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  • 1.
    Bennesved, Peter
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Norén, Fredrik
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
    Urban Catastrophe and Sheltered Salvation: The media system of Swedish civil defence, 1937–19602018In: Media History, ISSN 1368-8804, E-ISSN 1469-9729Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Swedish civil defence organizations have a long tradition of balancing their messages to the public through diverse media use. Over the course of the early Cold War, however, the political and technical circumstances of the civil defence organizations changed, rendering old methods from the 1930s obsolete. To keep their relevance, the narratives of the civil defence organizations had to be carefully remodelled in accordance with the current situation, obscuring some facts while stressing others more clearly. By operationalizing the concept of media system, this article examines how the Swedish civil defence organizations used the media, broadly defined, to deal with the two main narratives that their practical work was based upon: urban destruction as war unfolds, and the safety of air-raid shelters. The article shows how these narratives were constructed and connected between various media, but also their changing and dynamic character over time. Over the course of the 1940s and 1950s, the narrative of urban destruction changed from a concrete to an abstract mediation, while the narrative of sheltered salvation took an opposite direction.

  • 2.
    Norén, Fredrik
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
    '6 to 8 slices of bread': Swedish health information campaigns in the 1970s2018In: Scandinavian Journal of History, ISSN 0346-8755, E-ISSN 1502-7716, Vol. 43, no 2, p. 233-259Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Swedish health information, conducted by the National Board of Health and Welfare in collaboration with private participants, expanded rapidly in the 1970s. This study examines a controversial bread campaign, which declared that the National Board, in collaboration with the private Bread Institute, wanted citizens to eat six to eight slices of bread every day. Why and how could such a seemingly unholy alliance come about? Contextualizing the collaborations with the industry, with a network governance approach, this article seeks the answers by investigating the organizational conditions behind the various campaigns. Different conflicting dilemmas influenced the campaigns and their outcomes. For example, the desire to maximize the dissemination of information, and at the same time controlling it, as well as the imbedded power dynamics between private and public sector. The result points to a shift from strong to weak interdependence between the government agency and collaborating parties, basically due to the agency's diminishing campaign resources, which opened up for a stronger commercialization of the bread campaign.

  • 3.
    Norén, Fredrik
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
    Ditt dagliga bröd2016In: Axess, no 5, p. 18-18Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 4.
    Norén, Fredrik
    Klippans kommun.
    Filmen i statens tjänst: Civilförsvarsstyrelsens filmaktiviteter under kallakrigsåren 1949–19522012In: Historisk Tidskrift (S), ISSN 0345-469X, Vol. 132, no 1, p. 31-54Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article examines the film activities of Civilförsvarsstyrelsen, a Swedish state-controlled civil defense authority under the Ministry of the Interior. Studies of the film activities of the Swedish state, especially from the years following 1945 until the breakthrough of television in 1956, are rare. This study captures the period between 1949 and 1952, a time characterized by an increase in welfare reforms, an escalation of the Cold war and the highest attendance rates in Swedish cinema history. It was also the time when Civilförsvarsstyrelsen started to produce films, and did so to a greater extent than at any other period. The aim is to provide a deeper understanding about how the civil defense used and related to the film medium. The investigation shows that the civil defense expressed a positive attitude towards the use of the film medium as a means of reaching a bigger audience. Furthermore, there was great awareness of the medium’s potential as a tool for propaganda and information. But despite the positive attitudes there was also ambiguity towards the medium. For example, the civil defense board wanted to use the films as a means to influence the citizens to embrace the civil defense ideals, but at the same time there existed a general concern in society towards film as a psychological weapon. And despite its popularity, the film medium was never institutionalized and funding was not very generous. The explanation for this ambiguity could be the general uncertainty and lack of understanding of what effects film as a medium had on its audience.

