Lars Trägårdh about Swedish historiography after the Second World War

In The Concept of the People and the Construction of Popular Political Culture in Germany and Sweden: 1848-1933 (Berkeley: University of California, 1993), Lars Trädgårdh describes Swedish historiography after the Second World War:

“The identification of the celebrated Swedish welfare state with the Social Democrats meant that most historians focused on the history and prehistory of the working-class movement and on the glories of the Social Democratic Party. In addition, the intellectual atmosphere was dominated by a general cult of modernism that tended to associate the past in general and peasant life in particular with backwardenss and poverty”. (p. 139).

This suggests that Swedish historiography has been highly politicised. How does this tally with the notion of Swedish rationality?

Given the many indications of an agrarian structure in Sweden well into the 1940s and 1950s, this also suggests that the notion of Sweden as modern has served the purpose of a denial of this recent agrarian past.

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