The year 1952 has been seen as a turning point in Finnish post-war history: the Olympics were held in Helsinki, Finn Armi Kuusela won the first Miss Universe title and the last dispatched train of deliveries paying Finnish War reparations to the Soviet Union crossed the Russian border. The year 1952 was also important in terms of cultural exchange in Finland, since the country joined the American Fulbright programme, which had been established by US Senator J. William Fulbright in 1945. Finland could not join the programme in the late 1940s, because of the country’s fragile geopolitical situation. Before joining the programme, it was to be ensured that the agreement would not jeopardize Finnish-Soviet relations. Sweden also joined the programme in 1952, Denmark signed up one year earlier, and Norway became a member as early as 1949.

This chapter examines the transatlantic educational exchange during the Cold War as the manifestation of American public diplomacy, more precisely educational diplomacy. It asks how American social sciences entered, through institutions and persons, the post-war Nordic countries. Secondly, this chapter investigates, as an example case, how one specific concept of American social sciences, namely “cross pressure”, was vernacularizedFootnote 1 in the everyday public sphere according to Swedish, Norwegian and, in more detail, Finnish newspapers.

The Scandinavian social sciences were strongly shaped according to American models and theories after World War II. The empirical, positivist and highly modernist social sciences, especially sociology and political science, were part of the US ideological foreign policy during the Cold War. They were harnessed to an American national security drive to prevent countries from falling into communism. At the same time, social sciences were starting to be idealized in terms of “objectivity”, that is, using positivist, systematic, quantitative, statistic and computer-based methodologies. The wide-reaching and carefully planned educational policy particularly concerned so-called third-world countries, but it was also targeted at Western Europe—especially during the first two post-war decades.Footnote 2 In the Nordic countries, the American modernization ideology was adapted to the building and forming of a Scandinavian type of welfare state. At the same time, many of the Nordic social scientists became public intellectuals in their own countries. A major portion of them had visited US universities after World War II.

The concept of public diplomacy was born, in the modern meaning, during the 1960s to replace the term “propaganda”, which had accumulated so many negative connotations. Exchanges were seen as “mutual understanding”, opening up spaces for dialogue and interchange of alternatives, rather than the deliberate manipulation of information to achieve a desired result.Footnote 3

But as the studies on propaganda show, the concept of public diplomacy is close to, if not a synonym for, the idea of “white propaganda”: the source of a message is known, the information is more or less accurate, but the message is presented in a manner that attempts to convince the audience only with the best ideas and political ideology.Footnote 4 According to Marek Fields, who has studied Anglo-American propaganda and cultural diplomacy in Finland during the Cold War, the exchanges were at least indirectly doing an effective propaganda job, “leaving every USIS/Helsinki propaganda effort clearly behind”.Footnote 5

The United States Information Agency (USIA)—known overseas as the USIS (United States Information Service)—was established in 1953, and the Fulbright programme was assimilated into it. Although the programme remained in the State Department under the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, it was administered overseas by USIA personnel. Fulbright himself insisted on keeping the programme independent, because he did not want it to become tainted as a propaganda tool in a negative sense.Footnote 6

Nevertheless, the Fulbright programme, as well as other exchange programmes, was the slow media of USIA-led Cold War propaganda from the early 1950s. By slow media, Lennie R. Johnson, who had studied “the philosophy and geography of US exchange programs”, means, besides exchange programmes, publishing and libraries, whereas the fast media section of USIA, for instance, consisted of film and broadcasting.Footnote 7 In my view, examining the long-term effects of ideological cultural diplomacy, the idea of “slow media”Footnote 8 is a precision concept. It brings out the fact that often ideas—being propagandist or more unintended—presented in culture and society will take time to be adapted and to become common in the public sphere.

Although the starting point is Finland, the focus of this chapter is on the wider Nordic adaptation of the Cold War American educational diplomacy. The chapter does not, however, investigate how conscious or subconscious the use of American ideas—considered to be adapted for cultural diplomatic or propagandist use—was among scholars, politicians and the media. This chapter also does not study other media, such as broadcasting (news, current affairs programmes etc.), but focuses on newspapers. In addition, the chapter concentrates on one side of “mutual understanding”, leaving out what Americans learnt from the post-war Nordic countries. After all, the programmes also provided grants for US scholars to go overseas.

