Svenska siffror : Nationell integration och identifikation genom statistik 1800–1870

Sammanfattning: The aim of this thesis is to study the nation building process in Sweden. How was a national identity constructed? One answer to this question is that statistical representations of the nation played a major role to shape a visual image of Sweden. Statistical books became a popular genre during the nineteenth century. The main concern of the new science statistics was to describe a nation, its population, geography, history, climate and interior condition.Statistical representations of Sweden created a national integration since they were popular literature. During the first decades of the nineteenth century many statistical descriptions of Sweden was widely read, discussed and reviewed. They therefore became part of the public debate and shaped a discourse about Sweden. This discourse partly constructed an "imagined community", as Benedict Anderson has described the modern nation.Statistics also shaped a national identification due to the repeated representations of Sweden as a nation. As national statistics became a part of the public sphere during the beginning of the nineteenth century, Sweden as a country became symbolised by the statistical image of the land itself and no longer only by the royal family or ancient history. As a statistical representation of the nation became common, statistical comparisons between countries also became part of shaping a national identification in contrast to others. Therefore, statistics – one of the most popular sciences of the nineteenth century – became a tool for visualising Sweden and its development as a nation to its population.

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