En kritisk undersökning av det modernistiska projektet för design i Sverige.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The thesis has one aim: to investigate the modernist project for design in Sweden and extract its dominant ideals, with the purpose of discussing it critically. The ideals of the modernist project for design make the social democratic thought manifest. These ideals are interpreted as a socialistic aesthetic. The results of the investigation can be summoned up in the following conclusions: When a comparison is made, it is evident that the design ideals in Sweden bear several resemblances to the aesthetic ideals of design developed in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the years 1949-1989. The evident conclusion is that the SSF, Svenska Slöjdföreningen (eventually renamed the FSF, Föreningen Svensk Form), which was supported by the social democratic State, chose to construct a unison ”Swedish” design, rather than bringing out different forms of design in Sweden. Even if ”Swedish” design does not exist, it is constructed. As long as the racial-hygienic content of ”good” is used uncritically, it lingers on as if it were harmless and ”good” by nature. Apparently, postmodernism was seen as a threat against the ”good”, anonymous, practical, use-value-commodity for ”ordinary people”. Even though present-day Sweden is a multicultural society, several of the modernist ideals of design could be said to linger on, with the aim of launching one single ”good”, ”Swedish” design product. Design produced in Sweden is even marketed as ”Scandinavian”, in order to profit from a wider geographical area, especially Danish and Finnish design of the 1950s.


  • Linda Rampell
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Art History


  • ”Swedish Modern”, Föreningen Svensk Form, socialistic aesthetics, "good" taste, Marxism, twentieth century, sociology, political economics, philosophy, Theory and history of design, modernism and modernity, ”Scandinavian Modern”, functionalism, Art history, Konsthistoria
Translated title of the contributionA Critical Study of the Modernist Project for Design in Sweden
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2002 Nov 29
  • Art History
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2002-11-29 Time: 10:00 Place: Hörsal 314, Institutionen för konst- och musikvetenskap, Biskopsgatan 5, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Dybdahl, Lars Title: [unknown] Affiliation: Köpenhamns universitet ---