Scandinavian crime fiction and the end of the welfare state (7 Mar 2013)

Scandinavian crime fiction and the end of the welfare state (7 Mar 2013)


>>Hello everyone
and welcome to UCL. I see that the room has
fallen respectfully silent. So I might as well proceed
with the introduction and Jakob to proceed with the lecture. It is a great pleasure
to introduce Jakob. Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen
is a lecturer in Scandinavian literature
at the School of European Languages
Culture and Society. And he is currently writing
a book on the Nordic Noir. Which if you’ve ever
seen The Killing or read a Mankell novel I think
you’ll know what we’re talking about here. He is locally and
nationally famous for his contributions
to the scene. He has featured on the
BBC Timeshift documentary on Scandinavian crime
fiction a few years ago. And he is also the founder of the Nordic Noir Scandinavian
crime fiction book club here in London. So there’s really none
better to talk to you about Scandinavian crime fiction and the end of the
welfare state.>>Thank you very
much, Ms. Hanna. And thank you all for coming. Thanks for the invitation
to talk in the UCL lunch hour
lecture series today. About two years ago
the department of Scandinavian studies at UCL launched the public
engagement project, Nordic Noir, a Scandinavian crime
fiction book club. We were curious about the recent
success of Nordic crime fiction in the UK and we wanted to learn
from readers, fans, translators, publishers, and authors
what it was about the genre, the Nordic settings,
and characters that made these novels
and TV series travel so far beyond the Nordic region. In 2011 Stieg Larsson’s
millennium trilogy were still commuters preferred
reading on the tube and Kenneth Branagh have
become the personification of the global success
of Nordic crime writing as the now English
speaking Wallander. And this was before the success
of Sarah Lund’s [inaudible] in The Killing and the
Scandinavian design interiors of boyen [phonetic] of Borgen. Now, with about ten
public events behind us and a thriving community
of readers and viewers who patiently also meet in
our social networks online, the book club is
still going strong. We continue to share our reading
experiences, talk to authors about their books,
to translators about their translations, and over the past few years we
have had several events taking place in various atmospheric
locations around Bloomsbury. We have discussed a range
of very important issues. Why is the weather always
so bad on the book covers of Swedish crime novels? Even if the weather
is pretty decent in the stories themselves. We have discussed
how volcanic activity in Iceland influences
the Icelanders and Icelandic crime novels. Why Norwegians spend
their Easter holidays in mountain cabins reading
crime stories on milk cartons. Why you need to know that
sometimes left is right in Danish coalition politics. That Danish vowels are key
to following Danish TV drama. And how one bridge between
Denmark and Sweden can lead to cultural interactions and
misunderstandings necessary for the plot of the Danish/Swedish
TV series, The Bridge. The book club and its
members are not afraid of viewing crime fiction and
the Nordic cultures from, let’s say, creative angles. And while questions
about the motives of Nordic crime fiction have
been plentiful and the sleuths of our book club have been
persistent and resourceful, one question in particular has
consistently evaded capture and prosecution. Did Nordic Noir kill
the Nordic model? How is it that these
peace loving, low crime, egalitarian almost annoyingly
happy universal welfare states of northern Europe show such
ingenuity in fictional accounts of horrific criminal acts, seral
murders, police corruption, misogyny, and phobia, broken
families, lonely alcoholics, and a general incapacity of
the welfare state to deal with social inequality,
deviant behavior, and to provide for the personal well
being of their citizens. In short why is it that Nordic
Noir so obviously bears a grudge against the Nordic
welfare societies? In this lunch hour
lecture appropriately on the world book day, I will
first thank all the readers and members of our book
club who have engaged us and Nordic crime fiction with
curiosity and enthusiasm. And helped us formulate research
questions about the role of poplar literature in society. And before I proceed to
give a short overview of Nordic crime fiction
and finally some thoughts on Sarah Lund’s jumper and
the welfare state my personal experience with this
book club in particular, as I’m sure thousand of
people who participate in similar book clubs around
the world will agree is that if anyone every doubted
that literature has a key role to play in shaping and
strengthening our communities and societies one need only lend
an ear to the conversations, the sharing of personal
reading and life experiences across generations
and backgrounds that take place throughout the
world every day around books. While you would not be amiss
to claim that true function of literature in society
