The Creation of Peacful Neighbors and Calm Swedes

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 8:30 AM
Room: 417
Oral Presentation
Apostolis PAPAKOSTAS , Södertörn University, Huddinge, Sweden
The Creation of Peaceful Neighbors and Calm Swedes

 A discreet aspect of everyday life in Scandinavia is the relative absence of feuds between neighbors and the peaceful atmosphere that prevails in neighborhoods. It is rather difficult to find shouting Swedes and in criminal statistics there are rather few incidents of killings between neighbors. Another aspect of Swedish everyday life is that that, when asked, two of three Swedes state that they trust other people.

In this short historical exposé the author connects the absence of feuds between neighbors in everyday life and the high degree of trust prevailing in everyday life in Swedish society. It is argued that the regulation of "neighbors war against neighbors", in essence the regulation of the inter-human space between neighbors, early in Swedish history  pacified the relations between neighbors and created a fertile ground for the generalization of trust from few people to many people and for the creation of an atmosphere of trust. The author argues that it was the spread of topography and cartography through agricultural reforms before industrialization that created objective representations of property and thus eliminated  boundary feuds between neighbors. By examining topographic maps before and after the reforms the author discusses how the regulations and objective representations of the physical space regulated the inter-human space.