Modernitetens markörer : ungdomsbilder i tid och rum

Sammanfattning: The main objective of tbis dissertation is to study the media discourse on youth as it appeared in the Swedish region of Norrbotten during the postwar period. It discusses changes in ways of thinking and talking about youth against the background of modernization in the region. The data consists of artides from two locai newspapers. Norrbotten is geographically peripheral to the center of Sweden; it is also one of the few border regions of the country. The entire area — but particularly Tornedalen, which borders Finland - has a history of unemployment, problems related to infrastructure, and cultural conflicts. This study relates the discourse on youth to the tensions within such dichotomies as modem and traditional, urban and rural, and global and local. While the view of the media as constructors of social reality influences the theoretical perspective of the study, it is not meant to imply that the media create reality on their own. Rather, it is assumed that they are "co-producers" of reality and that journalistic texts serve as specific expressions of the predominant cultural codes in a culture and/or a given period of time. The dissertation presents case studies of four decades — the 1930s, 1950s, 1970s and 1980s — and focuses on the texts, as well as the contexts of the discourse surrounding Norrbotten youth. Following discussions of both the media messages and their sociohistorical contexts, it concludes that the debate about "today's youth" often serves as a forum in which society can express its hopes and concerns for the future. With theoretical concepts such as modernity and generation as a starting point, this dissertation further examines these results. In these discussions, modernity's duplicity stands out. On the one hand, youth are viewed as the bearers of what could be called romantic modernity and on the other, as provocateur in regard to the classical, rationalistic modernity's puritanical ideals and its moral entrepreneurs. The relationship between the generations is also symptomatic of modernity as a whole. With that, youth does not necessarily have to symbolize change in terms of rationality. In other words, provocation can spring from any deviation from the norms of change and progress established by the classic approach to modernization. Furthermore, the dual view of youth, that is, the prevailing tendency to describe them, simultaneously, as symbols of a belief in the future and degenerates, is typical for modernity. Consequently, the duality of the view of youth mirrors an ambivalent attitude to an ambivalent modernity.