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Debate: Torsten Fogelqvist, Dagens Nyheter and the method of intellectual biography
Linköping University, Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture, Department of Culture Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2007 (English)In: Scandia, ISSN 0036-5483, Vol. 73, no 3, 113-128 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The attraction of writing biography for me has always been that it so clearly demands analysis of the fields of action and discourse, the boundaries between these fields and their variation over time. There is, of course, always a limit to what may be said or done at any given moment. There are restrictive factors of which the good biographer must always be aware, and which are, from the existentialist point of view, instructive not only for the biographer but hopefully for his readers as well: that is, how the subject has made use of his limited scope of action. Within that field of action and discourse the subject has wrestled with strong and persistent dilemmas that the biographer must possess the imagination and power of insight to distinguish among all other relevant and time-specific events. In this way, a biography deals with man's struggle with and against structures he does not fully control. The amateur biographer's most common characteristic is that he writes his biography because he loves or dislikes his object. This means that he lacks ambitions of historical theory and believes that writing a biography is about handing out medals or red cards. The good biographer, on the other hand, I argue, looks at the subject as an empirical example that can be used to solve a problem or answer a question. The subject thus becomes a prism which reflects a more general historical dilemma. In a biography it is not the subject's, but the biographer's voice I primarily want to hear. This line of argument will not be developed further here, but may be studied further in my book Den tidlose modernisten (in French, Le moderniste atemporel, Paris, 2008) where questions of this kind are discussed in theoretical and practical terms. This article sheds light on the advantages of such a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary biography writing with the help of a concrete example - Ingmar Lundquist's fine dissertation Kulturposten: Torsten Fogelqvist som DN-publicist och folkbildare (Stockholm,2005). [The cultural dean: Torsten Fogelqvist as a publicist for the newspaper Dagens Nyheter and as a general educater].

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 73, no 3, 113-128 p.
Keyword [en]
intellectual biography, methodology, interdisciplinary, swedish press history, history of ideas, Torsten Fogelqvist
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-47967OAI: diva2:268863
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2012-01-17

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