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Pressen i provinsen. Från medborgerliga samtal till modern opinionsbildning 1750-1850.

The Press in the Provinces. From Civic Conversation to Modern Moulding of Public Opinion, 1750-1850
Publiceringsår: 2002
Språk: Svenska
Sidor: 384
Dokumenttyp: Doktorsavhandling
Förlag: Nordic Academic Press, Box 1206, S-220 05 Lund, Sweden,


This study treats ideas of how newspapers should be edited, from the middle of the 18th century to the middle of the 19th century. It deals both with notions of communication and how these were carried out. The empirical focus is on the Swedish province Östergötland and its two main cities, the ecclesiastical, military and administrative Linköping and the mercantile and financially important Norrköping. The dissertation, which to a great extent is concerned with the history of concepts, is divided into three parts: "A Civic Press, 18th Century", "Marginalisation and Modern Breakthrough, 1790–1840" and "Modern Press Established, 1840s".

The dissertation shows that what could be termed A Civic Press (or A Press of the Citizens) dominated during the 18th century. The publishers of newspapers considered it their duty to publish letters to the paper. The newspaper reading citizens identified a corresponding right. The newspaper should not merely reflect or represent a public debate; it should actually be one, in order to promote a better society. This ideal was to a great extent put into practice – primarily by the traditional and enlightened élite of the Old Regime. The birth of the modern, liberal press is best seen as a marginalisation of the Civic press. The publisher, who saw himself obliged to publish what was sent to him, was gradually replaced by a new and rather absolutist kind of editor (in Swedish called publicist) whose explicit goal was to reach lower social strata. This change can also be seen as a professionalization. An important result is the chronology that the dissertation establishes for this process. The Civic press was long-lived. Eventually many of the conservative opponents of the modern press gave in and adopted the liberal way of editing. The Civic press is nevertheless easy to trace as late as around the middle of the 19th century.

Those who criticised the modern press, did so to a large extent with the Civic press as an ideal in mind. These today somewhat neglected editors and debaters – often seen as agents of an Absolutist public sphere or as enemies of the freedom of the press per se – celebrated, in other words, what is the closest historians will ever get to finding Habermas’ ideal type.


Department of Cultural Sciences, room 201.
  • Dag Nordmark (Prof)


  • Media and Communications
  • History of philosophy
  • Sweden
  • Östergötland
  • 19th century
  • 18th century
  • professionalization
  • politicisation
  • conservatism
  • liberalism
  • Enlightenment
  • provinces
  • public sphere
  • press history
  • history of concepts
  • history of ideas
  • Filosofins historia
  • idéhistoria
  • Press and communication sciences
  • Journalistik
  • media
  • kommunikation


  • ISBN: 91-89116-45-3

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