The Multiple Modernities of Sweden


  • Janina Gosseye



This article reviews the book Swedish Modernism. Architecture, Consumption and the Welfare State, edited by Helena Mattsson and Sven-Olov Wallenstein. In this volume, the editors plea for the construction of ‘multiple modernities’, following which a more diversified understanding of the European welfare state can be constructed.

Through twelve contributions by a group of international scholars, Mattsson and Wallenstein aspire to initiate the construction of an emblematic Swedish modernism. The book offers an intricate and diversified reading of the history of the Swedish Folkhemmet, including political history, social sciences and media studies.

When it comes to the built environment, however, the volume focuses largely on the home, with a few excursions to exhibition spaces and into corporate culture. In this volume, Mattsson and Wallenstein answer many questions, but raise an equal amount of new questions and thus leave the reader wanting more, as any good book should.

Author Biography

Janina Gosseye

Janina Gosseye is a PhD-researcher at the department of Architecture, Urbanism and Planning, KU Leuven and a lecturer in architectural theory at PHL in Hasselt. Her research focuses on the development of leisure spaces in postwar Flanders. She has published her findings in the Journal of Architecture and the Journal of Urban History and recently co-organised an international seminar together with Hilde Heynen on ‘Architecture for Leisure in Postwar Europe, 1945-1989’ at KU Leuven.