Uppsala universitet

UPPSALA UNIVERSITET : Engelska institutionen / Department of English

Research Project

American Influences in Sweden


Application submitted to the Faculty of Languages, Uppsala University, March 1, 1999
 
Erik Åsard Elisabeth Herion-Sarafidis Dag Blanck

Heated discussions about American influences in Sweden are common. In 1995, for example, Swedish journalist and critic Mikael Timm maintained that American cultural influences in contemporary Sweden, or in his words the Americanization of Sweden,"were stronger than ever before" (Timm 1995). In the same year, Swedish author Gunder Andersson approvingly quoted the successful journalist Herman Lindqvist, claiming that "the Swedes are, without knowing or any longer noticing it, completely marinated in American culture. In the old days, during the Cold War and with reference to the East Bloc countries, we called this brainwashing" (Andersson 1995).

Similar controversies have erupted in other countries as well, for example over EuroDisney and proposals in France aimed at protecting the French language from outside influences. These often animated discussions about American influences on other nations are by no means new. Around the turn of the century an English journalist published a volume entitled The Americanisation of the World or The Trend of the Twentieth Century (Stead 1902), wherein he discussed the subject in quite positive terms. In contrast, the conservative Swedish historian Harald Hjärne simultaneously issued a warning of the seductive charm of "the American rattlesnake" (Hjärne 1902). 

Since World War II, a critical perspective has been predominant in the literature, for example in Servan Schreiber's well-known Le défi américain (1967), and in Sweden by writers such as Palm (1968) and Myrdal (1972, Cf. Rasmusson 1985). In an era characterized by continuing European integration, these issues and debates take on an added dimension. The great federal Euro project outlined in the Maastricht Treaty has been said to contribute to an awareness that European countries today only have one thing in common, namely "America" (Sem-Sandberg 1992). After Maastricht the relations between Europe and the only remaining superpower, the United States, become even more important for countries both inside and outside the European Union. 

The increased attention to issues of national identity and transnational influences have given rise to a vast array of scholarly books and articles produced in many different countries. One example among many is the series of studies published by an international group of scholars associated with the Netherland's Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Kroes et al. 1994). For some reason Sweden has not been at the forefront of this scholarly debate. This is strange, considering our reputation for being one of the most "Americanized" countries in the world. Knowledge of American influences in our own country is thus meager, to say the least. Two noteworthy exceptions are a study of "Americanization" and everyday life in Sweden (O'Dell 1997) and the volume Networks of Americanization: Aspects of the American Influence in Sweden (Lundén & Åsard 1992). The latter summarizes several years of discussions and research on these issues among a group of scholars at Uppsala University and can be viewed as a pilot study and a starting-point for our new project. 

This interdisciplinary project on American influences in Sweden aims at deepening our knowledge of the area by studying it from both an historical and a contemporary perspective. In part the project is inspired by recent the ethnological and anthropological debates about national and transnational processes of culture. The concept of "Americanization" will be critically examined, and instead of viewing it as a mechanical transfer of different cultural elements from a center to a periphery, American influences in Sweden will be viewed as part of a larger global process. How various "American elements" are incorporated and contextualized into Swedish cultural patterns is a pivotal aspect of our research. By focusing on the incorporation process we will not only be able to illustrate the existence of particular "American elements," but also the construction of a certain kind of "Swedishness." 

American influences can be traced in many different spheres of Swedish society, but they are more visible in some areas than in others. We make an analytical distinction between manifest and latent influences, where the former influences are easily spotted on the surface (sometimes leading to heated discussions about "Americanization"). The latter influences are incorporated into a Swedish context in a more indiscernible way (Cf. Helenius 1969, Lundén 1991:141-142). The empirical areas to be studied deal with both manifest and latent influences, and they focus on three major fields during the 20th century: the Swedish debates on American influences and "Americanization"; communication and rhetoric in contemporary election campaigns; and an analysis of the transformation of American literature into Swedish culture.

Previous Research

Scholarly research on American influences in other countries than Sweden is extensive. Many different kinds of studies exist, but it is possible to identify three main types of inquiries: 1) studies on the image of America in different countries; 2) the nature and organization of relationships between the U.S. and other specific countries; and 3) how American cultural elements, broadly speaking, have been incorporated into non-American countries and cultures.

In the first group, the image of America in different countries, literary analyses are fairly common, which discuss how both individual authors and national literatures have treated and looked upon America. (For Sweden, see Eidevall 1983, Elovson 1930). Other studies have dealt with how public opinion in various countries has perceived the U.S. at different times. A classic work is Koht's The American Spirit in Europe (1949). The situation in France is fairly well analyzed (Kuisel 1993, Lacorne, Rupnik & Toinet 1986), and for Sweden studies exist of the image of America 1820-1860 (Runeby 1969), the image of America 1948-1968, and of the Vietnam discussion in the Swedish press (Block 1976, Queckfelt 1981). The image of America in Scandinavia has also been treated recently (Houe & Rossel 1998). 

The second group of studies deals with both the organization of American relations with the surrounding world, and the development of structures for spreading American ideas and values. Included here are analyses of official and private American institutions, whose mission at least partly has been to promote America abroad or to promote contacts between the U.S. and other countries (e.g., the Office of War Information, the United States Information Service, the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations). The direct and indirect influence of American foreign policy has also been dealt with. These studies only partially address the flow of American ideas on the receiving countries (Costigliola 1984, McCarthy 1987, Ninkovich 1981, Rosenberg 1982). 

