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The Road in the Park: Ideology and State power during the 20th century seen through Maps of the Swedish subarctic Abisko
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Vägen i parken : Ideologi och statlig makt under 1900-talet studerad gneom kartor över Abisko (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

The scope of this thesis is to show how the use of maps in political and scientific arguments functions as a mediator between ideological discourse and the physical landscape. This is done by studying three maps displaying the same geographical region but from different times and with different motifs. The maps were studied by operationalizing the French Sociologist Bruno Latour’s concept of immu-table mobiles into a methodological toolset.The thesis shows that the cartographic tradition of the Swedish state throughout the 20th century func-tioned as an immutable mobile that ideological actors could use to form political or scientific argu-ments. An almost trivial point to make. However, the problem is the great distance between state and the place, which in this case is about 1400 kilometers. Thus, the map allows a remote power relation-ship. As the state-owned immutable mobiles were extracted, they were interpreted by the politicians and scientists ideological perspectives. The ideological interpretations were then used in government propositions and reports and thus resulted in actual political decisions that affected the physical land-scape.The creation of Abisko National Park is one example of how this process can look. The park was instigated with a specific set of political goals to be achieved. The political and scientific actors used the immutable mobile that is the map and formed a proposition with it. The act of instigating and upholding the Abisko Valley as a national park is thus a manifestation of both state presence, its supremacy over territory as well as its contemporary ideological context. Moreover, it would be im-possible to instigate a park without the use of maps to define its borders. The planning and ratification of Transnational Road 98 can be seen as another example of the same thing, but with a different contemporary ideology as background.The thesis results in an explanation about what the maps role is in a stately place making process. Additionally the thesis shows what happens over time as different ideological embodiments in the landscape conflict with each other because of their different visions of how the landscape should be used and by whom.

Abstract [sv]

Uppsatsens syfte är att försöka hur kartor fungerar som en länk mellan politisk diskurs och det fysiska landskapet. Detta görs genom att studera tre kartor som avbildar samma område men vid olika tidpunkter och med olika motiv. Kartorna studeras genom en operationalisering av den franske sociologen Bruno Latour’s teori om ’immutable mobiles’.Uppsatsen visar att den statliga kartografiska verksamheten under 1900-talet i Sverige producerade immutable mobiles som sedan kunde avläsas av aktörer och som i sin tur kunde använda dem för att understödja deras politiska och vetenskapliga argument. En tillsynes trivial poäng. Problemet är dock avståndet i mellan den centraliserade makten och platsen som i detta fallet är ca 1400 kilometer. Kartorna möjliggör alltså en maktrelation trots det stora avståndet. Allt eftersom de statligt ägda kartorna var hämtade, tolkades de av aktörernas ideologiska perspektiv. Dessa tolkningar låg sedan till grund för politiska beslut som sedan resulterade i faktiska ingrepp i landskapet.Formerandet av Abisko nationalpark används i uppsatsen som ett exempel på hur denna process fungerar. Parken skapades med ett specifikt set av ideologiska motiv. De politiska aktörerna använde statliga kartor för att utforma sin proposition. Formerandet av parken är således en manifestation av både statlig närvaro, statlig kontroll över landskapet och ett ideologiskt artefakt. Det vore därtill omöjligt att skapa parken utan en karta för att definiera dess gränser. Planerandet och konstruerandet av mellanriksväg 98 mellan Kiruna och Narvik har analyserats på ett liknande sätt, dock med en annan ideologisk bakgrund.Uppsatsen resulterar i en möjlig förklaring till vad kartorna har för roll i en statlig platsskapande och landskapsförändrande process. Vidare så försöker uppsatsen förklara hur olika ideologiska tolkningar av landskapet kan hamna i konflikt med varandra över tid på grund av inkompatibla ideologiska motiv.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 88 p.
Keyword [en]
Abisko, Abisko National Park, E10, Maps, Cartography, Swedish 20th-century history, Arctic studies, state power, Digital humanities, Neatline
Keyword [sv]
Abisko, Abisko nationalpark, E10, Kartor, kartografi, 1900-tals historia, statlig makt, Norrlands historia, Lapplands historia, digital humaniora
National Category
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-86908OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-86908DiVA: diva2:704722
Subject / course
History
Educational program
Master Programme in Historical Studies
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2014-03-19 Created: 2014-03-13 Last updated: 2014-03-19Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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