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Cultural Integration in the European Union - and the future of Sweden's past in Europe


  • Natali Isaksson

Summary, in English

Cultural integration has been recognized as an inevitable feature in the making of a coherent European Union, and for further approval of systematic integration. The initial cultural policy of the Union was based on normative assumptions and essentialist views on a European civilization. But issues in legitimization made for a more relativistic stance, and since the 70:ies, a more pluralistic approach towards the European cultures has been introduced. The European Heritage Label is a representation of the recent interaction between unity and diversity in cultural integration. Today the cultural politics of the member-states are to become Europeanised, but the decentralized view of the European identity will simultaneously allow for the member-states to have larger influence in shaping that process. This leads to the second aspect of my essay, where Europeanisation remains in a tug-of-war between the national and supra-national level, as we can see in the example of Sweden's hesitation to join. One conclusion was that such a decision was the result of diverging self-images between the EU and Sweden, since identity will favor certain heritages over others. The Swedish discourse has favored internationalization over supra-nationalization, and the Nordic geopolitical affinity has yet proven stronger. Sweden has been generous in sharing its cultural heritage to the other member-states, but the question remains on whether Sweden can share it with the European Union.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Cultural Sciences


  • Cultural integration
  • identity politics
  • EU
  • The European Heritage Label
  • the Swedish self-image
  • Europeanisation


  • Barbara Törnquist-Plewa