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Populärhistoriens tjusning och kraft: Peter Englund och Herman Lindqvist i svensk historiekultur 1988-1995
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
2016 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The Allure and Power of Popular History : Peter Englund and Herman Lindqvist in Swedish Historical Culture 1988-1995 (English)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation is a study of popular history in Sweden from the late 1980’s to the mid 1990’s. The aim is to investigate and discuss Peter Englund’s and Herman Lindqvist’s historical accounts and their roles as public historians during the studied period. The study problematizes recurring issues in Sweden’s popular historical tradition, including the balance between cultivation and entertainment, culture and commercialism, academic and journalistic prose, impersonal style and the author as media celebrity. The focus is on the narrative structure of Eng­lund’s and Lindqvist’s historical accounts, the mediated meaning of these accounts, and the mediated meaning of Englund and Lindqvist as popular historians.

      The analyses show that both Englund and Lindqvist developed a popular history that had its own constitutive character as a response to, and in contrast to, academic history, and it was based on their awareness of history as a public phenomenon. In different ways, both Englund and Lindqvist assent to more existential historical topics that the historical research had a limited interest in and under­­­standing of, such as people's dreams, beliefs and life stories. In Englund’s more academic and complex popular history the appeal to the audience's reason and critical judgement and discernment is central. At the same time, he consistently appeals to the audience's emotions and the commercial success testifies to his ability to also sustain the audience’s interest, benevolence, confidence and sympathy. Lindqvist’s distinctly commercially oriented popular history, on the other hand, primarily involves appealing to the audience’s emotions and sympathy, which are clearly prioritized at the expense of the appeal to reason and critical judgement. If Englund’s historical accounts can be characterized as being criti­­­cally educating and entertaining the audience, Lindqvist’s historical accounts can be characterized as informative entertainment.

      Among the general conclusions are that both Englund’s and Lindqvist's historical accounts lacked links to contemporary political, social or popular educational movements and therefore affirm claims that the dominant historical culture in Sweden from the 1980’s until the 2000’s was mainly characterized by history having become a personal interest or hobby.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet , 2016. , 325 p.
Umeå studies in history and education, 14
Keyword [en]
Popular history, popular historians, Peter Englund, Herman Lindqvist, Swedish history 1988-1995, historical culture, public history, rhetoric, historical narratives, historical accounts
National Category
Research subject
didactics of history
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-127029ISBN: 978-91-7601-572-8 (print)OAI: diva2:1040044
Public defence
2016-11-18, Humanisthuset, Hörsal F, Umeå Universitet, Umeå, 10:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2016-10-28 Created: 2016-10-26 Last updated: 2016-10-27Bibliographically approved

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