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

Undergraduate Course: Scandinavia and the World: Negotiating the North in the 21st Century (ELCS10041)

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 Scandinavia, namely (post-)colonialism, migration, 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 research skills in the form of a 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 research skills to other cases and/or countries
Course description Whilst the Scandinavian 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 Scandinavian and 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. Advanced knowledge of Danish/Norwegian/Swedish language is a pre-requisite. 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 Scandinavian identity, society and culture.

This course is taught in English, but advanced knowledge of Danish/Norwegian/Swedish language is a pre-requisite as many of the primary texts/data sources are not available in English.

The course begins with a discussion on preconceptions and stereotypes about Scandinavia 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 Scandinavian 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 research 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 None
Additional Costs Possibly the cost of primary texts.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesStudents MUST have a knowledge of Danish/Norwegian/Swedish language equivalent to CEFR B2 or above. Entry to this course may be subject to a language test on arrival and is at the discretion of the course organiser.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Engage successfully with literature (in English, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish) on a range of political and social challenges facing modern Scandinavian and Nordic societies
  2. Apply 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 Scandinavian and Nordic societies
  4. Demonstrate autonomous and collaborative research 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
Reading list/learning resources:

Excerpts will be provided in line with copyright


Ivarsson, Søren, Rud, Søren & Sielemann, Rasmus, Kritiske Kommentarer til en Bog om Danmarks Postkoloniale Arv, 2013

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

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

Langvad, Maja Lee, Find Holger Danske, Gyldendal, 2006

Lidegaard, Mads, Ligestilling uden Lighed: En Oversigt over de Statsretlige Forhold mellem Grønland og Danmark, Lindhardt og Ringhof, 2019

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

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

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

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills During this course, students will further develop graduate attributes and personal and professional skills in the following areas:

Research 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.
KeywordsScandinavia,colonialism,postcolonialism,identity,migration,the Nordic model
Course organiserDr Ruairidh Tarvet
Course secretaryMs June Cahongo
Tel: (0131 6)50 3620
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