‘Social quality’ is not a common term in Sweden and its sister notion ‘quality of life’ is used mainly with respect to the conditions of particular individuals and rarely, if ever, in social analysis. Swedish social statistics and social studies focus on ‘levels of living’ or ‘living conditions’. The perceived subjectivity connotations of ‘quality’ in this context have not been attractive. On the other hand, Swedish social research and policy evaluation have de facto been very much concerned with measuring what may properly be called qualitative dimensions of living conditions and correspondingly less interested in, for example, the possession of consumer goods.
Göran Therborn and Sonia Therborn
The Case of Kidz in da Hood (Förortsungar, 2006)
Anders Wilhelm Åberg
Swedish children's films frequently deal with issues of nation and ethnicity, specifically with “Swedishness”. This may be most obvious in films based on the works of Astrid Lindgren, which abound with nostalgic images of the national culture and landscape. However, films about contemporary Sweden, such as Kidz in da Hood (Förortsungar, 2006) address these issues too. Kidz in da Hood is about children in the ethnically diverse suburbs of Stockholm and it tells the story of a young fugitive, Amina, who is cared for by a young bohemian musician. It is, interestingly, a remake of one of the first Swedish children's films, Guttersnipes (Rännstensungar, 1944). In this article I argue that Kidz in da Hood is a contradictory piece, in the sense that it both celebrates and disavows “Swedishness”, as it substitutes the class conict of Guttersnipes for ethnic conflict.
Lotta Björklund Larsen
Hiring home cleaning is a contested phenomenon in Sweden and increasingly so when informally recompensed. During the last decade, pigdebatten (the maid debate), a proposal for subsidized, paid home cleaning has divided the public debate along political lines as well as in terms of gender and class. Drawing on the historical notions of what type of work an economy includes (and excludes), this article addresses the contestation of paid home cleaning as a transaction of work. How do buyers negotiate and justify svart (black market) cleaning as an acceptable transaction in time and space when separating the public from the private? This case study is based on interviews with a group of women indicted for having bought cleaning services from an immigrant without a working permit, a case that created a heated media debate in 2003 and 2004.
Historical Consciousness in Swedish History Textbook
Since the early 1990s, the concept of historical consciousness has been central to didactic research in Sweden. It has mostly been used as a theoretical framework on a macro-level or as an attempt to identify students' historical consciousness. This article applies the theoretical concept of historical consciousness to tangible source material: history textbooks from the twentieth century. It focuses on whether Swedish history textbooks for lower secondary school have articulated contexts that may be conducive to developing historical consciousness. The article employs a number of theoretical concepts—narratives, multichronology, identity, and values—in order to analyze perspectives that can be utilized to trigger historical consciousness.
Illegal yet licit purchases of work in contemporary Sweden
Lotta Björklund Larsen
This article explores the tensions between buying and bartering a ser vice in contemporary Sweden by analyzing the acceptable purchase of svart arbete -informal exchanges of work. It is a commonplace phenomenon, but also widely debated, as it is seen as detrimental to welfare society, eroding taxpaying morals and solidarity with fellow citizens. Settling the svart deal with money makes the links to market and state domains more pertinent. Even cash-settled deals are therefore often referred to as barters to create a reverse disentanglement, away from the formal market and moved closer to the realm of social exchanges. The informants express a verbal creativity in a joking manner. Exploring synonyms and metaphors reveals the informality, but the talk also shows that, as exchanges, they are part of everyday life. The article thus describes how illegal yet licit exchanges of work are articulated.
Erland Mårald and Erik Westholm
This article explores the changing construction of the future in Swedish forestry since 1850. The framework is based on three concepts: (1) knowability, addressing changing views of knowledge; (2) governability, addressing changing views of the ability to steer the future; and (3) temporality, referring to varying ways of relating to time. The results reveal that until the 1980s, trust in science-based forestry triggered other knowledge-based activities, such as education, surveys, and field trials. The future was seen as predictable and forecasts were expected to support increased forest production. In the 1970s, the environmental debate about the forest incorporated a pluralistic futures agenda. High-production forestry using intensive management methods was questioned. Futures studies shifted focus from predictions to scenarios, highlighting a less predictable future open to human agency. Paradoxically, with increased knowledge of forest ecology and forest markets with improved modeling techniques, the future horizon shifted to one of risks and uncertainties.
Types of Knowledge in Swedish and Australian History Textbook Activities
Niklas Ammert and Heather Sharp
This article presents a comparative analysis of pupils’ activities dealing with the Cold War in Swedish and Australian history textbooks. By focusing on textbook activities to which pupils respond in relation to their learning of a particular topic, this study identifies knowledge types included in a selection of history textbooks. The study also focuses on the question whether, and if so how, social values are evident in activities concerning the Cold War. The authors develop a matrix that makes it possible to examine knowledge types and social values conveyed by activities. By analyzing textbook activities, this article exposes the hidden curriculum present in the textbooks on the basis of underlying and unstated values present in the activities, and at the same time identifies the way in which the selected textbooks incorporate these values.
Tourism, Travel Journalism, and the Construction of a Modern National Identity in Sweden
Tourism research has analyzed how modern nations are marketed to attract tourists from abroad and how domestic tourism has been used in the construction of national identities. Less attention has been given to the construction of outbound tourism as a central aspect of how a nation becomes modern. The following article studies Swedish travel journalism in the 1930s, when older forms of masculine colonial travel shared space with modern tourism trips. Even though few Swedes could travel abroad, tourism, both domestic and outbound, was vividly discussed as an established practice. To travel was practically a duty and something that would make the Swedes healthy, modern, and worldly. It would also foster proper national sentiments. The ideal of a warm but not chauvinistic celebration of one’s own country is a common Swedish position in relation to the world.
The Concepts of Democracy in Swedish Parliamentary Debates during the Interwar Years
The article explores some of the composite concepts of democracy that were used in Sweden, primarily by the Social Democrats during the interwar years. Should these be seen as pluralizations of the collective singular democracy or as something qualitatively new? By showing how these concepts relate to each other and to democracy as a whole, the article argues that they should be considered statements about democracy as one entity, that democracy did not only concern the political sphere, but was generally important throughout the whole of society. The article also examines the Swedish parliamentarians' attitudes toward democracy after the realization of universal suffrage, and argues that democracy was eventually perceived as such a positive concept that opponents of what was labeled democratic reforms had to reformulate the political issues into different words in order to avoid coming across as undemocratic.
Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Egypt and Sweden, 2003
In recent years, refugees from the Middle East have been arriving in Sweden in considerable numbers, and the need for and extent of cooperative work between Swedish and Arab performing artists is constantly increasing. Karim Rashed from Iraq, now living in Malmö, performed in his own prize-winning bilingual play about loyalty issues among refugees, I Came to See You, in a mixed cast of established Swedes and recent arrivals at the Malmö City Theatre in southern Sweden last year.