Promoting World Peace in the Service of Society

Because of its Soviet relations, Finland was in an exceptional position as a target country for American cultural diplomacy in post-war Western Europe, although Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland were special cases as well. The histories of the Nordic countries differ in the twentieth century, not least concerning their political situation in international relations after World War II.Footnote 9 One good example of different histories between the Nordic countries is how they participated in the European Recovery Program (ERP), better known as the Marshall Plan. All the Scandinavian countries had different paths in accepting the aid.Footnote 10 The plan was predominantly aimed at the recovery of post-war Western European economies, but it also included (hard) sciences.Footnote 11 As studies have shown, the plan was not only about providing material resources to conduct research but also mediating American values for scientists in order to prevent them falling for the attractions of communism.Footnote 12

In the Nordic countries, the central ideological question of the Marshall Plan concerned the social democratic views of labour-dominated post-war governments in economic planning. In terms of social sciences, this situation was particularly interesting in Norway since one of the most renowned American social scientists, sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld, spent six weeks at the University of Oslo in 1948, building Norwegian social sciences according to American post-war foreign policy. Funded not by the Marshall Plan but by the Rockefeller Foundation, Lazarsfeld’s visitFootnote 13 was strongly associated with the current highly ideological effort to remake Western Europe in the image of America. His strategy was to establish sociology as a policy-evaluating science in service of government, but the Norwegian philosophically oriented sociologists looked askance at the idea of social scientists being “service intellectuals” conducting “governmental science”. The Norwegians wanted to act as bridge-builders, to ease the tension between progressive liberalism, democratic socialism and Soviet communism, rather than to enhance the modernist liberal economic progressive planning in policy making in the forms of “social engineering”.Footnote 14

Historically, intellectuals in the Nordic countries have often been used in the service of society. Accordingly, rather than remaining in the marginal avant-garde, they have been at the centre of society.Footnote 15 Strong ties between the State and intellectuals have long historical roots, especially in FinlandFootnote 16, and this has been manifested in the social sciences. Already before World War II, Finnish social scientists were conducting “service research” and “governmental knowledge production” with reference to the German Allgemeine Staatslehre and Verein für Sozialpolitik schools. The central aim of social research was not only to solve the problems raised by industrialization, but also to benefit the goals of social policy. In this kind of research, there was not much room for academic autonomy and critical approaches. To a certain degree the same research policy continued, yet now with the new American influence, in the post-war period, when social sciences were given a profound role in creating the Finnish version of a Scandinavian welfare state.Footnote 17

Although Finland did not join the Fulbright programme before 1952, the American scholarships started in 1949 with the introduction of the ASLA programme. The acronym stands for the Finnish words Amerikan Suomen Lainan Apurahat, Grants from America’s Loan to Finland. The loan, however, related not to World War II, but to World War I. Finland dutifully paid the loan and interest during the 1930s—unlike many other countries that had borrowed from the US. The number of Finnish exchanges in America was proportionally higher than that of any other foreign nation in the early 1960s due to the Finnish special arrangements.Footnote 18 The ASLA programme was later associated with the Fulbright programme, but it remained an independent exchange programme.

Sweden also joined the Fulbright programme in 1952. According to Mikael Nilsson’s analyses, the Fulbright agreement was tied to military hardware trading (signing the Mutual Defences Assistance Agreement) between the US and Sweden. In other words, the Fulbright programme was a propagandist tool for binding Sweden closer to the US culturally as well.Footnote 19 Norway had joined the Fulbright programme right away in 1949, and it was a strategic source for the recently established new national research council (Norges almenvitenskapelige forskingsråd, NAVF), which supported basic research, including social sciences. Under the programme, American visiting professors in particular played a central role in forming Norwegian social sciences.Footnote 20

The basic idea behind the Fulbright programme was to fund educational, cultural and science exchange worldwide with the money the US government received from selling war surplus property to foreign nations. Senator Fulbright, the former president of the University of Arkansas, had himself studied abroad.Footnote 21 The noble idea behind the programme was to promote world peace and understanding among peoples within the framework of internationalism, but recent research has shown that the programme was set out to display the values of Western democratic open society against the Soviet one as part of American cultural propaganda during the Cold War. It was designed not only to educate but also to indoctrinate.Footnote 22

During the Cold War, extra-university patronage had major interests with regard to science, including social sciences. Besides military, propaganda and intelligence agencies, private philanthropic institutions, namely the Carnegie Corporation, the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, also had an impact on the American social sciences.Footnote 23 Furthermore, they directed their activities overseas from early on.

