As most of the exchange students who came here in Lund for one or two semesters, and who decided to attend the class on Swedish society and everyday life, I've been struck in several occasions by the Swedes, some of their behaviours or some elements of their everyday life I could barely recognize at home.
I think this is the normal process of discovery of a new culture -at least partially new culture, as we cannot really say that the Swedish culture is as far from the French culture as for example the culture of some African or Asian countries and peoples. But the fact remains that I've been able to discover a very proud people, somehow attached to its land, to its traditions, and I have to admit it, very respectful when it comes to obey the law. We've also seen in our various lectures how the Swedish society broadly evolved during the last century; transforming it from what historians and ethnologists are used to calling the old peasant society to a very modern nation, build on the European model of the nation's states. This transformation has gone through the population and also has had consequences it.
[...] To find the ideas of this essay, I inspired myself of O'Dell's work, Culture Unbound and tried to place myself in the continuation to find out how the thoughts of the Swedish students on the role of America in Sweden and the so called Americanization of their country could be felt nowadays. To accomplish my work I've made observations and conducted interviews. The interviews have been carried by myself on half a dozen of Swedish students all studying at the University of Lund. [...]
[...] The TV shows The second most popular idea among the informants when it comes to the influence of America in Sweden is the omnipresence of American TV shows. Linnea for example has said: also think about all the American shows on TV. I guess that the biggest part of what Swedish people watch when they watch television is American. A lot of music that we listen to here in Sweden is American as well.” The explanation for such a strong statement is in my opinion a direct consequence of this point itself; they feel like a kind of saturation towards those TV shows. [...]
[...] So the first two places that come to mind when talking about the symbols of America and of Americanization of Sweden turn out in Lund to be, surely under influence coming from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, but still keeping some characteristics that makes them closer to Europe than to the USA. As Orvar Löfgren once put it, Sweden has Americanized, then it has Americanized in an extremely Swedish This is definitely not enough to claim that Sweden is not Americanized at all. [...]
[...] Nonetheless, Sweden as we'll see later on suffer maybe a bit more than the others when we consider the expansive part the English language has taken through the years in the Swedish society: most of the kids are able to speak a good English approximately at the same time they are able to speak Swedish normally. What can we say is Americanized? O'Dell gives us a first track of investigation in saying that order for something to be Americanized, a number of prerequisite must be filled”. [...]
[...] Elements of America The Mc Donald's Mc Donald's is the word that comes first out of the mouth of the majority of the informants when they asked about what they feel is American today in Sweden. Mc Donald's opened its first franchise in Sweden -more precisely in Stockholm in 1973- even earlier than the first in Great Britain. Why is McDonald's seen as the most salient sign of the American presence here in Sweden and even in the world? Mc Donald's represents in itself the very American tradition of consumption and is also one of the symbols of the American capitalism and economic imperialism. [...]
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