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"The Good Swede": Symbols and Narrative in Swedish Public Aid to the Democratic Republic of Congo
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

By research and interpretation of official documents published by the Swedish Ministery for Foreign Affairs and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), this thesis aims to understand and shine a light on the symbols that shape the Swedish public aid culture and how these symbols function in a narrative of what Swedish aid to the Democratic Republic of Congo is and is not. The theoretic framework leans on both the symbolic/interpretative anthropology of Edward Bruner, Clifford Geertz and Sherry Ortner; Omar Lizardo's more contemporary writing on the power of symbols; and Jerome Bruner's psychological perspective on symbols. The conclusion is that Swedish public aid appears to use a set of symbols and a narrative anchored in arbitrary parts of Sweden's and Congo's mutual history to conjure up the image of a dark and dangerous Congo in contrast to the knowledgable and good Sweden. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 30 p.
Keyword [en]
Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, DRC, aid, narrative, symbols, anthropology of aid, anthropology, Geertz, Bruner, Lizardo, public aid, Swedish aid
Keyword [sv]
bistånd, svenskt bistånd, Demokratiska Republiken Kongo, Kongo, DRK, Utrikesdepartementet, Sida, humanitärt bistånd, utvecklingssamarbete, biståndsantropologi
National Category
Other Humanities
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-302057OAI: diva2:956183
Subject / course
Cultural Anthropology
Available from: 2016-11-17 Created: 2016-08-29 Last updated: 2016-11-17Bibliographically approved

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