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Svensken i fält: Svenskhet och soldatideal i dokumentära skildringar av den svenska insatsen i Afghanistan
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2012 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
The Swede in the field : Swedishness and soldier ideals in documentary representations of the Swedish mission in Afghanistan (English)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to study how swedishness is constructed and narrated in two Swedish documentary series that picture the Swedish participation in the international ISAF mission in Afghanistan. The main focus lies on how the Swedish soldier as such is portrayed, on which values, characteristics and qualities that they are said to embody and how these are linked to notions of swedishness, particularly the strong historical narrative, formed during the second half of the twentieth century, that defines Sweden as a peaceful, neutral and humanitarian state, with peaceful, enlightened and democratically minded citizens. Theoretically it draws on the concept of metanarrative to explain how ideas of shared national origin translates in to a broad organizing discourse, that defines, interprets and communicates notions of what it means to be a Swede and what is needed to make claims on swedishness. Another concept, that of national bodyscape, is also used to further define and explain how ideas of nationality are embodied and take the form of specific characteristics and  personal qualities. The meaning-making in these two series makes use of the above mentioned definition of swedishness as defined by humanitarian concerns, democratic ideals and moral superiority to construct an image of the Swedish soldiers as on the one hand soft, humanitarians, who are needed in Afghanistan because of their especially strong sense of justice and moral, and, on the other, as tough soldiers, who are able to participate in every aspect of the war as fighters. These two images combined create a notion of a particularly Swedish type of soldier, who brings the separate roles of soldier, humanitarian worker and diplomat together and realises them in one individual, and who appears to be more capable in all these roles than both their American and Afghan allies. By shifting the narrative focus and change which part of the Swedish metanarrative that they choose to connect to, the series can also maintain the emphasis on the soldiers as Swedes, while at the same time showing them participating in situations or discussing aspects of their work that is not usually associated with swedishness, or that previously has not been a part of the broader metanarrative.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 62 p.
Keyword [en]
Swedishness, soldiers, nationality, narrative, embodiment
Keyword [sv]
Svenskhet, soldater, nationalitet, berättande, förkroppsligande
National Category
Social Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-82084ISRN: LiU-IKK/SANT-A--12/011-SEOAI: diva2:557747
Subject / course
Social Anthopology
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2012-10-03 Created: 2012-09-28 Last updated: 2012-10-03Bibliographically approved

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Department of Culture and CommunicationFaculty of Arts and Sciences
Social Anthropology

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