Jan 9, 2014

Museums for Pop and Rock Music in the Nordic Region and Beyond

A Report and Conversation with our Project Partner, Denmark’s Rock Museum

by Fabian Holt

Museums for rock and pop music are mushrooming in the early 21st century across the Nordic countries and Europe. These museums are one of the components of the new institutional infrastructure of popular music, along with showcase festivals and music export agencies. What is the role of rock and pop museums in future Nordic culture and society, and why was it the right decision to focus on network development at this stage? Fabian Holt reports on the museum dimension of the project "Popular Music in the Nordic Countries in the Early 21st Century" and talks to the management at Denmark's Rock Museum.

Pop culture’s own exhibition spaces
From Graceland to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and beyond to the new museums for pop and rock music around Europe, spaces designed for the experience of the music’s history have long been part of pop culture; a culture known for its focus on what moves popular interest in the here and now. The designed spaces of pop music history are sites of music tourism and embedded in the associated cultural economies of heritage, place branding, and private sponsorship. Being a dedicated space with its own organization and audience access all across the year, these exhibition spaces seemingly offer a different kind of continuity and access than the fluid media cultures on display. Popular culture is fostering its own exhibition spaces. They mix elements of museums, laboratories, performance spaces, and other models that are themselves historically and culturally contingent.

In the early 21st century, national museums for popular music have mushroomed around Europe. The ideal of the national museum, drawing from strong institutional traditions, creates a kind of historical space that is not only about giving fans an entertaining experience and selling merchandise, although that, too, remains important. Working within the established institutional infrastructures for museums, a popular music museum is also aiming at developing, maintaining, and exhibiting objects of history with a whole range of professional responsibilities. That typically involves educational outreach activities, archival assistance to researchers, and research production in association with museum collections.

The evolution of the Danish museum
In the case of Denmark’s Rock Museum that opens in Roskilde in 2015, research has shaped the evolution of the museum since the beginnings. The initial motivation for what eventually became a museum was to document and preserve Danish rock music history. A self-organized group of experienced rock musicians and other music professionals got funding from the ministry of culture to develop the project. The project was developed further when the subsequent steering group adopted the museum format. In competition with a few cities in Denmark, the municipal of Roskilde succeeded in being chosen as the host city in 2001. The steering group consisted of the project partners Roskilde Museum (now the formal host organization of the Rock Museum), the municipal of Roskilde, the national broadcast corporation, and Roskilde University. In 2007, the municipal purchased the industrial area of closed concrete factory Unicon and started developing it into a creative industry area under the name Musicon. The project director of the museum, Lena Bruun, had been a project manager in the municipal’s creative industry project Musicon Valley since the early 2000s. The museum emerged within a local context of culture-led development strategies evolving from the city’s main popular culture attraction, the Roskilde Festival.

Adopting the museum format in 2003 shaped the project because of the institutional sphere that comes with it. Institutional responsibilities and collaboration with university research networks are part of the package. The first research project to play a role was a project on the history of rock music in Denmark organized at the music department at the University of Copenhagen in the early 2000s. The results were published in the 2013 edited volume Rock i Danmark (Rock in Denmark). This research had the role of informing the museum management of its subject area, the history of the music. The second research project, so far involving the most extensive university research collaboration, is a project on young people, learning, and new media in museums called The Danish Research Centre on Education and Advanced Media Materials (DREAM). All this has been going on for about ten years before the museum has opened and a great deal of the management’s focus has been devoted to fund raising and more recently the construction of the coming building.

The evolution of the Danish museum in Roskilde is part of a wider trend of popular music museum building across Europe. This trend is part of a broader institutionalization of rock and pop music within an agenda shaped by contemporary ideas of how cities and nation-states can develop their cultural economies and build new identities and histories in the process. Academic research happens within this larger agenda defined by networks of public and private organizations, and this provides a new horizon for popular culture research without limiting it to this agenda.
Growing the Regional Perspective

The regional perspective advanced by our project (“Popular Music in the Nordic Countries in the Early 21st Century”) has demonstrated its potential for complementing this institutionalization of popular music, in part because the internationalization is common condition in the face of growing competition and the general internationalization of markets. This was the motivation behind the creation of a regional umbrella organization for national music export agencies, Nordic Music Export, and it is now a natural step for museums seeking collaboration with counterparts in other countries. The most important outcome of the museum dimension of our Nordic music project is the creation of a potentially global network of popular music museums with a Nordic platform. This idea was inspired by the research project and developed by Denmark’s Rock Museum.

