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  • 1.
    Egan Sjölander, Annika
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
    Ekerholm, Helena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Eklöf, Jenny
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Lång, Henrik
    Mårald, Erland
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Nordlund, Christer
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Sundin, Bosse
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Motorspriten kommer!: en historia om etanol och andra alternativa drivmedel2014Book (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Motorspriten kommer! löd budskapet i början av 1900-talet. Liknande utfästelser om alternativa drivmedel har gång på gång hörts genom historien. Men de oljebaserade bränslena har behållit sitt grepp om transportsystemet, trots att de alltid ansetts problematiska. Varför?

    Den här boken handlar om olika försök att utveckla och förverkliga alternativ till oljebaserade drivmedel i Sverige. Den spänner över ett drygt sekel, från slutet av 1800-talet och framåt, och behandlar bland annat sulfitsprit, syntetisk bensin, gengas, metanol och den första och andra generationens etanol. I fokus står motiven bakom dessa alternativ varför de har ansetts angelägna och önskvärda liksom de problem och strukturella hinder som de har mött och alltjämt fortsätter att möta. Boken ger historiska och medievetenskapliga perspektiv på de pågående försöken till en omställning på drivmedelsområdet och bidrar till kunskap av värde för såväl beslutsfattare som allmänhet.

    Boken bygger på forskning som utfördes inom det tvärvetenskapliga projektet Framtidens drivmedel? Biobränslen i historisk och kulturell belysning. Den är skriven av samtliga forskare i projektet Annika Egan Sjölander, Helena Ekerholm, Jenny Eklöf, Erland Mårald, Christer Nordlund och Bosse Sundin i samarbete med Henrik Lång.

  • 2.
    Ekerholm, Helena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Bränsle för den moderna nationen: Etanol och gengas i Sverige under mellankrigstiden och andra världskriget2012Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis investigate Swedish policy-making concerning promotion of wood gas and ethanol distilled from fermented sulphite lye as domestic fuel alternatives in the Interwar years and World War II. With a departure point in the theories of social constructions of technology (SCOT), the sociology of expectations and Thomas P. Hughe’s socio-technical systems I analyse the measures that were undertaken in these efforts, the arguments put forward for and against the ethanol and wood gas projects and how the efforts turned out. I also investigate how the interpretations of ethanol and wood gas as fuel alternatives changed from the Interwar period on through World War II and what consequences this had for ethanol and wood gas policy immediately after World War II. Source material includes Parliament and Government records, cabinet meeting files, governmental commissions, authority archives, technical evaluations and handbooks and scientific medical publications.

    Ethanol and wood gas were promoted from a nationalist vantage point. The Interwar debate was imbued with visions of national techno-scientific prowess in a perceived ongoing global contest for technological and scientific advancement, of which achieving autarky, self-sufficiency on important raw materials and industrial products, was an ideal for some. Ethanol and wood gas were also promoted as means for creating a lucrative new market for the forestry industry, which also held a prominent position in nationalist visions of technology. Expectations of a new war also motivated the promotion of ethanol and wood gas as national fuels. Measures for promotion included tax exemptions, sales guarantees and legislation for mandatory ethanol purchase for all petrol importing companies and gasifier loan funds. Political conflicts mainly centred around the principles of free trade as opposed to protectionism, proper use of tax funds and whether the potentials of the fuel alternatives were rhetorically exaggerated. During World War II ethanol and wood gas in particular served as important petrol surrogates. The increased wood gas use led to negative interpretations of wood gas a fuel alternative due to its hazardous, dirty and time-consuming maintenance and the changed driving behaviour it required from its users compared to petrol or ethanol fuelled automobiles. Compared to wood gas, ethanol was appreciated for its socio-technical similarities to petrol, but production was after the war deemed difficult to maintain during wartime. Whereas wood gas remained an important stand-by surrogate during the cold war, Swedish politicians lost interest in ethanol of the kind that was promoted in the Interwar years. 

  • 3.
    Ekerholm, Helena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Cultural meanings of wood gas as automobile fuel in Sweden 1930-19452012In: Past and present energy societies: How energy connects politics, technologies and cultures / [ed] Nina Möllers & Karin Zachmann, Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2012, p. 223-247Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 4.
    Ekerholm, Helena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Ett nationellt drivmedel: etanol i svensk politik 1924-19342013In: Scandia, ISSN 0036-5483, Vol. 79, no 1, p. 63-86Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article investigates the political efforts to establish ethanol as a national fuel in Sweden in 1924 - 1934. Drawing on official records - the transcripts of parliamentary debates, governmental commission reports, and government bills and legislation - ethanol is considered as a technological and political artefact, with a particular focus on a strongly ideological fuel policy intended to bring about technological change.

