Scandinavistic's subject conditions when the literature science center of gravity, precisely in a xeno-science such as Scandinavistics, increasingly is "the Gutenberg galaxy." A goal, therefore, is also, content wise and methodologically, to develop a model for cultural science which places the historically oriented analysis of the function of cultural systems in relation to the whole in the center, in relation to the social system's total supply of meaning.

6) Norbert Götz: "Instrumentalization and Communication: The Construction of National Socialist 'Volksgemeinschaft' and a Swedish People's Home through Labor Policy":
Within the framework for doctoral work two different social projects, which both had the same goal: to create and consolidate national community, will be analyzed. In Germany and Sweden the representation of a Volksgemeinschaft or a People's Home was originally propagated from conservative quarters. The goal was to seize the edge of class fight slogans while the essence, being utopian, was of a consensus and class-less society. During the 1920s this discursive idea was taken over and manifested by the Nazis in Germany and by the Social Democrats in Sweden. During the 1930s the ideas of both of these parties were carried over into practical politics. Within the conceptualization and implementation of both of these versions of the idea of national community fundamental differences were expressed.
The framework for this investigation are theories on nationalism and modernization. Both of these categories, however, are not, as usual, understood as irrational nationalism and rational modernization. Instead, nationalism and modernization are understood as being compatible with each other and, in principle, dialectical. The basic premise is that the presence or absence of two different forms of reason forms is characteristic of specific projects within the construction of nations and modernity. It is about instrumental reason built upon the principle of performance/achievement (Leistung) on the one side and humanistic reason built upon the principle of solidarity on the other.
In this perspective the German National Socialist "people's community," which led to an industrialized and collective mass murder and finally self-destruction, is understood as an anomalous, lawless project with elements of pure instrumental reason. The Swedish Social Democrat's "people's home" which, in the end, resulted in a model-like welfare state, can, on the other hand, be seen as a comparatively successful combination of instrumental and humanistic reason.
From this assumption follows the hypothesis that the National Socialist people's community was built exclusively upon the principle of performance/achievement. In the Social Democratic people's home, on the other hand, performance/achievement and the principle of solidarity were combined.
How, more precisely, these principles were discussed and transformed analytically will be the object of a discourse and policy analysis. Closely examined, for the first part, is social policy which is central for the formation and integration of communities on the national level. The main emphasis here is on questions of social insurance and the labor market. The second dimension in the study of construction of community is delimitation or distinction. For this, a comparative examination of population and racial policies in both countries will be undertaken.
The goal of the investigation is to attain a better understanding of alternative modernities. The technological limitation of modernity leads to Max Weber's iron cage and in the final step to industrialized murder. When, on the other hand, the technical possibilities of the modern are utilized in the service of humanism better worlds arise/result. In order to reach this it is important to be conscious of the dangers with a purely one-sided industrial modernity which is not adapted to the democratic and humanistic frameworks of the American and French revolutions.

