Nobel prize, Aula magna, the City Hall and Runmarö

As I write this, Dec. 8,  in my office some 100 meters from the Aula Magna at the Frescati Campus, Nobel prize laureates are lecturing all day. I may go there in the afternoon to listen to the economists. All lectures are transmitted live on the net.

If you are not interested in this years economists, perhaps Paul Krugman’s lecture is of interest?

Saturday the 10th Dec. is the Nobel day. Prizes will be awarded by the king – now under pressure becasue of supposed contacts with organized king and ‘café cirls’ – and in the evening there will be a gala dinner in the City Hall with a cultural programme in the Blue hall, and dancing in the Golden hall. Swedish public television will broadcast it all.

If you are not invited to the gala dinner the television is one option. Another one is to wait till March 27, that is the reception that Stockholm city will be giving the ilpc2012 in the Blue hall.

Or if you are on Runmarö, the island of the poet Tomas Tranströmer, this years prize for literature, there will be a local gathering for neighbours and friends  in the Runmarö Community Center and local museum, with dinner, dance and wide screen projection from the City Hall.

Below, again, a picture I like. I shot it at a poetry reading a summer day on Runmarö a few years. Tomas Tranströmer’s stroke and afasi now prevents him now from reading, but he enjoyed the afternoon with his wife and neighbours.

I often quote a couple of lines from ‘The truth barrier’ (1978): ‘Deep in the forest there’s an unexpected clearing that can be reached only by someone who has lost his way’  I think that is part of research, related to serendipity.

While waiting for next summer, have a look at the lectures today, and the City Hall party this Saturday night.

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Photo: Aftonbladet

Some five years ago the Center-right government as one of its first acts decided to close down the Arbetslivsinstitutet, the National Institute for Working Life, where both Fredrik Movitz and myself were then working. On the evening of the Nobel prize award ceremony researchers from the NIWL gathered outside the Concert Hall and protested. On the picture you may see among others professors Niklas Bruun (European labour law, now at the Helsinki school of economics) and Casten vont Otter (sociology of public sector organization). Today the 200 researchers are spread out, many have left the field of worklife research, others continue. But the strong milieu for critical research on work and organization has been destroyed, and that was the ambition. The banner in the middle reads: No Nobel prize to the Swedish government.

This text was first publshed earlier today on a site I run with two colleagues as part of our preparations for the 30th Labour process conference in Stockholm next March

Resebrev 6 från Ceylon – 1777

Svenskar har rest till Ceylon i långa tider. Fram till inbördeskriget för 30 år sedan var Sri Lanka en stor chartrdestination för svenskar. Men 1970-talets svenska besökare hade föregångare två hundra år tidigare.

Linnés lärjunge Carl Peter Thunberg gjorde en stor ’Resa uti Europa, Africa, Asia’ och den 5 juli 1777 avseglade han från Java till Ceylon. Han samlar växter och mineraler, antecknar allt om djur- och växtliv, och om seder och bruk, mat och kultur.

Thunberg skriver:  ’November den 4 avreste jag från Colombo till Mature i sällskap med herr Frobus, som å companiets vägnar måse resa dit för att emballera kanel på Barbari, Gale och Mature’ [Galle och Matura är båda bekanta, Galle med sin befästning ett par mil norrut, och Matara med sin kitschiga jattebudda,  som är det kommersiella centret och transportknuten här söderut].

Så det kanske mest intressanta för en nutida resenär: ’Resan skedde i en palanquin, som är mera öppen än de japanska. Den bäresav morerna genom en bambustång som ligger över taket. Man kan både sitta och ligga i en sådan bärstol. För det mesta reser man med sex eller tolv bärare. ’  På väg till Matara passerar man ’Belligama’ där jag nu sitter och skriver.  ’Vägen somvar anlagd längs kusten, var ofta besvärlig och sandig. Överallt ser man längs denna kokosskogar…  med träd i en otrolig mängd och till stor nytta för infödingarna.’ [Kokospalmerna växer fortfarande ner till sandstränderna; Weligama lär f ö övrigt betyda Sandbyn]

Thunberg reser igen till Matara: ’December den 7 gjorde jag åter en resa från Columbo till Mature på guvernörens anmodan för att som läkare besöka greve Rantzows fru, som drogs med en långvarig och svår sjukdom. Greve Rantzow var huvudman på kompaniets kontor och visade mig stor ynnest under de få veckor jag vistades där. Jag reste både dag och natt i min bärstol, buren av tolv morer, som förmådde uthärda hela denna resa utan vila, så att jag redan inom tre dygn kom fram.’ (!)

