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"The Myth of the Eastern Front" revisited
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMK).
2008 (English)In: Media and Global Divides, IAMCR annual conference, Stockholm, Sweden, 20-25 July 2008, 2008Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper is not so much about global divides in a geographical, horizontal sense, as it is about differences on a vertical scale: a world within our own, yet unknown to most of us. I am referring to the protocommunity of World War II “enthusiasts”, such as war gamers and militaria collectors. These are people sharing a big interest in WWII, sometimes being labelled “war romantics”. Smelser & Davies have in a recent work (The Myth of the Eastern Front. The Nazi-Soviet War in American Popular Culture, 2008) included a chapter on this group, although they have had no personal contact with the people they are discussing, basing their study entirely on Internet forums and home pages. I argue that due to this reluctance to go out in the field, the authors have missed several important aspects crucial to the understanding of these people and their attitudes towards WWII and the mediated representation of Nazi Germany and the war.


My paper is based on ethnographic material gathered for my PhD thesis, containing both in-depth interviews on the reception of WWII fiction and documentary films as well as ethnographic field work among WWII gamers, militaria collectors and dealers. It discusses the production of meaning that takes place among this group of people from a Nordic perspective, and shows that the picture is not as homogenous concerning whitewashing, or even revisionist issues, as Smelser & Davies argue.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
World War II, gaming, militaria collecting, protocommunity
National Category
Research subject
Communication Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-68779OAI: diva2:473520
Available from: 2012-01-06 Created: 2012-01-06

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