”Det känns som att jag bara sitter och väntar på att det ska explodera” - politisk påverkan på de kommunala folkbibliotekens verksamhet i sex sydsvenska regioner.


  • Hanna Carlsson Department of Cultural Sciences, Linnaeus University, Sweden
  • Fredrik Hanell Department of Cultural Sciences, Linnaeus University, Sweden
  • Joacim Hansson Department of Cultural Sciences, Linnaeus University, Sweden




Public Libraries, Democracy, Institutional Ethnography, Plural Agonistics, Library Policy, Political Pressure


Public libraries are one of several institutions that uphold Swedish democracy. The representative liberal democratic model, expressed in the Library Act, is increasingly being questioned and challenged. Political actors, mainly from the radical right, advocate a democracy focused on the will of the people at the expense of the rights of individuals. With the notion of plural agonistics, public libraries can be seen as important arenas for debates and meetings between people, offering ways to handle conflicts within democratic institutions. Methodologically, this study employs the perspective of institutional ethnography, and the aim of this paper is to develop knowledge about public libraries’ experiences of political pressure and how this is enacted in a time of political turbulence. This paper reports findings from the first stage of a survey study directed at public library managers in 77 municipalities from the six southernmost regions of Sweden. Based on replies in these surveys, interviews were conducted with seven of the participating library managers. Findings show that the interplay between libraries and the local political level, and between national and local political levels, generally functions without notable opposition. Illegitimate political pressure is uncommon, but when it occurs, it is primarily triggered by issues connected to cultural diversity. Results further indicate that local public libraries tend to respond to illegitimate political pressure by development and use of professional policy documents, but also, in some cases, by avoiding certain activities.


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2022-06-16 — Updated on 2022-06-16


How to Cite

Carlsson, H., Hanell, F. ., & Hansson, J. (2022). ”Det känns som att jag bara sitter och väntar på att det ska explodera” - politisk påverkan på de kommunala folkbibliotekens verksamhet i sex sydsvenska regioner . Nordic Journal of Library and Information Studies, 3(1), 26–43. https://doi.org/10.7146/njlis.v3i1.131852