The whole philosophy of cultural and educational exchanges preceded the actual Cold War. The independent American foundations had provided scholarships for academics worldwide in the mid-war period. Scholarship programmes and their grants became part of the international nation-state competition for leadership already in the late nineteenth century. The rivalry between the great powers was not only about political, military, economic and imperial supremacy, but also included developments in the fields of education and research. The scholarships were at the centre of cultural diplomacy, through which nation-states reinforced “their prestige by exporting the products of their national cultures and by attracting as many producers of knowledge as possible”, as the editors of a compilation on the history of scholarships write. All in all, the decades immediate after World War II saw the explosive growth of student exchanges to the United States.Footnote 24

The Exchange Programmes and the Nordic Social Scientists

The Rockefeller Foundation, which was established in 1913, started to support European social sciences after World War I, in order to reconstruct Europe after the war in the name of democracy and education. Nordic scholars also made use of the Rockefeller grants in the inter-war period. For instance, Heikki Waris, who later in 1946 became the first Professor of Social Policy at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Helsinki, visited the University of Chicago, founded by John D. Rockefeller, on a Rockefeller scholarship in 1934–1935.Footnote 25 Perhaps the best-known Nordic social scientists, Gunnar and Alva Myrdal,Footnote 26 visited the US even earlier on a Rockefeller scholarship, in 1929–1930, absorbing the teachings of famous Chicago School.Footnote 27

After World War II, the Rockefeller Foundation directed its efforts towards promoting American interests in Europe, because of the growing threat of communism on the continent, particularly after the communist coup in Czechoslovakia in 1948. The Foundation believed that the best way to achieve results in this conflict “between communism and western democracy” was to promote good science, including social sciences.Footnote 28 Besides Lazarsfeld’s visit, Norwegian social scientists benefitted from the Rockefeller Foundation in various ways. In 1946, the Foundation assigned a grant for the social science-oriented philosopher Arne Næss, whose students visited leading research centres in the US from 1946 to 1951.Footnote 29 Since social sciences were either created or established in Europe after the war, American influence was strongest at European universities in the immediate post-war period.Footnote 30

Many of the Finnish social scientists had spent some time in US higher education by the early 1980s (44% in economics and economic history, 43% in political science, 39% in political history and 33% in sociology). This was manifested in the reference sources of doctoral dissertations in political science and sociology at Finnish universities from 1952 to 1978, when the American sources of reference dominated the fields. As the major figure of post-war Finnish social sciences, sociologist Erik Allardt has often emphasized that the American influence in social sciences was stronger in Finland than in any other country.Footnote 31

This is difficult to prove, but the numbers of American references in Finnish social science literature are telling. For example, although the American scholarships had a significant impact on Swedish post-war academic life, including social sciences, European and above all Scandinavian textbooks still dominated the citations in Swedish publications.Footnote 32 Nevertheless, the academic contacts were also of crucial importance in post-war Sweden. It is estimated that by 2002, over 4500 Swedes were enrolled in American higher education institutions. Sweden was fourth (after Germany, the UK and France) in terms of Western countries sending undergraduates to the US.Footnote 33

This slow media ranged from the exchanges to publications and donations to libraries. For instance, the ASLA-Fulbright fund covered 40% of all the acquisition costs for the libraries of the University of Helsinki in the early 1950s.Footnote 34 Moreover, the creation of American libraries in target countries was one form of American cultural diplomacy. For instance, Erik Allardt obtained most of the central literature for his master’s thesis from the library of the US Embassy in Finland.Footnote 35

Erik Allardt visited the United States many times on a Rockefeller scholarship. The most important was his first visit to Harvard and especially Columbia University in 1953. In Columbia, Allardt’s visit coincided with a visit by Norwegian political scientist Stein Rokkan, and they both adapted the ideas of political sociologist Seymour Martin Lipset while they were there. In his memoirs, Allardt writes about two decisive encounters during his stay at Columbia: the first was Lipset and the second was the punch card machine.Footnote 36 Rokkan has been considered the pioneer of using computer technology in Norwegian social sciences and overall “domestication” of American models for Norwegian social sciences.Footnote 37 Of the Swedish academics, sociologist Torgny Segerstedt from Uppsala University had frequent contacts with American universities such as Standford and Columbia. Segerstedt not only helped young Swedish sociologists with their American contacts at his “Uppsala School of Sociology”, but also mentored Allardt from early on.Footnote 38

