Sounds of Brotherhood in the Radiophonic North

Ass. Prof. Dr. Jacob Kreutzfeldt & Dr. Heidi Svømmekjær, University of Copenhagen

This presentation consists of two parts: First a discussion of the concept of transnationalism  by Jacob Kreutzfeldt, and then a more empirically focussed presentation of Heidi Svømmekjærs subproject in IP3.

Kreutzfeldts contribution takes as departure three central concepts involved in the theme for the workshop: territoriality, transculturalism and aesthetics, and asks how these can be coupled and to what extend they make sense together. Kreutzfeldt discuss early radio in a cross-section between Benedict Anderssons (1983) theory of media as facilitators of imagined communities, and Ajun Appadurais (1996) theory of the imagined worlds produced by global flows of late 20’th century electronic media and asks :"If it is indeed right, that media today connect people and their imaginations across borders rather than within borders, we may ask ourselves what was the role of radio, which was, after all, an electronic media, even though Appadurai seems to be more concerned with audiovisual media like TV, film and video? Was radio a premature electronic medium, which the nationalizing forces managed to harness and use in a nation-building project? Does radio simply not have the same effect on imagination as does audiovisual media? Or did radio at the same time perform multiple functions of building nations and regions, while also feeding a dream of escape to “the other side” – and of an international community to be build, articulated and inhabited?” Kreutzfeldt furthermore suggest a distinction between three forms of transnationalism: “beyond the nation”, “between nations” and “transcending the nation” (see slides).

Svømmekjær focuses on the nordic radio collaboration starting from 1925, but not formalized until 1959, when the televisual collaborative institution Nordvision was established. The radio collaboration, was fueled by a general feeling of togetherness and brotherhood between the concerned countries (initially Denmark, Sweden and Norway, then Finland in 1929, and Iceland in 1935). It included exchanges of know-how, programmes, mutual reports on internal affairs as well as co-funding of projects and developments. Svømmekjær will investigate how this collaboration produced mutual representations and images on the air. Working on a structural, discursive, and contextual level and with an imagology-inspired approach (Leerssen 2006), Svømmekjær's subproject will flesh out some of the forms of transnationalism in the nordic countries.