A third group of studies is more specifically directed at studying how American cultural elements - real or imagined - have been incorporated and adapted into cultural patterns in other countries. These studies are of great relevance for our project. While many authors deal with popular culture, others emphasize such areas as literature, education, and language. Here one can find numerous monographs, anthologies, and articles, among them an exhaustive study by Pells (1997). Some illustrative examples may serve to further illuminate the more important lines of research. 

From the field of popular culture, the anthology Cultural Transmissions and Receptions: American Mass Culture in Europe contains significant empirical and theoretical contributions (Kroes et al. 1994, Cf. Claeys 1984, Kroes 1992, 1996). In this area analyses of film and television often play a major role. Some studies are more or less mechanical discussions of the dissemination of American media to the rest of the world, whereas others are more sophisticated, discussing the incorporation and adaptation processes that also take place in the receiving countries (de Grazia 1989, Jarvie 1992, Kroes 1990, Saunders 1987). 

American influences on the press and literature has also been debated, such as the significance of the “new journalism” in Europe (Marzolf 1983) and in Sweden (Olsson 1987). The significance of American literature for and in Sweden has been the focus of studies of the American literary canon in Sweden and of the role of the American authors for the development of certain Swedish writers (Lundén 1993, Rehn 1974, Åhnebrink 1965). 

Studies of American influences on the development of European thought are likewise common. Ever since the days of Alexis de Tocqueville, the "American experiment" with a republican constitution and a political system rooted in the Enlightenment has played an important role in European political thought. Tocqueville's classic De la démocratie en Amérique, published in Paris in 1835 and 1840, first appeared in Sweden in 1839 and quickly became a major factor in the shaping of the Swedish image of America (Runeby 1969:118-125, Cf. von Beyme 1987). European radicalism or dissent and its relationship to American intellectual life has also been dealt with for different countries and areas of thought (Hollander 1973). 

There are also studies which focus on the American influence in specific countries. Regarding France, Kuisel has focused primarily on the post-war era (1991, 1993), which has also been the case for Germany and Austria (Willett 1989, Wagnleitner 1986, 1991). Two books on American influences in the Netherlands have also been published (Kroes 1981, 1992). Canada plays a special role, partly due to its proximity to the U.S., but also because of the existence of simultaneous cultural similarities and differences (Lumsden 1970, Litt 1991, Smith 1994, Cf. Granatstein 1996).

The first volume published by the Nordic Association for American Studies, Amerika och Norden, discusses American influences in Denmark (Albeck 1964), Finland (Mustanoja 1964), and Iceland (Hanneson 1964). Other similar volumes treat Finland (Kuparinen & Virtanen 1982, Virtanen 1988), Norway (Bryn 1992), and Denmark (Christensen et al. 1983). 

The literature on American influences in Sweden is, as has already been noted, surprisingly small. One important field has been church history and religious influences (Westin 1929, Thörnberg 1938, Erickson 1996). The political dimensions have been dealt with by Tingsten (1964), and there is one study of the role of the American constitution in Sweden (Vallinder 1987). Interesting attempts to determine the relationship between America and the development of the Swedish Social Democrats from the 1930’s also exist, and one scholar has even argued that "the intellectual history of the Social Democratic Party should be rewritten, and significant weight should be attached to the American influence on the party intellectuals" (Tullberg 1986:594, Cf. Nilsson 1994). American influences on Swedish technological development and on the rationalization movement and organization of work in Sweden (De Geer 1978, Runeby 1978) have also been studied (Jansson 1980, Hagerman 1981). An example of American influences on Swedish policy-making comes from environmental politics (Jamison 1993), and the role of American cars in Swedish life has also been studied (O’Dell 1992). 

The volume Networks of Americanization examines American influences in several spheres of Swedish society such as literature, language, film, politics, and higher education (Lundén & Åsard 1992). The present project will continue to build on the empirical results from this book, and will further develop the theoretical framework for studying how latent and manifest influences from the United States have reached and been incorporated into Swedish society.

A Theoretical Framework

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the project, the theoretical starting-points are derived from several disciplines and research traditions. This section presents and identifies those that are particularly relevant for our purposes.

One of the starting points for the entire project is to problematize the phenomenon of "American influences." We use the term "Americanization" cautiously, since we find it both one-dimensional and pejorative. We are not interested in studying the American presence in Sweden by trying to "measure" how many American influences, symbols, or icons that may be found in the country, partly because such an approach leads to very difficult methodological problems. To answer the question how "great" the American influence in Sweden is in quantitative terms is thus not one of the main aims of the project. Instead, the focus will be on the process of incorporation, on the dynamics of cultural transfer (Cf. Hannerz 1992a:14-18). The empirical studies will therefore be devoted to analyses of the ways in which different currents of influences have flowed back and forth across the Atlantic, to whom they have been directed, and how they have been received and contextualized in Sweden in a few central fields. Several of the articles which resulted from a conference on this theme held in Uppsala in 1990 point in this direction, and may serve as a starting point for the project (Cf. contributions by Blanck, Bryn, and Åsard in Lundén & Åsard 1992). 