Our collaboration with museums began in fall 2011 when I approached Denmark's Rock Museum and proposed the idea of bringing some of the knowledge from the research networks to a wider public. Museums have unique potentials for bringing culture and knowledge to audiences. The Roskilde museum had not opened but generously took on the challenge and was already talking to Rockheim in Norway about sharing experiences. The two museums got aboard, and the plan was to create a small digital exhibition based on findings in the chapters of the edited volume of scholarly research that started the project. At the first project meeting, held in Helsinki in early 2012, the scholars presented their ideas. It became clear that the international research experts and the national rock and pop museum management have different horizons for thinking about Nordic music. Scholarly writing about Nordic music is not currently focused on the Nordic mainstream. The main focus on the book is to take a few but hopefully groundbreaking new steps beyond the nationalist and regionalist approaches to the culture (regional essentialism is best known from narratives of Nordic-style music such as "the Nordic tone").


Lena Bruun Jensen and Jacob Westergaard Madsen, December 2013
Photo: Fabian Holt

Lena: When I first heard about the idea of Danish Rock Museum I understood that it was not going to be a traditional museum but that the visitors could also play music and learn about how the music has shaped our society. The project became a unit under Roskilde Museum and got the designation as a museum of history and contemporary culture. This really framed the project which was then called The House of Rock Music, now Denmark’s Rock Museum. We then traveled for inspiration to a handful of museums from Vienna to Seattle and learned about the potentials of interactive technology for experiencing the music and learning about its history.

Fabian: Did those visits also inform your perspective on globalization?

Lena: We knew that we wanted to have a local, national, and international dimension. The point of departure and center of attention is the national, but the other dimensions are relevant and necessary for understanding it. In other cities, it was very local. In Seattle, they had a focus on California, the American Northwest, but it wasn’t contextualized much for the rest of the country and the world. Vienna had a focus on six local composers and a focus on interactive technology, although with greater emphasis on the technology itself, it was designed by Siemens, and we were again asking ourselves what the story is. Museums can create spectacular elements, but it is important to create a coherent story and context for all that, and this became a key priority for us at the time. We also learned that it was important for us to have original objects rather than copies of manuscripts and to have the story of those original objects. In many music museums there are still not the same attention to the societal dimension that our museum emphasizes. The significance of music for youth culture and how youth culture shaped society is unparalleled in history. The music changed youth culture and youth culture in turn shaped society.

Jacob: It’s funny because I remember initially being both excited and skeptical of the name ‘Denmark’s Rock Museum.’ Why Denmark? It’s an international history. But we conceive it as a museum of how the history played out in Denmark. We also focus a lot on fan culture, not just the stars.

Fabian: So Cliff Richard fan culture in Denmark is also part of your territory?

Jacob: Absolutely. And Roskilde Festival is an international festival. The evolution of media technology is also international.

Lena: It’s a global culture. Rock music is a global language. Rock is a historically significant example of a global popular culture. We continue to think about what this means. Our aims have developed quite a bit in terms of both understanding the culture and the design of the museum. When the idea of the museum first started it was really about documenting the history before the artists who lived through this period are gone. That was much closer to a focus on national culture. It’s a natural evolution from such motivations to the fully developed organization more than a decade later. We have learned more about the international dimension in the process.

Jacob: With our core exhibition project “The Roots of Rock Music” we have also turned away from a chronological narrative, instead developing a much more thematically driven narrative. We are looking at the evolutions in fan culture, fashion, media, and more.
The Nordic dimension: Interactions and Identities

Lena: We are also looking at the regional dimension. That’s our motivation for participating in your Nordic popular music project. The conclusion in the chapter you sent us yesterday seems to say what we are thinking, namely that the culture is part of wider international movements than the national and the regional. At the same time we are doing a project called the map of rock music in Denmark to explore small local situations.

Fabian: Interesting. One of my arguments is that the international interaction is increasingly happening at the regional level, the Nordic level because the world at large is looking at our area as a region. The media in Asia or the Americas, for instance, are often looking at us as a region, not at Denmark or Sweden. The other development is the proliferation of artists with their own small managements and recording companies in our region. Many of them speak fluently English and tour internationally. There is so much more now than national rock and pop icons within the conventional national spheres of major labels and broadcasting corporations.

Jacob: It also came up in the conversation we had with Anna Hildur at your conference last year, the idea that the Nordic makes more sense to people outside the region.