  • 5. Norén, Fredrik
    Forna filterbubblor2018In: Axess, ISSN 1651-0941, no 2, p. 18-18Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 6.
    Norén, Fredrik
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
    Högertrafik fick staten att tala med folket2017In: Svenska dagbladetArticle in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 7.
    Norén, Fredrik
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies. Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Humlab.
    Information som lösning, information som problem: En digital läsning av tusentals statliga utredningar2016In: Nordicom Information, ISSN 0349-5949, Vol. 38, no 3, p. 9-26Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article investigates how the Swedish information politics emerged in the twentieth century by analysing thousands of Swedish Governmental Official Reports (8000 reports since 1922). By using methods such as topic modelling with LDA/MALLET, the result shows that a governmental information discourse arose in the 1960s, infiltrating a growing number of political interests, and that the content of the discourse has changed over time.

    One important conclusion highlights digital text methods as a more inductive way of doing content analysis than is commonly practised in media and communication studies. A machine can find patterns in texts that no single person could read in a lifetime. Furthermore, the quantitative approach can generate results that problematise previous – qualitative – research. Digital and quantitative analysis of a huge corpora does not neglect close reading; on the contrary this study shows the necessity of bridging both methods in order to better understand the results.

  • 8.
    Norén, Fredrik
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
    Statens informationslogik och den audiovisuella upplysningen 1945—19602014In: Scandia, ISSN 0036-5483, Vol. 80, no 2, p. 66-92Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The period 1945–1960 was characterized in Swedish history by the rapidacceleration of state-led social reform. As part of this, there was a general feeling that film should be pressed into use for educational purposes. This article examines the activities of two public committees, the Committeefor Public Information (Kommittén för social upplysning, 1946–9) and the Committee for Public Information Films (Kommittén för social upplysningsfilm,1950–9). The two committees’ remit was to produce films that focused on social reform. This begs an important question. How did the use of film affect the official audiovisual information put out by the Swedish state in the period 1945–60? To better understand the conflict between official public information and the rules of the commercial film market, two different logics are considered, both defined by three variables: resources (small versus large), content (objective versus entertainment), andorganization (state/corporativism–private versus the market). The conceptof mediatization is used to understand how official public information was affected by the rules and rationale of the commercial film industry. The results indicate that there was a clear political agenda that drove the committees to make the film content in an attractive way, and the archival research shows how the committees obeyed these directions. Despite the turn in the popularization of film production, the committees took a clear standagainst trying their hand at pure entertainment. Instead, they preferred theideals of the British documentary tradition. The up shot was a compromise between the two logics. As for resources, the state logic was the determining factor here, and the committees never got much money, certainly not compared to the commercial film market. As for their organization, the committees were never able have their own rules and preferences, since the logic of the market was too strong.The analysis shows that state-controlled audiovisual information is best characterized as finding a middle way between the logic of official public information and the logic of the commercial film market. The committees’ momentum slackened in the second half of the 1950s, yet, even so, the results indicate that this should not be interpreted as a lack of faith in the audiovisual form as a force to be reckoned with in public education. Insteadit merely reflects a shift in preference from film to television.

  • 9.
    Norén, Fredrik
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
    Pelle, Snickars
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies. Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Humlab.
    Distant reading the history of Swedish film politics in 4500 governmental SOU reports2017In: Journal of Scandinavian Cinema, ISSN 2042-7891, E-ISSN 2042-7905, Vol. 7, no 2, p. 155-175Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Using computational methods, digitized collections and archives can today be scrutinized in their entirety. By distant reading and topic modeling one particular collection – 4500 digitized Swedish Governmental Official Reports (SOU) from 1922 to 1991 – this article gives a new archival perspective of the history of Swedish film politics and policy-making. We examine different probabilistic topics related to film (and media) that the algorithm within the topic modeling software Mallet extracted from the immense text corpora of all these Official Reports. Topic modeling is a computational method to study themes in texts by accentuating words that tend to co-occur and together create different topics. Basically, it is a research tool for the discovery of hidden semantic structures, exploring a collection through the underlying topics that run through it. Hence, our article captures a number of film discourses and trends within the SOU material. In conclusion, we argue that topic modeling should be recognized as a method and research aid for gathering an overview of a major material; as a way to pose new and unforeseen research questions; and as a kind of computational support that makes it possible to apprehend major patterns more or less impossible to detect through a traditional archival investigation.

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