depends on its ability to be shared amongst
readers, in other words, that the venture is only
partially for silent reading in our private chambers. My own research which has gone out in the Nordic Noir book
club considers the ways in which crime fiction and
literature more generally since the 1960s in the Nordic
welfare states has changed and how it has changed our
conceptions of what it means to have a good and happy life. This inquiry has so far led
to a conference here at UCL and a special issue of
the journal Scandinavica where in colleagues
from UCL and University of Southern Denmark took an
early step in the new field of literary welfare studies. Our intent was to
formulate a poetics of the Scandinavian
welfare state by considering the multiple ways in which post world war
II Scandinavian fiction is intertwined with
the welfare state. We consider both how
fiction has dealt somatically with the welfare states new
types of people, mentality, social formation, languages,
and conceptions of well being. And how fiction itself
may have changed by the challenge of
the welfare state. Although it is to early
to draw any conclusions from this ongoing
work, it is interesting to see how deep the gulf appears
to be between the perceptions of welfare and well being
amongst the citizens of the Nordic countries and
the stories that are being told about life in the welfare state. Anyone who has seen the
Danish TV drama, The Killing, will agree that very
few, if any, of the characters whose
lives we follow both at work and at home are particular
happy, content, full of meaningful
social relationships, trusting the legal,
political, financial systems of the Danish welfare state. And then look at this, the
Danes are the happiest people in Europe. And have been insanely
happy at least since such measurements
started in the early 1970s. People have quite rightly
been surprised by this. And when it was reported on the
American TV show 60 Minutes back in 2008 the sec man
wondered how it can be that such a gloomy country and
the home of miserable Hamlet where people live
on herring, beer, and cigarettes could
possibly be the happiest. Surely it would make one
happier to live in say Italy, where at least the weather
and the food is better. Or a country where you
didn’t have to pay 50 percent of your income in taxes. Nevertheless, when asked, 70
percent — I’ll go back down — 71 percent of Danes replied
that they are very satisfied with life in this
universal welfare state. Other Nordic countries,
of course, not far behind. No one but David Camren who
in 2010 initiated a project to assess the well being
of British citizens and recently [inaudible] have
taken turns visiting their Scandinavian neighbors
to learn more about how the state can
make its citizens happy. Obviously even the more larger
significance was the Duchesses of Cornwall’s visit to the
set of The Killing in 2012 where she was presented
with a cardigan of the trademark pullover
worn by Sofia Grabol. Crime fiction and welfare are
intertwined in interesting ways. They’re both national
and regional brands. One sells happiness,
the other glum. Where the welfare state
guarantees individual freedoms we find crime stories
of constraint. Where the state provides for
the children and the elderly, we read stories about
the failure of the state to empathize and care. Where the state provides
the frame work for well functioning
communities and families, crime stories overflow with
lonely and excluded characters on both sides of the law. Where Nordic welfare
societies have a high level of gender equality,
we find narratives of deeply routed inequalities
and violence against women. Even the material well being
provided by welfare state leads to stories of rampant
individualism, over consumption,
and a loss of morals. In other words, while
the Nordic welfare states or welfare societies are up
held as ideals, however utopian, the stories that have
been told at least since the 1960s are
permanently dystopian. While many of you surely know
your Nordic crime fiction history backwards and
forwards, I will, however, attempt to give a very
short history of the genre and mention some of its by now
canonical works in case one or two of you still have the
luxury of being unacquainted with Nordic Noir beyond Stieg
Larsson and The Killing. While crime fiction in Nordic
countries has a long history going back to at least the
first part of the 18th — of the 19th century,
it’s in the period since the Second World War that Nordic crime fiction has
contributed a particular accent and a growing number of a
globally successful authors to a predominately
Anglo American genre. Nordic crime fiction since
the Second World War has been indebted to the golden age of British crime writers
in the 20s and 30s. The writers such as Dorothy
Sayers and Agatha Christy and she has many traits with the
Americans hard boiled private detective stories
of Raymond Chandler and the police pistols
of Ed McBane. But when Maj Sjowall and
Per Wahloo ten volume series about Martin Beck, collectively
