Lyckolandet. Maktens legitimering i officiell retorik från stormaktstid till demokratins genombrott

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This study deals with questions about norm building and arguments for community in official royal rhetoric in the Swedish realm from 1660 to 1919. Every year, an intercession day proclamation issued by the King in Council (Kungl. Maj:ts böndagsplakat) was read out from pulpits across Sweden. Like many communiqués, they belonged to the proclamation system, which included the spreading of information, laws, and propaganda; at least up to the mid-19th century, it was possible to reach the majority of the population with these letters. Looking for other concepts of community than in the research discourse on nation and nationalism, I have been inspired by Charles Taylor's discussion about ?social imaginaries?, where attention is paid to other elements than just the ethnic one in an imaginary community, or to ideas about what kept a society together.

An important conclusion is that the sense of community connected to ethnicity in a long-term perspective has to be regarded as overrated in relation to other arguments; this can challenge the answer, according to research on nationalism, to why people feel loyal to a kingdom or a people. For an alternative perspective, I have put two arguments for a sense of community up against each other, both using the middle of the 17th century as a starting point. One argument is represented by the idea, for example from Olof Rudbeck, about community from an ethno-religious context, alluding to people's past and its great achievements; the other argument is represented by Samuel Pufendorf's idea about a sense of community based on mutual obligations, focusing on security in a society. These two concepts can be seen throughout the entire period and are equally weighty reasons for community in the letters. However, it is the concept of people that undergoes the most distinct changes. They are best described as a transition from an ethnic theology, i.e. an affinity with Christianity, to an ethnic Swedishness. The other argument has a greater continuity and might be even stronger and more suggestive since it describes Sweden, in a narrative style, as the potential or actual ?land of bliss?. According to this argument, people are not joined so much through their ethnicity, but rather through their ability, or by their desire, to agree on mutual societal values. The following are catchwords for this state of bliss: security and unity, peace and improvement, peace and order, justice and understanding, and calm, love, happiness, compassion, and welfare. Most likely, these arguments were also the most practicable in terms of the audience's own expectations from life.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History


  • Humaniora, Humanities, State, Citizen, Brother, Subject, Fatherland, People, Religion, Community, Ethnicity, Nationalism, Nation, Moral order, Social imaginaries, Rhetoric, Mass medium, Public announcements, Political history, Politisk historia
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2007 Mar 24
  • Sekel Bokförlag
Print ISBNs978-91-975223-9-7
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2007-03-24 Time: 10:15 Place: Department of History Magle Stora kyrkogata 12 A 220 02 LUND External reviewer(s) Name: Alm, Mikael Title: Fil.Dr. Affiliation: Uppsala universitet ---

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Related prizes

Joachim Östlund (Recipient), 2007

Prizes and Distinctions: Prize (including medals and awards)

Joachim Östlund (Recipient), 2007 Nov 28

Prizes and Distinctions: Prize (including medals and awards)

Joachim Östlund (Recipient), 2007 Nov 6

Prizes and Distinctions: Prize (including medals and awards)

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