Gustaf III inför sina undersåtar : Konsten att härska och politikens kulturhistoria

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http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-3916-4
Title: Gustaf III inför sina undersåtar : Konsten att härska och politikens kulturhistoria
Author: Tandefelt, Henrika
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of History
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Abstract: The dissertation analyses the political culture of Sweden during the reign of King Gustav III (1771-1792). This period commonly referred to as the Gustavian era followed the so-called Age of Liberty ending half a century of strong parliamentary rule in Sweden. The question at the heart of this study engages with the practice of monarchical rule under Gustav III, its ideological origins and power-political objectives as well as its symbolic expression. The study thereby addresses the very nature of kingship. In concrete terms, why did Gustav III, his court, and his civil service vigorously pursue projects that contemporaneous political opponents and, in particular, subsequent historiography have variously pictured as irrelevant, superficial, or as products of pure vanity? The answer, the study argues, is to be found in patterns of political practice as developed and exercised by Gustav III and his administration, which formed a significant part of the political culture of Gustavian Sweden. The dissertation is divided into three parts. The first traces the use and development of royal graces chivalric orders, medals, titles, privileges, and other gifts issued by the king. The practice of royal reward is illustrated through two case studies: the 1772 coup d état that established Gustav III s rule, and the birth and baptism of the crown prince, Gustav Adolf, in 1778. The second part deals with the establishment of the Court of Appeal in Vasa in 1776. The formation of the Appeals Court was accompanied by a host of ceremonial, rhetorical, emblematic, and architectural features solidifying its importance as one of Gustav III s most symbolic administrative reform projects and hence portraying the king as an enlightened monarch par excellence. The third and final part of the thesis engages with war as a cultural phenomenon and focuses on the Russo-Swedish War of 1788-1790. In this study, the war against Russia is primarily seen as an arena for the king and other players to stage, create and re-create as well as articulate themselves through scenes and roles adhering to a particular cultural idiom. Its codes and symbolic forms, then, were communicated by means of theatre, literature, art, history, and classical mythology. The dissertation makes use of a host of sources: protocols, speeches, letters, diaries, newspapers, poetry, art, medals, architecture, inscriptions and registers. Traditional political source material and literary and art sources are studied as totalities, not as separate entities. Also it is argued that political and non-fictional sources cannot be understood properly without acknowledging the context of genre, literary conventions, and artistic modes. The study critically views the futile, but nonetheless almost habitual juxtaposition of the reality of images, ideas, and metaphors, and the reality of supposedly factual historical events. Significantly, the thesis presumes the symbolic dimension to be a constitutive element of reality, not its cooked up misrepresentation. This presumption is reflected in a discussion of the concept of role , which should not be anachronistically understood as roles in which the king cast himself at different times and in different situations. Neither Gustav III nor other European sovereigns of this period played the roles as rulers or majesties. Rather, they were monarchs both in their own eyes and in the eyes of their contemporaries as well as in all relations and contexts. Key words: Eighteenth-Century, Gustav III, Cultural History, Monarchs, Royal Graces, the Vasa Court of Appeal, the Russo-Swedish War 1788–1790.Avhandlingen undersöker den gustavianska politiska kulturen utgående från frågan vad konungaskap egentligen var under 1700-talets andra hälft. Arbetet söker svar på frågan varför Gustaf III, hans ämbetsmän, kavaljerer och andra samtida ägnade så stor möda på företeelser som av andra samtida och framför allt många senare tiders forskare inte har uppfattats som relevanta. Teatrala tornerspel, heroisk opera, högtidliga ceremonier, detaljerade etikettsregler, extravaganta uttryck för kungens nåd, målningar, medaljer och arkitektur kunde få kungens odelade uppmärksamhet. Kungens kritiker ansåg tidvis att dessa förehavanden var onödigt dyra och tidskrävande. Senare historiker, författare, regissörer och andra som har skildrat Gustaf III har inte sällan sett detta ruling by semiotics som tecken på fåfänga, ytlighet eller okunnighet. Varför sysslade Gustaf III inte med allvarliga statsangelägenheter? Var han bara en teaterkung ? Arbetet bygger på ett brett källmaterial bestående av protokoll, tal, brev, dagböcker, tidningspress, diktning, dramatik, målningar, medaljer, ritningar och inskriptioner. En första del behandlar de kungliga nådevedermälena: ordnar, medaljer, nobilisering, titlar, tjänster och gåvor. En andra del undersöker ceremonier, retorik och ikonografi i samband med grundandet av Vasa hovrätt 1776. Den tredje och sista delen betraktar det ryska kriget 1788 1790 som en scen där kungens och andra aktörers agerande kan studeras i relation till litterära och konstnärliga konventioner. Avhandlingen kritiserar ett slentrianmässigt jämförande av föreställningarnas, idéernas och metaforernas verklighet med faktahistoriens händelsehistoriska verklighet som ett slags facit. Kritiken utmynnar i en diskussion om begreppet roll och det om Gustaf III myntade begreppet den stora rollen , som i sig ofta implicerar en för 1700-talet och Gustaf III främmande förklaringsmodell om en individ som iklär sig påklistrade roller. Gustaf III och hans gelikar på de europeiska kejserliga och kungliga tronerna spelade inte rollen av en härskare eller ett majestät, utan de var Majestätet i alla sammanhang, både i egna och i omvärldens ögon.
URI: URN:ISBN:978-952-10-3916-4
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/19477
Date: 2007-05-19
Subject: historia
Rights: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.


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