Svante Nordin and state control over academia

The following is a quote from an interview with Svante Nordin, a Swedish professor of history, in the largest Swedish daily, Dagens Nyheter.

“You have written that you stopped being a Marxist, but you were still influenced by Antonio Gramsci’s writings about hegemony. Is there a struggle of hegemony going on at the universities?

[Question put to Svante Nordin by the reporter]

– Not so much in Sweden as in the U.S., where a so called cultural war took place during the 80s and 90s, and is still going on. In France and Germany as well. And in Denmark.

– But Sweden is so terribly homogenous. There is a culture of consensus, where everyone does the same thing. However, in this book I have taken the role of the devil’s advocate.

– And it is a good thing that someone does that. The consensus is strenghtened because the state interferes and elevates a certain theory to dogma, such as gender theory, or, before that, peace research. Certain questions are excluded, as if anyone who criticizes such theories is against peace.

– The result is a terrible moralism and an anxious political correctness. I am a believer in academic debate about controversial issues, such debates are not as dangerous as they often may seem.”

What we see is a description in 2008 of state-guided political correctness in the Swedish university system, and a professor who feels obliged to defend his unwillingness to cave in to this political correctness.

This is especially interesting because he compares with other countries, where debate and even a “cultural war” has taken place. In Sweden there was no such war because the state decided which culture was the correct one, according to Nordin. This amounts to a description of a form of mild totalitarianism. However, Nordin also argues that one factor is homogeneity. In other words, not just state control but a more generalised element of culture or mentaliy (this is not entirely clear).

Put differently, in Sweden, for some reason, there seems to be a combination fear of debate over controversial issues and state control, which is characterized by a “terrible moralism” and  “anxious political correctness”.

We can also note that the alleged state ideology is of the kind that is preferred by the political left; in this case gender theory and pacifism.

What this suggests is that the inheritance from the old Lutheran Orthodoxy is alive an well, on a deeper cultural level. However, instead of religion, the state controls academic research; and instead of Lutheran orthodoxy their is leftist orthodoxy.

“Professor på krigsstigen”, Lars Linder, Dagens Nyheter, 29/3 2008. (My translation).

This entry was posted in 2000s, Collectivism, Consensus, Critics, Denmark, Education, Mentality, Political correctness, Religion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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