Nationen på spel. Kropp, kön och svenskhet i populärpressens representationer av olympiska spel 1948 – 1972

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Nationen på spel. Kropp, kön och svenskhet i populärpressens representationer av olympiska spel 1948 – 1972

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Publication Doctoral Thesis
Title Nationen på spel. Kropp, kön och svenskhet i populärpressens representationer av olympiska spel 1948 – 1972
Author(s) Tolvhed, Helena
Date 2008
English abstract
Sporting the Nation: Gender, ”Swedishness” and the Body in the Representation of Olympic Games in Swedish Popular Press 1948 – 1972. In this thesis, I study representations of summer and winter Olympic Games and Olympic athletes in six Swedish popular magazines 1948-1972. The purpose is to examine the forms of identity produced within the nation as an “imagined community”, in discursive processes where gender, sexuality, ”race”/ ethnicity, class and age/generation intersect and mutually construct each other. The study is inspired by feminist and postcolonial perspectives on how gender and “race”/ethnicity are upheld as socially relevant classifications through the cultural repetition of physical and mental differences. Theoretical points of departure is Foucault’s connecting of power and knowledge and Cultural Studies’ conception of representation and how the textual/visual address of the reader makes available and closes off subject-positions. ”Body” and ”nation” are used as intersectional analytical concepts, and the textual/visual meaning making is identified through the techniques that I have termed dichotomisation, compensation, harmonisation, contrasting and connecting. The material is understood in relation to changing historical contexts such as “folkhemmet” and the welfare state, gender relations, global political processes of decolonisation, the Cold war and the radicalised political climate of the 1960’s. The analysis highlights how historically specific configurations of Swedish masculinity and Swedish femininity are defined not only through gender dichotomisation, but also by differentiation from – for example – communist bodies/characters or “exotic” and racialised subjects. However, “Swedishness” is not only separated from, but also connected to specific identities. The textual ”us” is located in complex and sometimes contradictory processes, through affinity with Nordic countries, the western side in the Cold war and ”white civilisation” – but also in relation to an abstract and universalistic conception of to ”the world”. The thesis points out the crucial importance of physical work for the merging of masculinity and nation. The sport activities of female athletes are downplayed through compensating markers of conventional femininity and trivialised by being constructed as playful rather than as strained and disciplined physical work. However, the analyses also illustrate the conditions for discursive destabilisations; for example in the case of Olympic medals, where the visual and textual representation of a female Swedish body at work is made possible through intersections of gender, youth or nation. Furthermore, the results show a move towards a higher degree of complexity on the issue of masculinity during the time period, whereas the cultural conception of femininity is characterised by a great degree of stability.
Publisher Bokförlaget h:ström Text & Kultur
ISSN 1653-9575
ISBN 978-91-7327-082-3
Language swe (iso)
Subject(s) cultural history
cold war
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
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