The renowned sociologists were opinion leaders in the 1950s and 1960s. Sociology was a trendy field of science. In the Nordic countries, sociology was strongly entangled with the forming of a welfare state. The role of opinion leaders was also noticed by the Americans. Paul Lazarsfeld conducted an influential empirical study on voting behaviour, which was published as The People’s Choice (1944). The study argued, among other things, that opinion leaders have a greater impact on audiences than simply hearing or reading the same information directly from a media outlet. Therefore, these “multipliers”, such as up-and-coming politicians, trade unionists, media professionals and academics, could function as channels of information in a targeted fashion through exchanges.Footnote 39

Indeed, the propagandist impact of the Fulbright programme was not limited to university circles. The Finnish ASLA grants, for instance, fall into four categories: leader grants, research grants, teacher grants and graduate student grants. That is why the programme included not just academics, but also civil servants, businessmen and politicians. Many future politicians and media company directors had graduated from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki, which was established right after World War II.Footnote 40 Also in Sweden, a remarkable share of the business, media and political elite were Fulbright scholars, including two later Swedish Prime Ministers, Olof Palme and Ingvar Carlsson, and other political party leaders.Footnote 41 Of the Danish politicians, Anker Jørgensen, Prime Minister in the 1970s (1972–1982), received a Fulbright scholarship as a trade unionist in the 1950s.Footnote 42 Unlike academic scholarships, the research grants were not only applied for. Americans, such as diplomats, could also offer grants to officials and CEOs.Footnote 43

Moreover, writings, speeches and statements based on the USIA-generated material for the press in the target countries, along with the exchange scholars’ own writings in their home country, consciously and unconsciously shaped the image of America and its superiority. Modernist sociological terminology entered the political language and newspapers. The sociologists were the first port of call when there was a need to explain the complicated, rapidly changing societal phenomena.Footnote 44 But how were these American ideas adopted in the Nordic public sphere?

Cross Pressures in a Modern Society

I approach the query of how American sociological terminology was vernacularized in the Nordic public sphere through a limited case study, mapping the appearance of the term cross pressure in Finnish (ristipaine), Swedish (korstryck) and Norwegian (krysspress) newspapers during the Cold War.Footnote 45 While being a central concept of American post-war sociology (of politics), the uses of “cross pressure” also reveal the problems the Nordic (welfare) states faced in the rapid post-war modernization process.

“Cross pressure” refers to a social situation in which an individual encounters a conflict of incompatible motives when having to make a decision. Typically, in political life, this kind of situation arises in voting behaviour when a person must decide between two kinds of politics that a party represents, of which a person supports the first but is resistant to the second, for instance. The cross pressures are often divided into attitudinal and affective dimensions. The first dimension means the conflict between alternative beliefs or courses of action, in which a person must decide under conditions which bring into play attitudes that motivate different and opposing choices. The affective (affiliative) dimension refers to a conflict that may result from a person’s attachment to several groups which have preferences for different alternatives.Footnote 46 Although the idea of cross pressure had been introduced in the early twentieth century by German sociologist Georg Simmel in his ideas of intersecting social circles,Footnote 47 its theorizing and adaptation were very much a product of post-war American sociology.Footnote 48

The concept was part of American positivist and behaviourist social science and the ideology of American pluralism that relied on a “pure science”. Voting and election campaign studies were conducted as “policy research”, but the concept was widely applied to other fields of society as well, namely advertising and consumer behaviour.Footnote 49 Overall, the theory of cross pressure was to meet the requirements for analysing a modern society whose members live in processes of social change and are forced to accommodate new societal and cultural conditions. This was very much the situation in the post-war Nordic countries when the welfare state project faced its acceleration phase, with substantial societal reforms (social security, labour force participation, income transfer through taxation, gender equality etc.). Since Finland was a latecomer among the Nordic countries, the post-war decades, especially the 1960s and the 1970s, were the formative years of Finnish welfare state development.

“Cross pressure” (ristipaine) made its first appearance in the database of Finnish newspapers in 1956, then referring to elections. The article cited a speech given at the meeting of the Finnish Political Science Association by a political scientist. He discussed cross pressure concerning the so-called swing or floating voters, who are not very much interested in politics and are unsure about their voting decision. The political scientist also discussed the role of class in party loyalty in Finland, where language and ideological factors cause deviations.Footnote 50