7) Bernd Henningsen: "Europe's Scandinavia. The Cultural Construction of National Identities":
The previous decade's wave of political democratization, which reached not only the former East block but also other regions of the world, and which at the same time was followed by a re-nationalization of these different societies, also touched Scandinavia in such a manner that after the national and political controversial EC votes in Denmark and Norway in 1972 one reached the point in 1989 at which the political and national questions of self-understanding were greatly contested. The European centered antagonisms during the 1960s and 1970s have, since then, been overlapped by "autostereotypical" questions about the cultural and political position of Scandinavia. The central political theme in Scandinavia is also political and national identity. How ever much the concept of identity as such can be questioned one cannot escape the fact that public discourse's dominant terminology determines language and concepts.17
The rise of a Scandinavian civil society with historical roots in the 18th and 19th Century was seen as an alternative political reality during the 20th Century's European civil wars and was anchored in the consciousness of those who lived there but played only a minor roll in the others autostereotypical discourse. If the non-Scandinavian model debate had it's origins in the thought about an ideal, socially formed, liberal society so, in discussions of reform, this society is now mentioned as an example of a welfare state which has become too expensive.
Identification with the "Danish," "Swedish," "Norwegian," or "Finnish" is today inseparably united with Europe's new order with the creation of a large inter-European market and for economic reasons the challenge to attach oneself to this market. The media and intellectuals especially feel threatened by this Europeanization and feel that their respective national identity is called into question.
For Norway and Denmark the search for identity are inextricably linked to 1972. Denmark's joining of the EC and Norway's decision to remain outside have in no way ended this process of reflection. However, the irrational aspects have disappeared from the public debate and resurfaces again since 1992 in debate over membership in the EU. Finland takes a separate role in terms of time and content in that political reflection over Finnish identity was not allowed, or at least difficult to debate, as long as the monolithic Soviet Union was the dominant domestic factor and also exercised massive influence on domestic policy. Only with the implosion of the Soviet Union in the east , the end of East-West conflict and the rise of new republics in the Baltic region, does discourse on meaning in Finland also arise. Swedish research on mentality and identity had an almost national frame when the question of national identity was united with mass immigration, especially from southern Europe and Asia, during the heyday of the welfare state. The beginning of the search for new identity and mentality coincided with an inner social confrontation brought about by the presence of these non-Swedes.
The search is also one of the ongoing transformation of the Scandinavian Social Democratic welfare model. There is, thereby, a further motive for this study in that it is today no longer obvious &173; as it was during the 1970s &173; that Europe's highly developed service society will be modernized after the Scandinavian pattern. That Europe, so to speak, will be "Swedishized." The state financed and organized social performance system is, rather, orientating itself toward a continental European model, German type face, which had earlier thought to represent a past historical stage. Scandinavia is becoming more European.
Identity discourse contains a meaningful and pragmatic scientific program. It includes material as well as immaterial culture. The questions of politics are, thereby, just as important as those of art and literature. The return of symbols, metaphors and ornaments, and partly also early 19th Century language, necessitates a de-codification in the aim that understanding for working through of these symbols shall prevent a repetition of their political content. The view from the "outside," therefore, has a special appeal. Perhaps there also arises a look "inward" as well.
The concept of "construction" is both theoretically and methodologically central to this project. Thereby Scandinavian and non-Scandinavian perspectives must be distinguished: from Tacitus to Rosenberg, which Scandinavia did continental Europeans discover/construct of "those others?" From Rudbeck to the neo-Grundvigians what concept of Scandinavia did the Scandinavians themselves ascribe. The People's Home, modesty (jantelag), affability (folklighet), perseverance and other central concepts within Scandinavian society will be discussed from the perspective of the construction of meaning and national/Scandinavian unity.

8) Claudia Beindorf: "Community and Society &173; Native Village Films and Countryside Films During the 1930s and 1950s":
Native village films corresponding to our present representation of the genre have existed since the invention of the film. Content, and partly also dramaturgical parallels, are to be found between painting at the turn of the century, to peasant and home village literature (which arose not the least in demarcation to naturalism) to the Sagas, farces, and folksongs. With sound films, language made it possible to verbalize conflicts, especially in Germany, in burlesque comedy and semi-documentary mountain films (Arnold Fanck and students) and, in Sweden, in the grand narrative tradition. In this way events were able to be driven forward and, without explicit or especially advanced film techniques, countryside scenes, with primarily farmers in the main rolls, were staged. Folk dress, customs and specific rural past-times such as bar fights, folk dancing parties and mountain hiking decorate the tableau and dignify the simplest of events. The scenes oftentimes have a somewhat archaic and anit-modern stamp to them. Native village films are recognized through their typologization of the protagonist and/or antagonist as well as of other figures. Their personalities are mirrored in their physiognomy, body build and deportment as well as in the way that they dress and move. The village community exercises pressure on the main persons because these, through bad influence, which is to say from the cities and intellectuals, risk getting out of balance . In contrast to almost always present secondary figures or to stereotypically appearing foreigners/ outsiders the re-integration of the main person back into the village community is almost always characteristic. These structures have an unmistakable feeling of a anti-modern social order where alienation from work or lack of orientation because of lost contacts with the world either do not arise or are found there as a development which can be avoided precisely through tradition with, in the cities deformed and blind(ed) people as a typical example. While the representation of the city-countryside problem, or the question of being educated or down to earth, are portrayed quite similarly in German and Swedish native village films it remains to be examined why sexuality in a positive meaning, as something which follows love, is always found in Swedish films while in German films, on the other hand, it is to be found in disreputable forms such as adultery or seduction.
Native village films were received quite differently in Germany and Sweden. In Germany the dignifying of the concept of the native village (Heimat) can possible be explained by a German endeavor to, through nostalgia, create a distance to history which must be placed in relation to the recently completed National Socialism while in Sweden native village films are interpreted as a witness to an unbroken tradition and proximity to the natural condition. The German Heimat film production, which was largely done by those expelled from the Sudeten, Pomerania and east Prussia, is contrasted, in Sweden, by a public which, as a result of intensified industrialization and an increasingly mechanized agricultural production, have been drawn into the cities and there view themselves as confronted with a rootlessness which was experienced as threatening to one's identity. A closer look at these, as sketched here, societies as well as film immanent structures appears, therefore, meaningful.