Fabian: An interesting question might be if the external gaze and global media will shape our culture to become more Nordic, more regional. I think I’ve started to see just during this project a future where we talk about ourselves as Nordic more than we do now. Not just as a kind of buzz but because new media and transportation technologies reshape the geography of world societies.

Lena: It’s also interesting that musicians around our country can now present their music directly in global media. Before a band in a remote rural area could not do that.

Fabian: And those interactions are essential to understanding the current changes. It is limiting to focus on a Nordic style of music. Teitur, for instance, he is Nordic but he has also lived in the US and in Berlin. That’s characteristic of the Nordic region of our time. Jan Sneum is traveling to Tallin Music week. The Nordic region of today has more fluid boundaries. The culture moves less within the former boundaries of national cultural spheres. It’s also many things in different situations. Sometimes it’s Iceland, other times Scandinavia. The Nordic is an infinite series of mediations.

Jacob: And some of the examples you mentioned, including Agnes Obel and Efterklang, they are living and recording their music in Berlin.

Lena: It’s another example that music erodes boundaries, of nation-states or whatever, but yet there is something regional.

Fabian: In the research process, I was struck by how many nations and regions present their culture as unique in a language of the pure and authentic, many use the same words to describe their uniqueness. The first and most immediate difference when encountering different cultures might be the visual difference. The colors are immediately different. Some areas with a warm climate have strong, expressive colors, whereas a cold area such as the Nordic region has lots of grey and light blue but rarely red. The natural environment is important in much music, even in atmospheres of some urban pop music.

Jacob: And when it comes to landscape and nature, Denmark is the least Nordic country. And the idea of a Nordic sound was maybe first used in jazz and much associated with Norway, with Norwegian mountains. Perhaps some of the Nordic countries invest more in Nordic identity than others.
Responses to the Museum Project

Fabian: I wonder how people from other countries respond to your story? What are the reactions so far?

Jacob: When we tell them about the museum, people always say that it makes perfect sense to have it in Roskilde because of the festival. The international scene really understands that. In museum and research networks, there is great understanding of our approach, that our museum is concerned with the broader culture and not just the music. When the museum opens, it will be easier for international audiences to relate to our museum because of the universal themes of music, youth, and society than if we had adopted the Hall of Fame approach, with a lot of Danish musicians that few international audiences have ever heard of. Yet even in the UK, with The British Music Experience, what seems like an easy job because of the many stars from the country is not so easy after all because you still need a story. It’s not necessarily enough to exhibit multiple objects owned by a number of stars. Simon Reynolds has written about this.

Lena: That’s right. We learned a lot and got some of our ideas validated by the David Bowie exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum earlier in 2013. They did not just present David Bowie objects. They said something about his influence.

Jacob: There was a focus on David Bowie as an artist. A lot of pop and rock exhibitions are not very focused.

Fabian: And have you received direct responses to your “prototypes”?

Lena: I think the best example is when we present our work at the Roskilde Festival in the exhibition area. We do this every year. People come and say “Well, can I see David Bowie or Elvis Presley...?” In these situations, we get a direct response. Some are puzzled by the Danish name, others disappointed. They nonetheless get excited about the interactive stuff. Moreover, when we tell them more, they start to understand. It really worked the time we presented our approach to fan culture, for instance.

Fabian: The universal elements of fan culture

Lena: The universal dimension. Whether you’re from Japan, Ukraine, Germany, or another country, the experience of listening to rock music has had similar meanings in your life. We might use Danish examples, but we capture something that international audiences can recognize.

Fabian: Are there other typical responses?

Lena: People often ask if they will be able to see something about their favorite artists. “Can I see Elvis Presley or…?” The first question we get is “Is it only Danish rock music?”

Jacob: We tell them that it’s about how rock and pop music history played out in Denmark. And we work on the universal themes we talked about earlier. And with Beatles, their first US tour is not as interesting to us, but their appearance in Copenhagen in April 1964…

Fabian: If you are Beatles fan, anywhere, you will probably be interested to see that of their history, a history not exhibited elsewhere….

Photo: Fabian Holt

A Nordic platform for pop museums
Fabian: When did you start collaborating with other Nordic museums?

Jacob: It started with the first meeting in the Nordic popular music project in Helsinki, spring 2012. We had been in Rockheim in Norway once before but the idea of an international museum network in the Nordic region and later broadening it is an outcome of participating in this Nordic music project.

