Cultural radicalism

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Cultural Radicalism (Danish: Kulturradikalisme) was a movement in Danish culture. It was particular strong in the Interwar Period, but its philosophy has its origin in the 1870s and a great deal of modern social commentary still refer to it.

At the time of the height of the cultural radical movement it was referred to as modern. The words cultural radical and cultural radicalism was first used in an essay by Elias Bredsdorff in the broad-sheet newspaper Politiken in 1956. Bredsdorff described cultural radicals as people that are socially responsible with an international outlook.

Cultural radicalism has usually been described as the heritage of Georg Brandes's Modern Breakthrough, the foundations and early editorials of the newspaper Politiken, the foundation of the political party Radikale Venstre, to the magazine Kritisk Revy by Poul Henningsen (PH). By opponents of Cultural radicalism though, it often simply refers to the liberal intellectual elite.

The values most commonly associated with cultural radicalism are among others: criticism of religion, opposition to social norms, criticism of Victorian sexual morality, anti-militarism and an openness to new cultural input than the classic western (e.g. jazz, modern architecture, art, literature and theater).


Cultural radicalism is also used outside of Denmark. In Scandinavia it often refers to the Danish movement, but elsewhere the concept may just share etymology. In Sweden cultural radicalism has been seen as opposition to the Swedish Church, and opposition to the Neo-Victorian sexual moral. In Norway the movement has been associated with the magazine Mot Dag in 1930s and its authors such as Sigurd Hoel and Arnulf Øverland. In the US Cultural radicalism is sometimes used as the opposite of Cultural conservatism, especially in the context of Culture wars.

Cultural Radicals[edit]

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