Bänk mot tegelvägg.

Examining and problematising “typically Swedish” phenomena


Sweden: Society and Culture

7.5 credits

AS2019 / SS2020



This course provides insights into Swedish society and culture, focusing on the 20 th century. It problematises theories about nation building and assessments of what are described as “typically Swedish” phenomena, such as the welfare state, political neutrality, gender equality, and multiculturalism.

This course is only open for exchange students.

Want to know why you should study at Södertörn University? Find out here.

Societal analysis, then and now After studying History, you will have the ability to see and analyse complex sequences of events from overall and long-term perspectives. Many people who have studied History choose to work as teachers or researchers, or in museums or in the heritage sector. The subject is also suitable if you want to work as a journalist, external analyst or in public administration. History provides a general education that is useful for numerous professions, and knowledge that will be beneficial in your private life too. Read about research in this subject
Swedish culture in a comparative and historical context On this course, you will identify, describe and discuss a selection of aspects of and changes in Swedish society and culture, with the emphasis on the 20 th century. You will learn to place the development of Swedish culture and society in an international and comparative and historical context, and to problematise and compare different ideas of national identity and culture. You critically examine theories about nation building, together with the assessments of Swedes and foreign observers about “typically Swedish” phenomena, such as the welfare state, political neutrality, gender equality, and multiculturalism. These phenomena are discussed from historical and ethnographic perspectives and are placed in a wider international context. Swedish literature and film, folklore and museum exhibits are discussed throughout the course. Course design The course consists of seminars and you will write analytical papers based on the course content. There may also be excursions to places of cultural or social relevance. Examination takes the form of active participation in seminars, shorter written assignments and a longer, take-home essay.
General education and understanding of contemporary society Knowledge of history is important for understanding the world we live in. Contemporary society and the human condition are the result of historical processes. Investigating and explaining historical processes, events and decisions help us understand contemporary society and major societal issues. For example, an historical perspective on gender, class and ethnicity can show us the changes that have taken place and led us to where we are today. If you study history, you will have the tools and skills to conduct these analyses. History is a broad subject that is part of the humanities, so you will study humans as cultural beings through different periods of history. The subject deals with developments and changes in human societies over time. As a subject, History has many different perspectives on, and approaches to, human history. Source criticism, gender theory and the management of historical source material are just a few examples of issues you will discuss during your studies. History at Södertörn University focuses on describing, understanding and explaining different types of historical events and processes using a factual and reflective approach.