Nordic Exceptionalism: Perspectives from the Outside (NEPO)
This project examines the concept of ‘Nordic exceptionalism’, which is globally recognised and often mentioned in cultural and political discussion around the world. However, it is not a modern concept that only reflects an economic model that emerged post-WW2. The project explores how ideas of Nordic exceptionalism have developed from the 18th century.
This project examines the early history of ‘Nordic exceptionalism’. As a concept, this is globally recognised and often mentioned in cultural and political discussion around the world. We propose two avenues of enquiry to unfold the history of the concept from 18th century to the beginning of the twentieth: 1. An analysis of how the Nordic countries were represented by outside perspectives. An analysis of these non-Nordic perspectives will show how diverse interpretations – positive as well as negative – competed for dominance in Europe and beyond. 2. An examination of how the Nordic countries (re)presented themselves to international audiences, often in response to outside perspectives, both independently of and in response to these outside perspectives.
The aim of the project is to explore how ideas of Nordic exceptionalism have developed since the eighteenth century. We will do this through a novel, empirically-based examination ranging from the period of the outbreak of the Great Northern War in 1700 to the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905.
- What did travellers or outside observers identify as peculiarly Nordic?
- How did publications in English, German, French, etc., by Nordic writers seek to shape a master narrative about the Nordics
- Is it possible to trace a direct line from historical perceptions to modern concepts of ‘Nordic exceptionalism’?
In answering these questions, we depart from the standard approach to the study of Nordic identity, which is to look at how an identity was formed primarily as self-representation (auto-stereotype). Our workshop discussion will examine the discursive archive that formed outside of the Nordics – and how this archive, in turn, influenced a conscious decision from inside the Nordic countries to deliberately seek to influence the perception of the Nordic countries on the international scene (feedback loop).
- Robert W. Rix, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
- Merethe Roos, University of South-Eastern Norway, Norway
- Cian Duffy, University of Lund, Sweden
- Eva-Lena Bergström, Nationalmuseum, Sweden
The project will organise three workshops during the two-year project period.
- University of Copenhagen, Denmark. 10/5–11/5 2023. Theme: Social Trust and Key Concepts of Nordic Exceptionalism
- University of Lund, Sweden. 31/01 - 01/02 2024. Theme: Representing the North – Progressive or Backward Societies?
- University of South-Eastern Norway (Drammen), 24/09 -25/09 2024. Norway Theme: Window to the World: International Influences and Nordic Responses.
Should you be interested in participating, please contact Robert William Rix.
|Rix, Robert William||Associate Professor - Promotion Programme||+4535328170|
|Sandberg, Anna Lena||Associate Professor||+4535328156|
|Duffy, Cian||University of Lund||Sweden|
|Roos, Merethe ||University of South-Eastern Norway||Norway|