Knowledge in Motion: Societal Circulation of Knowledge in Postwar Sweden and Germany

Project: Research

Project Details


The aim of the programme “Knowledge in Motion: Societal Circulation of Knowledge in Postwar Sweden and Germany” is both to improve the general understanding of circulation of knowledge and to contribute to an historical interpretation of the role of knowledge in postwar society.

The programme has been designed within the framework of the emerging field of the history of knowledge. It is inspired by new tendencies in the history of science, global history, media history, the history of the book, the history of the humanities and other adjacent fields. A key analytical concept is circulation of knowledge – in other words, how knowledge is set in motion and how it is transformed in the process. In concrete terms, this could mean investigations of how knowledge has been popularized, translated or disseminated, but also of the actors, arenas or media formats that have been instrumental in processes of circulation. An important point of departure is that knowledge is not static: it can move between different platforms and contexts, and in transit it could potentially always undergo a change.

The empirical focus of the programme will be a series of comparative analyses of the public circulation of humanistic knowledge (broadly defined) in Sweden and the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1960s and 1970s. The specific objects of the individual case studies are still to be defined, but they could, for instance, address the role of the humanistic scholar as a knowledge actor in the public sphere, the conditions for academic non-fiction on the book market, the position of the humanities in various educational institutions or similar topics. The comparisons of the Swedish and West German cases will enable fruitful analyses.

The programme is an integral part of a larger research environment devoted to the history of knowledge based at the Department of History, Lund University. Comprising a number of mainly early career scholars, it is characterized by a multiplicity of empirical approaches and at the same time a common interest in exploring the theories, methods and concepts of the history of knowledge. In early 2018 we published our first joint book, Circulation of Knowledge, and we are currently planning future publications. Apart from arranging a vibrant seminar series, we have launched a Nordic network and cultivated international contacts.

In the introduction to our edited volume, we discuss the meaning of the history of knowledge and the circulation of knowledge further. See:
Short titleKnowledge in Motion
Effective start/end date2019/01/012023/12/31


  • Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation

UKÄ subject classification

  • Humanities
  • History and Archaeology