Lena: It is important to find a base for the network in the Nordic region before it can be expanded to a wider international network. The Nordic network becomes a platform. Iceland is now aboard. The director comes from the Iceland Music Export. We are meeting in Stockholm in February — Iceland, Rockheim, the ABBA Museum, Swedish Hall of Fame. We are still in touch with archives, but the music museums have their own tighter collaboration and there is a new museum opening in Hungary. Cité de la musique in Paris wants to join. This network started between museums and archives. You always need someone to drive a network, it could have been Holland, Denmark, and Germany, but in this case the base has been created in the Nordic region. There is also another institutional ground for museums here, also compared with the UK.

Fabian: The idea of being a platform for the culture, a kind of cultural institution, developing culture, working with cultural heritage, also applies to the area of live music venues. This approach to cultural organizations can also be found in The Netherlands.

Fabian: What’s your experience of the research meetings?

Lena: It’s hard to say but it seemed a bit specialized.

Fabian: Writing about music generally has wider appeal if it engages with the fan and artist perspective. There are examples of really great music research that has also found a wider readership, but it’s not easy. The risk of specialization is fragmentation – the broader connections are lost even for the specialists who have devoted their lives to studying the culture. This was a concern for me when I wrote my chapter for our edited volume on Nordic music. We did not receive any proposals on the Swedish pop icons from ABBA to Avicii, and it is such an important part of the history that I decided to give it higher priority when I finally wrote my chapter on the Nordic popular music landscape.

Lena: We think it was a big task to enter this Nordic research network project. It has not been easy. It needs to be matured.

Fabian: More knowledge is needed.

Lena: And closer collaboration between research and museums. We have felt that the researchers were quite far away from us.

Fabian: Yes, it’s not just knowledge.

Jacob: It was interesting to hear about Sami music and Icelandic music, but I was a little unsure how the Nordic dimension was interpreted.

Fabian: Yes, some contributors discuss the Nordic dimension more than others. But I think the comparative perspective is growing and helping us understand the Nordic dimension better.

Jacob: Yes, the comparative perspective is really interesting

Fabian: Thanks for your thoughtful responses, and thanks very much for your contribution to the project. I am very grateful.

Dec 10, 2013

Iceland symposium

The final meeting of the contributors to the book Nordic Music in the Nordic Countries in the Early 21st Century was held in Reykjavik, Iceland, during the Iceland Airwaves festival.

The symposium was held in the building of the national broadcasting corporation.

The following day, a public panel titled "Nordic Music--Bubble or Future Sound?" was held at the Nordic House.

The panelists were
Anna Hildur (Nordic Music Export, London)
Antti-Ville Kärjä (Helsinki)
David Fricke (Rolling Stone magazine, New York)
Grímur Atlason (Director of Iceland Airwaves, Reykjavik)
Ólafur Páll Gunnarsson (RÁS2, Reykjavik)

Oct 14, 2013

Metal and religion

Metal and Religion
The Case of Christian Metal and Nordic Youth Culture

by Henna Jousmäki

Can you be both a metalhead and a practicing Christian?

Can you be both Christian and Nordic?

These are some of the questions I encountered when researching for my contribution to this volume on Nordic Popular Music.

My chapter begins by looking into the phenomenon of Christian black metal, also known as Unblack Metal. This curious metal genre, popular so far particularly among Christian metal fans in the US and the Nordic countries, is finding new adherents as well as detractors in YouTube, currently with some 200,000 uploaded videos.

I investigate Christian black metal as an example of how the borders of ‘Christian music’ as well as ‘metal music’ are being redefined. In the process, also notions of Nordic religiosity become re-negotiated. In practice, I study the circulation of and discussion on this type of music, alongside with a ‘lighter’ form of Christian metal, especially in relation to ‘the Nordic’. Such analysis provides a useful perspective on how contemporary youths experience the relationship between music, place and religion.

Oct 8, 2013

Hip Hop, Racism, and the Welfare Society

Hip Hop, Racism, and the Welfare Society

by Alexandra D'Urso

The idea to learn more about hip hop music and anti-racist pedagogy developed from ongoing attempts to make sense of what I perceived to be a contrast between broadly held beliefs about Nordic democratic ideals juxtaposed against a setting of increasing far-right party involvement and xenophobia across the region. While this growing phenomenon is not limited to the Nordic region, it sits within a wider European context of heightened immigrant mistrust and deepening cuts to social welfare programs in the midst of the economic crisis.

Eboi - "Immigrants"

Given the greater European economic situation, increasing political extremism might appear to have an understandable context within which to grow; however, the nagging contradiction of far-right extremist activity in the region that holds a monopoly on the perception of being a democratic utopia seemed too striking to write off as merely a ripple effect of economic woes.