    At the time, considerable political effort went into finding and establishing a national fuel, efficient and abundant enough to support the nation's requirements for essential products. This was by no means a uniquely Swedish undertaking. Nation-states all over the industrialized world sought domestic fuel alternatives, prompted by the expected depletion of oil reserves and the fear of renewed international conflict. In that period, Swedish ethanol was distilled from fermented sulphite lye, a waste product from paper and pulp production. It was therefore presented as a lucrative solution for a waste problem, and, as it was produced within the nation-state's borders, a promising wartime surrogate. However, ethanol was more expensive than petrol, which made it less marketable during peacetime. To cover losses, the ethanol industry requested state support in the form of tax exemptions and legislation to force petrol importers to blend ethanol into all marketed petrol.

    Those who argued in favour of the ethanol industry's requests were mainly right-wing politicians, who based their arguments on a nationalist ideology that national collective benefit justified state intervention in the free market. Opposition was mainly mounted by a faction in the Social Democrat party. For them, any measure that made products more expensive for consumers was unthinkable. They also argued that the ethanol industry had reached the end of the line; any production without the means and capacity to support itself should make way for its competitors. Concerns about the anticipated international conflict, however, led the Social Democrat minister for finance, Ernst Wigforss, to concede to the demands of the ethanol industry. In 1934, he thus proposed legislation that largely corresponded to claims made by right-wing politicians and the influential forestry industry, of which ethanol production was a part.

  • 5.
    Ekerholm, Helena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Gengas och ohälsa: den medicinsk-vetenskapliga kontroversen kring kronisk koloxidförgiftning 1944-19612010In: Lychnos, ISSN 0076-1648, p. 61-85Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Chronic carbon monoxide poisoning as a contested disease 1944–1961. By Helena Ekerholm. During World War II, wood gas became the primary fuel for Swedish motorists. Although reliable as an emergency fuel, wood gas caused concern due to its high percentage of carbon monoxide, leading to acute and chronic carbon monoxide poisoning mainly among workers in the transport sector. Chronic carbon monoxide poisoning became an intensely debated diagnosis within the medical community. The article discusses this controversy with specific regard to Thomas Gieryn’s boundary theory and the concept of culture-bound diseases in Sweden primarily associated with Karin Johannisson’s research in the field of the history of medicine. Source material includes medical scientific publications and archive material from a state research centre handling chronic carbon monoxide poisoning. Politically the diagnosis reached high credibility, but within the medical profession the diagnosis and its clinical practice were criticised. Symptoms were diffuse and included general fatigue, headache, vertigo, sleeping problems, apathy and decreased libido. Doctors diagnosing patients with chronic carbon monoxide poisoning had primarily to rely on patients’ own descriptions of their ailments, although some clinical tests were also executed. The first clinic specifically aimed at carbon monoxide poisoning, Sabbatsbergs gengasklinik, received criticism for over-diagnosing. The clinic was accused of creating a wood gas scare in the Stockholm region and causing an epidemic of imagined chronic monoxide poisoning, spurred on by extensive writings in the popular press. The controversy concerned problems of discerning those who were considered to be “objectively ill” from those who through fear had induced chronic carbon monoxide poisoning upon themselves. Notions of working-class masculinity, boundaries between physical and mental illness as well as a clash of interests between the labour movement, national social insurance offices and private enterprise are some of the facets within a complex controversy ultimately focused on drawing boundaries between legitimate and illegitimate patient demands and achieving epistemic authority.

  • 6.
    Ekerholm, Helena
    Centre for History of Science, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
    Keeping a House for Science: Sofia Kristensson as Matriarch and Gatekeeper at Kristineberg Zoological Station as a Scientific Household, 1877–18922015In: Science in Context, ISSN 0269-8897, E-ISSN 1474-0664, Vol. 28, no 4, p. 587-611Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Field research stations are households as a result of allegoric notions of the scientific family, and because they fulfil the purpose of a home in the field in a literal sense. They meet the practical and physical need for bed and board, as well as the emotional and intellectual need for social cohesion. I argue that this, in combination with local gender identity opened the door for a woman of lower social strata, the daughter of a fisherman, to take upon herself the role as station household matriarch, thus gaining an integral role within an inner circle of influential scientists. Secondly, I argue that locally employed members of the research station were valued primarily for their social skills. For the sake of ensuring necessary conditions for scientific work being abrasive was just as important as being agreeable.

