Kampen om befolkningen : Den svenska nationsformeringens utveckling och sociopolitiska förutsättningar ca 1780–1860
Sammanfattning: The aim of this thesis is to problematize the western type of nation formation by characterizing and explaining the Swedish process of national identity construction during the Age of Revolution. Thus, the thesis sets out to investigate the political-hegemonic process of identity formation, redefinition and struggle between different political forces. In practise, the thesis develops a typology over different ideological identity projects according to their object of identity formation and their political content. Instead of classifying the projects into civic or cultural types of nationalisms, the scheme of official and counter-hegemonic ideological projects are used. The thesis also sets out to explain the character of the process studied. This is done by analyzing the socio-political conditions of existence of the different national ideological projects. This includes their relationship to the state, their social milieus and the social composition of the agents of nationalization. The thesis shows that the Swedish process can be characterized as a constant battle over the population: a battle over the national self-understanding amongst different layers of the population. The explanation of this character has to do with two existing conditions. Firstly, the existence of a state that supported some identity projects and prohibited others. The state produced a sphere of contest by, partially, allowing the establishment of a sphere of political communication. It also acted as an authority by facilitating the different agents with the political language of nationalism as the main arena of social struggle. The other important condition was the increasing economic modernization, which caused both social mobilization and differentiation – the pre-conditions for intra-class conflicts and inter-class conflicts. In the end this thesis argues, in contrast to the modernist theories in the field, which has underpinned the importance of social communication and state- or bourgeois-led cultural integration, that Sweden, as one of the so-called old continuous nations, was not a top-down project during this particular era. It was a project created from the top as well as from below – inside as well as outside the objects of national politics. It is this simultaneousness that is the main feature of identity formation. And, its explanation lies in the emerging liberal class society as a difference- and community-machine. Consequently, the thesis problematizes the common picture of how and why people became nationals in the western states during the great transformation.
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