En svart prick på vita duken Rasism, klass, hot och autenticitet i debatten om Ruben Östlunds film Play

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för litteratur, idéhistoria och religion

Författare: Emma Engström; [2023-11-23]

Nyckelord: rasism; debatt; postkolonial teori; film; idéhistoria;

Sammanfattning: In 2011, a swedish feature film namned Play, directed by Ruben Östlund, caused a cultural debate in the national daily press. The film was about a larger group of older black boys and a minor group of white boys, engaged in a game of power and threat that ended as a robbery. The key dividing-lines in the debate , that was pursued in the cultural pages during approximately six weeks, was between the question of whether the film was racist or deliberately anti-racist, whether it was mainly about skin colour or class, and whether it was an authentic description of the situation of young people in today's Sweden. The purpose of this essay is to examine the reception of the film and how the debate could arise within its context. How is the debate about racism, what are the main arguments that the film is or isn't racist and how do the subjects of class, menace and authenticity interface with the subject of racism in the debate. To come to a deeper understanding of the debate I apply some of the central ideas of postcolonial theory, such as mimicry and ambivalence, on the debate. My conclusion is that the debate is co-dependent on filmhistorical facts – such as Play being nationally unique in its kind, both thematically and in being one of few representations of black people – and political facts, as that Sweden in the election of 2010 gave seats in parliament to anti-immigration party Sweden Democrats. Furthermore, I read the debate itself as a staging of the fundamental mechanisms of otherization.

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