  • 7.
    Ekerholm, Helena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Plikt och undantag: vapenfrilagstiftningen och det manliga medborgarskapet i Sverige 1965-19782014In: Historisk Tidskrift (S), ISSN 0345-469X, Vol. 134, no 1, p. 31-63Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In countries where military conscription has been in force such service has been defined as a masculine duty as opposed to feminine caring and life giving duties. Conscientious objectors not only question a societal contract of duties and civil rights; they also challenge a politically hegemonic masculinity by opting out of one of its main homosocial arenas. This article investigates the changes made to non-combatant conscription service legislation and how it was discussed and designed as a condition for male citizenship in Sweden 1965–1978.

    In 1963, the Social democrats and the Liberals demanded changes in the restrictive non-combatant conscription legislation adopted during World War II. Critics regarded the connection of the non-combatant services to the armed forces as too manifest. New legislation was introduced in 1966. A state board was established to evaluate requests for civil service, transferring evaluation from the military to the civilian sector. The non-combatant service areas were expanded in order to take individual requests into consideration, without compromising the need for conscripts within the total national defense. Members of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who refused unconditionally, were controversially exempt from all service, as they were deemed unfit, comparable to alcoholics and anti-socials.

    A notable increase of ethical and political non-combatant applications in the last years of the 1960s and early 1970s proved challenging to the 1966 legislation. In 1973 a new governmental commission was appointed to propose changes. One problem was the application evaluation board’s partiality towards religious objectors and the nature of the proceedings, which were criticized for being too intrusive, thus clashing with the objectors’ civil rights. In 1978 the approved service sectors were further expanded into the civilian sector, for example by allowing environmental work, school assistance and service with the Red Cross. The legislative changes indicate that the link between conditioned male citizenship and military service was weakened, when challenged by the non-combatants’ alternative masculinities.

  • 8. Ekerholm, Helena
    et al.
    Grandin, Karl
    Nordlund, Christer
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Schell, Patience A.
    Introduction2017In: Understanding field science institutions / [ed] Helena Ekerholm, Karl Grandin, Christer Nordlund & Patience A. Schell, Sagamore Beach, MA: Science History Publications Ltd., 2017, p. 1-12Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 9.
    Ekerholm, Helena
    et al.
    The Center for History of Science, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
    Grandin, KarlNordlund, ChristerUmeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.Schell, Patience A.
    Understanding field science institutions2017Collection (editor) (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    From the oceans to the mountains and the vast in-between scientists have created institutions for scientific work in the field. Long-lived or temporary, more or less humble in scale, these spaces in the landscape and seascape have provided an organizational domestication of migratory science and facilitated scientific work on nature beyond urban centers of learning. As such they have played a significant role in the history of knowledge production. The richly illustrated chapters in this book deepen our understanding of both similarities and differences within the complex history of field science institutions and their relation to other types of academic institutions, from the seventeenth century onwards.

  • 10.
    Eklöf, Jenny
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Ekerholm, Helena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Mårald, Erland
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Promoting ethanol in the shadow of oil dependence: 100 years of arguments and frictions in Swedish politics2012In: Scandinavian Journal of History, ISSN 0346-8755, E-ISSN 1502-7716, Vol. 37, no 5, p. 621-645Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    On a political level, Swedish transport ethanol has always been embedded in visions of an alternative, brighter future. Arguments in support of ethanol have been reiterated throughout the 20th and 21st century, exhibiting a striking stability over time. At the same time, the contexts in which arguments for ethanol have been raised have undergone dramatic shifts. This article investigates the historical contingencies of three empirical cases, covering the interwar years, the aftermath of the oil crises of the 1970s and the 21st century's concerns over global warming. It concludes with the observation that despite political convictions about ethanol's commercial, military and environmental potential, domestic production has not managed to take off on its own. It has relied on state support such as tax exemptions, it has been dependent on other industries for feedstock provision and its technical superiority is still waiting for market confirmation.

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