It is possible to see the cultural flow between the United States and Sweden (as well as other countries) in terms of the extensive scholarly debate on "center/periphery" (Wallerstein 1974, 1980, Shils 1975, Rokkan 1987). However, there are different degrees in the relationship between the center and periphery. At one extreme is the position where the center is very dominant and where the consequence would be a homogenized "world culture" based on the cultural patterns of the center, while the other is the position where the ability of the peripheries to resist is so strong that the resulting cultural patterns are quite heterogeneous. None of these scenarios has probably existed historically or exist today; rather, depending on the dimensions of the problem, there are several kinds of centers that have been of varying significance in different historical contexts. 

For our purposes these concepts are useful as we focus on the reaction of the Swedish periphery to the signals from the outside world. These signals are often perceived as emanating from an American center, which in some cases is probably true. On the other hand, it is also important to underscore the globalization process that presently characterizes much of contemporary cultural production in the world (Gilbert 2000, Ch. 9; Carruthers 1998:883-884). In this respect, contemporary research in anthropology and ethnology on transnational cultural processes has provided some inspiration, an area represented in Sweden by Ulf Hannerz and Orvar Löfgren. Hannerz emphasizes how this globalization process has created cultural patterns that, although they have their roots in the United States, have been incorporated and adapted in numerous cultural contexts outside their country of origin as they have spread around the world. These cultural patterns are often called "American," but in reality they have taken on global characteristics (Hannerz  1992b:216-267, Löfgren 1988). In this line of research, American influence in Sweden has been mentioned several times as one example of these processes, but it has also been emphasized that "a more systematic study of this process" is still lacking (Löfgren 1988:192; Cf. Hannerz 1992a). 

In our studies of the American and/or globalized cultural influences in Sweden, the emphasis will thus be on the process of reception, and it will be important to see how these impulses are incorporated or "contextualized" in their new Swedish setting. It is likewise important to keep the social and cultural variations of Swedish society in mind, and their consequences for which American cultural elements that enter Sweden. Different social strata have widely different relations to the incoming flows of ideas and cultural elements. Certain social groups in Stockholm, e.g., probably have more in common with Americans in similar social groups in New York than they have with other Swedes in a smaller provincial town (Hannerz 1992b:228-231 makes this point for other countries). The center speaks to the periphery, but in order to have any effect, the periphery, or at least parts of it, must also listen (O’Dell 1997:111). 

The way in which the contextualization takes place in other words determines how American influences operate in Swedish society. The American cultural elements - whether real or imagined - are transformed and given a new meaning in their new Swedish context; thus, they are able to function as symbols and to be used for specific purposes in their new settings. No systematic studies exist of this process thus far, although Orvar Löfgren has raised the issue. He has pointed out how phenomena perceived as American were used in the construction of Swedish culture in the 1930's, 40's and 50's, and how many warnings were heard against crass American commercialism which was contrasted with the genuine domestic Swedish culture. At the same time, the emphasis on modernity and rationality in the construction of modern Sweden made it much easier to incorporate American modernity into a Swedish context (Löfgren 1993:53-65). One of Löfgren's conclusions in the discussion of the "informalization" of Sweden is that "if Sweden was Americanized during the post-war era, it happened in a very Swedish way" (1988:192). 

Similar examples may be found in other disciplines. In a discussion of the American influence on European politics, the British political scientist David Farrell points to the significance of the European context, suggesting that rather than speaking of the "Americanization" of European politics, we should talk about "the 'Europeanization' of American trends" (Farrell 1989). Erik Åsard has also stressed how "Swedish" the Swedish political culture is, and how American influences have assumed Swedish forms (1992). The same phenomenon has also been emphasized in the discussions of American popular culture in Europe, and Rob Kroes underscores the selection and the "cultural appropriation" of American popular culture in Europe (Kroes 1994:312-313, Cf. Bigsby 1975:26-27). 

In conjunction with the discussion of the contextualization of American influences in Sweden, we will also make use of our distinction between manifest and latent influences and their presence in Sweden. Manifest influences are often visible on the "surface" of Swedish society, in music, film, popular jargon, or McDonald's or Pizza Hut restaurants. Criticism of the "Americanization" of Sweden is often directed against these manifest influences. The latent influences, however, are those influences which much more successfully and without storms of criticism have been "domesticated" (Löfgren 1990:116) and thus accepted as "Swedish." 

Our empirical studies will deal with both manifest and latent influences. Both methodological and theoretical consequences result from the use of these concepts as analytical categories, and the balance between latent and manifest influences will be further defined in the separate studies. The more precise relationship between these concepts, their variation over time and how different societal spheres exhibit different degrees of susceptibility to both the manifest and latent influences, will be one of the main results of the project. 

It is impossible to discuss the question of how American elements are incorporated into a Swedish context without relating the discussion to the lively debate about "Swedishness" that has been going on in recent years, primarily among ethnologists. One interesting approach uses a qualitative method, and focuses on the construction of stereotypes of what we see as typically Swedish, and the transformation of everyday routines and habits into national symbols of discourse (Ehn, Frykman & Löfgren 1993, Frykman & Löfgren 1991, Karlsson 1994). 

All scholars seem to agree that the need for a national identity is strengthened at certain critical junctures. To study "Swedishness" is thus in many respects a matter of studying processes through which a national identity is constructed, changed, and maintained. The influence of other countries on the "Swedishness" is an important element in this process, and in the extensive literature on Swedishness this perspective of international influences on Sweden is often missing. 

