Makt, minnen och motstånd - En kulturvetenskaplig studie av Göteborgs första hbtqi+monument
In the year 2023 Gothenburg will erect a monument commemorating the city's struggle for LGBTQ+ rights. In the light of recent years toppling and destruction of colonial, patriarchal and hierarchical monuments, this paper looks at the function and value of monuments in the present day. Through text analysis and ethnographic methods such as interviews and observations, the study uses a critical-theoretical framework to examine the cultural, political and social struggles that affect the establishment of the LGBTQ+ monument. I argue that the politics of memory should be seen as an act of power which affects individuals, groups and societies as well as our perceptions of history, present times and the future. The paper's result shows that the LGBTQ+ monument can be understood as an attempt to change the one-sided history that traditional monuments generally have maintained and (re)produced. A post-democratic discourse gives the monument a democratic function to act as an inspiration, catalyst and platform for equal rights. Furthermore, I argue that the monuments' function and value in the public space could be ambivalent. On the one hand, the monument is a public recognition of LGBTQ+rights, and as a venue it can be used as a political platform for people identifying as LGBTQ+ to make allies and articulate demands for equal rights. On the other hand, the city of Gothenburg appears to be operating in line with entrepreneurial urbanistic strategies. This implies that the monument could be utilized as a tool to display diversity in order to market the city to the “creative class”. Even before its establishment, both the city of Gothenburg and political parties in the municipal council seem to use the monument to distinguish themselves as progressive and civilized compared to others. Overall the paper shows that the establishment of an LGBTQ+ monument in Gothenburg in 2023 should be understood as a public stance in a contemporary intersection of globally recognized cultural political debates, historical conditions, ideological shifts and post-democratic logics.