9) David Randolph: "Always Coca-Cola? Globalization, Americanization and the Cultural Construction of Market Culture in the United States, Sweden and Germany":
Coca-Cola is famous as an extraordinarily successful example of globalization. This success, however, raises the question of why and how it has been so successful. In addition, Coca-Cola is interesting as an example of the expansion of American culture, indeed, one could say "Americanization," in the post-World War II era. Indeed, the success of the company has reached such proportions that, for many people throughout the world, the name "Coca-Cola" is now synonymous with American culture.
At the same time this wave of Americanization is adapted to national communities. This fundamental blurring of the distinction between the concept of American and globalization and between global markets and national communities serves to raise the issue of the nature of globalization itself and, within this process, the construction of national community. In examining these broad issues this project will focus on the construction of market culture at Coca-Cola in the US, Sweden and Germany.
Coca-Cola market culture is understood to have initially developed within the unique cultural and religious environment of the American South with it's social memory of the Confederate States' loss in the American Civil War. There is a tension between the demands of the global market and this market culture with this local starting point. In this respect, this project shares a similarity with Erik Tängerstad's study, through that of silent films in the 1920s, of the construction of national in Sweden and Germany (see above). At the end of World War II, and the dramatic change in the role of the US in the world along with the growth and rise of multi-national enterprises, the construction of Coca-Cola market culture is seen to have undergone dramatic change with the initiation of it's own strategy of globalization.
The initiation of a globalization strategy at Coca-Cola took the company from that of a regional beverage manufacturer and launched it into it's present position as one of the largest, most powerful corporations in the world. In the meantime, the company's globalization strategy sparked off the first extensive, long-term contact and confrontation with other national market cultures. Thus, from this perspective one must ask how Coca-Cola market culture changed and/or was modified as it entered the Swedish and German markets and an examination of the reception of Coca-Cola market culture will be undertaken here.
As mentioned, in this respect, there are parallels to Erik Tängerstad's project. The difference is that the construction of national identity is not problematicized in the same manner as in Tängerstad's project. Instead of the divergence between national identities and international market strategies the focus here will be more on convergence and adaptation, on how the American/global is "nationalized."
An essential distinction will be made in this project, however, and focus will be placed not only on the reception of Coca-Cola market culture in Sweden and Germany but also on the rejection, modification and adaptation of certain aspects and/or values of that market culture. Here it is understood that, in the process of contact and conflict with other cultures, each undergoes a process of absorption, modification, change and adaptation with decisions made to suit the needs and values of each national market culture. Inevitably, focus will be on the types of values and meanings that the construction of Coca-Cola market culture in these countries, in comparison with the US, do not represent. Emphasize will also be placed on how Coca-Cola market culture has also become a part of Swedish and German market culture in taking on meaning of it's own within these two cultures.
This study of the construction of market culture at Coca-Cola will focus on the commercial strategy of the company in the US, Sweden and Germany. Focusing on this aspect has the advantage not only of revealing how the company wished to portray itself but also the issues, concerns and conflicts which arise and to which the company sought to address in the selling of it's product. Through the use of print advertisement this study of Coca-Cola market culture will focus on the symbols and language which was used in their commercials. The later use of corporate sponsorships in each country will also be considered.