Another article from 1959 discussed how economic growth might result in the backing of communists in Finnish political life.Footnote 51 Erik Allardt had published his study Social struktur och politisk aktivitet (Social structure and political activism) in 1956 in which referring to the ideas of Lipset, he analysed Finnish “backwoods communism” (ödemarkskommunism in Swedish, korpikommunismi in Finnish), the radical communists in east and northern Finland. In the book, Allardt refers to the “cross pressure hypothesis” formulated by Lazarsfeld concerning the level of political passiveness. For instance, in isolated communities, where there is strong support for communists, the voting percentage is high.Footnote 52 According to the American model, “small communities see the world though the same-coloured glasses”.Footnote 53 Allardt’s article titled “Is Finland a mass society?” was published in the Uusi Suomi newspaper in December 1963. It was a translation of his article in Nya Argus, the Swedish-speaking cultural periodical. In the article, Allardt uses the term cross pressure to reveal the situation of large social groups in society; how they are difficult to mobilize in mass movements because of multidimensional cross pressures and loyalties tied to their lives.Footnote 54

In the Norwegian database, the term first appeared in 1958 (see Fig. 1), but it became more widely used in the early 1970s. As in Finland, the term refers predominately to political life in Swedish newspapers in the 1960s and the 1970s, and it was social scientists who used the term.Footnote 55 The first articles that used “cross pressure” in Swedish newspapers concerned “Projekt Metropolitt” directed by Professor of Sociology Kaare Svalastoga at the University of Copenhagen.Footnote 56 The project studied baby boomer males in all Nordic capitals (except Reykjavik). “Cross pressure” was used in the article to depict the attitudes towards military issues among different groups of boys.Footnote 57

Fig. 1
A graph illustrates the relationship between the occurrences of cross pressure ranging from 0 to 180 versus the year from 1955 to 1985. A curve, National Library of Finland begins at (1955, 0) and ends at (1985, 10). Another curve, the National Library of Norway begins at (1957, 0), and ends at (1985, 80). Values are approximate.

Total occurrences of “cross pressure” in Finnish (orange trendline) and Norwegian (blue trendline) newspapers 1955–1985.Footnote

The datasets used in this case study are by no means compatible nor even fully representative. Whereas Norwegians have digitalized all their newspapers for the National Library of Norway (Nasjonalbibioteket), the Finnish database of the National Library of Finland (Kansalliskirjasto) is not complete. While it contains one of the major newspapers in Finland in the twentieth century, Uusi Suomi (1919–1991), the collection lacks the leading newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and major regional newspapers. Since the search of the Swedish database for “cross pressure” (korstryck) resulted in so few hits (from 0 to 7 per year until the late 1970s) or the results were biased (most of the hits are from the same advertisement circulated in different newspapers in the early 1980s), I decided not to include the figure from the search conducted in the newspaper database of the National Library of Sweden ( However, I used the database to read the Swedish newspapers (see footnote 60).

Source: National Library of Finland, National Library of Norway

However, although “cross pressure” appeared often in the articles concerning the elections, they were only the fifth most common theme in Finnish newspapers according to my content analysis (see Table 1). Most commonly, the term was used under culture, domestic policy and economic policy issues. Culture accounting for over a third of all the articles is partly explained by fact that it includes TV and radio programmes; the content accounts of documentaries, teleplays and so on for the TV and radio section were taken from the broadcasters’ material, so the same texts were circulated in several newspapers. On the other hand, “cross pressure” was also a topic in many book reviews, both faction and fiction, as well as in theatre play reviews. This speaks to its role in the modern way of life. For instance, in a review on a young adult fiction book, the writer emphasizes the cross pressures of young people between class, love and education.Footnote 59

Table 1 Content analysis of “cross pressure” (ristipaine) in Finnish newspapers 1955–1985Footnote

The content analysis was conducted from the Newspaper Collection of the National Library of Finland. As mentioned, the database is not complete. The same kind of analysis was supposed to be applied to the Swedish and Norwegian collections, but the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020–2021 prevented my access to the collections. However, based on a search in the database of the National Library of Sweden, I was able to read the Swedish newspapers Svenska Dagbladet and Dagens Nyheter via microfilms at the National Library of Finland.