The theoretical discussion above forms the basis and source of inspiration for the various empirical studies in the project. It will be important to identify the specifically Swedish circumstances in which the American influences function. By studying Sweden’s relations to other countries, it is also possible to conclude that the contacts with the United States have become especially important since World War II (Andolf 1975, Carlsson 1964, Törnqvist 1993). 

In a discussion of European identity, Åke Daun emphasizes that American cultural patterns have had a major impact in Europe. He also underscores, however, that their effects would never have been as great if a "preparedness" for America had not already existed in the receiving countries (Daun 1993:128?136). Building on this argument, we maintain that the cultural preparedness for America in Sweden has been particularly great, thus making it easier for U.S. cultural patterns to find their way into this country than, for example, Greek or Italian cultural elements. 

One explanation for this is the large mass emigration of Swedes to North America during the latter part of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. The networks of migration, contacts, and flow of information which were created between hundreds of thousands of persons on both sides of the Atlantic resulted in extensive knowledge and heightened consciousness about America in Sweden. These networks continued to play an important role even after  the mass emigration ceased (Runblom 1988:274-276). It is also important to note that these networks still function on an everyday level, and often seem relatively undisturbed by both the anti-American or anti-Swedish discourses that have existed at times in the respective countries. 

Thus, Sweden's cultural preparedness for America must partly be seen in light of the specific Swedish situation, with intensive and long-lasting contacts across the Atlantic. It is interesting to note that other countries with high rates of emigration, like Norway and Ireland, also seem to have maintained a "special relationship" with America. It will therefore be very important for the project to consider the historical context in which American influences have approached Sweden.

Research Problems and Empirical Investigations

As previously noted, the project's empirical studies will be focused on three main areas: an historical analysis of the Swedish debates on and view of American influences during the 20th century, of communication patterns during election campaigns, and of American literature in Sweden. While the first study seeks to provide a general background and delineate the cycles of the American presence in Sweden, the two empirical studies seek to investigate the complex relationship between latent and manifest American influences in our country. These studies will not only increase our knowledge of the three areas in question, but have been strategically chosen so as to make it possible to draw more general conclusions about the complex incorporation process.

As already mentioned, the project’s theoretical starting points are interdisciplinary in nature. Furthermore, the empirical studies will also encompass different disciplines and methods. The study of the debate on "Americanization" in Sweden will be based in history and the history of ideas; the approach  to the study of communication trends will be rooted in political science and communication research; and the study of American literature in Sweden will employ methods from the sociology of literature, including the theories of Pierre Bourdieu. 

The project's main research problem, then, is to analyze the relation and dynamics between the manifest and latent American influences in Sweden. Which type of influence has been dominant during different periods? Have the two types varied over time, and if so, what accounts for those variations? Is it possible to distinguish any particular spheres of society that have been especially susceptible to American influences? 

A second research problem entails the ways in which American influences have been incorporated into Swedish society. What roles have these influences played in their new Swedish contexts? What mechanisms determine this process? Why is there a receptivity for certain products and values, and not for others? 

More detailed presentations of the three investigations will be outlined below.

The Swedish Debates on American Influences and "Americanization"

Ties have existed between Sweden and America ever since the New Sweden colony was established on the shores of the Delaware River on the American East Coast in the 1630's. The degree of intensity in these contacts has varied considerably over more than 350 years, but greater awareness of America among large strata of the Swedish population can be dated to the beginning of Swedish mass emigration to America in the middle of the 19th century. During the 20th century America and American societal conditions became very well known in Sweden. Tightly knit networks of contacts - both personal and institutional - have developed between the two countries, and many different kinds of impulses and ideas have flowed back and forth across the Atlantic (Block 1976, Eidevall 1983, Elovson 1930, Norman & Runblom 1988, Thörnberg 1938, Runeby 1969).

This study will analyze the Swedish discourse on and debate about America. The emphasis will be on the 20th century, although the earlier time periods will not be ignored. As noted above, it is important to distinguish between the Swedish discussion about America - that is, the Swedish image of America - and the debate on American influences in Sweden. This means that we are not primarily interested in studying the Swedish debate on the United States in general, but we will focus our analyses on the discussions about the American influences on Swedish society in the 20th century. It is also important to realize that it is probably impossible to completely separate (and thus exclude) the discussion about America in general from that regarding American influences (Cf. Kuisel 1993:x-xi for a similar discussion regarding France). 

In line with the theoretical framework of the project, this study will focus on the Swedish discussion of both manifest and latent influences. The debates on manifest influences are most easily analyzed in conjunction with the frequent, and sometimes highly critical, public debates on "the Americanization of Sweden." Some examples are the discussion about the opening of the first McDonald's in Stockholm in 1973, or the recurring debates on the dominance of American literature, television, and film in the Swedish media markets (Lundén 1992, Lindung 1993, Andersson 1995, Björkin 1998). The latent influences usually do not result in animated public debates, but are still very significant. The discourse regarding these influences can thus be expected to be of a different nature. 

An initial task for this study will be to follow and systematize the Swedish debate on "Americanization" during the 20th century. When has this topic been discussed? Who initiated the debates, and who participated? What kinds of "Americanization" were discussed? What was the impact of these debates? It is also important to recognize the existence of a "social dimension" in the debate. Since large groups of the Swedish people have had a special relationship to America as a result of mass emigration, it can be assumed that the debate has functioned differently in different social groups of Swedish society. Another important task will be to further explore this dimension. 

