About the project

Europe is confronted with a series of social, cultural and economic challenges pertaining to globalization.

For Scandinavians in particular, a post-1989 world order has brought about enduring social identity crises, based on feelings of guilt and privilege vis-a-vis the rest of Europe and the world.

We find evidence of these crises in narratives that carry a strong ethical dimension and aim at influencing the reader's or audience member's social conscience.

The overall thesis of the project is that the analysis of these narratives will show how Scandinavians negotiate their sense of identity, peace and privilege in a new way in postnational narratives of guilt.

Thus, ScanGuilt heightens awareness of complex social issues by analyzing them in light of the cultural narratives produced to reflect upon, and affect, these issues.

Hailing from various disciplines, the researchers within the project will address the issues of ethics, aesthetics, identity and globalization as they pertain to film, literature, children's literature, television, drama and educational material.

The project seeks to gain high impact within the fields of literature and the adjacent fields of education, film, social, and gender studies through an original theme-oriented approach to understanding the dialectics between fiction, on the one hand, and a geopolitical social reality on the other.

As our focus is on this dialectic in a specific Scandinavian post-1989 welfare-state context, our ambition is that our results enter into dialogue with and carry forward a broader, international field of literary and cultural studies.

We also seek to contribute to a renewal of the field of Scandinavian literature and literary studies in general.


The primary objective of the project is to explore contemporary Scandinavian narratives of guilt and privilege socially, ethically and narratologically.

In a global context, an awareness of the suffering of others through poverty, war, trafficking, labor exploitation, immigration, gender inequality and
consumption clearly makes it difficult to justify one's own privilege.

Our literary and textual studies will focus on genre, the relationship between aesthetics and ethics, and the rhetorical use of tropes.

Our historical and thematic studies will focus on the evolvement of a Scandinavian/national identity in relation to the world at large.

Our educational studies will focus on narratives used in school in order to foster a Scandinavian-global social conscience.


The final output of the project will consist of individual and joint publications (anthologies, special topic issues of journals, etc.).

We will arrange workshops in connection with our publications

Two Ph.D. student hired for the project will disseminate their research through a dissertation and four conference presentations each.

We will also build and maintain a website explaining and displaying our research, and we will participate in media interviews, give talks and lectures and teach courses based on our research (BA- and MA-level).

Expansion through support from Norway's Research Council

Norway's Research Council has awarded support to what may be regarded as an international "sister" project:

Scandinavian Post-1989 Narratives of Guilt and Privilege: Men at War, Global Women, and Sacrificed Children

One Ph.D. student hired for the project will work with Scandinavian film/literature and the field of education (empirical studies/reception studies).

One Ph.D. student hired for the project will work within the field of Scandinavian art, ethics and aesthetics based on gender theory.

One Postdoc will be hired as a Scandinavian Studies scholar working with film/literature from a social science perspective (4 years with 25% teaching).

An international advisory board consisting of Scandinavian Studies scholars from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the U.S. will meet for a series of workshops culminating in an anthology.

The project manager (Oxfeldt) will publish her research results through various articles and a monograph.

Published Mar. 30, 2016 9:43 AM - Last modified Mar. 30, 2016 9:43 AM