I chose to look at voices that contest far-right populist understandings of national identity and use the medium of hip hop music and culture to create wider spaces of belonging and self-empowerment.

Hip hop music has historically been used as a means of negotiating and putting forth alternative perspectives. Building upon my dissertation research, I wanted to learn more about examples of hip hop music’s counter-discourse on national identity, through which individuals of foreign origin feel empowered to claim national identity on their own terms.

I was curious about how rappers themselves work as public pedagogues by attempting to contextualize a larger picture of how changing socioeconomic realities at the local, regional, and international level inform public understandings of racism and discrimination. I describe how the rappers Eboi and Adam Tensta draw upon changing political circumstances to nuance and challenge popular images of immigrants in contemporary Nordic societies.

Sámi Musical Performance at Festivals

Sámi Musical Performance at Festivals

By Thomas Hilder

The Sámi are Europe’s only recognised indigenous people, whose traditional land traverses Arctic regions of present day Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Russian Kola Peninsula. Through a post-World War II political and cultural movement, the Sámi have highlighted their history of Christianisation, land dispossession and cultural assimilation at the expense of Nordic nation building, whilst also working towards Sámi political self-determination across the Nordic states and forging international links with other indigenous communities. Part of this process was the emergence of a Sámi popular music scene, within which the revival of the distinct and formerly suppressed unaccompanied vocal tradition of joik was central. Through joiking with instrumental accompaniment, incorporating joik into popular music forms, performing on stage and releasing recordings, Sámi musicians have increased representations of the Sámi, assisted in wider cultural revival, and contributed to political debates concerning the Sámi throughout the Nordic states and beyond (Jones-Bamman 2006 [2001]). Expanding rapidly over the last decade, Sámi popular music has become a dynamic arena characterised by a plethora of musicians (‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ joikers as well as non-joiking artists), performing in a range of styles and genres (including techno, jazz, heavy-metal, classical and rap), and supported by numerous cultural and political institutions (Sámi festivals, Sámi Radio, Sámi record companies, Norwegian Sámi Parliament). In these ways, Sámi popular music helps to imagine a transnational Sámi community Sápmi, traversing Arctic regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Russian Kola Peninsula, whilst furthermore articulating Sámi concerns as an indigenous people (Diamond 2007; Hilder 2012; Ramnarine 2009).

In my chapter for the volume I will investigate Sámi popular music and its role in shaping peoples lives in a broader Nordic context. I conduct three case studies around a set of thematically connected questions:

1. What is the role of the Kautokeino Easter Festival in the growth of Sámi popular music, in building a transnational Sámi community, and supporting Sámi cultural self-determination within and beyond the frameworks of the Nordic states?

2. How has Eurovision offered opportunities for Sámi political recognition, the transformation of notions of Sámi-ness, and the re-shaping of Nordic national narratives?

3. How has inter-indigenous collaboration at Riddu Riđđu shaped Sámi popular music, and strengthened cosmopolitan ties with other indigenous people? My research on Sámi music is informed by multi-sited ethnography which I have been conducting in the Nordic peninsula since 2006, involving interviews with musicians, participant-observation in musical performance, and analysing Sámi musical recordings and media. By drawing on studies of Nordic nationalism, postcolonial and political theory, and the literature of cosmopolitanism, I aim to explore how Sámi popular music in these three festival contexts transforms liberal democratic political philosophy in the Nordic peninsula.


Diamond, Beverley. 2007. 'The Music of Modern Indigeneity: From Identity to Alliance Studies'. ESEM 12: 169-90.

Hilder, Thomas. 2012. 'Repatriation, Revival and Transmission: The Politics of a Sámi Cultural Heritage'. Ethnomusicology Forum 21(2): 161-79.

Jones-Bamman, Richard Wiren. 2006 [2001]. 'From "I'm a Lapp" to "I am Saami": Popular Music and changing Images of indigenous Ethnicity in Scandinavia'. In Ethnomusicology: A contemporary Reader, edited by J. C. Post, 351-67. London and New York: Routledge.

Ramnarine, Tina K. 2009. 'Acoustemology, Indigeneity, and Joik in Valkeapää's Symphonic Activism: Views from Europe's Arctic Fringes for Environmental Ethnomusicology'. Ethnomusicology 53(2): 187-217.

