Scandinavia through Sunglasses

Spaces of Cultural Exchange between Southern/Southeastern Europe and Nordic Countries

by Elizaveta Khachaturyan (Volume editor) Álvaro Llosa Sanz (Volume editor)
©2019 Edited Collection 242 Pages


How do the North and the South see each other? How have their images been created? How do they change across time, space and source? Here are the main questions that the authors would like to answer in this collection of imagology-oriented studies situated at the crossroads of various disciplines: South-North in literature, South-North in other cultural production, and South-North in new perspectives.
The contributions show in which way the creation and relationships among the images of the South and North are interpreted and modelled by different intermediators through different sources. The journey starts with literary texts, their translations and reception; and continues across the description of theatre spaces, speeches and musical forms, to conclude with studies based on online sources and interviews.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • Preface
  • About the editor
  • About the book
  • Citability of the eBook
  • Contents
  • List of Contributors
  • North and South as Spaces of Cultural Exchange
  • Part 1. North-South in Literature
  • Sweden in the Eyes of the Southern European Reader: Translation and Reception of Swedish Fiction in Greece and Spain between 2000 and 2017
  • Imitation, Inertia, and Innovation
  • Translating Swedish realia
  • Nordic Modernity, Nordic Feminism and Ibsen in the Spanish Silver Age
  • Images from the North
  • A “Dissolute” Swedish Woman in Sicily
  • The Southerner as Hero
  • Part 2. The North and South in Other Cultural Production
  • From Norway to Poland through Italy and then Back Again
  • Le Villi by Giacomo Puccini: Transfiguration of a Myth
  • Norwegian “Polar Vikings” and Their Influence on the Polish Discourse of Arctic Exploration in the Interwar Period
  • Part 3. South–North in New Perspectives
  • From Heaven to Hell and Back
  • Norway Seen from a Portuguese Vantage Point
  • Cultural Encounters in Mañanaland
  • Discourses about Education
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables

List of Contributors

Ida Caiazza

University of Pisa, Italy

Ann Elisabeth Laksfoss Cardozo

University of Stavanger, Norway

Giorgia D’Aprile Østvær

University of Oslo, Norway

Karolina Drozdowska

University of Gdańsk, Poland

Ana Rita Ferreira

University of Oslo, Norway

Hanne Jansen

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Ingela Johansson

University of Lund, Sweden

Elizaveta Khachaturyan

University of Oslo, Norway

Álvaro Llosa Sanz

University of Oslo, Norway

Agata Lubowicka

University of Gdańsk, Poland

Iris Muñiz

Centre for Ibsen Studies, University of Oslo, Norway

Svein Mønnesland

University of Oslo, Norway

Gaia Palesati

Luigi Cherubini Conservatory of Music, Florence, Italy

Nataša Ristivojević-Rajković

University of Belgrade, Serbia

Marianna Smaragdi

University of Lund, Sweden

Diana Santos

University of Oslo, Norway

Ljiljana Šarić

University of Oslo, Norway

Elizaveta Khachaturyan and Álvaro Llosa Sanz

North and South as Spaces of Cultural Exchange

Abstract In recent years the interest toward the varying images of the Other has increased, including particular discussions on the area of European Studies and on the North-South dualism. Several studies show that these images are influenced by different cultural background. Moreover, they are recreated or transformed across time and space and are associated to particular cultural productions. In this chapter we aim to discuss in which directions the new studies of the Other and the self are developing. We also present the main notions relevant for our collective study as they have been used as a common starting point for the entire collection of research works in this volume. Finally, we introduce the following chapters and show how they contribute to offer a wider multidisciplinary perspective to the description of the North-South dualism in Europe that can be explored as a rich combination of spaces of cultural exchange.

Keywords: imagological approach, multidisciplinary approaches, dialogue, culture

1 Introduction

“The dualism of North and South is one of the most long-standing distinctions in European cultural history”, wrote Astrid Arndt in the chapter dedicated to the North and South in the volume Imagology: The Cultural Construction and Literary Representation of National Characters. A Critical Survey (2007: 387). What features are the basis of this dualism? How do they change across time, space, and source? How does each participant see the opposite counterpart? These are the crucial queries that are addressed here. The main purpose of this volume is to explore how images of the North and South are interpreted by different intermediators through different sources in different historical periods and for different audiences.

