Master's thesis presentation - Sofia White Petterson
The candidate will present her thesis: Facilitating Emotional Engagement: A Textual Analysis of the Teen Soap Opera Skam´s Emotionally Motivated Style
The Norwegian web-series Skam (NRK, 2015-2017) has enjoyed an artistic and commercial
success that no other Norwegian television show has ever come close to. What is remarkable, considering its critical acclaim and broad appeal, is the fact that Skam is a show for and about (mainly) teenage girls, heavily influenced by soap opera – a genre widely considered to have little cultural value or artistic merit. I approach this teen soap opera from a Feminist Cultural Studies perspective and explore the relationship between style, emotional engagement and the experience of realism. Skam displays aesthetic influences ranging from the soap operas “go-to” close-up trope to stylistic tropes commonly associated with art cinema. However, in the teen soap opera context, such stylistic tropes function as a way of emphasising the characters´ emotions, thereby facilitating emotional engagement rather than critical distance.
I therefore argue that Skam has an emotionally motivated style, a concept that counters
essentialist aesthetic theories. Since the show has often been praised for its realism, I also
explore how reality is rendered in Skam, and address how an experience of realism relates to
the issue of emotional engagement.