Societal changes make culture increasingly central but also problematise it. New per-spectives are needed to meet these challenges. The international field of cultural studies is a promising effort to answer these challenges and vitalise cultural research. Sweden may make a significant and indeed unique contribution to this effort, but im-portant steps remain to be taken with this purpose. One such step would be to install a new national-international research institute on a higher level, in order to connect disciplines, universities and regions, and push innovative developments forward.
Against such a background, this report leads up to an outline of a proposed new Advanced Cultural Studies Institute of Sweden (ACSIS). This is yet only a proposal, writ-ten at a time when ACSIS yet only exists as an imaginary utopia – though living with an extraordinary vitality in the minds of a wide intellectual network of committed scholars. Funding is presently being sought for, but it is not yet decided in what exact manner the ideas presented here will eventually be made real. The formulation of tasks, organisation and budget is thus yet a hypothetical model.
Still, this bold adventure has reached a long way since its first inception. The ACSIS has long been an attractive dream for me and for many of my colleagues among cultural researchers. It is a very great pleasure to see the plans crystallised thus far, as the journey towards an ACSIS has reached its last and decisive phase.
The report results from a committee work funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercen-tenary Foundation (Riksbankens jubileumsfond), and the Swedish Council for Re-search in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga forskningsrådet). I had the great pleasure to work together with Svante Beckman, Ulf Hannerz, Lisbeth Larsson, Britta Lundgren, Orvar Löfgren, Ove Sernhede and Ulf Lindberg, and was reliably assisted by Åsa Bäckström. The group started working in January 2000, with a series of working meetings. Each member of the group has also had intense discussions of the basic ideas with other Swedish and international scholars, in meetings and by personal communication.
Many therefore deserve warm thanks for making this report possible. The material and mental support by the two research funding bodies was essential, as was the generous and always stimulating collaboration in the committee. Linköping Univer-sity and the City of Norrköping have been overwhelmingly supportive towards this unique proposal, further strengthening our faith in its potential. We are also grateful to all those many Swedish and foreign researchers with whom these ideas have been discussed. The National Institute for Working Life programme for Work and Culture in Norrköping was a most hospitable host for this whole planning project.
Norrköping: Arbetslivsinstitutet , 2001. , 55 p.