Midnattssolens män, norrskenens nycker : Konstruktioner av manlighet i nutida norrländsk litteratur
Sammanfattning: The image of Northern Sweden has long been subjected to stereotyping, and the stereotyped image of the Northerner is widely spread in various media contexts within Sweden. Historically, Norrland has been regarded as a wide wilderness, and the Norrlandic literature in turn has typically been studied in terms of the pastoral genre, the romanticism of the wilderness, or from an eco-critical perspective. The study of masculinity within modern Norrlandic literature, however, is largely overlooked, despite the undeniable stereotyping of Norrlandic males within other forms of media. This thesis aims to solve this anomaly by providing insights into the creation processes of masculinity in three contemporary Norrlandic novels. In the novels Smekmånader [Honeymoons, 2017] by Mikael Berglund, Solidärer [Solidarians, 2017] by Anna Jörgensdotter, and Silvervägen [The Silver Road, 2018] by Stina Jackson, the construct of Norrlandic masculinity is examined through close-reading. The questions of how Norrlandic masculinity is constructed is examined through a theoretical framework combining the hegemonic masculinity of R. W. Connell, the gender performativity and queer studies of Judith Butler, the frontstage and backstage perspective of Erving Goffman, and the creation of emotions of Sara Ahmed, in the reading of three contemporary novels following male protagonists—each seeing their identity challenged while on a journey far away from home. Viktor of Honeymoons is constructed as a brave cry-baby or a highly sensitive person whose self is disintegrated in the absence of his wife Maija. He is furthermore constructed as a person offering emotional comfort, despite being deeply void of such comfort himself. Ingemar of Solidarians is constructed as a mummy’s boy or a dreamer who ends up as a martyr, who always requires the presence of a woman—his mother Eivor, Klara whom he is wooing, or Conxa whom he meets in the war in Spain—in order to advance from a mere lust to an actual event of action. His emotions are slightly supressed. Lelle of The Silver Road is constructed as an emotionally blunted vigilant or a nervous wreck, who readily succumbs to aggression and violence towards other men, in his lack of emotional cathexis to a physical person. He is struggling with his perceived failure in his role as a father, and is furthermore driven to action by his need of reconciling with his past. Nonetheless, none of the male protagonists exhibits a lasting hegemonic masculinity. The study concludes that the analysed novels contribute to a new form of Norrlandic literature which challenges the traditional and stereotypical ideas of rural masculinity.
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