10) Bo Stråth: "The Community Producing Discourse Surrounding the Concept of 'Work'":
Work ought to be one of the most important community producing elements in both Sweden and Germany. Views of work after the Second World War have been formed not only in paternalistic and business oriented but as Social Democratic egalitarian oriented optics as well. The norms for social ethics surrounding the concept of "work" have developed under problem resolution within processes of social conflicts and the search for compromises with active participation from both the business and workers' side. How this specific mixed form came to appear, as a result of power struggles between both these and other sources of power and how it has historically grown, remains to be comparatively investigated.
When not only Sweden but Germany during the 1950s oriented itself toward the idea of full employment as a "natural condition," possible to reach through a collection of social scientific and economic techniques, the concept of work stood in the center. Work was the goal ("full employment"), when the 1930s were constructed as an historical epoch, where mass unemployment arose for the last time. However, work was also a way to realize "the good society" a vision of which grew stronger as the shadow of the world war decreased. "Soziale Marktwirtschaft" and mixed economy (blandekonomi) became, under the overarching category of work/full employment, identity creating concepts in Germany respective Sweden with many similar characteristics but also definitive differences as concerns the central point in an imaginary connection between society and the market. Within the divided idea about national fates built up around work ("full employment") and scientifically legitimated techniques there were to be found different meanings both as to how work was generated and how it's fruits should be divided. These differences were solved through negotiations in corporativistic structures.
This community construction was subjected, at the end of the 1960s, to powerful strains from two different directions. First, the growth economy which was thought to be guaranteed through the application of economic theories leveled out when that which had been destroyed during the Second World War not, as so often has been claimed, had been re-built but was instead new built. The fight for world markets intensified and eroded from the outside national communities built around employment. This process was to later be summarized under the concept of globalization. (The connection is much more complicated and, among other things, is also about ecological and technological development. However, the aim is not to study these connections here but to begin with the sudden rise of the problem of growth). Second, the radicalization of social debate after 1968 (as a symbolically charged year) eroded national communities through criticism from within.
The result was that the corporativistic negotiation models were shaken up and identification with the poor ("third") world increased. This was strengthened by a global economic distribution which went beyond not only the representation of a national community but also global free trade theories.
In an attempt to counteract the breakdown of a community producing negotiation order the concept of co-worker (medarbetare/Mitarbeiter) was introduced. How this occurred in a comparative perspective between Sweden and Germany has been the subject of very little research. A comparative perspective is especially interesting against the background of the fact that languages such as English and French did not develop corresponding concepts. The conditions for this Swedish-German difference will also be discussed.
The framework for the "co-worker" continued to be the idea of work as the foundation for the organization of society. In line with that the concept of "co-worker" strengthened it's position, however, the mass unemployment, which openly arose in Germany several years into the 1970s, became more permanent defying the social foundation which was built upon the idea of full employment, and which in Sweden, within the concept of early retirement, remained hidden until the 1990s.
With mass unemployment as an increasingly constant element the concepts of full employment and work lost their meaning creating roll. Instead, the concept of unemployment ended up on the political agenda together with the curative concepts of flexibility and the market. The repercussions of this discursive transformation on the construction of community in both societies is one of this project's main questions.
The discursive analysis will be carried out in a comparative perspective and begin with parliamentary debates and reports as well as the minutes, contributions to debate, and annual reports of the most important labor market organizations.

11) Heike Graf: "The Swedish Television Community: The Institutionalization of Television and its Impact on Everyday Culture":
Thirty years after the introduction of television into Swedish society it is one of life's necessities and may not, for example, be repossessed when declaring personal insolvency. The television has, unlike almost any other means of communication, changed the way in which people perceive the world, the every day and societal communication. One should not understand television as a neutral medium which solely transfers, spreads and distributes information but as a social symbol system which, following it's internal structures, provides a vision of reality and invites usage. The fact that, for decades, it could stand in the background reveals it's enormous structuring capability. In the end, media presence was equated with physical presence.
This project's main question is: how and with which actors was, during the 1950s, television in Sweden introduced and which support gave, and does it give, as a social symbol system in the modernization of Swedish society? This investigation will be limited to the 1950s and 1960s when an historical description of the origin of new forms of communication can provide the contours to the upheaval of popular, everyday culture.
The introduction of the television into the Swedish household, occurring in September 1956, by comparison with European standards was rather late.18 Credit for the first television attempts was due not so much to state policies as to the numerous private television enthusiasts who arranged public showings and worked for the acceptance of this new medium. The social discourse on this question was dominated by the Social Democratic Party which attempted to bottleneck the decision to introduce television.19 The Social Democratic Party had several reasons to delay the start of television. However, with full employment new possibilities to instrumentalize the new media in the People's Home were provided. Television's introduction into the Swedish living room was made with a strong family ideology component under state protection. Television, as a bearer of culture "in the service of society as well as the household,"20 was to facilitate integration within the family, that is to say, act as a sort of cement which counteracted tendencies toward disintegration as well as weld together the nation through cultural homogenization. Television was to assume the function which, at one time, the kerosene lamp had had, when it gathered the family around the table and became a place for "inner gathering."21
The Swedish people appear to have been waiting for this new medium because applications for TV licenses grew quicker than expected lacking all precedence in Europe.22 Television's rapid breakthrough23 also had the consequence that the operations, earlier than expected, financially stood on it's own legs and that possible commercialization, which could have weakened the state's dominant role, was left in the background. At the beginning of the 1960s television had established itself as an aspect of everyday life.
The life of a 'media-family' &173; their adventures and worries &173; could be experienced by millions of Swedes. The television set became a new member of the community. Cecilia Tichi comments on the beginnings of american tv-broadcast, that "the new cathode tube hearth brings the family together in a scene of harmony and affection".24

