From socialist hero to capitalist icon: The cultural transfer of the East German children’s television programme Unser Sandmännchen to Sweden in the early 1970s

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Abstract

Based on a case study of the import of the German Democratic Republic (GDR)children’s programmeUnser Sandm€annchento Sweden in the early 1970s, thisarticle explores the cultural recoding at work in the processes of transnational mediaexchange. Using archival source material from both Germany and Sweden as well asSwedish press debate, the article argues for an entangled media perspective on ColdWar East-West cultural exchanges. In the process of transfer,UnserSandm€annchen, called John Blund in Sweden, was transformed from a calm,socialist hero to an outspoken and sometimes rude capitalist. This was the result ofthe active agency of individual entrepreneurs as well as the turnout of the politicalambitions of Swedish and East German state television institutions. In Sweden,although stripped from its possible ideological content, the cultural transfer of UnserSandm€annchen contributed to strengthening the relations between the two countriesand to opening up Swedish relations to the GDR in areas well beyond themedia sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-393
Number of pages16
JournalHistorical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
Volume41
Issue number2
Early online date2020 Dec 17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History
  • Media Studies

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