Fluid Identities and the Use of History: The Northern Lights Route and the Writings of Bengt Pohjanen

Anne Heith
Department of Comparative Literature and Scandinavian Languages, Umeå university, Sweden

Ladda ner artikelhttp://www.ep.liu.se/ecp_article/index.en.aspx?issue=025;article=024

Ingår i: Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 25:24, s. 227-241

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Publicerad: 2007-11-27


ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


The article highlights the impact of agency and context in analyses of the theme of identification in texts produced on the levels of aesthetics; ethnic mobilisation; region-building and the European project. The connection between cultural heritage and identity is discussed with examples which elucidate the role of literature in nation-building in the period of modernity and industrialisation. Texts by the Tornedalian author Bengt Pohjanen are foregrounded as part of the ethnic revival emerging in the nineteen-eighties. Swedish examples of the use of history are contrasted against the discourse of the Council of Europe’s Cultural Routes which is part of a supranational project aiming at the construction of a European identity in the political project of preparing the ground for European citizenship. The conclusion presented is that it is not viable to produce a “European identity cultural package” which runs the risk of conflating differences related to aspects such as language; ethnicity; gender; worldview and religion. Identities are fluid; they exist on various levels and shift in response to changing contexts. Sometimes they develop in overlapping discourses. One way of dealing with this is to think of identification as a constant negotiation of symbolic and concrete borders.


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