LARS M. ANDERSSON

A Jew is A Jew is a Jew... Representations of 'The Jew' in Swedish Comic Press 1900-1930s.

Doktorsavhandling Lunds Universitet 2000

Abstract

In this dissertation it is argued that anti-Semitism was self evident in Sweden at the turn of the century 1900. Through an analysis of the comic press, which was a crucial element in mass culture and political life, the author tries to demonstrate how the everyday version of a national Swedish identity was constructed in opposition to "The Jew".

In the decades either side of 1900, anti-Semitism had very little to do with the Swedish Jews and their doings. It was instead a question of the needs created by the process of modernisation and of how the established anti-Semitic discourse identified the 'Jew' as the villain of this particular piece.

The comics not only provide insights into the complex processes by which national identities were formed, but also largely contributed to their creation. The comics were crucial in staking out the boundaries around 'Swedishness'. In comics, film and literature the penetration of the anti-Semitic discourse becomes most obvious. 'The Jew' is represented as the antithesis of 'The Swede'.

Sammanfattning på svenska

I avhandlingen argumenterar författaren för att antisemitismen var självklar i Sverige årtiondena kring sekelskiftet 1900.

Antisemitismen kom till uttryck bland annat i skämtpressen. Den sistnämnda utgjorde ett viktigt inslag i såväl den framväxande masskulturen som i den politiska kulturen.

Det var inte minst via skämtpressen som bilden av "juden" som en "rastyp" skild från majoritetsbefolkningen spreds och befästes. Det var också i skämtpressen som vardagsversionen av den nationella identiteten skapades.

Författaren driver tesen att de antisemitiska representationerna av "juden" i skämtpressen skall tolkas mot bakgrund dels av den antisemitiska diskursens genomslag - antisemitismen hade kommit till Sverige i samband med att landet inlemmades i den kristna europeiska kulturen - dels moderniserings- processen och dess konsekvenser. "Svenskheten" definierades i inte ringa grad i motsats till det "judiska".

Keywords Anti-Semitism, 'The Jew', construction, nationalism, modernisation, 'Swedishness', 'Jewishness'


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