known as Report of a Crime. And a new wave of crime
writing in the 1990s. Nordic crime fiction was to
add the various subgenres of crime fiction and emphasis
on social realism and criticism. Gloomy Nordic locations and
the trademark morose detective. In the 1960 Sjowall and
Wahloo have translated several of Ed McBane’s 87
precinct novels and found in his pioneering police
procedurals the inspiration for a formula where
in the private lives and personal struggles of
police officers are mirrored in the larger social
political landscape of Sweden’s peoples home, the
particular Swedish version of the Nordic welfare state. From their marks [inaudible]
perspective the authors explicitly aim to use their
crime novels as a means to analyze the Swedish
welfare state, to link crime to the states political
and ideological doctrines and to reveal its
received fascist nature. The subtitles of
the novels report of a crime was both an
indicator of the genre and a problematic statement
criticizing the criminal subservience of the
welfare state to capitalism. From row Roseanna in 1965 to
The Terrorist in 75 Sjowall and Wahloo crime novels follow
Beck and his homicide squad from the sex murder of an
American tourist to the murder of a prime minister in
the Swedish police state, anticipating the murder of
the Swedish prime minister, Olof Palme, by a decade. In their investigations Beck and
his team are constantly faced with an impenetrable police
bureaucracy and metonymy for a brutal society
that gradually over shadows this idealic
Swedish welfare state. Less politically
radical in his critique of Danish society Anders
Bodelsen’s similarly used the social realistic thriller
to explore the new realities of the welfare state in
Think of a Number from 1968. Bodelsen insisted that connected
conflict should be understood through the private. And in his break through
novel the personal conflict of a banker sheer who is
tempted to hide the loot from a bank robbery is reflected
in societies balancing act between materialism and
social responsibility. In the late 1880s — 1980s and 1990s the Nordic national
thriller gained attention as Jan Guillou [inaudible]
series from ’86 to 2006 featuring the
Swedish spy Carl Hamilton. And nobleman with socialist
dealings and with the work of Leif Davidsen whose political
thrillers focused on Russia and the new Europe in The
Russian Singers in the 1980s and The Serbian Dane from 1996. Like Bodelsen and later Stieg
Larsson these writers were already well known. And in the case of [inaudible]
controversial journalist who used the subgenre of
the thriller to criticize and reflect on the
changing national and global political
climate in the final years and the aftermath
of the cold war. Although it was the police
procedural in the style of Sjowall and Wahloo that would
write the cusp of the new wave of the Nordic crime
writing in the 1990s. Continuing in the
footsteps of Martin Beck, Henning Mankell’s
inspector Kurt Wallander, Ake Edwardson’s chief
inspector Erik Winter, Arnaldur Indridason’s
detective Erlendur, and Hakan Nesser’s chief
inspector Van Veeteren have become synonymous with the
Nordic police procedurals male and high hero investigator. Mankell’s Wallander series
from Faceless Killers in ’91 to the Pyramid in
’99 takes place in and around the provincial
southern Swedish town of Ystad on the shore of the Baltic. Mankell intended the Wallander
series as an investigation into the deterioration of the often celebrated Swedish
social consciousness infected by a growing sense of
insecurity and sinophobia. While set in the provincial
border land Mankell’s crime fiction is global in scope. Confronting the attitudes of a provincial Swedish
[inaudible] towards border crossing phenomenon such as
immigration, organ trafficking in the developing world, human
trafficking in Sidetracked from ’95, Swedish
mercenaries in the Congo in The Fifth Women in ’96. And an international conspiracy
to destroy the financial system to right the wrongs of a worldwide economic
inequality in Firewall from ’98. Rather than focussing
solely on crimes in their investigation Mankell’s
texts devotes much attention to Wallander’s thought
processes. His poor habits, ailing body,
and deteriorating relationships. With this psychological and bubbling wounds Wallander
throughout the series becomes a complex reflector of a society
unable to commit ethically and with solidarity
to the challenges of a globalized world. Less explicitly critical
of contemporary society and less interested in international affairs
then Mankells is Nesser’s Van Veeteren series from ’93
to 2003 as the setting in a fictitious country
suggests. However, a recurrent theme that
Nesser’s crime fiction shares with several other Nordic
crime novels is the abuse of women by men. Most explicitly in Woman
with Birthmark from ’96. Although not exclusively writers
of crime fiction and focussing to a larger extent
on the psychological and communal effects
of crime Kerstin Ekman in Blackwater from ’93. And Karin Fossum in the series on Konrad Sejer including
Don’t Look Back from ’96 has similarly
