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Americanitis : Amerika som sjukdom eller läkemedel : Svenska berättelser om USA åren 1900-1939

Publiceringsår: 2003
Språk: Svenska
Sidor: 391
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Studia Historica Lundensia
Volym: 10
Dokumenttyp: Doktorsavhandling
Förlag: Historiska Media


The aim of this thesis is to study Swedish notions of the USA and of things American and through them the Swedish self-image and the ideas about the Swedish future as seen in public debate in the period c. 1900-1939, when the USA was the subject of a good deal of discussion as an up-and-coming nation of great importance but was not yet recognized as an indisputable super power. It tries to demonstrate how notions of America were given meaning by inclusion in narratives that described, and often prescribed, what the American and the Swedish development would look like. Using these narratives, different debaters tried to find a form for a Swedish modernization and to formulate a Swedish national identity in a time of change. At the same time, the differing narratives all to some extent drew on a basic narrative of the relationship between things American and things Swedish, where that which was considered American was generally associated with a future that was identified with tendencies to an increased degree of equality and individualism and with technological advancement.

Three empirical studies have been undertaken: one study of the great Swedish debate on the emigration to the USA in the beginning of the 20th century; one study of Swedish conceptions of the American economic system and of American technology and working methods in the interwar period; and one study of Swedish views of American culture and values and their influence on Sweden, also in the interwar period. Travel books, articles in periodicals, weeklies and newspapers, pamphlets, novels and parliamentary debates have been utilized as source material.

Several narratives of a Swedish modernization have been discerned in the material. Common to most of them is an endeavour to find a formula for a renewal of society under orderly conditions, for a controlled modernization. Questions concerning the national self-image and modernization were often linked to conceptions of the relationship between what was thought to be American and what was thought to be Swedish. A great debate on these issues was going on for the entire period that has been studied here.


Room 3, Department of History
  • Dag Blanck (F D)


  • History
  • Social and economic history
  • modernization
  • narrative
  • americanization
  • identity
  • nationalism
  • Nutidshistoria (från 1914)
  • Contemporary history (since 1914)
  • Ekonomisk och social historia


  • ISSN: 1650-755X
  • ISBN: 91-628-5437-2
  • ISRN: LUHFDA/HFHI-2003/1115-SE+391

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