9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN07 Sociology of Culture

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Cultural and National Identities Building II, C4.06

Embracing the Postnational Nation: The creation of Swedish "National Day"

In 2005, the Swedish government designated June 6th -- a previously little-celebrated holiday, Flag Day -- as Swedish National Day, an official state holiday to celebrate the Swedish nation. That Sweden should institute such a holiday at this particular junction in history, when the Swedes often see themselves as somehow "beyond" nationalism, is paradoxical. The proposed paper explores this paradox both in terms of why an official national day would be created, and in terms of what the meaning of this holiday has come to be during the past four years of celebration. This is done through examination of parliamentary records, newspaper accounts of June 6th celebrations. This paper suggests that the impetus behind the creation of this holiday was primarily a reaction to the perceived threat that Europeanization poses to Swedish national identity, but that the particular identity espoused in these celebrations is decidedly multicultural and cosmopolitan. As such, this paper seeks to shed light on the tensions between national and supranational identities, suggesting that, on the one hand, national identities continue to be of importance in an ever more interconnected international context, but that the content of these identities may change in ways that indicate a responsiveness to this process. In other words, while Europeanization and globalization have provoked a re-commitment to the national, the nation itself may be re-imagined as post-national.