Ett fattigt men fritt folk : nationell och politisk självbild i Sverige från sen stormaktstid till slutet av frihetstiden
Sammanfattning: This study deals with questions about national identity and national consciousness in Sweden from the middle of the 17th to the second half of the 18th century. Two embracing hypotheses have guided the inquiry. The first proposes that a clearly distinguishable national sentiment existed in Sweden already by the middle of the 17th century. The second proposes that the rulers tried to encourage and distribute this national consciousness to the lower echelons of society in order to obtain a less arbitrary rule over the subjects. The core of the investigation consists of five thematically and chronologically supplementing studies (chapters 2–6) that seeks to confirm these hypotheses.Chapter 1 defines the problem and outlines methodological and theoretical themes. Chapter 2 examines the composition of the Swedish empire during the Age of Greatness, the Crown's integration policy towards its foreign provinces, as well as the subjects' personal bonds to the Crown before the birth of modern citizenship. Chapter 3 investigates the national rethoric of Swedish propaganda during the Great Nordic War. Chapter 4 is mainly concentrated on the 18th century and investigates what content was given to the Swedish national character in a cultural and scholarly context. Chapter 5 examines the same topics with regard to the Finns as subjects of the Swedish realm. This chapter also surveys official and semi-official attitudes towards the 'Lapps' (Samis). Chapter 6 examines the political use of concepts such as patriotism and love of the Fatherland, first in a scholarly and theoretical context, and secondly in the vivid parliamental debates about civil rights that concluded the Age of Liberty. The last chapter summarizes the case studies and interprets the results in relation to dominant theoretical conceptions regarding nationalism. In this context it is argued that the national sentiments and the political use that was made of them during the period under investigation only differed in a quantitative, though not in a qualitative way from nationalist ideologies of the 19th century.
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