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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages & Cultures - Scandinavian Stud

Undergraduate Course: A Nordic Model for the 21st Century? Identity, Colonialism and Politics in Contemporary Nordic Society (ELCS10043)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course tackles some of the key political, social and cultural issues facing present-day Nordic region, namely (post-)colonialism, migration, nationalism, the welfare state and the Nordic model. It aims to explore these issues in a critical, balanced and theoretically-grounded manner, through consulting the course literature, factual sources and statistics. The course also aims to provide students with an opportunity to develop critical skills in the form of a (non-research) project case study. By the end of the course, students will have a developed a strong understanding of the aforementioned issues and will be able to apply their theoretical and contextual skills to other cases and/or countries.
Course description Whilst the Nordic nations are often viewed as culturally homogeneous utopias with strong welfare provisions and world-leading levels of happiness, social cohesion in Nordic societies has faced a series of challenges resulting from seismic global events of the 21st century. The rapid expansion of the Schengen area, the so-called migrant crisis, the Black Lives Matter movement and the Covid-19 pandemic among others have forced the people of the region to rethink their cultural identities and their own nation's position in a globalised world. For some, this has meant opening-up, addressing the past and sharing cultural capital with the world but for others, perceptions of an external threat have fuelled notions of welfare state protectionism and xenophobia. This course is a 10-week (20-hour) honours-level course which seeks to provoke discussion on complex aspects of Nordic society in the 21st century. Students will be empowered to engage in discussion on Scandinavia's (post-)colonial territories, nationalism and political discourse, minority communities and the migrant experience in the North, as well as modern conceptions of the state, culture and identity. This course contains potentially (re-)traumatising content.

This course is a 20 credit, SCQF Level 10 course which seeks to inspire discussion on the complexities of Nordic identity, society and culture.

This course is taught in English.

The course begins with a discussion on preconceptions and stereotypes about the Nordic region and invites students to critique these on the basis of their experiences abroad and/or previously acquired knowledge. Students will then be taught a range of research skills for conducting studies in/on Nordic society. These skills will be supplemented by theories on (post-)colonialism, identity, migration and the dissemination of culture. The subsequent seminars will then utilise the methodologies and theories to examine specific case studies, including (but not limited to) Greenland's colonial past, right-wing nationalism in Norway, branding and exporting Nordic culture abroad, and Scotland & the Nordic model. Each case study explores a specific set of questions focusing on the main themes and ideas posited by the weekly lists of primary texts and secondary sources. Throughout the semester, students will work on their own case studies, which will be presented towards the end of the semester. The student's case study and presentation will constitute the majority of the overall mark (60%) with a further 40% of the mark based on a shorter course essay.

The list of core primary texts will be made available on Learn in advance of the start of the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students must have completed a course at 2nd year level related to the field of either Scandinavian studies, politics, history, social policy, area studies or sociology. If in doubt, please contact the Course Organiser.
Additional Costs Possibly the costs of any essential texts if they are otherwise unable to borrow the text from the library.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 100%

Snapshot essay (1000 words to be submitted in Week 6, 40% of overall mark);

Presentation of case study in Week 11 (formative);

Case study paper (max. 2000 words, to be submitted in week 11, 60% of overall mark).
Feedback Students will receive written feedback within 15 working days on their essays; students will receive feedback on their presentation in class and written feedback if requested. They are welcome to discuss feedback further with the marker in individual feedback sessions offered during office hours.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Engage successfully with complex literature (in English) on a range of political and social challenges facing modern Nordic societies.
  2. Apply advanced core theories in the fields of nationalism studies, (post)-colonial studies and migration/integration studies in the analysis of case studies.
  3. Produce clear, complex arguments, which successfully engage with theory and case studies to analyse and appraise core aspects of modern Nordic societies.
  4. Demonstrate a high level of autonomous and collaborative analysis and communication skills by preparing and presenting a case study on an aspect of Scandinavian or Nordic society in the 21st century related to the course content.
Reading List

Klatt, Martin, "The So-Called Migrant Crisis and Euroscepticism in Border Regions: Facing Re-Bordering Trends in the Danish-German Borderlands", Geopolitics, Vol. 25(3) 2020.

Trenz, Hans-Jörg, Grasso, Maria, "Toward a New Conditionality of Welfare? Reconsidering Solidarity in the Danish Welfare State" in Solidarity in Europe: Citizens' Responses in Times of Crisis, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities, Verso, 1983.

Nordin, Jonas M., Naum, Magdalena, Scandinavian Colonialism and the Rise of Modernity: Small Time Agents in a Global Arena, Springer New York, 2013.

Andreassen, Rikke, "The Search for the White Nordic: analysis of the contemporary New Nordic Kitchen and former race science", Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 20 (6), 2014.

Lundström, Catrin, Teitelbaum, Benjamin R., "Nordic Whiteness: An Introduction", Scandinavian Studies, 89(2), 2017.

Tarvet, Ruairidh & Klatt Martin, "The impact of the Corona crisis on borderland living in the Danish-German border region with a special focus on the two national minorities", National Identities, 2021.

Gyimothy, Szilvia, Cassinger, Cecilia, Lucarelli, Andrea, "20 Years of Nordic Place Branding Research: A Review and Future Research Agenda", Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 2020.


Miller-Idriss, Cynthia, Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far Right, Princeton University Press, 2020.

Nordin, Denis Sven, A Swedish Dilemma: A Liberal European Nation's Struggle with Racism and Xenophobia, 1920-2000, University Press of America, 2005.

Tarvet, Ruairidh, Re-Imagining Sleswig: Language and Identity in the German-Danish Borderlands, University Press of Southern Denmark, 2021.

Berry, John W., Sam, David L., The Cambridge Handbook of Acculturation Psychology, Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Gold, Steven J., Nawyn, Stephanie J., Routledge International Handbook of Migration Studies, Routledge, 2019.

Özkirimli, Umit, Theories of Nationalism: A Critical Introduction, Macmillan Education, Third Edition, 2017.

Guthrie, Gerard, Basic Research Methods: An Entry to Social Science Research, Sage, 2010.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills During this course, students will further develop graduate attributes and personal and professional skills in the following areas:

Statistical analysis and enquiry: analytical thinking; critical thinking; knowledge integration and application; handling complexity and ambiguity.

Personal and intellectual autonomy: self-awareness and reflection; independent learning and development; creative and inventive thinking.

Personal effectiveness: planning, organising and time management; assertiveness and confidence; flexibility.

Communication: interpersonal skills; presentation skills; verbal and written communication.
KeywordsNordic,Scandinavia,colonialism,postcolonialism,identity,migration,the Nordic model
Course organiserDr Ruairidh Tarvet
Course secretary
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