A temporal dimension is also important, and a periodization of the America debate will be made. The question of why certain kinds of debates on "Americanization" take place during special time periods will be raised. It will also be possible to make comparisons with periodizations made for other countries (for France, see Kuisel 1993, for Norway, Lundestad 1985), and with the larger European debate on "anti-Americanism" (Kroes & van Rossem 1986, Lacorne, Rupnik & Toinet 1986). The latter topic has only cursorily been dealt with for Sweden (Block 1976). One methodological problem in this context concerns the concept of America, which in one sense has developed into a metaphor (Baudrillard 1986). America becomes a symbol for industrialization, automatization, modernization, and rationalization (Björkin 1998:52?59, Haugen 1978). The relationship to or dependence on America is significant in several debates and on several levels in the Swedish discourse, and includes a substituting function: the debate on America and America's influence on Sweden becomes a discussion about Swedish conditions, attitudes, and dispositions, and according to our theoretical starting points, it is the process through which these influences are incorporated, the way in which they are "domesticated," that becomes important to analyze. 

Several kinds of sources will be used in the study. A number of larger daily newspapers will be excerpted for given time periods in pursuit of the "Americanization" debates. Journals and magazines of relevance for the public debate will be another source, as will books and pamphlets of a more polemical nature. Fiction and travel accounts ("America books") will also be of some relevance.

Communication in Contemporary Election Campaigns: "Americanization" or "Modernization"? 

The political systems and cultures of Sweden and the United States are quite dissimilar. The most obvious difference is the contrast between a multi-party proportional representation system and a two-party, winner-take-all system of representation. In a parliamentary democracy such as Sweden, the government is formed by, and dependent upon, the majority in the Riksdag. The cabinet plays a crucial policy-making role, and in order to get its proposals through Parliament the government must have the support of a parliamentary majority. The U.S., by contrast, has a presidential system where the cabinet is selected by the President, although each candidate for a cabinet position is subject to congressional approval. Unlike Sweden, however, the U.S. cabinet does not reflect the majority in Congress. Further, each individual legislator represents a single constituency, and adherence to the special interests of that constituency is often more important than adherence to the party line. The Swedish legislator, on the other hand, is nominated by the party and represents that party first and his or her constituency second.

The political communication systems in Sweden and the U.S. are likewise dissimilar. During American election campaigns, candidates spend huge sums of money on buying advertising time in the electronic media, particularly television. This is by far the most common form of elite-voter communication in American political campaigns, be they local, state, or national. In Sweden, by contrast, political ads on television are rare or, in the case of publicly regulated networks, banned. In order to communicate with voters during campaigns, Swedish candidates and parties must use other means of propaganda or rely on regular news coverage in the print and electronic media. 

Predictably, the political rhetoric used is also vastly different, particularly during election campaigns. In Sweden, the core election metaphor is still the competition between the two political "blocs," socialists versus non-socialists (although it is unclear whether these terms mean much anymore). In the U.S., the key metaphor is the struggle between the two main candidates, one liberal and the other conservative (although here, too, we have seen a blurring of the ideological lines to the point where it is difficult to make clear distinctions anymore). Dominant rhetorical themes during Swedish elections are welfare, security, equality, work, and other similar notions associated with the Swedish (or Scandinavian) "model." In the American context, candidates usually make use of quite a different set of words such as freedom, liberty, opportunity, fairness, family, community, and - unheard of in Swedish campaigns - God (Åsard 1989, 1992). 

These and other differences notwithstanding, there have been instances in the past when an American presence has been visible in Swedish election campaigning. During the 1968 campaign, for example, the Conservatives tried to market their party leader Yngve Holmberg as a Swedish version of the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy. In the same campaign, the Liberals made an attempt to sell their message via U.S.-style buttons, costumes, and dixieland music. And in 1985, the Moderate Party (Moderaterna, formerly the Conservativies) orchestrated a couple of mass meetings reminiscent of the style and hoopla surrounding the typical American campaign. All of these efforts backfired. Afterwards they were criticized for being superficial, vulgar, and somewhat corny, in short, for being too "American" (Åsard 1992:165-167). 

In the period leading up to the 1994 campaign, to mention a final example, the Social Democratic Party strategists believed that their candidates needed to improve their skills in marketing their policies to the public. This belief led to the hiring of three American campaign consultants and pollsters, all of whom had been active in U.S. politics for a long time. The use of these consultants got extensive media coverage and was roundly criticized by some for unduly "Americanizing" the 1994 election campaign (Crona 1994, Wendel 1994). Another indication that the party’s campaign team had been inspired by a well-known U.S. example was the creation of a Bill Clinton-like "War Room" at the Social Democratic Party headquarters in Stockholm, from where the campaign was being run. What the party strategists seem to have learned from Clinton's successful 1992 campaign was not only how useful it was to rely on sophisticated opinion polling and extended interviews with voters, but also how significant it is in today's politics for a party to be able to set the media agenda (Åsard & Bennett 1997:150-151, Åsard 1999). 

