Dystopiernas seger : totalitarism som orienteringspunkt i efterkrigstidens svenska idédebatt

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandling (monografi)

2518 Nedladdningar (Pure)


The purpose of this study is to dissect the process of ideological orientation in the public debate of postwar Sweden. Crucial to the study is the idea of a generic totalitarianism; a concept used both on a scholarly and a political level, focusing on the similarities between communism and Nazism, and the diverging guiding potential of this totalitarianism idea in different times and situations.
The analytical framework of this thesis is a model called the dystopian trilemma, extracted by the author from preliminary observations from the debate on The Black Book of Communism in the late nineties. This model suggests that the three most predominant ideologies of the twentieth century have, to a great extent, defined themselves mutually negatively. These ideologies are named as pairs: fascism/Nazism, socialism/communism and liberal capitalism /liberal democracy. As a result of these three potential positions, two important things follow. Firstly, it suggests that each of these three ideological positions defines itself against the remaining two and usually regards these as interconnected, or equivalent, dystopian counterparts. Secondly, it also proposes that such a perceptual pattern is disapproved by the two remaining ideologies, which on the contrary define themselves as ideological counterparts to each other. Apart from the negatively defined dystopian positions, it is also suggested that this trilemma has been formed in a process of altering experiences, a concept used in accordance with the tradition emanating from modern German hermeneutics and the term Wirkungsgeschichte, history of effects, elaborated by Hans-Georg Gadamer and Reinhart Koselleck. In sum, the hypothesis initially proposed is that the process of ideological orientation may be described as a development from utopian expectations to dystopian experiences.
From a number of different case studies, from the Swedish reception of Victor Kravchenkos’ I Chose Freedom to the debates on the 9/11-attack and the war on terrorism, this hypothesis is mainly confirmed, and is illustrated by the negativist backbone of the debates formed by a clear distinction between liberal totalitarianism theory and socialist imperialism theory. The only exception seems to be the positive utopian passion for Maoist China during the sixties and early seventies. In consequence, the main result is that the dystopian experiences are what in fact have prevailed, and that “the victory of the dystopias” may be regarded as an important aspect of what Francis Fukuyama called “the end of history” and Herbert Tingsten, among others, called “the end of ideology”.
Tilldelande institution
  • Historia
  • Karlsson, Klas-Göran, handledare
Tilldelningsdatum2013 mars 22
ISBN (tryckt)978-91-86119-18-8
StatusPublished - 2013

Bibliografisk information

Defence details

Date: 2013-03-22
Time: 10:15
Place: Sal 3, historiska institutionen, Magle stora kyrkogata 12, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Hansson, Jonas
Title: docent
Affiliation: Lunds universitet


Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Historia

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