Among demons and wizards: the nuclear energy discourse in Sweden and the re-chantement of the world
2010 (English)In: Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, ISSN 0270-4676, E-ISSN 1552-4183, Vol. 30, no 1, 43-53 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In 1956, the Swedish Parliament decided to invest in a national nuclear energy program. The decision rested on the conviction that it would be in the interest of the nation to use the assets of natural uranium, the advanced reactor technology, and the expertise on nuclear physics that the country had at its disposal. Since the decision concerned the largest investment ever in Swedish industrial politics, the scientists and engineers had to promise that it would lead to a prosperous future. In this article, the utopian discourse and the rhetoric that were developed to support the Swedish nuclear energy program are analyzed. An important conclusion is that the scientific, technological, political, economic, and moral discourse was not sufficient to create political and civil support. Instead, the scientists and engineers had to turn to the world of myths. Thereby, the conflicts between nuclear physics and magic, scientific objectivity and demons, and rationalistic belief in progress and irrational ideas of faith were dissolved. In Sweden, as in many other Western countries during the 1950s, the world was not disenchanted, but re-enchanted.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage publication , 2010. Vol. 30, no 1, 43-53 p.
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-59826DOI: 10.1177/0270467609355054OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-59826DiVA: diva2:353434