The Welfare Regime of Literature. The Function of Literature in Sweden 1937–1976

The Welfare Regime of Literature. The Function of Literature in Sweden 1937–1976

The cultural policy reforms of the Swedish welfare state radically transformed the material conditions of literature by incorporating the production of literature in the welfare apparatus. The project argues that the reforms make visible a paradigmatic change in the use, production, and conceptualisation of literature. The project will highlight and analyse the discursive conditions that made those reforms and that change possible, seeking to answer the question: what made the cultural policies of the welfare state rational?

Specifically, the project will outline the 'Welfare Regime of Literature', i.e. the discursive structure governing the possible modes of producing, communicating, and experiencing literature within the welfare state. Our methodology derives from discourse analysis. The project is designed as a series of historical case studies through which a comprehensive picture of the ‘Welfare Regime’ and the re-conceptualised function of literature can be drawn.

The project will develop a new theoretical approach to the subject. By challenging the conventional separation between aesthetics, sociology of literature and cultural policy studies, we will make a valuable contribution to research fields that currently lack this kind of trans-disciplinary outlook.

The 3-year project will be conducted by researchers in Literary Studies and Studies of Cultural Policy at Linnaeus University, Lund University and the University of Borås, respectively.