Sep 23, 2013

Affective landscapes

Affecting landscapes

Popular music and environmentalism in a Nordic context

by Nicola Dibben

It’s a sunny day in September 2010 and I’m meeting Björk for the first time – invited to her London flat to discuss a project I might get involved in (it turns out to be what’s later named Biophilia). She starts telling me about it but at a certain point becomes a little distracted – she says she has just learnt that a major hydroelectric project in Iceland that she’d been protesting about is going ahead. Her dismay is evident.

Dreamland feature documentary trailer

Björk’s opposition to the Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Project was widely publicised at the time, and part of a more widespread struggle over the value and meaning of the natural environment in Iceland. High profile musicians attracted international attention to the environmental movement, bringing together protest against government conceptualisations of natural resources as private property that could be sold, and their association with villains of the 2008 banking collapse, and actions which directly promoted sustainable businesses and renewable energies to benefit the Icelandic nation. As I’ve argued elsewhere, music also helps construct ideas of nature and landscape: Icelandic music has been central to Iceland’s global presence and identity, providing it with a distinctive Icelandic as opposed to Nordic identity. In my research for this project I investigate how this distinctive identity has been mobilised by the environmental movement, and continues to shape debates around Iceland’s economic development.

So far, so good, but an inspiration for my current project was provided by the work of Icelandic geographer Karl Benediktsson on the role of photography in creating an emotional response to the affected wilderness areas. He argued that the aesthetic experience provided by documentary photography of the landscape and wildlife in the area mobilised people to care about the natural environment. Karlsson’s insights into the visual arts reminded me of the role and importance in sonic arts not just of representation (the way Icelandic popular music represents and thereby constructs a version of the natural landscape), but of affect and immersion. Listen to fans of Björk or Sigur Rós (another internationally renowned Icelandic band involved in the environmental protest) and the thing that stands out is their affective experience with this music. It also brought me full circle to the beginnings of my academic interest in Icelandic music – a case study of a Björk track used to investigate how music can be understood and experienced as if it offers a particular subjectivity and construction of emotional experience (Dibben 2006). Benediktsson’s insights sparked a connection: the affective experience of music undermines the dualities which typify approaches to the environment. It’s this idea which drives the project.


Benedíktsson, Karl. 2007. ’Scenophobia’, Geography and Aesthetic Politics of Landscape. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 89: 203-217.

Dibben, Nicola. 2006. Subjectivity and the Construction of Emotion in the Music of Björk. Music Analysis, 25: 171–197. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2249.2006.00237.x

Sep 22, 2013

Radical nationalism

The music of radical nationalism in the Nordic countries*
The curious advent of positive radicalism

by Benjamin Teitelbaum

My contribution to Popular Music in the Nordic Countries examines curious musical products of post-skinhead radical nationalism.* Skinheadism came to the Nordic countries from Britain, often via the United States and Germany. The movement gained its recruiting prowess in large part because of its musical output. This was especially true in Sweden, which is the epicenter of radical nationalism in the Nordic countries, and once one of the largest producers of radical nationalist* music in the world. There, skinhead music genres like white power punk and Viking rock enjoyed consumption levels nearly unheard of in other western nations: A 1997 survey showed that almost one out of every five boys in Swedish secondary schools listened to white power music “sometimes or often.”

However, skinheadism would crash towards the end of the twentieth century, thanks to hate-speech laws, online music downloading, infighting among radical nationalists, and insiders’ growing dissatisfaction with the hooliganistic nature of their activism.

I follow the creation and reception of nationalist rap and reggae—two genres long considered the musical antitheses of white anti-immigrant movements. Though I highlight some insiders’ fierce opposition to rap and reggae, I also show how others regard these genres as particularly appropriate for the nationalist cause. As an individual connected with the reggae project says,
We see nationalism as an ideology of love, not as a hate ideology that many others see it as. It is about love for your own people, but also love for there being many different cultures that can be experienced. [...] But there are a lot of influences of this, first and foremost in hip hop in Sweden, but also in part in reggae. [...] [Reggae is a genre] with an eye towards the Self, but even love for the Other, but not at the same time - from a distance quite simply. But nonetheless love, I mean, reggae is very - it is like the music genre of love.
This narrative is subject of detailed analysis in my chapter.

* I use the term radical nationalism to refer to organized opposition of multiculturalism and interracialism. These actors may be white supremacists, ethnic separatists, or cultural ultraconservatives. And though ideological differences among radical nationalists may in some senses be profound, all share a belief that immigration constitutes an existential threat to the native white populations of the Nordic countries, and most have strong organizational and personal ties to a 1990s musical subculture.