Francesco Zavatti, a post-doctoral researcher from Södertörn University, recently received a ReNEW mobility grant as a part of ReNEW’s mobility program and was subsequently appointed visiting researcher at the Centre for Business History at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) in September 2019. The ReNEW mobility scheme is intended to intensify research collaboration and exchange of scholars especially within the University hub, but also with other universities engaged in research relevant to ReNEW.
During his research stay, Francesco Zavatti worked on his project Looking forward to the Oresund bridge. Hopes and Fears in Danish and Swedish History. The project aims to investigate which sets of diverging and conflicting ideas the establishing of a fixed link across the Sound has generated in the last two centuries. "Imagination has played a pivotal role in shaping the present-time Norden. Although deciding upon and building the Oresund Link that was opened for traffic in 2000 took less than ten years", Francesco Zavatti says, "a fixed link across the Sound has been imagined for almost two centuries. Its realization has been supported as well as opposed with the most diverging sets of arguments at the local, regional, and national level, ranging from its impact on the economy and the environment to matters of national sovereignty and even national security. Imagining the impact of a fixed megastructure across two shores is a subject worth investigating in order to understand Nordic cultural history".
Francesco Zavatti's preliminary studies are based on research in the Swedish archives and bibliographical sources. Thanks to the ReNEW mobility grant, Francesco Zavatti could extend his research to the archives and libraries in the area of Copenhagen. Furthermore, his research could benefit from the feedback received from CBS colleagues. "Beside the source acquisition phase, my research stay at the Centre for Business History at CBS has been rewarding in terms of networking and feedback and input received. This experience itself has, in a sense, built a link across the Sound!"
While at CBS, Zavatti presented a research paper on the role of the Danish and Swedish entrepreneurs in proposing projects for establishing an Oresund fixed link throughout history, with a focus on the 1950s when the Oresund Link was endorsed by the rise of Nordic cooperation, and the 1980s, when the European Roundtable of Industrialists lobbied massively to establish the Link. With the feedback received, Francesco Zavatti is revising his paper and will submit it to The Fifth Nordic Challenges Conference: Nordic Neighborhoods. Affinity and Distinction in the Baltic Sea Region and Beyond, due to be held in Stockholm in April 2021. Soon, you will be able to read a short contribution by Francesco Zavatti on the Oresund between imagination and history written for nordics.info.
In the picture Francesco Zavatti "touching" the Oresund Link from the harbour in Dragør, Denmark.