explored the geographical and cultural peripheries
of late modern Scandinavia and internationally
acclaimed crime novels. Ekman’s Blackwater is a forceful
account of environmental and communal starvation as
a result of modernization and the rise of centralized
welfare institutions. Dominating the debates
about Nordic crime writing in the 1990s and to a large
extent the best sellers list was what was first became known
in Sweden as femi-crime. Crime novels with a female
protagonist written by women, often from a feminist
perspective. This new wave of women crime
writers includes Liza Marklund, Camilla Lackberg from Sweden
[inaudible] from Denmark, the Norwegian Anne Holt and
the Finnish Leena Lehtolainen. While indebted to the
often masculine conventions of the genre and the Nordic
social realist tradition including the focus on gender and sexual politics these
writers reverse the traditional depiction of women in
this genre as passive, Asexual, and inferior. From an explicit feminist
perspectively Liza Marklund’s series with the journalist
Annika Bengtzon beginning with The Bomber from ’98
recounts the struggles facing an ambitious female crime reporter,
juggling family responsibilities in her every day life in a male
dominated world while solving crimes that also include
domestic violence. Violence against women and the
corruption of the welfare state and moral bankruptcy of
capital also central themes in Jussi Adler-Olsen
Department Q series and Stieg Larsson’s posthumously
published international block buster the millennium
trilogy publish in Sweden between 2005 and 2007. While the global success
of Nordic crime fiction in the new millennium
is indebted to the unprecedented
sales and global reach of these three novels and their
later film adaptations the millennium trilogy also shares a
more local and critical interest in revising the culturally
suppressed interest of right wing ideologies and the
legacy of the Second World War on contemporary Swedish society. But novels such as
Amadeus Requiem 2004. Gunnar Staalesen At Night
All Wolves Are Gray from ’83 and Jo Nesbo third Harry Hole
novel, The Redbreast, from 2000. In the 21 century Nordic crime
fiction is literary genre and the publishing phenomena which has been tamed its local
social critical potential in a global market for
books and entertainment. The success of this genre
is increasingly reinforced by film adaptations and
series made for television such as Mankell’s Wallander
series and The Killing. Nordic Noir or Nordic crime
fiction could be named welfare crime. On the one hand as a
consumer article now available in any super market on
TV every hour of the day. The reading and viewing of
crime fiction is an activity which reflects the leisure
activities and the patterns of consumption fit
for a large section of society belonging
to the middle class. Was it not for the
welfare state such books and TV production made for the
Danish public service channel would not be consumed in the
rate and manner they are. They would probably not be
written or produced either. As most of the authors had other
mostly white collar occupations before turning to crime. It appears this the most
frequent prior occupation for crime writers is journalism. But there’s also a growing trend of law enforcement personal
turning to fictional crime. One of the positive effects of a well functioning
social safety net is that people are not so anxious
about changing their job and careers as the
living standards of Scandinavians do not diminish
considerablely should they lose the security of their
steady job while they wait for their crime novels to
climb the best seller lists. While welfare crime
fiction is sustained by the material circumstances
of the welfare state, this on the other hand is a
genre that deals dramatically and critically with the
daily exploits and anxieties of the larger middle class and
the limitations of the social and communal framework
of state institutions. One of the clearest expressions
of this anxiety about the death of the welfare state
and the fear that it never really was
anything but a utopia is found in Henning Mankell’s
first Wallander novel Faceless Killers. Wallander realized that he was
not alone with his feelings of uncertainty and confusion at the new society
that was emerging. We live as if we
were in mourning for a lost paradise, he thought. As if we long for
the car thieves and the safe crackers
of the old days. But those days have
irretrievably vanished. And no one is certain
that they were as idealic as we remember them. Today this obsession with
crime writing with the death of the welfare state is close
to becoming a genre cliche. That is used to frame all sorts
of unbelievable story lines. In the press release
and on the DVD box set for the Danish TV series Those
Who Kill, which was also shown on ITV here in Britain
last year, one meets the following accounts of crime beyond the well
functioning welfare state presented as a post
apocalyptic dystopia. As I read you the full text
as it is rather good I think. Those Who Kill is a crime series about violent criminals