Can these examples - and others like them - be viewed as an "Americanization" of electoral politics in Sweden? That is the key question in this part of the project. Our aim is to analyze and delineate the latent and manifest U.S. influences in recent Swedish campaigns, specifically the ones in 1994 and 1998. This will be done by, firstly, studying the political marketing methods of the two leading parties, the Social Democrats and the Moderates, in those campaigns. What we are interested in is the technology of campaigning such as how the campaigns were organized, the use of media consultants and polling experts, and the extent to which the parties made use of focus groups surveys (i.e., direct phone calls to thousands of voters around the country). These are methods which clearly have their origin in the United States, even if they now have become the norm in most West European countries (Cf. Kavanagh 1995, 1996). 

Second, we will focus on the vocabulary of campaigning by studying the content of the parties' campaign material and various media presentations. Here we will focus on the rhetoric used in political advertisements published in both the print and electronic media. How are the campaign messages crafted and communicated? What is the ratio between issue-oriented and image-oriented messages? What role does individual politicians play in the ads? Critics have argued that there has been a U.S.-led trend towards "personality politics," where candidates try to by-pass party organizations and appeal directly to electorates via the mass media, particularly television (Scammell 1995:288-294, Cf. Hart 1994). Is that true in the Swedish cases, and if so, what does it mean? Of particular interest is the introduction in the 1998 Swedish election of a more candidate-oriented system (personval). Did that system result in more U.S.-style campaign ads and messages? 

A final form of communication, which has not previously been studied in Sweden, is the traditional debate between the prime minister and the leader of the opposition shortly before Election Day. Such debates have been arranged during Swedish campaigns since 1948, when Prime Minister Tage Erlander and Liberal party leader Bertil Ohlin had their first encounter in Vasaparken in Stockholm. Here we will focus on the last two debates, broadcast on both radio and television, between Ingvar Carlsson and Carl Bildt in 1994, and between Göran Persson and Carl Bildt in 1998. We are particularly interested in the form and substance of the debates, i.e., the formats used and the arguments presented. Do these forms and arguments differ considerably from the U.S. presidential debates? Are there any obvious similarities, and if so, how can these similarities be accounted for? 

There is a lively and ongoing debate in the literature on communication patterns in contemporary election campaigns. One school of thought emphasizes the world-wide influence of U.S. campaign methods and practices. Another school downplays these influences and argues that what we are seeing is a global or international trend, a "modernization" of contemporary communication techniques affecting big and small countries alike (Swanson & Mancini 1996, Negrine 1996). The challenge for us is to determine which of these propositions is true.

The Incorporation of American Literature into Swedish Culture

The aim of this part of the project is to study the degree and interrelationship of manifest and latent influences within the field of literature. During the course of the 20thcentury, and particularly since 1945, the role of American literature in Sweden has become ever more visible and significant. The number of translations of American books has increased steadily so that, today, it has reached such proportions that both Swedish authors and critics have voiced fear that the influx of this translated fiction might actually threaten the indigenous literature.

American literature in Sweden is a field which lends itself very well to the study of the incorporation and adaptation of American influences - latent as well as manifest - in Sweden. 

This part of the project, dealing with the transformation of American literature into Swedish culture, will consist of two sections: in the more general Section I, the scope, growth, and causes of the influx will be mapped. In addition, the changes in the composition of the American literary canon in Sweden will be investigated. Following this survey, Section II will then focus on the reception of individual authorships and texts, and their potential impact on Swedish authors.The investigation will be limited to American fiction in translation; the considerable number of American books in English sold in Sweden will thus be excluded from the study. The discussion will not be limited to the field of restricted production (Bourdieu 1993) but will also, especially when it comes to the last few decades, take into consideration texts generally considered to belong to the genre of popular literature. 

Section I, "The American Literary Canon in Sweden," dealing with both elite and mass culture, will focus on the following areas: 

I:1 A survey of the scope of American literature translated into Swedish from approximately 1850 up to the present. A number of areas will be investigated: which American authors have been translated and the reasons for their selection; why some texts by particular writers have not been translated until long after their original publication in the U.S., e.g., William Faulkner; the extent to which the market has been dominated by the translation of prose, marginalizing drama and poetry. Drawing on an outline of the literary canon (Anderson 1957), and on studies of loan statistics of the Swedish public libraries (Lindung 1988a, 1988b, 1993), this general survey will document the changing tendencies in publication as well as reading patterns of American literature in Sweden. 

I:2 An analysis of the debate that erupts with some regularity in Sweden, regarding the alleged threat that the translated American literature poses both to Swedish fiction and to the translation of literature in languages other than English. In these exhanges, American literature is routinely associated with superficiality and commercialization (Lundén 1992). This part of the project will be closely related to the general discussion on the debates concerning "Americanization." 

I:3 An inquiry into the agents in the field influencing the significantly increased influx - from the 1970's and onwards - of American literature in translation; aggressive sales methods, Swedish publishing contacts, literary agents, easy access to translators, advertising, book clubs, etc. (Bourdieu 1984, 1993, Lundén 1998). As a case study, the publishing strategies of Bonniers Förlag will be looked into. 

Section II of the project is entitled "Individual Authors and Texts: Reception and Influence." The emphasis will be placed on the critical reception in Sweden of individual American authorships, beginning with Hemingway and Faulkner. The contributions of individual critics, such as Artur Lundkvist and Thorsten Jonsson, Caj Lundgren and Jan Aghed, to the acceptance of American literature in Sweden will be discussed here. The significance of the Nobel Prize for the reputation of American literature may be another area of investigation. 

