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Dystopiernas seger : totalitarism som orienteringspunkt i efterkrigstidens svenska idédebatt

Stenfeldt, Johan LU (2013)
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to dissect the process of ideological orientation in the public debate of postwar Sweden. Crucial to the study is the idea of a generic totalitarianism; a concept used both on a scholarly and a political level, focusing on the similarities between communism and Nazism, and the diverging guiding potential of this totalitarianism idea in different times and situations.

The analytical framework of this thesis is a model called the dystopian trilemma, extracted by the author from preliminary observations from the debate on The Black Book of Communism in the late nineties. This model suggests that the three most predominant ideologies of the twentieth century have, to a great extent, defined themselves... (More)
The purpose of this study is to dissect the process of ideological orientation in the public debate of postwar Sweden. Crucial to the study is the idea of a generic totalitarianism; a concept used both on a scholarly and a political level, focusing on the similarities between communism and Nazism, and the diverging guiding potential of this totalitarianism idea in different times and situations.

The analytical framework of this thesis is a model called the dystopian trilemma, extracted by the author from preliminary observations from the debate on The Black Book of Communism in the late nineties. This model suggests that the three most predominant ideologies of the twentieth century have, to a great extent, defined themselves mutually negatively. These ideologies are named as pairs: fascism/Nazism, socialism/communism and liberal capitalism /liberal democracy. As a result of these three potential positions, two important things follow. Firstly, it suggests that each of these three ideological positions defines itself against the remaining two and usually regards these as interconnected, or equivalent, dystopian counterparts. Secondly, it also proposes that such a perceptual pattern is disapproved by the two remaining ideologies, which on the contrary define themselves as ideological counterparts to each other. Apart from the negatively defined dystopian positions, it is also suggested that this trilemma has been formed in a process of altering experiences, a concept used in accordance with the tradition emanating from modern German hermeneutics and the term Wirkungsgeschichte, history of effects, elaborated by Hans-Georg Gadamer and Reinhart Koselleck. In sum, the hypothesis initially proposed is that the process of ideological orientation may be described as a development from utopian expectations to dystopian experiences.

From a number of different case studies, from the Swedish reception of Victor Kravchenkos’ I Chose Freedom to the debates on the 9/11-attack and the war on terrorism, this hypothesis is mainly confirmed, and is illustrated by the negativist backbone of the debates formed by a clear distinction between liberal totalitarianism theory and socialist imperialism theory. The only exception seems to be the positive utopian passion for Maoist China during the sixties and early seventies. In consequence, the main result is that the dystopian experiences are what in fact have prevailed, and that “the victory of the dystopias” may be regarded as an important aspect of what Francis Fukuyama called “the end of history” and Herbert Tingsten, among others, called “the end of ideology”. (Less)
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • docent Hansson, Jonas, Lunds universitet
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Ideological debate, Sweden, postwar era, Cold war, totalitarianism, dystopian ideologies, dystopian trilemma, experience, expectation, history of effects, Nazism, communism, liberalism
pages
427 pages
publisher
Höör: Agerings bokförlag
defense location
Sal 3, historiska institutionen, Magle stora kyrkogata 12, Lund
defense date
2013-03-22 10:15
ISBN
978-91-86119-18-8
language
Swedish
LU publication?
yes
id
a8d5669d-43f8-4102-ba84-98ac1fb540f5 (old id 3514672)
date added to LUP
2013-02-22 10:22:26
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:12
@misc{a8d5669d-43f8-4102-ba84-98ac1fb540f5,
  abstract     = {The purpose of this study is to dissect the process of ideological orientation in the public debate of postwar Sweden. Crucial to the study is the idea of a generic totalitarianism; a concept used both on a scholarly and a political level, focusing on the similarities between communism and Nazism, and the diverging guiding potential of this totalitarianism idea in different times and situations. <br/><br>
The analytical framework of this thesis is a model called the dystopian trilemma, extracted by the author from preliminary observations from the debate on The Black Book of Communism in the late nineties. This model suggests that the three most predominant ideologies of the twentieth century have, to a great extent, defined themselves mutually negatively. These ideologies are named as pairs: fascism/Nazism, socialism/communism and liberal capitalism /liberal democracy. As a result of these three potential positions, two important things follow. Firstly, it suggests that each of these three ideological positions defines itself against the remaining two and usually regards these as interconnected, or equivalent, dystopian counterparts. Secondly, it also proposes that such a perceptual pattern is disapproved by the two remaining ideologies, which on the contrary define themselves as ideological counterparts to each other. Apart from the negatively defined dystopian positions, it is also suggested that this trilemma has been formed in a process of altering experiences, a concept used in accordance with the tradition emanating from modern German hermeneutics and the term Wirkungsgeschichte, history of effects, elaborated by Hans-Georg Gadamer and Reinhart Koselleck. In sum, the hypothesis initially proposed is that the process of ideological orientation may be described as a development from utopian expectations to dystopian experiences. <br/><br>
From a number of different case studies, from the Swedish reception of Victor Kravchenkos’ I Chose Freedom to the debates on the 9/11-attack and the war on terrorism, this hypothesis is mainly confirmed, and is illustrated by the negativist backbone of the debates formed by a clear distinction between liberal totalitarianism theory and socialist imperialism theory. The only exception seems to be the positive utopian passion for Maoist China during the sixties and early seventies. In consequence, the main result is that the dystopian experiences are what in fact have prevailed, and that “the victory of the dystopias” may be regarded as an important aspect of what Francis Fukuyama called “the end of history” and Herbert Tingsten, among others, called “the end of ideology”.},
  author       = {Stenfeldt, Johan},
  isbn         = {978-91-86119-18-8},
  keyword      = {Ideological debate,Sweden,postwar era,Cold war,totalitarianism,dystopian ideologies,dystopian trilemma,experience,expectation,history of effects,Nazism,communism,liberalism},
  language     = {swe},
  pages        = {427},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x8478558)},
  title        = {Dystopiernas seger : totalitarism som orienteringspunkt i efterkrigstidens svenska idédebatt},
  year         = {2013},
}