surrounded by fear and mystique, the serial killer. Although till now we’ve been
able to curtail their activities with early and effective
interventions via the safety net of a comprehensive social
welfare system in Scandinavia. But times have changed. Borders have opened up. Social welfare is in decline. And slowly but surely the
whole system has become imbued with a sense of resigned
impotence and callus disregard for those it once
sought to rescue. The rifts in the net
have become so large that bigger fish are
slipping through the mesh. And as a result a new type of
crime is starting to burgeon. Killings not grounded
in traditional motives and patterns of behavior. This presentation of
a welfare dystopia which in the series
itself looks much like contemporary
Denmark I’m afraid, draws upon a Danish consensus
affirming the neutrality of the welfare state
and all aspects of life. It creates a social safety
net which to catch the fish that threatened to
slip out of society. It’s the welfare state
that protects its citizens, cares for the sick, provides
trust between people. But times have changed. The crisis of the welfare
state that also bound unnoticed in the 1990s has led to
a new type of criminal, the serial killer, most often
associated the narratives from American poplar culture, the dangerous other
in Nordic welfarism. While it is not obvious from
the series itself the reason for the end to the Danish
welfare state is its decline in the near future is that
the borders have opened up. It is tended to think
that the borders referred to here are the national
borders surrounding the utopia and harmonious welfare
state, now made porous by the various processes and
products of globalization. The serial killer is now popping
up in every weekly episode in a country that has possibly
only witnessed one case that could be defined as
such in recent history are like the are trolls, witches,
and dark forest of folklore into which we used to project
our anxieties and fears about strangers and the
unknown beyond the safe confines of the idealic welfare state. So what does this have to do with the [inaudible]
I here you asking? Now, while one it’s an
interesting way and body of host of the less endearing
characteristics of the traditional morose
male detective in Nordic Noir, unable to relate socially
and responsible to a family and a succession of
imperfectional partners and an increasing
lack of well being. Her iconic literary signals
and nostalgic longing for much simpler times and the
golden age of the welfare state in the 1960s, 1970s
where this sort of jumbo was a counter
culture uniform. Danes wears it as an
ironic piece of armor against the corruption of
politics, the brutalization of society through war and
the subservience of justice and democracy to major
business interest in the 21 century throughout the
three seasons of the TV series. In the end the accumulation of
injustices, the opaque workings of the political
system provoke her to take matters into
her own hands. Rather then being the detective who in the end solves the crime
there by returning justice to the state she
herself abandoned by all hope commits
the eponymous killing, possibly disillusioned
by her own lack of responsible engagement
with her nearest. Her private story, her lack
of close familiar relations is as in so many other welfare
crime stories terrifyingly similar to the welfare state
that has lost all its power to encourage trust
and provide security and wellbeing for its citizens. As in any good crime story
now that I have rounded up the many suspects I should
reveal whether Nordic Noir really killed the
Nordic welfare state. Or, indeed, if a body
has every been found. Keeping in mind that my evidence
is limited to that provided by the Nordic crime
writers themselves, which I realize are
very dubious witnesses, and may seriously compromise
my case, I will have to say no. The killer is still at large as is the body of
the welfare state. Stay tuned for a second season. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Thank you, Jakob. Jakob with his usual pose and discipline has left us ten
whole minutes for questions. So may I invite questions. [ Pause ]>>Thank you very much for
that illuminating lecture. I just want to ask, I sort of not sure entirely what
you mean by welfare crime? Do you have a definition
for it to help me?>>I am looking for
a definition. This is an early attempt to — welfare crime is often used in
reviews in Scandinavia as sort of derogatory because
it is not as exotic as Italian crime novels where
they have really exotic crimes. Welfare crimes sort of run of the mill every
day crime fiction. My definition is a bit complex
because it builds at first with the fact that a lot
of these crime novels that should be about, you
know, real exciting murders and how they were —
how to prosecute — how to prosecute the
criminals they are really about every day life. Right. So it’s an attempt to emphasize the
social realism aspect. That this is about how do
you get your children looked after if you have to go