Domestic policy issues that include the term are mostly about political parties and their pressures in the government. Finland and other Nordic countries are multiparty political systems, meaning that a government can consist of political parties that are ideologically rather distant from each other. This often leads to a situation where a politician or a party must decide, according to the idea of “attitudinal conflict”, should one support a case against their ideology and supporters or split away from the government. Changing society also makes demands of the old parties. For instance, the Finnish Centre Party, which had changed its name from the Agrarian Party a couple of years before, was discussed in 1969. The newspaper pondered the party’s position under different societal cross pressures as the Finnish countryside was emptying, and the economic structure was rapidly changing.Footnote 61

In economic policies, “cross pressure” was often linked to the money markets, especially in the pages of Uusi Suomi, which was an official organ (until 1976) of the National Coalition Party (Kansallinen Kokoomus, Samlingspartiet), the leading Finnish right-wing party. For instance, in 1960, the paper wrote about how the growing state economy was producing a cross pressure between the private and public sectors of the Finnish national economy.Footnote 62 The Bank of Finland was also seen as being under political cross pressures.Footnote 63 Finnish post-war modernization, including the welfare state project, did not really start before the 1960s. Thereafter, the changes were so rapid that Finnish economy and business life had to cope with many kinds of political struggles, not least those concerning the growing taxation.

One interesting example, found in both Finnish and Swedish papers, was use of the term in the articles about the position of women in society. In 1969 Elsi Hetemäki, who soon became an member of parliament (1970–1991) for the National Coalition Party, wrote how a modern woman was living under multiple cross pressures:

You should be a good wife, a golden mother, an excellent professional at home and at work—increasingly in both areas. In addition, you should be a participative citizen and keep up with the times. And at same time, the modern woman should look neat and tidy, be sporty, cultural and in good health.Footnote 64

The same discussion continued in 1975, which the UN had declared International Women’s Year.Footnote 65 In 1979, Svenska Dagbladet published several articles, including Readers’ Letters, that discussed women’s position in society under the rubric Kvinnor i korstryck (Women in cross pressures). The newspaper also had a series of articles under the heading Systrar i Norden (Sisters in the Nordic countries). One of the articles stated that “despite strong Finnish women, Finland is a man’s society living in cross pressures”. According to the writer, Norwegian journalist, politician and feminist Birgit Wiig, the cross pressure originated from Finnish history: the Civil War, the close relationship with Nazi German during World War II and the influence of the Soviet Union have given conflicting models for Finnish women. Moreover, the attitude of the strong Finnish communist party towards women was conservative.Footnote 66 This is a good example of how different histories of the Nordic countries had an impact on such central issues of the Nordic welfare society.

Conclusion: Chasing the Human Factor Through Vernacularization

Norwegian Steinar Bryn has illustrated how idealistic social democracy conflicts with “mythic America” in several ways. Whereas America means individualism, self-realization, profit-orientation, freedom and so on, social democracy values community orientation, social responsivity, people orientation and equality.Footnote 67 Despite this dualism, American ideas of modernity, with its emphasis on rationalism, reform and its orientation towards the future, was not that far from the Scandinavian welfare project. Transplanting America’s modern social science ideas to the Nordic societies just needed to be applied to the local ground that was fertile for American ideas during the post-war years.Footnote 68

Looking at how one central concept of American modernist social science was vernacularized in the Nordic public sphere illustrates this in multiple ways. Whether it concerned politics, the economy or egalitarian societal issues, the cross pressures of modern society were very much the issues of the Nordic welfare states during their fast-moving reformative years. Although we often think that the “Nordic Model” was created in consensus, institutions, as well as individuals, had to make choices in cross-cutting cleavages in the fast-moving societies.

American scholarships were the central tool in mediating these ideas. The impact of American scholarships in the public sphere of target countries, however, is probably the most difficult subject to study—not only because the impact can often be noticed only years or decades after.Footnote 69

As we can see in the figures about the occurrence of the term “cross pressure” in the Finnish and Norwegian newspapers, the first peak is in the early 1970s (see Fig. 1). Moreover, when it was used in the 1960s, cross pressure referred mostly to its original use, that is voting behaviour and other dimensions of political life, and it was mostly used by scholars, “the opinion leaders” of the era.

However, the most numerous occurrences for the period under analysis come in the early 1980s. This indicates that social science terminology was vernacularized in everyday use on a delay, a couple of decades after its launch in the academic world. Whether we define them as cultural diplomacy, public diplomacy, PR, nation branding or propaganda, American scholarships represent various activities and circulation of mediated content that could be described as “slow media”.

Exchanges could also be seen as a form of strategic communication. Of the different forms of public diplomacy, the exchange programmes differ in that they directly involve the “human factor” in diffusing the interchange of people, ideas and opinions.Footnote 70 Although this human factor is difficult to study, one option is to investigate the vernacularization of American post-war ideas in the public sphere of the target countries. This chapter is only an example of the possibilities, hopefully a spur for further studies.