En fiende till civilisationen: Manlighet, genusrelationer, sexualitet och rasstereotyper i svensk filmkultur under 1920-talet

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

Abstract

The setting for this study is Swedish film culture of the 1920s, which has been studied with a focus on representations of masculinity and gender relations according to four themes: 1) children and youth 2) fatherhood and love 3) sexuality and popularity 4) ethnicity and racial stereotyping.
The rise of new consumer culture in the first decades of the 20th century created turmoil between traditional and modern values, not least when it came to conceptions of gender. Studies on masculinity have often directed its efforts towards writing a history of ideals, bound by the concept of hegemonic masculinity; a concept that exclude women as insignificant for the social construction of masculinity. One ambition with this thesis has been to counter the long-lasting concept of hegemonic masculinity, and in the process, try to build a bridge between men and women studies.
One other ambition has been question the canonisation of the “Golden Age” of Swedish silent filmmaking by introducing the concept of “the pluralism of film”, and by using a vast material including: Swedish feature films, reviews, articles from fan magazines and trade paper, screen plays, censorship cards, official reports, etc; thereby circumventing the concept of film as “art” in order to focus on film as representation in a more reliably way.
One conclusion is the revelation of the diversity that surrounds social constructions of masculinity and gender relations in both film culture and society. In addition, Swedish film of the 20s hardly contained any male characters that upheld the hegemonic ideal, giving way to a more prominent presence of strong female characters, often in the shape of the New Woman. Women did as well have a great influence on the formation of masculinity. However, a notion of a Swedish normative masculinity became visible when contrasted with numerous racial stereotypes, such as malicious representations of Black people and Travellers. The emphasis on gender relations, rather than on ideals, has also contributed to a wider understanding of gender, where criteria such as generation, class, ethnicity and sexuality ought to be included.
When it comes to the canonisation of the “Golden Age”, a strong notion exists about the integrated use of nature in film narratives as being a Swedish national trait, when in fact this could be linked only to a few films. If one would point out a trait that permeates Swedish film of the 1920s, it would not be the use of nature, but instead the flagrant racism and xenophobia.

Details

Authors
  • Tommy Gustafsson
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History

Keywords

  • Masculinity, Gender Relations, “The Pluralism of film”, Boyhood, The New Woman, Youth Culture, Boyish Masculinity, Queer, Sexuality, Popularity, Stereotypes, Racism, Race, Modern Masculinity, Melodrama, Love, Gösta Ekman, Gender, Film Culture, Fatherhood, Ethnicity, Consumerism, Children, Class, Homosexuality, Emotions, Consumer Culture, Censorship, Swedish Film of the 1920s
Original languageSwedish
QualificationDoctor
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2008 Jan 12
Place of PublicationLund
Publisher
  • Sekel
Print ISBNs978-91-85767-09-0
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2008-01-12 Time: 10:15 Place: Hörsalen, Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Lunds universitet External reviewer(s) Name: Olsson, Jan Title: Professor Affiliation: Filmvetenskap, Stockholms universitet ---

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