A second part of Section II of the project will concern the relationship of Swedish writers to the works of their American colleagues. Many Swedish writers have acknowledged inspiration from, for instance, Jack London, Walt Whitman, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Eugene O'Neill, and others; one may here sometimes speak of a manifest influence (Lundén 1993). The fact that a number of Swedish authors, such as Thorsten Jonsson and Erik Lindegren, themselves also translated American fiction, might well have influenced their stylistic development (Erixon 1994, Lundén 1999). 

This study will thus address the manifest influences through analyses of translations, the returning debate on the American influence, and through the marketing of American literature in Sweden. The latent influences will be studied by emphasizing the changing publishing strategies, the canonization of American literature, and its importance for individual Swedish writers.

The Project's Organization and Personnel

Organizationally, the project relies on close co-operation between three departments at Uppsala University: The Swedish Institute for North American Studies (SINAS), the Department of English, and the Centre for Multiethnic Research.Three scholars will be actively involved in the project. The two persons for whom funds are requested are Erik Åsard and Elisabeth Herion-Sarafidis. Åsard has been the Director of SINAS since 1987, and he will carry out the study of communication in Swedish election campaigns. Herion-Sarafidis is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of English, and she will lead the study of American literature in Sweden. The study of Swedish debates on American influences will be conducted by Dag Blanck, an historian affiliated with the Centre for Multiethnic Research.

The project is intended to run for four years, and is scheduled to begin in January, 2000. During the first two years, we will carry out most of the collecting of source material and start writing the project volumes. During the last two years, we will conclude the actual writing of the monographs (see also the concluding section below).

International Network of Scholars

Since the mid-1980's, a group of scholars from SINAS, the Department of English, and the Centre for Multiethnic Research at Uppsala University have discussed issues dealing with cultural flows and influences between different countries, notably Sweden and the United States. The initial group consisted of Erik Åsard, Rolf Lundén, Harald Runblom, and Dag Blanck. These discussions resulted in a conference on this topic with some 50 participants which was held in Uppsala in the fall of 1990. Contacts with other interested scholars in Sweden and abroad were also initiated, and a seminar series on the topic was arranged by SINAS in1994/95 with both national and international contributors. Project participants have presented papers, organized sessions, or served as commentators on the same topic at the NAAS conferences in Tampere, Reykjavik and Oslo in 1989, 1992, and 1995, respectively, at the 1994 annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study in Rock Island, Illinois, at the European Association for American Studies (EAAS) Conference in Warsaw in 1996, at the Uppsala symposium on American religious influences in Sweden in 1996, and at a conference on "The Migration of Ideas" at the Swenson Center, Augustana College in October, 1998.

Our international contacts include many scholars active in the field of American influences in Europe, and several of these have agreed to serve in an international reference group for the project. The scholars include James Gilbert, Department of History, University of Maryland, David Nye, Center for American Studies at Odense University, Chris Bigsby at the Arthur Miller Centre for American Studies, University of East Anglia, Heinz Ickstadt, John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Free University, Berlin, Martha Gecek, American Studies Program at the Salzburg Seminar, and Rob Kroes, America Institute at the University of Amsterdam. Most of these scholars are members of the American Studies Network in Europe (ASN), an umbrella organization consisting of twenty different American Studies centers, including SINAS, throughout Europe.

Disseminating the Results of the Project

The results of the project will be published in three volumes, one for each empirical study. The volumes will be published in English, in order for us to participate in the lively international discussion on these issues. One potential place of publication is the SINAS series within Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, the Uppsala North American Studies Series. We also have contacts with publishers outside of Sweden that we intend to pursue, such as the series European Contributions to American Studies at the University of Amsterdam. We are also planning to contribute individual articles to different journals, such as American Studies in Scandinavia and/or American Studies International.

Publication List for Project Participants

Erik Åsard

"The Limits of 'Americanization' in Swedish Politics," The Swedish-American Historical Quarterly, No. 3, 1999

Democracy and the Marketplace of Ideas: Communication and Government in Sweden and the United States (Cambridge, 1997, with W. Lance Bennett) 

"The 1996 U.S. Presidential Election: Return of the 'Comeback Kid'," Statsvetenskaplig Tidskrift, No. 3, 1997 

"Not So 'Americanized' After All? A Comparison of Political Campaign Ads in Sweden and the United States," paper, International conference on “Images of Politics,” Amsterdam, Oct. 23-25, 1997 

Packaging Political Propaganda: Text, Context, and the Study of Political Communication (Uppsala, 1996) 

Ed., Makten, medierna och myterna: Socialdemokratiska ledare från Branting till Carlsson (Stockholm, 1996) 

"The 1994 U.S. Midterm Elections: Significant Shift or Temporary Turmoil?," Statsvetenskaplig Tidskrift, No. 3, 1995 (with Barbara L. Nicholson) 

"Regulating the Marketplace of Ideas: Political Rhetoric in Swedish and American National Elections," Political Studies, No. 4, 1995 (with W. Lance Bennett). 

"The Marketplace of Ideas: The Rethoric and Politics of Tax Reform in Sweden and the United States," Polity, No. 1, 1995 (with W. Lance Bennett). 

Janusansiktet. Amerikansk populism i historisk belysning (Uppsala, 1994). 

