Crime and Fantasy in Scandinavia

Fiction, Film and Social Change

Andrew Nestingen

  • Published: 2008
  • Subject Listing: Scandinavian Studies; Film and Media Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 336 pp., 20 illus., biblog., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: Not Avail Uk, Eire, Cont Eur
  • Series: New Directions in Scandinavian Studies
  • Contents

Scandinavian popular novels and films have flourished in the last thirty years. In Crime and Fantasy in Scandinavia, Andrew Nestingen argues that the growth and visibility of popular culture have been at the heart of the development of heterogeneous "publics" in Scandinavia, in opposition to the homogenizing influence of the post-World War II welfare state. Novels and films have mobilized readers and viewers, serving as a preeminent site for debates over individualism, collectivity, national homogeneity, gender, and transnational relations.

Crime and Fantasy in Scandinavia provides insight into the changing nature of civil society in Scandinavia through the lens of popular culture. Nestingen develops his argument through the examination of genres where the central theme is individual transgression of societal norms: crime films and novels, melodramas, and fantasy fiction. Among the internationally known writers and filmmakers discussed are Henning Mankell, Aki Kaurismäki, Lukas Moodysson, and Lars von Trier.
Andrew Nestingen is assistant professor of Scandinavian studies at the University of Washington.

"A fascinating analysis of the significance of crime fiction for our understanding of Scandinavia's transformations in an era of globalizing tendencies."
-Mette Hjort, author of Small Nation, Global Cinema: The New Danish Cinema

"This is an important work that urges Scandinavianists to rethink received notions about the welfare state and its legacy as well as the changing status of cultural productions."
-Ellen Rees, University of Oregon


Introduction: Popular and Social Transformation in Scandinavian Fictions

1. The New Popular Culture: Popular Fictions and Their Publics

2. Medium Concept: Scandinavian Genre and Art Film Hybrids

3. The Melodrama of Demand: Cultural Politics of the Scandinavian Melodrama

4. Johanna Sinisalo's Monsters: Popular Culture and Heterogeneous Publics

5. Autobiography and the Police: Life Writing and Its Publics

6. The Burned-Out Policeman: Henning Mankell's Transnational Police Procedural



"The reader is very satisfied to have been taken on a journey over a vast northern landscape that is no longer quite the same as it used to be, but which becomes more comprehensible after reading this convincing introduction to post-war Scandinavian culture."
-Peter Stenberg, Scandinavian-Canadian Studies, Vol. 20 (2011)