Swedish History of Ideas

1791 Words8 Pages
What constitutes a national identity, and how is one formed and experienced over time? The purpose of this essay is to answer the question by analyzing the past five centuries of history in Sweden, and focussing on nationally celebrated icons. With the help of various non-fictional and fictional texts, I hope to give a thorough depiction of the Swedish national identity. This will be done by covering a broad spectrum of Swedish history topics while focussing on historical figures and drawing connections to Benedict Anderson’s concept of the imagined community. To begin, one must be familiar with Benedict Anderson’s notion of the imagined community. Anderson proposed the definition of a nation as, “an imagined political community - and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign.” (Anderson 2006:6). What he meant by this is that the inhabitants of a large city or small town will most likely never cross paths yet, “in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.” (Anderson 2006:6). These individuals feel as though they have a strong comradeship with one another simply because they reside in the same domicile on a map. The institution of the map, along with the institutions of the census, and the museum were pivotal in shaping “...the way in which colonial state imagined its dominion - the nature of the human beings it ruled, the geography of its domain, and the legitimacy of its ancestry.” (Anderson 2006:164). These are all important elements in the making of a national identity, and the feelings of belonging to a nation. These topics will be touched on again in connection to Sweden through out the essay. In following a chronological order, the first public figure and his impact on the Swedish identity will be O... ... middle of paper ... ...in a contemporary society. For that, Astrid Lindgren is a celebrated national icon and her portrayal of life in Sweden has contributed to the national identity. A national identity is ultimately the sense of belonging to a certain country and feeling a connection with the other citizens. By sharing similarities such as language, history, traditions, and cultural heritage the bond is strengthened and the construction of the “imagined community” happens. The purpose of this essay was to examine the history of Sweden and how the national identity has been created and experienced. By focussing on celebrated individuals a look into memorable moments in the past five centuries and what has effected the national identity was delivered. Whether it be in equal rights, education, social welfare, or a number of other topics, Sweden has strived for modernity in all aspects.
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