Det är Sverige just idag

– from land of the lucky to the assembly of idiots: discourses on contemporary Swedishness in popular music

In the face of the historically unprecedented scale of immigration in Sweden, questions of (redefining its) national identity seem more urgent than ever. Popular music is one realm where national belonging and narration are contested and performed.

The study is conducted by Dr. Melanie Schiller, Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Popular Music at the Arts, Culture and Media department of the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen:

“In contemporary pop music, the nation is negotiated from right wing populist favored conservative songs like “Jag tänker be för Sverige” (Simon Ådahl), or Zlatan Ibrahimovic’ multicultural celebration of the “land of the old and free” in his highly successful re-recording of the national anthem (2015). On the other hand, songs like Niklas Strömstedt’s “Lyckolandet” (2015) offer critical counter-narratives to rising nationalist sentiments while punk inspired electronic anarchism like Gothenburg’s self-entitled Vanligt Folk – who in “Idioter Av Församlingen” (2013) frantically shout “du mot mej, vi mot er, dom mot dom, olika mot lika, rika mot rika, öst mot väst, vänster mot höger, alla mot alla!” while dancing in front of the Swedish flag – deconstruct basic assumptions of ideological dichotomies and identities.

In this research project I investigate what current tropes of Swedishness emerge in popular music and look at how contemporary national identity is negotiated, contested and constituted in and through popular music as commodity and social practice. Furthermore I aim to map the popular musical roots of discourses on Swedish identity that are being employed in contemporary sonic narratives of Swedishness. ”

This 6 months project is carried out with support from Bernadotte-programmet (Kungl. Musikaliska akademien, Konstakademien, Kungl. Vitterhetsakademien, Svenska akademien och Kungl. Gustav Adolfs akademien för svensk folkkultur).”

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