Cultural Heritage in Sweden in the 2000s. Contexts, Debates, Paradoxes
Keywords:Sweden, cultural heritage, debates, Sweden Democrats, Romani Travellers
The article analyses the contexts, arguments and paradoxes of thinking about cultural heritage in Sweden of the 2000s when the topic achieved broad societal relevance in traditional media, internet fora, political communication and academic research. The discussion focuses on four themes: the normative criticism paradigm that has been increasingly influential in the heritage sector in recent years and the tensions and conflicts it provokes, recent heritage work on and with the until the last two decades silent ethnic minority Romani Travellers, the continuing media polemic around the Sweden Democrats and its heritage policies, and the heritage debate initiated by journalist and China expert Ola Wong in 2016. The analysis builds on projects and publications featuring heritage professionals, academics, NGO people and professionals with other kinds of cultural capital working in the heritage sector, as well as on illustrative debates and interviews in the mass media. The debates are often heavily polarized, interwoven with positions in other politically loaded issues such as globalization, migration and integration, and laden with questions of the legitimacy and authority of political and institutional actors.