Publisher: Stockholms universitet, Institutionen för arkeologi och antikens kultur
The kings of Norway issued coins on a regular basis starting in the mid-11th century, and probably conducted renovatio monetae whenever a new king came to power. As a privilege of bona regalia, the king could use coin production to serve his own interests. Economic factors are usually the main focus of discussions on coinage, but there were also political, religious and cultural dimensions that must have been important both for the production of coins and in the choice of motives, form and style. From the outset, manipulation of the coinage is visible in the debasement of silver content, followed by a reduction in weight to re-establish the silver level. In the 12th century, the weights continued to drop and single-faced coins and bracteates became the standard; only a few biface coins are known. These small coins and bracteates from the 12th century carry little or no information concerning issuer, date or place of production. This lack of information has resulted in a gap in our knowledge about the role of these coins in medieval society in Norway. This role was dependent both on the intentions of the producer and on how the coins were perceived by the people, and their will to use them in certain ways. What were the reasons behind issuing the smallest coins ever produced in coin history, and what impact did this dramatic reduction in weight have on the understanding and use of the coin? To advance the discussion it has been vital to establish new knowledge about chronology, coin-issuing authority and mints. These areas have been addressed through two analyses using numismatic and archaeological methods. The results of the initial analyses are combined with an investigation of the size of the coin production and a study of archaeological contexts, in order to reveal how, where and when the bracteates were used. The theoretical approach to understanding the role of coins is inspired by theories in anthropology and sociology about the many ways in which money can be incorporated in a society, emphasising the complex social component of coins in contrast to the traditional economic emphasis on their neutral qualities as a means of exchange. Central to this are the concepts behind formalism and substantivist and post-substantivist theory. The study concludes with a discussion that explores what can be said about economy and economic systems based on the 12th-century Norwegian coins.
Publisher: Stockholms universitet, Institutionen för kultur och estetik
The thesis examines the art theoretical discourse, in Norway, from the mid eighteenth century up to 1905. The objective of the study has been to identify and analyse the most important art theoretical positions in treatises and other programmatic texts and works of art. The source material has been analysed through close reading of the texts, and through detailed examination of the chosen artworks. The focus is on discourse that is understood, in the traditional sense, as an exchange of ideas or communication between individuals where there exists a difference of opinion. This model is inspired by Jürgen Habermas’ theory of communicative action and represents a kind of analytical pluralism that differs from the discourse model associated with Michel Foucault. The period examined has been chosen both from a political and from a discursive point of view. Norway in the examined period transformed from a pre-modern society into a modern nation state. It was also in this period art became a national concern. Prior to 1814, Norway was part of a larger Danish-Norwegian conglomerate state with the capital Copenhagen. From 1814 up to 1905 Norway had a semi-autonomous status with its own capital, Christiania, within a personal union under a common monarch with Sweden. The hypothesis of the thesis is that the art theoretical conflicts are expressions of hegemonic rivalries between elites with differing national strategies. This perspective, which implies a struggle over ideas and positions, transgresses Habermas’ consensus model. The power perspective takes into consideration that some positions might be marginalised or supressed in art historical writing. By acknowledging these positions, the thesis also has a critical art historiographic ambition. The analysis is organised in four chapters that correspond to distinct socio-cultural periods. The first chapter, Kierlighed til Fædrenelandet, deals with the period from the mid-eighteenth century up to 1814. The focal point of this period is on the art theoretical discourse connected to the development of the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen. In the second chapter, Patriotismens borgerkrig, the prime focus is on the effort of building art institutions in the new Norwegian capital Christiania, and the controversies regarding the nation’ s artistic culture. The third chapter, Den store harmonien, highlights the identity politics after 1850 and the resulting disputes over the national art. The fourth chapter, Harmoni gjennom differensiering, targets the diversity of art theoretical standpoints competing for hegemony from the mid-1870s to 1905. The results of the study show that the dividing line in the art theoretical conflicts in Norway, during the period of examination, primarily goes between a humanistic orientated secular elite and an ecclesiastically trained elite. The issues of dispute can be grouped around two different themes. These themes often appear as dichotomies, where two fundamental differences of opinion emerge. The first is the conflict between a utilitarian view on art versus the view of art as luxury. The second dichotomy can be traced to the discord between an individualising and an archaic stylistic idiom. These divides are in turn indicative of the conflict between two divergent educational ideals. One reflecting humanist scientific ideals, the other based on scholastic theological values.