out and find the murderer. How do you take care
of your elderly when you don’t have
time for them? This is something that
the welfare state has to take care of. And how do you relate
to those family issues when the welfare state has
taken away all those — all those things that
are close and near to us. So that’s one of those sort
of dramatic welfare conflicts that we find across
these novels. On the other hand, I also
think that as I also said in my lecture that the
mass of crime novels that we see are really
an expression of a well functioning welfare
state in that people are allowed and given time to write novels. I mean, it is often
overlooked but one of the early formulations of
what the welfare state was all about is well that people should
feel safe and secure enough to do whatever they want. And that could be
cultural activities. This was formulated in
the 1950s by philosophers and politicians together
at big meetings and at modern art
galleries in Copenhagen. But you shouldn’t feel secure
as a person, as an individual. Right. You shall have
safety of the state but ecstatically you
should still feel insecure. And what you were about to
do was you were about to go out there and realize yourself
and find out your own existence. I mean, this is something
that’s often overlooked in todays political discussions about what the welfare state
is suppose to do for us. It’s mostly about
material things. But I think that’s one
thing that’s been taken up by these crime novels
is actually to try and find out well, who are we now who
live in this welfare state and we have been given
this opportunity to go out and spend our time doing
something else then work. Thank you for the question. [ Pause ]>>Thank you. Given the explosion
in Nordic literature across the world don’t you think
it’s potentially becoming a little bit more superficial
then, dare I say it, the authors are just, you know, swimming with the
tide and making money?>>Absolutely. I hope they do because, I mean, being an author is
not an easy living. I mean you want to, you want
to make money writing books. I mean, I think we’re
pretty safe to say that most of the novels published
still today are sort of the back catalogs of
good Nordic Noir crime. I mean, most of the novels that are being published today
were published five, six, ten, fifteen years ago
in Scandinavia. So there is still a lot of
the backup to get through. Some of it, of course, you
know, are the varying quality of what you need as a reader. Some of these crime novels
are of course written for pure entertainment. While others have, you know, have something they
want to tell us about. Something that is their
own life experience. I mean, I talked about
these journalist writing. They often write very
problematic stories about things that they could have written
in the newspaper article. And one could say I would rather
read a newspaper article then a whole novel about this issues. Or we have former
prosecutors, police men, who write about their
experiences in a sort of fictional account. I mean that’s interesting to
read about in an exciting book. It depends on what you are
looking for as a reader I think. And I think Nordic Noir is
any poplar genre gives the possibility of one to find,
you know, a variety of stories for different situations.>>Thank you for the
very interesting lecture. It gave me something to think
about that I haven’t thought about before that the
shadows which are produced — which produce crime writing has
something to do with the closing of culture, the closing
of libraries, the closing of archaeological
departments and, I mean, I know that my sons
doing archaeology and nobody can get a job in it. And libraries and museums. But the question I was
going to ask before you put that in my head was do you think
there will be more crime writing about hospitals now we
know about each structure and now that, dare I say it, that Malcolm Grant okayed
Sir Nickelous to stay on as a commissioner who
was in charge of strategy. And do you think that climate in the Nordic countries
has something to do with the amazing
crime writing stories? Sorry. It was a bit muddled. I was going to ask
about climate. But and then I thought
I’d get the courage to mention what Malcolm Grant
said in the times two days ago. I’ll probably get expelled now.>>Thank you. Very interesting question. Well, I think basically
crime writing as all story telling has
always been in folklore. And I mentioned folklore
and mythology. I mean, there’s always
been stories that tended to help us negotiate,
communicate about facing things that we do not understand. Times have changed. Transformation in our lives. Our uncertainties
and insecurities. And these are shared by
people all over the world and are fairly common
to all of us. And changing structures in
society such as certain jobs that have become superfluous
or people get fired. All these things are
fantastic engines for writing good crime
stories about them because we can share these
stories and crime fiction as I see it is a vehicle
