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Det upphöjda landet: vetenskapen, landhöjningsfrågan och kartläggningen av Sveriges förflutna, 1860-1930
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Historical Studies.
2001 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Taking the establishment of Ice Age theory as its point of departure, the present dissertation examines aspects of geological, plant geographical and archaeological research on shoreline displacement conducted in Sweden during the period 1860-1930, and the significance of this research for the perception of "the Swedish landscape" and its post-glacial history. The research is analyzed on three levels under the rubrics "The Highest Shoreline and the Ancylus Lake", "The Question of Land Elevation", and "Charting Swedens Past", respectively. Taken together, these levels capture the varying perceptions and exchanges of opinion of the nature of shoreline displacement and the contexts in which they were applied.

The present study is conducted via a theoretical and methodological approach where both the ideas and the practices of science are studied: activities in the field and at the various institutions (primarily the Swedish Geological Survey, its museum and the Geological Society of Stockholm); arguments and hypotheses presented in artides and handbooks, including visual images, diagrams and maps; social networks, career paths and controversies. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between science and nationalism, and comparisons are made with research conducted in an imperialist context.

Ice Age theory helped initiate research whose purpose was to discover how the Swedish naturai and cultural landscape carne into being. The foremost task of geology became studying geographic evolution during the Quaternary epoch, how the land had "risen from ice and water". Plant geography studied how and whence plant life had migrated and how vegetation had evolved under the influence of biological, geological and climatological factors. In a similar manner, archaeologists studied the migration and dissemination of mankind during the StoneAge. When natural scientists primarily used "natural landmarks" as its source material, archaeologists relied on "archaeological finds", which were invested with scientific value but also became symbols of national collective memory. Through this survey, national identity was unifìed with the territory itself and its evolutionary history.

Knowledge about shoreline displacement became significant for geology, plant geography and archaeology, which in turn encouraged interdisciplinary collaboration, but also locked the researchers into a similar way of thinking about the nature of shoreline displacement. According to this "thought style", the phenomenon was first and foremost the result of the vertical movement of the land rather than movement in the ocean surface. Up until the 1870s, the Ice Age was thought to have been followed by one single subsidence and elevation; during the 1880s, two such land oscillations; three during the 1910s and by the 1920s, five. Only toward the end of the 1920s did Swedish researchers begin to accept a multi-factor explanation, which succeeded in finally subverting the reigning thought style. According to this explanation, shoreline displacement was not solely the result of changes in the land or the sea, but of both.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2001. , 425 p.
Kungl. Skytteanska samfundets handlingar: Acta Regiae Societatis Skytteanae, ISSN 0560-2416 ; 53
, Skrifter från forskningsprogrammet Landskapet som arena, ISSN 1650-4526 ; 3
Keyword [en]
History of science, environmental history, Quaternary geology, plant geography, archaeology, landscape, highest shoreline, land elevation, shoreline displacement, naturai landmarks, archaeological fìndings, scientific practice, thought collective, nationalism.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-56808ISBN: 91-7305-095-4OAI: diva2:537642
Available from: 2012-06-27 Created: 2012-06-27 Last updated: 2012-09-20Bibliographically approved

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