Minority Memories: Lost Language, Identity, and In-betweenness in Two Crime Novels by Mikael Niemi and Lars Pettersson

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    This paper discusses two Scandinavian crime novels, each of which contain
    characters who represent two diff erent perspectives on the phenomenon of
    being an outsider: one protagonist who comes from “the outside” is confronted by life in the North, while another group of protagonists, in the second novel, are members of a minority community, and hence also occupy
    a position as outsiders. Among the issues that these outsider-protagonists
    deal with is the forgetting or denial of their own roots. Th e novels I will
    analyse are Mikael Niemi’s Mannen som dog som en lax (Th e Man Who Died
    as a Salmon, 2006) and the fi rst novel in the series “Kautokeino” by Lars Pettersson: Kautokeino, en blodig kniv (Kautokeino, A Bloody Knife, 2012). In
    the narratives, the confl icts between the minority groups and the majority
    group and the conflicts among the members of the minority groups are dealt
    with, and provide the context in which the crimes take place. Other confl icts that refl ect in-betweenness relate to identity, language, and gender.
    Being able or unable to communicate in the minority language is one of the
    identity markers of the protagonists who struggle with their in-between
    identity. Th e paper thus addresses the question of choosing sides and deals
    with hybrid and/or fragmented identities and seeks to investigate if and
    how cultural demarcations are refl ected in the narratives of Niemi and Pettersson. I will draw on studies on ethnolinguistic nationalism and postcolonialism from minority and gender perspectives as a theoretical framework
    in this paper.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number3
    Pages (from-to)45-62
    Number of pages18
    JournalDiGeSt Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 30-Oct-2018


    • GENDER
    • in-betweenness
    • minority languages
    • ethnolinguistic nationalism
    • Sámi
    • Meänkieli

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