for sharing stories about our existence, our daily
lives, and our wellbeing. I will hope that
some stories come out about closing
down hospitals. I mean that seems perfectly — a perfectly good story
to me to start with. And libraries, lots of crime
fiction set in libraries that are you know, terrifying. So I can’t see — I
can’t see why not. I mean, I think that’s the
whole purpose of poplar fiction to be shared about
our societies.>>I very much enjoyed your
talk, you know, thank you. I recently read a very amusing
light hearted story called the 100-year-old man who
stepped out of a window and disappeared, Jonas Jonasson. Definitely not Nordic Noir but
sort of connected to the genre. And about someone — a very old
person who decides to escape, as it were, one of the
provisions of the welfare state and have a lot of fun. It’s a bit of a road story. I can imagine it being
made into a road movie. Do you have any comment about
the development of that sort of genre linked to the welfare
state in the Nordic countries?>>Excuse me. Of that novel particularly or –>>Yes. Not that
particular novel but perhaps that as representing of all
maybe a strand that has emerged.>>Yeah. I do take that I make
crime writing and it’s going to sound like the only
writing that deals with themes of welfare and wellbeing. And if you take a chance to look at ask our economic
issues you will see that there is no crime
writing in there. I mean, there are
stories parallel to the ones that you mentioned. Pat Patterson, Out Stealing
Horses, for example. These are stories about people who negotiate their own
identities in relationship to consensus of community. So can I perform my identity
within this community? What happens if I
put myself outside? Can I do without others? And that is a real tension in
Scandinavian fiction, I think, between individual and society. And it’s negotiated in
so many different levels. You also have almost a
whole soft genre of, um, sort of a pensionist
novels these days of people in institutions coming out. So the whole genres of
nursing homes, for example. Nursing home novels. And, I mean, some of them are
written by incredibly prolific and interesting authors
who have had experiences with either parents or others
in that kind of welfare system and are wondering
where is our humanity. How can I put that into writing? How can I share that
experience in interesting ways? And I do feel that fiction by and large asks different
questions then maybe we usually get if we have a
welfare society hearing in the chambers of government. And we do ask different
questions and we get different kinds
of answers then the sorting out politics and procedures
that we usually get. And much more should be
written about and read of these particular novels. Thanks for that question
that was a good one. [ Pause ]>>Thank you very much. I was wondering how much
this Nordic Noir is part of a branding from the
Scandinavian Nordic region. I mean, would it be
possible to think that the femi-crown fiction
in Denmark, for example, would have more to do with
the [foreign language spoken] in Germain and the in France
[foreign language spoken] then it actually has with a
Finnish crime novels from, you know, Northern Finland?>>That’s a good question. Obviously Scandinavian
is not the only one who questions the current
crisis of welfare societies. I think it’s by and large chance that Scandinavian crime writing
has had this kind of success and mostly due to Stieg
Larsson’s success. Okay. So that’s how the
publishing world works. What I do think we see is
that more and more publishers in Britain are being
interested in finding out, well, maybe there is a Stieg Larsson
who doesn’t speak Swedish but speaks a different
language or wrote in a different language. And in French crime novels, Italian crime novels
there are all sorts of European crime novels that
are also welfare crime novels from different traditions. And crime writers are
probably the writers that meet other writers more
often than any other writers. They travel to all
these festivals. They spend time talking
to readers from all sorts of nations and their colleagues. And it’s an absolutely
vibrant transnational community of writers and readers. And so no doubt this is not only
a Nordic phenomenon and lots of these tendencies can be seen
parallel in other countries. There are, of course,
some particularities to these Scandinavian contacts
which is how this literature or how literature has
been formed and acted with a particular
historical development of welfare societies
in a particular time. So all the historical context, political context
is always different from country to country. Which makes for even more
interesting discussions across nations. Thank you.>>Since we have —
sorry about that. But since we have a large class
descending upon this lecture theater in exactly
four minutes I need to draw these proceedings
to a close. Can I thank you all for
coming and for your questions. And thanks to our speaker
for a riveting talk. Thank you.>>Thank you. [ Applause ]

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