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  • 1.
    Bennesved, Peter
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Sheltered Society: An analysis of Swedish shelter building technology and practice 1935-19502013Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis sets out to study how Swedish shelter building practices progressed and developed throughout the period 1935 to 1950. By analyzing shelters through Thomas P. Hughes theory of technological systems this thesis uncovers both the material aspects of shelters and the discourse surrounding them. Mainly the concepts of technological style, momentum and transfer from Hughes theory has been stressed.

    As material for the thesis government reports concerning civil defence and shelters publicized during the period are used. The results is then put in relation to Langdon Winner’s philosophical discussion about inherently political technologies and somnambulism, and Gabrielle Hecht’s work on national identity and technology.

    The result shows that the shelter building practices established during the late 1930s remained even though the atomic bomb was introduced. After the atomic bomb, the Department of Civil Defence started to emphasize mass evacuation to a greater extent while new shelters in city centers were to be constructed as permanent living quarters but this new practice did not replace the old practice. The main difference between the two is a shift from temporary evacuation and decentralized solutions to permanent evacuation and centralized solutions. The thesis also shows how this development was connected to a national identity discourse. The shelter became a domesticated urban phenomenon connected to the modern city life.

  • 2.
    Bennesved, Peter
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Skyddsrum och kärnvapen: En diskursanalys av 1950- och 1960-talets försvars- och civilförsvarsdebatt i svensk press2012Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Shelters and Nuclear weaponsA discourse analysis of the Swedish defense and civil defense debate during the Cold war

    Sweden during the Cold War set into motion one of the world’slargest civil defense policies at the time, second only to neutral Switzerland. The governments expenditure was far greater per capita than both that of USA and Soviet Union and included massive evacuation plans for Stockholm and other large cities in Sweden, with the hopeful expectation to bring down the amount of people in each of them to 15000 in case of a foreign hostile nuclear attack. The policies included construction of shelters with room for 2,5 million of about 7 million citizens in total at the time along with gasmasks for the whole population. Not only this, Sweden was considered one of the biggest military powers of that time in relation to its size and population. This brings the question what kind of discourse allowed such an expansion in military as well as civil defense?    The aim of this study is to examine what conception of a coming war was discussed in Swedish press and how it was interconnected with the defense and civil defense debate during 1954, 1960 and 1966. Using the theoretical framework of discourse analysis - including the two branches Nukespeak and Conceptual history - the study wants to bring forth firstly how the threat of nuclear war was discussed in Swedish press. Secondly if the conceptions of this future war was presented and used by a dominant group for political gains. And third, if so, what strategies was used to keep this dominance and how did this situation change as we move towards the mid 1960´s?

    The result is then compared with the work of other Swedish historians in the field of Cold War culture as Marie Cronqvist, Jonas Anshelm, Henrik Sjövall, Jerry Määttä and Michael Godhe to give a plausible explanation of the development.    The results show that the dominant perspective of a coming nuclear attack was built upon an authoritarian ideology with the following attributes: 1) The coming nuclear war was a terrible plague that would destroy the whole world’s civilization, even humanity as a race was threatened by it. 2) The threat of war was considered realistic and plausible. The local conflict in Scandinavia and the global conflict is also considered being one and the same which grants the Swedish military a key position in preventing the east and west superpowers from unleashing a total annihilation. 3) A requirement to be able to keep peace between the superpowers and survive the war as it is presented is that technical innovation is maintained at all costs. This is presented as a necessity given by the atomic age as a deterministic historical epoch. 4) It is possible to survive this apocalyptic war with good planning, well built shelters, a strong will of resistance to foreign power and a well equipped military.    This hegemonic perspective is maintained by methods described by Edward Schiappa and other linguistic scientists as domestication and bureaucratization, and also with a plea of a 'male' rationality, thus expelling female criticism. 1966 this hegemonic perspective is challenged and the reason of this change could be that of saturation of the concept of the atomic age and what it could bring to human civilization. Also a merging of military expertise and foreign politics could have played a part in this and a general relaxation of the superpowers foreign politics which meant that the war that was expected and planned for by the military advisers was more and more unlikely to occur.

  • 3.
    Bennesved, Peter
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    The Road in the Park: Ideology and State power during the 20th century seen through Maps of the Swedish subarctic Abisko2014Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
    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.

  • 4.
    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.

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