Elin Nystrand von Unge

Elin Nystrand von Unge


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Works at Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies
Telephone 08-674 73 12
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 E, plan 7
Room E 739
Postal address 106 91 Stockholm 106 91 Stockholm

About me

This study focuses on collecting practices in museums of cultural history in Sweden. More specifically, the dissertation revolves around what happens when institutions of memory start collecting the present.

Collecting is a museum practice concerned with organizing physical objects. The collector’s every move is preceded by a number of more or less conscious decisions. My interest lies in exploring how these 'modes of ordering' are conducted.

The aim of the dissertation is to examine how, and on what terms, the present day is collected and represented in museums of cultural history in Sweden. The collecting process can be described as a negotiation between different paradigms of collecting. The bodies, spaces, and objects that are involved during the course of collecting play an important part here. In the material I look for processes where these are made into contemporary phenomena, or not. Inspired by John Law, Bruno Latour and Michel Callon’s actor-network theory (ANT) the relational aspects of collecting hold a prominent position. The idea that both human and non-human matter has agency is hence a theoretical standpoint.

My main material consists of a larger piece of fieldwork within the contemporary collecting community. I started out with archive studies of contemporary collections from the 1970s after which I followed the founding process of a new Swedish network for contemporary collecting, Dokumenation Samtida Sverige (DOSS). Finally I conducted a number of in-depth interviews with representatives from different museums all over the country.

Apart from my Bachelor’s degree in Ethnology, I have a Master in International Museum Studies (IMS) as well as several years of experience of working with matters of collecting in different museums. The dissertation is expected to be completed in the fall of 2019 

Supervisors: Lars Kaijser and Simon Ekström


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • Book (ed) Sprängskiss no 1
    2012. Elin Nystrand von Unge, Britta Söderqvist.

    Sprängskiss är en plattform vars ändamål är att ge perspektiv på museer och kulturarv. Genom olika textbaserade verk vill vi ställa frågor som rör museers praktiker, inuti och utanför museets väggar.

    Vi tror att svensk museisektor behöver duskutera, teoretisera och skriva om sig själv. Ett öppet samtal om sektorns värde och innehåll är nödvändigt för att museer ska vara angelägna för sin omvärld.

    Sprängskiss är ett sätt att bidra till den diskussionen.

Show all publications by Elin Nystrand von Unge at Stockholm University

Last updated: February 19, 2018

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