Kungsord i elfte timmen : Språk och självbild i det gustavianska enväldets legitimitetskamp 1772–1809
Sammanfattning: This thesis deals with the language and image of late Swedish absolutism. The sources used are royal medals and royal speeches and ceremonies at the Diets. The images are analysed as linguistic constructions, made up by a framework of concepts articulated in words, symbols and ceremonies around the kings.The essential argument is that during the late eighteenth century, European absolute monarchy suffered a severe legitimation crisis that had its origins at a discursive level. The political discourse changed: old conceptions and attitudes were revised, and new ones were established. Faced with these changing prerequisites for legitimacy, the absolute monarchs had increasing difficulty to master the political vocabulary; as traditional political concepts successively lost their potential to legitimise, the new concepts increasingly challenged the existing political order.The investigation consists of three analytical parts. The first part focuses on the language and image of Gustaf III. The second part focuses on the reception of the royal images and the discursive expressions among the subjects during the entire period (1772–1809). Attention is also paid to the repressive machinery of Gustavian absolutism as an important part of the struggle for discursive authority. The third part focuses on the language and image of Gustaf IV Adolf.The results show fundamental changes over time in the struggles for legitimacy, referred to as a movement from a primarily communicative strategy during the reign of Gustaf III, to a primarily repressive strategy during the reign of Gustaf IV Adolf. These changes are connected to the escalating discursive conflicts shown in the intermediate part, and are essential for the understanding of the final fall of Swedish absolutism in 1809.
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