The Nordic Model of Whiteness and Exceptionalism: Representation of Otherness in Some Nordic Film and Television

  • Ružica Radulović Faculty of Drama Arts, University of Arts in Belgrade
Keywords:
Nordic whiteness, Nordic exceptionalism, colorblind society, racial identity, internal and external Otherness, Nordic film and television

Abstract

Race is a controversial question in the Global North, especially in those environments that consider themselves to be colorblind, while in fact they are predominantly white. This seems to be particularly the case in the Nordic countries, where the concepts of equality and egality are central to the mutual feeling of identity and where the racial discourse is marked by the prohibition of racial discrimination. By reducing the category of race to something fictive, one cannot address it openly in the contemporary Nordic societies. Therefore, this paper deals with the representation of Otherness – external and internal – in the Nordic film and television. As the paper focuses on the closely related notions of Nordic whiteness and Nordic exceptionalism, it is based on the categorial apparatus of postcolonial studies. The main hypothesis is that the widely spread positive hetero image of the Nordic region as socially open, tolerant and free, is undermined by the media representation of the identity of Other, where the prejudices, racism and paternalism towards the non-white population (and especially the non-white immigration) are being disclosed. The aim of the paper is to reveal how film and television, as potential correctives of the existing stereotypes, can reflect the ever changing political, cultural and social circumstances and by that, how (and whether) this image of Otherness necessarily corresponds to the narrative of exceptionalism and whiteness of the Nordic region. Nordic exceptionalism, together with Nordic whiteness as the integral part of the broader feeling of the Nordic identity, has become a part of the common political discourse and an object of discussion within the field of popular culture, literature and film. Still, the sense of one own’s exceptionalism has become a subject of critical debate, a myth to be debunked, as the phenomena such as the escalation of ethnic violence have marked the recent years in the Nordic societies. This development of the social, cultural and political circumstances has been reflected in the contemporary Nordic media production (film and television) and continues to be analyzed. The image of the Nordics, as being inherently white and homogenous, has thus been exposed as artificial and constructed.

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Author Biography

Ružica Radulović, Faculty of Drama Arts, University of Arts in Belgrade
Doktorand

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Published
2020-01-05
How to Cite
Radulović, Ružica. 2020. “The Nordic Model of Whiteness and Exceptionalism: Representation of Otherness in Some Nordic Film and Television”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 14 (4), 1247–1269. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v14i4.9.