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Swedish Dystopia: environmental threats in televisual fiction in the 1970s and 1980s
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Humanities. (Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap)
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

With a starting point in the increasing amount of domestic fiction and documentaries in Swedish television after the introduction of the second national public service channel in 1969, the 1970s is remembered as a decade of social issue television. This profile of national TV-production did not end until the late 1980s with another breaking point in the history of Swedish television – the introduction of cable-TV and a new commercial logic.

The programs made during these years are thus part of a national TV-history, representing (changing) ideas of what a serial or a series would achieve in terms of aesthetic as well as didactic and political means. But these fictions (and documentaries) are also a part of the national culture at the time, often in retrospective symbolizing an era of political awareness – or of leftist repression.

In the more frequent intersection between History and Film studies, cinematic memories has often served as a source to history. Both when it comes to historical films critically discussed and analyzed as making history practice, and other/all kinds of films discussed as representations of contemporary events and zeitgeist. Television is more rarely discussed in this academic context, which might be regarded surprising bearing in mind the impact of the medium – especially in the late 20th century.


In this paper I will discuss one of the many different kinds of issues (or discources) that characterized Swedish TV-fiction at the time – environmental threats and anti-modern discourses. These topics are recurrent themes – one example is the fiction serial Hem till byn (Home to the village) which during more three decades (1971-2006) described the development of a small rural district in the modernizing welfare state. Another – more striking example – is the social realistic sci-fi miniseries Sommarens tolv månader (Twelve months of summer) from 1988 where the climate change is the explicit theme.

With a departure from these two examples I will examine the theme of environmental threats in the public discourse of these two decades. The paper will deal with aesthetical questions as well as thematic traits and reception.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
TV-fiction, public service, social issues, noir, memory
National Category
Studies on Film
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20707OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-20707DiVA: diva2:874943
Consuming the Environment, 26-27 november 2015, Gävle, Sweden


Available from: 2015-11-30 Created: 2015-11-30 Last updated: 2016-01-14Bibliographically approved

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