Research Organization

This research program is intended to extend over a period of four years. For academic leadership Bo Stråth, Professor of Contemporary History at the European University Institute in Florence, and Bernd Henningsen, Professor of Scandinavistics/Cultural Science at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin have responsibility.

  • The research results will be published in at least five monographs, five conference reports and a large number of scientific papers. This will occur in both scientific journals and publishers as well as in a working paper series called Communities. While the papers follow and document the project's different stages/phases the monographs will have a character of final reports. After the conclusion of the project Bernd Henningsen and Bo Stråth will, in a jointly authored monograph, present the most important results and, through theoretical reflection, relate them to the underlying questions surrounding construction of community, modern society's governability, political legitimacy and, last but not least, differences and similarities between Swedish/Scandinavian and Germany patterns. In short, the point of contact between representative democracy and populism.
  • In order to widen the perspective, and thereby the comparative foundation to other Scandinavian countries and also to other west and east European countries, there are planned, in all, five larger international conferences with 30&173;40 participants. Besides the researchers within the project contributions from other researchers in a previously established Scandinavian network will also be forthcoming. A first, preparatory, conference was arranged in September 1995 with financial support from The National Bank of Sweden's Tercentenary Foundation. The conference aimed at a problematicization of the comparative perspective Scandinavia-Germany. The result will be published in 1997 in a monograph by Universitetsförlaget in Oslo with the title The Cultural Construction of Norden with Bo Stråth and Øystein Sørensen as editors. The monograph discusses the degree to which a specific Nordic social model exists, what this, if so, would mean as well as which differences and similarities social structures within and outside of Scandinavia express. The comparison with Germany is, thereby, accorded significance. The monograph centers around questions of the meaning of political culture, institutions, symbols and tradition in processes of problem resolution. The development of the Nordic countries patterns of modernization and social structure during the 19th and 20th Centuries are discussed. The project's first "regular" international conference was held in September 1996 at Snogeholm Castle outside of Lund under the title Contemporary Approaches to History and Society in Human and Social Sciences. A conference report is in preparation with Bo Stråth and Nina Witoszek as editors.
  • The conference reports are intended to document the progress of the project. They will, through lively discussion in connection with preparations for the conferences and editing and publication of the reports, comprise the backbone of the project. In order to ensure continuity and an extensive theoretical and empirical foundation for the internal discussions these reports will not suffice. Through division into a Swedish-Italian and a German localization four to five working conferences per year are called for in which, in principle, all of the project's permanent members and, from case to case, specially invited guests participate. This forum aims at the presentation and discussion of preliminary research results and working papers.
  • Above and beyond this, in facilitating internal communication as well as external presentation, a comprehensive WorldWideWeb-page as also been constructed by both:
    European University Institute ( and Humboldt-Universität Berlin ( gemenskap/).


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Link, Jürgen, Wulf Wülfing (ed): Nationale Mythen und Symbole in der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts. Strukturen und Funktionen von Konzepten nationaler Identität. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1991 (= Sprache und Geschichte; 16).

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------, Boris A. Uspensky: The Semiotics of Russian Culture. Ann Arbour: University of Michigan, Slavic Centre, 1985.

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1. For an example of how fruitful such a perspective can be see Lars Trägårdh "Varieties of Volkish Ideology. Sweden and Germany 1848&173;1933" in Bo Stråth (ed), Language and the Construction of Class Identities. The Struggle for Discursive Power in Social Organization: Scandinavia and Germany after 1800. Gothenburg: Gothenburg University, 1990.