"Amerikanska presidentvalet 1992: Mot en ny liberal era?," Statsvetenskaplig tidskrift, No. 2, 1993 

"Why is Swedish Politics so Thoroughly Swedish?," in Rolf Lundén & Erik Åsard, eds., Networks of Americanization. Aspects of the American Influence in Sweden (Uppsala, 1992) 

Den konservativa eran. Amerikansk politik från Reagan till Bush (Uppsala, 1991) 

"Politikens talekonst förfaller," Tvärsnitt, No. 1, 1990 

"Election Campaigns in Sweden and the United States. Convergence or Divergence?," American Studies in Scandinavia, No. 2, 1989 

"Amerikaforskningen i Sverige - finns den?," Politologen, No. 1, 1988 

Ed., American Culture: Creolized, Creolizing and other lectures from the NAAS Biennial Conference in Uppsala May 28-31, 1987 (Uppsala, 1987) 
 

Elisabeth Herion-Sarafidis 

"Poe in Scandinavia," in Lois Vines, ed., Poe Abroad (Iowa City, 1998). With Jan Nordby Gretlund and Hans Skei

A Mode of Melancholy: A Study of William Styron's Fictional Narratives (Diss., Uppsala 1995) 

"An Interview with Lee Smith, June 13, 1991," Southern Quarterly, Winter 1994 

"'Tell Me a Story... I am rather Starved for Stories': Storytelling, Voice, and Self-Development in  Lee Smith's Fair and Tender Ladies," American Studies in Scandinavia, 25 (1993) 

"Scandinavian Contributions," Annual contributions in American Literary Scholarship (Durham, N.C., 1986-1996) 

Dag Blanck 

Becoming Swedish-American: The Construction of an Ethnic Identity in the Augustana Synod, 1860 - 1917 (Diss., Uppsala 1998)

"Five Decades of Transatlantic Research on Swedish Emigration to North America," in P. Sture Ureland & Ian Clarkson, eds, Language Contact Across the North Atlantic (Tübinge  1996) 

 "Inte bara McDonald's: Amerika i Europa - och i Sverige," in Gunilla Gren-Eklund, ed., Att förstå Europa - mångfald och sammanhang: Humanistdagarna vid Uppsala universitet 1994 (Uppsala 1996)

Scandinavian Immigrants and Education in North America, co-ed. with Philip J. Anderson & PeterKivisto (Chicago 1996) 

"North Stars and Vasa Orders: On the Relationship Between Sweden and Swedish America," Swedish-American Historical Quarterly, 46 (July 1995) 

"History and Ethnicity: The Case of the Swedish-Americans," Swedish-American Historical Quarterly, 46 (January 1995) 

Looking West: Three Essays on Swedish-American Life by Jules Mauritzson, co-ed. with Ann Boaden (Rock Island, Illinois, 1994) 

"Becoming Multicultural? The Development of a Swedish Immigrant Policy," in J.L. Granatstein & Sune Åkerman, eds, Welfare States in Trouble: Historical Perspectives on Canada and Sweden (Toronto, 1994). With Mattias Tydén 

"Growing Up Swedish in America: The Construction of a Swedish Ethnic Consciousness in America," in Poul Houe, ed., Out of Scandinavia (Minneapolis, 1993) 

"Intermarriage and the Melting Pot in Moline, 1910," in Ulf Beijbom, ed., Swedes in America. Intercultural and Interethnic Perspectives on Contemporary Research (Växjö, 1993). With Peter Kivisto 

"Multiculturalism: Slaget om den amerikanska historien," in Multiethnica, No. 12, 1993 

"The Impact of the American Academy in Sweden," in Rolf Lundén & Erik Åsard, eds, Networks of Americanization. Aspects of the American Influence in Sweden (Uppsala, 1992) 

Swedish-American Life in Chicago 1850-1930: Social and Cultural Aspects of an Immigrant People (Urbana, Illinois & Uppsala, 1991). Co-ed. with Philip J. Anderson 

"Introduction" (with Philip J. Anderson) and "The Swedish Americans and the 1893 Columbian Exposition," in Anderson & Blanck, Swedish-American Life in Chicago 1850-1930 (1991) 

"Monument över svenskheten," in Tvärsnitt, No. 1-2, 1991. With Ingvar Svanberg 

"Swedes" & "Bishop Hill," in Francesco Cordasco, ed., Dictionary of American Immigration History (Westport, Conn., 1990) 

American Immigrants and Their Generations: Studies and Commentaries on the Hansen ThesisAfter Fifty Years (Urbana, Illinois, 1990). Co-ed. with Peter Kivisto 

Sverige-Amerika Stiftelsen: De första sjuttio åren 1919-1989 (Stockholm, 1989) 

"Constructing an Ethnic Identity: The Case of the Swedish-Americans," in Peter Kivisto, ed., The Ethnic Enigma: The Saliency of Ethnicity for European-Origin Groups (Philadelphia, 1989) 

"History at Work: The 1888 New Sweden Jubilee," The Swedish-American Historical Quarterly, 39 (April, 1988) 

"An Invented Tradition: The Creation of a Swedish-American Ethnic Consciousness at Augustana College, 1860-1900," in Harald Runblom & Dag Blanck, eds, Scandinavia Overseas: Patterns of Cultural Transformation in North America and Australia (Uppsala, 1986, 2nd ed. 1990) 

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