London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

What part does the story of the past play in the struggle for the future?

Author(s) Johansson & Berggren:  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2003  
Editor Europe of Many Cultures, Alastair Ross Ed.  
Language English  
Age group -  
On 14th May 1931 in the small northern Swedish town of Ådalen there was a peaceful demonstration against strike-breakers. A military troop opened fire, killing five people and wounding several others. Some of the largest demonstrations ever seen in Sweden followed this. The event also marked a political swing in society, a change from conflict to what came to be known as 'the Swedish model', and the events in Ådalen that day are some of the most famous in contemporary Swedish history. Every country has events with great symbolic significance. For the Swedish labour movement, and for Swedish history as a whole, the conflict in Ådalen in 1931 was a decisive event. As has been shown recently (Johansson, 2001), what happened in Ådalen has since become known as the Ådalen-image of official history and is characterised by heavy symbolism: historian Reinhart Koselleck (Koselleck, 1985) suggests it might even be regarded as a concept.

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