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Fortifications in the Wilderness: The Making of Swedish-Russian Borderlands around 1900
Department of History of Science and Ideas, Uppsala University, Sweden.
2009 (English)In: Journal of Northern Studies, ISSN 1654-5915, no 1, 69-89 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the decades around 1900 the northern territories between Sweden-Norway and Finland-Russia were created and enforced as significant borderlands. In the article I situate the making of these borderlands in what was known as “the Defence Question.” Taking my point of departure in this heated political debate, I discuss the various cultural meanings that were ascribed to the Swedish-Russian borderlands. I argue that at the time the discourse about the Swedish-Russian relationships stretched out and made the northern parts of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia into a vast frontier between the west and the east, the occident and the orient and civilisation versus barbarism. In making borders culturally significant, material culture plays a vital role. In the article I analyze flags, border stones and the fortifications in Boden, Sweden. Through the discourse about the fortifications, the borderlands between Sweden and the Grand Duchy of Finland took on a new strategic meaning. In the political and public debate they served as a means to bring together trade, industry, communication and defence politics into one overarching narrative. The general argument of my article is that the historical study of borderlands can benefit from analyzing significant political debates, and from exploring the material culture of past borderlands.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University & The Royal Skyttean Society , 2009. no 1, 69-89 p.
Keyword [en]
borderlands, anthropology of borders, material culture, fortifications, the defence question, Norrland, Boden
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43260OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-43260DiVA: diva2:412587
Available from: 2011-04-27 Created: 2011-04-26 Last updated: 2011-04-27Bibliographically approved

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