2. Bo Stråth, "Continuity and Discontinuity in Passing Front I and II. Swedish 19th Century Civil Society: Culture, Social Formations and Political Change" in: Bo Stråth (ed), Democratisation in Scandinavia in Comparison. Report from the DISCO Conference on Continuity and Discontinuity in the Scandinavian Democratisation Process in Comparison in Kungälv 27&173;28 August, 1987. Gothenburg: Gothenburg University, 1988.

3. For more on this see Bo Stråth, Folkhemmet mot Europa, Stockholm: Tiden, 1993. Chapter 2.

4. For these phases see Rolf Torstendahl, Bureaucratisation in Northwestern Europe, 1880&173;1985. Domination and Governance, London: Routledge, 1991. See even Bo Stråth, The Organization of Labour Markets. Modernity, Culture and Governance in Germany, Sweden, Britain and Japan, London: Routledge, 1996. Especially Chapter 1.

5. A first, and more than anything a history of ideas oriented, German Sonderweg debate began immediately after World War II. Holborn, for example, emphasized German philosophy's unique path during the 19th Century (Hajo Holborn, "Der deutsche Idealismus in sozialgeschichtlicher Beleuchtung" in Historische Zeitschrift, Nr. 174, 1952). A second German Sonderweg debate among historians began around 1970 and was in the beginning more or less implicit from an imagined (Anglo-American) standard of modernization toward industry and democracy from which the German development diverged with catastrophic consequences. The debate was about the foundations for the divergence. Especially as a consequence of the great comparative international Bürgertum project from 1986&173;1987 at the University of Bielefeld under the leadership of Jürgen Kocka there developed a perspective where every societal development, not just the German, is unique and forms it's own unique path. A normal development path is hardly to be found except, perhaps, as an ideal typical conception. See Jürgen Kocka (ed), Bürgertum im 19. Jahrhundert. Deutschland im europäischen Vergleich, Volumes 1&173;3, Munich: dtv, 1988. In connection with the Sonderweg debate see as well the essential Historikerstreit. Die Dokumentation der Kontroverse um die Einzigartigkeit der nationalsozialistischen Judenvernichtung. 9, Munich: Piper, 1995 (= Piper Series; 816). The problem with this debate is that it is bound in criticism (see here the essential work of David Blackbourn and Geoff Eley, The Peculiarities of German History: Bourgeois Society and Politics in 19th Century Germany, Oxford: University Press, 1980) while the attempt to see it as paradigmatic is weakly formulated.

6. Not in the least the critical position to pre-determined outlooks on German-Scandinavian developments, where social-economic structures are given causal explanation power, was developed within the CONDIS Project (Continuity and Discontinuity in the Democratisation of Scandinavia in Comparison) where especially the Scandinavian social development is related to the German. Instead, the linguistic-cultural perspective is brought forth in order to better understand patterns of development. See especially the conference report: Bo Stråth (ed), Language and the Construction of Class Identities. The Struggle for Discursive Power in Social Organization: Scandinavia and Germany after 1800. Gothenburg: Gothenburg University, 1988. Compare also the first report from the CONDIS Project: Bo Stråth (ed), Democratisation of Scandinavia in Comparison, Gothenburg: Gothenburg University, 1988 especially for a discussion of the concept of integration from below respective integration from above.

7. John Keane, "Despotismus und Demokratie. Über die Unterscheidung zwischen bürgerlicher Gesellschaft und Staat 1750&173;1850" in Jürgen Kocka (ed), Bürgertum im 19. Jahrhundert. Deutschland im europäischen Vergleich, vol. 1, Munich: dtv, 1988, 13&173;14.

8. Peter Wagner, "Die Soziologie der Genese sozialer Institutionen&173;Theoretische Perspektive der 'neuen Socialwissenschaften'in Frankreich" in Zeitschrift für Soziologie 22, 6, (1993:6).

9. Ernst Cassirer, Philosophie der symbolischen Formen. Erster Teil: die Sprache. Zweiter Teil: das mythische Denken. Dritter Teil: Phänomenologie der Erkenntnis, Reprinted Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1994.

