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Who’s Heritage? : A study of the perceptions of cultural heritage in south-western Sweden among immigrants and Swedes with a foreign background


  • Andreas Kristensson

Summary, in English

This essay has investigated immigrants and Swedes with foreign background’s perception
of cultural heritage as it has been specified by UNESCO. The approach to focus on this
particular sample population was born
out of the realisation that the EU, nationalist parties
and far
right extremists all point to a common her
itage. What has not been studied
however is the effect of immigration on national heritages and the effect this would have
on a perceived Swedish heri
tage and a common European heritage and identity. Through
dissemination o
f a self
administered online survey, immigrants and Swedes with a
foreign background were asked to consider what belongs to culture, their family’s
traditions, and potential cultu
ral influences among other. The developments of the term
heritage in off
icial UNESCO documents is briefly mapped and explained before focusing
on heritage in the academic field. Through the connection of heritage to cultural
nationalism, religion in Europe
and identity the term heritage is put into context and put
forth as a concept that is never static and is bound to change with every generational shift
as described by the theory of
cultural nationalism.
The results from the survey showed that
those who g
row up with their parents offering culture from several cultures were more
likely to perceive their cultural influences as mixed and identify with more cultures than
just one. The notion of a common national or European culture and identity should not be
ntirely accepted at face value. While there are aspects of heritage that resonate with many
people a uniform heritage
resonate with everyone.
It depends on if they feel they
have mixed or specific cultural influences or even
This makes
a common
cultural heritage an impossibility to its fullest extent since it has to compete with local and
regional heritage as well. This does not mean there cannot be a common Swedish cultural
heritage or a common European heritage in the future but it wi
ll never be uniform in the
way it is presented in official heritage discourses.







Examensarbete för masterexamen (Två år)


  • Cultural Sciences


  • heritage
  • cultural nationalism
  • European culture
  • Sweden


  • Eleonora Narvselius