Stiftelsen för forskning inom områden med anknytning till Östersjöregionen och Östeuropa

Britta Stenholm and Stellan Arvidson: Creators of opinion – Swedish networks and concealed powers in the Cold War. A discourse-historical linguistic study


Ämne: Lingvistik, historia, tyska
Projektledare: Birgitta Almgren
Startår: 2010

The aim of this project is to investigate cultural processes, ideological currents of thoughts in the Swedish society through the broad production and argumentative activities of Britta Stenholm (1916-2002) and Stellan Arvidson (1902 – 1997) during several decades in the time of the Cold War, when questions of democratisation and education were of great interest.

Arvidson was a social democratic member of the Swedish Parlament, a school politician, “Father of the Swedish Comprehensive School”, president of the Swedish society of authors, professor of literature with Thomas Thorild as special research field and president of the Association Sweden-GDR 1967-1987. Britta Stenholm was a superintendent of schools and as an expert much in demand for investigatory work for The National Swedish School Board and the Department of Education in Stockholm.

The starting point is my previous research project Contact and Conflict: Sweden-GDR. Politics and Rhetoric around the Baltic Sea, cf. my recent publication from 2009 Inte bara Stasi … Relationer Sverige-DDR 1949-1990, where I could illuminate how Sweden became an arena for East-German and West-German competition, an ideological struggle between East and West to conquer people’s hearts and minds. This project will focus on Stenholm’s and Arvidson’s participation in the transmitting of ideas and the discourses of that time.Through linguistic, historical-semantic discourse analyses this project will bring new empirical knowledge, enrich our understanding of cultural patterns and values, worlds of ideas in the Cold War in Sweden: Britta Stenholm and Stellan Arvidson as a prism reflecting multiple dimensions, dynamic social and political currents in the cultural climate of that time.