The Land of Bliss. The Legitimisation of Power in Public Rhetoric from Sweden´s Period as a Great Power to the Full Emergence of Democracy

Project Details

Layman's description

The notion of Sweden as a chosen land of happiness has deep historical roots. This project investigates how this idea was disseminated and used for legitimisation purposes in the royal intercession day messages. The analysis addresses the changes in terminology used in the period 1660–1919 to maintain the sense of solidarity and historical continuity in the meeting with a changing world.

Every New Year during Sweden’s period as a great power, the population were to listen to the royal intercession day message, which was read out in the churches of the kingdom. This informed the people about the Parliament’s meetings and gave declarations of wars and crises. It also described the basis for solidarity in the kingdom and Sweden was usually portrayed as a chosen land; a land of happiness characterised by unity, peace and prosperity. These readings continued over centuries, but in 1919 a shift took place when the King ceased to be the sender of the messages. The notion of a land of happiness had by then fundamentally changed. This study shows how the view of power, the individual and solidarity in the kingdom was continually remodelled for the population, from the time as a great power in the 1660s to the advent of democracy in 1919. The analysis of one of our oldest mass media uniquely reflects the development of nationalism, but also the alternatives to this ideology.
Effective start/end date2001/01/012007/12/31