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Berättelser om 1700-talet: frihetstiden och Gustav III:s regeringstid i svensk historiekultur från 1870-tal till 1990-tal
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
2023 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Narratives about the eighteenth century : The Age of Liberty and the reign of Gustav III in Swedish historical culture from the 1870s to the 1990s. (English)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation analyses historical-cultural change in Sweden during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  The study focuses on historical narratives concerning the eighteenth-century epoch called the Age of Liberty and the subsequent reign of Gustav III. The overarching aim has been to study these narratives within a Swedish national historical culture from the 1870s to the 1990s. Three different arenas are examined in which history has been mediated in society: the historical research arena, the history textbook arena and history-mediating texts published in the press, what is here referred to as the press arena. The dissertation analyses the relationship between the mediation within these arenas, how this relationship has changed over time, and how they have taken part in influencing the overall image of the Age of Liberty and Gustav III's reign. The theoretical framework is largely based on history didactical perspectives concerning historical culture and the mediation of history. A two-pronged analytical method has been applied consisting of a hermeneutic analysis of mediation and a narrative analysis.

This study shows that the three arenas are the most homogeneous in relation to each other during the period from the 1870s up until the 1920s. The historical culture is dominated by two main narratives during this period. One is a conservative, royalistic state idealist narrative, where the Age of Liberty functions as a cautionary tale about the dangers of party rule and a weak monarchy. The other narrative is a prodemocratic anti-Gustavian narrative, originating from the works of Anders Fryxell. However, this narrative is absent from the textbook arena, where the state idealist narrative is completely dominant. But overall, there is high level of temporal consistency between the three arenas during this time. This changes from the 1920s onwards, when the arenas drift apart and become more heterogeneous in relation to each other. As the arenas become more genre-specific, their roles as platforms for history mediation consequently begin to diverge. Which arena narratives are conveyed in, gradually attains greater importance for the historical-cultural communication.

From the 1960s onwards, a Lagerrothian pro-parliamentary, prodemocratic narrative, which primarily originates from the research arena, becomes prominent in textbooks and press, but not as prominent in historical research. In this narrative, the Age of Liberty is presented as the precursor of the sound democratic, parliamentary system known in contemporary times, with people's rule, social equality, and without royal interference. The reign of Gustav III is described as an obstacle standing in the path of desirable social and political development. The narrative consolidates democratic ideals in its contemporary context by highlighting parliamentary and democratic traditions in the nation’s history. By the end of the twentieth century, the Lagerrothian narrative dominates both the textbook arena and the press arena. The shift from one dominant narrative to another suggests that the political applicability of research narratives in different times has a strong impact on historical cultural change within the framework of the nation. The study also shows that the most dominant narrative has not shifted chronologically from an old narrative to a newer one. Rather, the shift has been from one dominant narrative direction to another, while both have been mediated simultaneously for decades. It is concluded in the study that the view of a “lag” between historical research and other arenas must be nuanced and placed in the context of specific historical narratives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2023. , p. 351
Series
Umeå studies in history and education ; 25
Series
Umeå Studies in Educational Sciences ; 59
Keywords [en]
Historical culture, history mediation, narratives, historiography, Age of Liberty, Gustav III
National Category
History
Research subject
history of education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-206554ISBN: 978-91-8070-042-9 (electronic)ISBN: 978-91-8070-041-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-206554DiVA, id: diva2:1749821
Public defence
2023-05-12, HUM.D.210 (Hörsal E), Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-04-21 Created: 2023-04-11 Last updated: 2023-04-12Bibliographically approved

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Andersson, Daniel

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Citation style
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