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  • 1.
    Bennesved, Peter
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Katastrofen i Barsebäck och radioaktivitet som informationsproblem 1953-19732019In: Efterkrigstidens samhällskontakter / [ed] Fredrik Norén & Emil Stjernholm, Lund: Mediehistoria, Lunds universitet , 2019, p. 185-215Chapter in book (Refereed)
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  • 2.
    Bennesved, Peter
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Sheltered Society: Civilian Air raid shelters in Sweden — from idea to materiality, 1918-1940 and beyond2020Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In 2002, Sweden finally stopped producing air raid shelters for its population after over sixty years of continuous production since 1938. Judging from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, MSB, the Swedish Air raid shelter registry contain about 65,000 air raid shelters registered as being in use. This figure reflect a huge security infrastructure which, today, is said to provide shelter for around 70% of the Swedish population. By studying the interwar period and the origins of civil defence in Swedish history, this dissertation sets out to explain the origins of the Swedish air raid shelter and provide an explanation of how Sweden eventually became a “Sheltered Society”.

    In order to achieve this, this dissertation will study the interwar period up until the first year of the Second World War, 1918 to 1940, which can be said to be the formative years for aerial protection politics and air raid shelters. As a theoretical inspiration, the dissertation uses LTS theory, intertwined with a Multi-Level Perspective on technological transitions. Through the close reading of reports and articles, newspapers and archival materials, written by fortification officers, engineers, architects, politicians and journalists during these years, the study shows how the originally military bunkers and air raid shelters were conceptually transferred to civilian use during the interwar years by authors concerned about the technological and strategic developments in aerial warfare.

    This process was enabled by a careful navigation between militaristic notions of aerial protection and the politically neutral civilian use of air raid shelters. Key factors for the successful implementation was framing the shelters as a simple technical matter through the concept of “Construction-Technical Aerial Protection”, as well as removing all military involvement in building and organizing them, making them seem “civilian” rather than military. This eventually led to the ratification of the Air raid shelter statute of 1940, which could be said to be the origin of the Swedish air raid shelter system. While politicians, engineers and fortification officers launched this image of the air raid shelter, the contemporary press discourse also provided a means of interpreting the10newly introduced shelters as being culturally compatible with Swedish urban modernity, thus making the radical urban change appear less frightening and a natural part of the development of the burgeoning Swedish welfare state.

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  • 3.
    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, 1937–19602020In: Media History, ISSN 1368-8804, E-ISSN 1469-9729, Vol. 26, no 2, p. 167-184Article 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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  • 4.
    Bennesved, Peter
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Sylvest, Casper
    Department of History, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
    Embedding preparedness, assigning responsibility: the role of film in sociotechnical imaginaries of civil defence2022In: Cold war civil defence in Western Europe: sociotechnical imaginaries of survival and preparedness / [ed] Marie Cronqvist; Rosanna Farbøl; Casper Sylvest, Springer, 2022, p. 103-128Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter examines the role of film and television in embedding sociotechnical imaginaries of civil defence during the early nuclear age (c. 1949-1965) by zooming in on Sweden and Denmark, two neighbouring countries that differed both in terms of their political position in the Cold War and in the scale of their civil defence efforts. Following a theoretical discussion of the psychosocial effects of films and their manner of circulation, we analyse Swedish and Danish films in two periods demarcated by the thermonuclear disruption of civil defence during the mid-1950s. The analysis highlights how films were used to frame technologies and script and perform social norms. We argue that films constitute an important source for understanding the difficulties of embedding sociotechnical imaginaries of civil defence.

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