Mapping the Rise of a New Concept

in Contributions to the History of Concepts
Ruth Hemstad National Library of Norway

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In the historiography describing the pan-Scandinavian movement that started gaining ground in the late 1830s, Scandinavianism has been widely employed as a historical category, usually without any discussion regarding the actual emergence of the concept itself. This article discusses when and why Scandinavianism entered into political language as a powerful new concept capable of setting a future-oriented agenda. After analyzing digitized newspaper material and other relevant publications in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark and after using a combination of distant and close reading, it concludes that Scandinavianism as a neologism only appeared as late as 1843. This article aims to contribute to a conceptual transnational history of Scandinavianism by examining its emergence, reception, and discursive context in the early 1840s.

Contributor Notes

Ruth Hemstad is a research librarian at the National Library of Norway and an associate professor of history at the University of Oslo. Email:

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