Standard Swedish film histories largely neglect the history of cinema culture. However, recent research on Swedish cinema history indicates that there were indeed differences in cinema culture that are dictated by different ownership structures of the cinemas and, for example, their geographical location in a community (Jernudd, 2007; 2010). Furthermore, as international ‘new cinema’ research has shown, the notion of cinema as instrument of (urban) modernity is a strong one and it needs to be addressed what cinemas’ “urban” values meant to a largely rural cinema going population. With focus on exhibition and in a comparative triangular study of Swedish city, town and small community settings, my research explores cultural geopolitics and wants to test the value of governmentality theory as explanatory framework for how the experience of cinema going in its early heyday (1935-45) was molded by social, cultural, economic and political forces.

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