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För Sverige i rymden: Fuglesang, föreställningar om rum och svenskhet
Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences.
2007 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 10 points / 15 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The senior essay examines the geographical imaginations, notions of Self and community that were mobilized in the media and by the government in conjunction with an event, namely, the space voyage of Christer Fuglesang – the first Swedish astronaut in space on December ___ 2006. The study is a critical investigation of media discourses, representations of space, and geographical imaginations that were triggered by the event. The specific issues addressed by this study are (a) which representations of Sweden were mobilized in narrating the event? (b) In what ways has Fuglesang´s space voyage influenced the image of Sweden? (c) How was the event rallied vis-à-vis discourses of entrepreneurial culture and neoliberal growth by the government? (d) Which themes and clichés were mustered in the media dramaturgy of the event? (e) Which topics were excluded in media narratives and representation of the event? (f) Have familiar geographical imaginations, notions of Self and community been reconfigured? If so, how?

The present study analyzes narratives of the event in the two largest newspapers in Sweden - Aftonbladet and Dagens Nyheter, as well the two biggest TV-channels – Swedish Television and TV4. The empirical material consists of textual and visual material and has been used to identify central themes, recurrent narratives and geographical imaginations. The theoretical thrust of the present study relies on Lefebvre’s trialectic conception of space, critical geopolitics, as well as media studies.

Media narratives of space voyage of Christer Fuglesang centred on the following dominant themes: lofty/philanthropic ideals, risk/danger, adventure/excitement, and heroics/bravado. Moreover, with very few exceptions, the media angle on the event was upbeat (positive). Notwithstanding affectations of being the guardian of the truth, the media rarely if ever questioned and critically examined event.

Issues of outer space, the space industry, and surveillance as well as neo-militarization are increasingly being drawn in daily or quotidian life in Sweden. Lofty ideals and philanthropic motives were indeed mobilized by the media to legitimize heightened surveillance and militarization of space. Thus, whatever experiments were made, in the name of military or civilian, the media presented these as for “the sake of mankind”. Fuglesang was represented as the epitome of Swedish notions of Self as peace loving, standing moral high ground, and philanthropy. The implication being that Fuglesang’s – and by extension Sweden - space voyage, heroics, and bravados are “for mankind’s best”. Now that Sweden has a place in space.

Politicians, the space industry, and different kinds of actors also staked their hopes high on Fuglesang’s space voyage for growth, global competitiveness, to kindle Swedish youth to become scientists, engineers,and entrepreneurial innovators. Indeed, it was as if it was a life and death issue for Sweden itself. At issue is whether Sweden was going to be a successful country, or not. I other words, the media politicians, the space industry, and different kinds of actors were united under the banner in the name of Sweden.

Keywords: representations and constructions of space, neo-militarism, surveillance, media dramaturgy and society of the spectacle, identity and imagined community, and power.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. , p. 83
Keywords [sv]
Kulturgeografi, representationer, konstruktioner av rymden, neomilitarism, övervakning och makt, dramaturgi, föreställda gemenskaper,
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-991OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-991DiVA, id: diva2:6756
Presentation
2007-06-07
Uppsok
samhälle/juridik
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-07-25 Created: 2007-07-25

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