10. Jurji Lotman, Universe of the Mind. A Semiotic Theory of Culture, London: Tauris & Co. Ltd., 1990; ibid, Stat'i potipologii kultury, Tartu[:Tartu University] 1970; ibid, "The Sign Mechanism of Culture" in Semiotica 1974 Nr 12, vol. 4; Jurij Lotman and Boris A. Uspensky, The Semiotics of Russian Culture, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, Slavic Center, 1985.

11. A perspective of history which underlines the collective memory is not new even if it has received renewed actuality as a corrective to the fashionable concepts of imagined or invented community. Maurice Holboich, a student of Durkheim, underlined in his La memoire collective (Paris, 1950) the significance of the collective memory defined as an agreed upon version of the past mediated through social communication. The collective memory is a negotiating instrument which finds itself in constant movement between available historical data and actual social and political agendas.

12. Mary Douglas, "Environments at Risk," in Mary Douglas, Implicit Meanings. Essays in Anthropology, London: Routledge, 1993. Victor Turner, The Ritual Process, London: Penguin, 1974.

13. One part of the contribution to this conference is included in Bernd Henningsen and Stephan Michael Schröder (eds), Vom Ende der Humboldt-Kosmen. Konturen einer Kulturwissenschaft, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1997.

14. Claudia Beindorf, Izabela Dahl and Stephan Michael Schröder, Kulturwissenschaft und Landeskunde. Kommentierte Auswahlbibliographien, Berlin: Humboldt-Universität, 1995 (= Kleine Schriften des Nordeuropa-Institutes; 2).

15. Wolfgang Frühwald et al, Geisteswissenschaften heute. Eine Denkschrift, Frankfurt/ Main: Suhrkamp, 1991 (= stw; 973).

16. Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Millenium, London: Bantam Books, 1995.

17. Selected literature: Anders Linde-Laursen and Jan Olof Nilsson (eds), National Identities in Scandinavia &173; ett fullbordat projekt? Nordiska rådet 1991 (= Nord 1991:26); Svenolof Karlsson (ed), En okänd själ &173; på jakt efter det nordiska. Nordiska rådet 1991 (= Nord 1991:25), Ole Feldbæk (ed), Dansk identitetshistorie, 4 volumes. Copenhagen: Reitzel, 1991&173;1992; Uffe Østergaard (ed), Dansk identitet? Århus: Aarhus Universitetsforlag, 1992 (= Kulturstudier; 19); Bernd Henningsen, "Mentalität, Identität, Nationalität. Die Skandinavier auf der Suche nach dem, was sie sind" in Hans Schottmann (ed), Arbeiten zur Skandinavistik. 11. Arbeitstagung der deutschsprachigen Skandinavistik. Münster, 1994; Stephan Michael Schröder, "Arbeitskreis Kulturwissenschaft" and "Auf Jagd nach Schnarks. Einleitende Bemerkungen zur (skandinavischen) Identitätsforschung" in Walter Baumgartner and Hans Fix (eds) Arbeiten zur Skandinavistik. 12. Arbeitstagung der deutschsprachigen Skandinavistik. Vienna: Fassbaender, 1996 (= Studia Medievalia Septentrionalia; 2).

18. In Germany (both East and West) there were regular TV programs from 1952. Denmark began in 1954.

19. At the Nineteenth Party Congress in 1952 when the first television attempts had already engaged the population the question was not mentioned in the draft on cultural policy (except as a subordinate to radio). The situation was the same at the Twentieth Party Congress in 1956.

20. Television i Sverige. SOU 1954: 32, 64.

21. Knut Hickethier, "'Fließband des Vergnügens' oder Ort 'innerer Sammlung'?" in Knut Hickethier (ed), Der Zauberspiegel-Das Fenster zur Welt. Untersuchungen zum Fernsehprogram der fünfziger Jahre. Siegen: Gesamthochschule, 1990, 4&173;32.

22. In 1959 one calculated on 72,000 licenses. In actuality the total was 400,000. One million television sets for seven million inhabitants was reached at the end of the 1960s. Among the first television families were those with several children. During the first years the one only broadcast two to three hours per night. One night a week was free of broadcasts as an answer to the abrupt decline in organizational activities. During the 1960s the volume of broadcasts was already at seven hour per day.

23. The breakthrough definitively came with the television broadcasts from the football World Cup in Sweden in 1958.

24. Cecilia Tichi, Electronic Hearth. Creating American Television Culture, New York: Oxford University Press, 1991, 47.