The Nationalization of Culture.


Although nationalism is an example of a cultural force which in many cases has overruled other, traditional identities and loyalties in 19th and 20th century society, the study of nationalism has not been focused very much on the cultural praxis of national identity formation and sharing. As a result, the ideology and politics of nationalism are far better understood than the creation of Hungarianness and Swedishness. This paper discusses some approaches in the national-culture building of everyday life, using mainly Swedish examples. The focus is also on national culture as a battle arena, where different interest groups use arguments about national unity or heritage in hegemonic struggles. Different types of "nationalization processes" are discussed, as for example ways in which certain cultural domains come to be defined as national, how national space is transformed into cultural space, or the way in which every new generation not only is nationalized into a given heritage but also creates its own version of a common, national frame of reference.

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Löfgren, O., (1988) “The Nationalization of Culture.”, Ethnologia Europaea 19(1), 5-23. doi:


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Orvar Löfgren (Lund University)



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