Pluralize or Polarize?

 – Cultural Heritage, Identity, and Politics

Why do state institutions and agencies collect and document music, art, or other aesthetic expressions? What is the underlying motivation? Is it aesthetic values, or distinct ethnic or national identities that are emphasized?

Svenskt visarkiv’s research project, Pluralize or Polarize (“Mixa eller maxa”), aimed to elucidate these questions. These populist currents in Europe necessitate an increased self-awareness and a more thoroughly thought out strategy from cultural institutions.  With this three-year project, funded by Kulturrådet (Swedish Arts Council), Svenskt visarkiv contributed to this transparency.

The investigation draws from Svenskt visarkiv’s collections with the goal of clarifying the motivations behind different types of collecting projects through the years. In addition, the historical background of folk music documentation was studied through comparison with similar institutions in other European countries.

Contact Person: Dan Lundberg, Chief Librarian/Head Archivist at Statens musikverk.

This project is implemented with support from Kulturrådet.

The projectet resulted in a number of research reports, articles and conference papers.


Hammarlund, Anders 2015: Documentum. Meddelanden från Svenskt visarkiv 49

Nilsson, Mats 2016: Dokument dansar inte.  [Documents don not dance] Meddelanden från Svenskt visarkiv 50

Boström, Mathias 2016: Det stora inspelningsprojektet. [The great sound documentation project] Meddelanden från Svenskt visarkiv 51

Lundberg, Dan 2015: “Archives as Applied Ethnomusicology” in The Oxford Handbook of Applied Ethnomusicology

Lundberg, Dan 2015: ”En har du gett gyllne pengar, en gav du en vandringskäpp. När musik blir till kulturarv” I antologin Lekstugan: festskrift till Magnus Gustafsson / Mathias Boström (red.)

The CD “Folk” with the jazz ensemble Oddjob /Caprice records



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