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Book review: An essay on history's role in our contemporary world

After the fire in Notre-Dame a couple of weeks ago wrote Jens Christian Brandt a beautiful reflection here on the sides (DN 20/4) about how it came to pass that the world was so touched by the accident. How people care for their memories and the remnants of the past, and therefore so keen to discern the past in the landscape that surrounds them.

Visible stones, old cottages and cathedrals – but also lost äppelträdgårdar where the concrete buildings are now rising up, or just green paths through the grey industrial areas.

It is with just the eyes Maja Hagerman consider Sweden in his new book ”Threads in the tapestry”. It is, of course, in the job, she writes books about the history and is used to look after the ancestral slumped traces and relics in the midst of modern life.

she has chosen to tell us about the people that actively keep the memory of the past alive. And she has met many, as the author, she travels constantly across the country and hold lectures in folklore societies, local history groups and small museums. Now, she writes, fascinated, on all those who are passionate about preserving the craft, bring to life the old mine environments or recreate the old-time tvättmetoder with soap and soda. Enthusiasts, but also professionals who tenderly care for their bronsåldersristningar, churches and archaeological sites – and sometimes the memories of much later times, as an exhibition on immigration in Fisksätra.

Ancient and immediate, the story moves continuously on.

To a large extent, the book is in other words a kind of cultural history, vacationing in, but it is more than that: a reflective essay on history's role in our contemporary world. About how old constantly is, or rather is made, present in new.

and more easily catch the topics than it might seem. Such as basket weaving and the old watermills can let mossigt and detached from reality is the most a result of last century's modernitetsmyter – of that feeling we so long had been to the world in high speed was about to leave the increasingly obsolete and irrelevant.

But something has happened. Our own time the movement is more complex. Even increasing the pace of structural change, but than faster falling confidence in the whole idea of the progress. The result is a cognitive dissonance, a feeling that something is warped, the journey go faster, but we no longer know towards what, or even if we want there.

In the crack activates the past, that longing and nostalgia, but also as a benchmark and, precisely, the stronghold of the gaze. Cathedrals that are placed where they are. Threads that are woven so that they have always been.

the story can be dangerous as well, full of myths and pitfalls of which many lurk in the seemingly simple and basic concepts as ”we”, ”people” or ”country”. Words about who the story really belongs, and that it is located very close to give the narrowly nationalist and exclusionary interpretations of the way that nazism always had as a business.

Also have Maja Hagerman discussed on many occasions in both books and tidningskrönikor, and there are questions here, so to speak, down on the ground. For everywhere, in the forests, around the mines and in the museums, she finds a trail behind them that is so often erased in the national history, the sami, the finns, the travellers. In fact, what we call Swedish at all times been characterized and been steeped of minorities and immigrants, and all attempts to clean the story culminates, inevitably, in the new neglected and oppression.

My only objection to the book is all about the restrained tone of these parts, many reasoning and conclusions feels wrapped cautious, on the verge of vague. It is well partial to the genre, after the high-profile books on the epoch-making historical discoveries Maja Hagerman previously given out, this is the time for a more personal and reflective writers who speak. So is ”Threads in the tapestry” is also a readable and sympathetic book that writes out a large and broad but often overlooked american kulturfåra.

the knowledge of the cultural heritage seems about to disperse, both at school and at large institutions it seems the questions about who it really belongs to each day become more and more important and more contentious. If anything, they should be put higher on the agenda and be sharper in outline.

Precisely why would not have damaged if Maja Hagerman raised his voice a little, perhaps also sharpened their analytical and polemical tool. She has greater expertise than most and is a star on the Swedish humanist heaven. Her insights about the value and charges need to reach out both in the time and in the that will.

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