IP3 - 2: The Radiophonic North

Case Description

After the 1925 establishment of the International Broadcasting Union (IBU), the national broadcasters of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway started a Nordic collaboration, eventually joined by Finland (1929) and Iceland (1935). It developed into a strong enterprise in the 1930s, with cultural, technical, financial, and social benefits for those involved. The collaboration resulted in regular conferences as well as several co-transmissions of political, cultural, and historical programmes. According to then Managing Director of the DBC, F.E. Jensen, the aim was to build on existing ideas of a “Nordic brotherhood” and a “common Nordic culture” and further them through the exchange of programme content and knowhow. 

Research questions

It is hard to determine just from reading the programme meta-data from the Swedish Radio Archives how and in which language the different programme segments were tied together in the broadcasts. However, since the introductory speak in a sense represented the transnational space created by the collaboration, an investigation of this role is crucial to understanding the central TRE question of how “encounters between nations, cultures and institutions are managed in collaborative radio transmissions […]”. Another central question is how the imagined community of the North was projected against the rest of the world. How did the Nordic collaboration interplay with the countries’ parallel participation in the IBU? Did their Nordic orientation influence decisions made in connection to the IBU, and if so - how? Pointing to the existence of such meso-level collaborations between the national and the international levels and how they imagined themselves in opposition to/exchange with those levels would be a valuable contribution to the establishment of the “structural overview of the history of co-transmissions” . An even more pressing question is whether the Nordic nations actually did “meet” in any other sense than a structural one? How were the single nations portrayed in the co-transmissions - by themselves and by their neighbours? And is it possible to identify signs of increased mutual understanding in the programmes?

Publication ideas

"Brotherhood in Blossom": Exploring the shift from technological/financial to political motives for the Nordic radio collaboration in the interwar years using radio debates as well as internal correspondences and minutes from the Swedish Radio Document Archive in Stockholm and the National Archive in Denmark. 

"Mutual Imaginations": An imagological study of national representations in Nordic collaborative programmes. Analysing linguistic/acoustic aspects of Barnens brevlåda (1936), Vid Nordens sydgräns (1937) and Från hav till hav (1937). 

"The Radiophonic North": Writing the Nordic case into the larger cultural history of ”Nordism”. Historical overview focusing on selected Nordic institutions and events. 

"Radio Archives: Practice, Access, Content": A practical guide to radio archives, co-authored article (with Jacob Kreutzfeldt) mapping European (?) radio archives, discussing the content and condition of the archives, how researchers can access it, how the collections came about, copyright management etc.