Resan hit ner till Weligama från Colombo tog for mig ca 3 ½ timme med buss. Sittplats, sa jag slapp se framfarten. For tva hundra ar sedan alltså tre dygn nonstop buren av tolv morer. Den resan var säkert påfrestande, inte minst för morerna – Thunberg kunde ju ligga om han ville, och sova? Dagens bussresor här är dock  lätt skräckinjagande ivartfall för oss ovana passagerare. Och för alla andra trafikanter. De kör vilt, tutar, svänger fram och tillbaka mellan bilar, tutar igen,  tuk-tuks, cyklister och fotgängare. Men tvekar inte i sin framfart.

Ja även om jag fick stå, packad som en sill häromveckan, från Dambulla/Sigiria, i ett par timmar, ner till Kandy, så var det nog ändå att föredra framför Thunbergs bärstol. Sista timmen,  placerade man mig längst fram, stående vid chauffören. Det var visst i all valmening, men med utsikt över skräckbilderna i trafiken framför mig var det inget jag egentligen ville. Chauffören inte bekvämt bakåtlutad, utan framåtböjd över ratten, med glödande blick och ständigt beredd göra en tvär gir, växla upp eller ner, tuta.

På alla fyra veckorna såg jag spåren efter en trafikolycka – men statistiken lär vara förfärande här. Nu återstrå bara en längre resa, buss till Galle, tåg till Colombo, och efter ett stopp där, vidare med buss till flygplatsen. Den resan ska nog också gå bra  🙂

Freedom fighters – ”The government as editors of public broadcasting”

Freedom fighters, the editorial board of the new television  Swedish Freedom News Network, in a unique photo. The editors happen to be the  Swedish rightwing government party leaders (as they looked a couple of years ago).

The background: The Swedish government just announced that all new programme ideas coming up from the Public Broadcasting System in Sweden, from Public Service radio and TV, must first be announced and scrutinized by a government unit and by commercial media, to prevent that ideas come up that might compete with or diminish the market for commercial media. The governemnt sais this new ’censorship’, control before publication, is due to a directive from the European Union.

Anyhow, many say it is against the Swedish Constitution, with its strong regulation in favour of freeedom of the press.

On the other hand it is in line with the European Unions consistent priorities: the free market, the economy, business in short is #1, second and third and fourth comes democracy, culture and social aspects like health, and the environemnt.

’Zetterlunden’ in Stockholm inaugurated, in memory of jazz vocalist Monica Zetterlund – and meeting someone from forty years ago

What’s on my mind Facebook asks as soon as you open your account? Monica is on my mind. The great, fabolous Monica Zetterlund, musician, jazz vocalist with a broad repertoire. One of those great cultural personalities from the province of Värmland – my province 😉 Others: Selma Lagerlöf, Gustaf Fröding, Göran Tunström…

Monica died five years ago A couple of weeks ago, a park in her memory, Zetterlunden in Stockholm city, was inaugurated with music and speeches, and with a beautiful wooden ’singing sofa’ with her songs playing as soon as someone sits in the sofa.- If you do not know her music, go to youtube or to www.spotify.se to listen free of charge. For example ‘Walz for Monica’ with Bill Evans, who changed the song title from ‘Walz for Debbie

The inauguration ceremony was complete, with music and a main speech by our beloved Hans Alfredsson, author, film director and ’stand up comedian’ (before we knew that is what he also is). Afterwards,in the bar of 18th century restaurant ’Claes på hörnet’ I had an extremely interesting conversation with someone I did not meet for several decades. In Göteborg (Gothenborg).

I studied at the School of Economics and he was part of a generation of young, progressive and brilliant actors. We, some students belonging to Värmland-Dals Nation (a social organization for students coming from those two provinces) located in a nice, old cellar on Lorensbergsgatan close to Götaplatsen and Stadsteatern/ the City Theater, now and then went to Stadsteatern together to see a play. We had invited some of the young actors for a dinner we had prepared in our cellar, we went there to lay the table and the young actors, our age, came, accompanied by Harry Ahlin, a distinguished actor/gentleman in his late 60’s. — In the bar now we talked about life and ambitions then, and life today. We talked about critical theatre and research then, and now. A reference point was August Strindberg’s ‘Mäster Olof’ about the young revolutionary priest Olaus Petri, and his being forced to compromise with the king …

We had food and wine or beer and aquavit and discussed theater and culture and academia – and politics! This was during the ’student revolution’! I had been as an exchange student in Paris i June-July 1968 – in May I was not allowed to enter France. The months in an internship in an EDF power plant and in a regional main office south of Paris were fascinating and I learned a lot about life, work and politics – But that is another story…