The studies collected in this volume investigate various cultural relationships between the North and South in the European context. They describe how diverse images of the North and the South have been created, shaped, and interpreted in different temporal, spatial, and sociocultural contexts. Each chapter – part of a collection written by a varied group of scholars with the common ground of a humanities approach but quite different national backgrounds and disciplines – offers the reader a complex mix of images in dialogue and their different appropriations and transformations. The aim of each study is to describe how ←11 | 12→the North is seen from the South, or the South from the North. For doing this, different types of cultural productions delivering diverse images of the North and South are analyzed as spaces for intercultural exchanges.

The main characters of each study are the North and the South. By the North we mean Scandinavian countries such as Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, whereas the South is considered in opposition to the North: it includes not only such countries of southern Europe, as Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Spain, but also southeastern countries (if compared to the North) such as Croatia, Montenegro, Poland, and Serbia.

This first chapter starts with theoretical and methodological issues relevant for the general topic and the particular chapters, and then introduces the keywords and notions used as a common starting point. It closes with some remarks on the structure of this volume and its contributions.

2 At the crossroads of an interdisciplinary and imagological approach

This volume can be considered an imagological approach–based study because it addresses the dynamics of mental images about the Other and the self. It is focused on discovering current and past dialogues between cross-national relations and national stereotypes in various types of cultural production. It starts out from an imagological perspective only to generate a common-ground field in which different disciplinary approaches are able to share their analysis in the proposed North–South transnational dialogue.

In recent years, the imagological approach has adopted a wider perspective, as can be seen in the approach taken at a conference held in 2018 at the University of Vienna titled New Perspectives on Imagology (https://imagology2018.univie.ac.at/). Other works have also focused on Nordic imagologies very recently, such as Laura Laurušaitė in her volume Imagology Profiles: The Dynamics of National Imagery in Literature (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018). Her contributors are mostly centered on studying the Baltic region with regard to its Nordic imagology, and the volume exclusively focuses on literary texts and their relation to national identity as the main channel of cultural production to be explored. In contrast, this volume expands its scope to Europe as a whole, integrating the entire North–South axis as a way to engage in dialogue with the diversity of imagologies attached to these discursive and movable spaces.

Several studies have also proposed an interconnection of imagology with other disciplines (e.g., Beller & Leerssen 2007; van Doorslaer, Flynn, & Leerssen 2015; Geybullayeva & Orte 2010) or have reanalyzed imagology as such (e.g., ←12 | 13→Zacharasiewicz 2010). Moreover, the problem of how people see their interlocutor based on their own national identity and cultural background is often discussed in identity and transcultural studies (e.g., Blažević 2014; Hogan & Pursell 2008), in discourse analysis (e.g., Amossy & Anne 2011), and in various approaches to literature (e.g., Laurušaitė 2018). However, Scandinavia as a northern model in relationship to the South has been discussed by only a few scholars (e.g., Stadius & Harvard 2013).

Our volume stands among these interlocutors, seeking to expand knowledge on the latest findings. The various types of cultural production, the different times and spaces where it is produced, and the various disciplines and discourses that confront it are used to create interdisciplinary research around the topic within the humanities and the European context. The approaches are combined to present research with a diversity of methodological techniques and tools from cultural studies, discourse analysis, reception theory, imagology, translation studies, history, sociology, and sociolinguistics. From this perspective, the volume is at the crossroads of various disciplines that deal with the image of the Other and the self.

3 The main notions

In spite of the variety of approaches, national backgrounds, and materials analyzed, all the studies presented here have a common starting point: they analyze spaces of cultural exchange involving various types of cultural production. Here we briefly explain how this is understood.

3.1 Cultural production

In cultural studies, two meanings of the word culture are usually distinguished: “a narrow one of intellectual activities, arts, and entertainments, and a broad one—which has gradually come into everyday usage from anthropology and ethnography—of a much more extensive range of practices characteristic of a given society, from its mode of material production to its eating habits, dress codes, celebration, and rituals” (Forgacs & Lumley 1996: 2). Independently of the approach, all definitions and theories of culture contain certain common features. First, culture includes various aspects of human life. Second, culture unifies different groups of people; as van Lier defines it, “culture is the way we do things round here” (2004: 183).


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2020 (January)
Imagology Time Space Source
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2019. 242 pp., 7 fig. col., 18 fig. b/w, 9 tables.

Biographical notes

Elizaveta Khachaturyan (Volume editor) Álvaro Llosa Sanz (Volume editor)

Elizaveta Khachaturyan is Associate Professor of Italian Language and Linguistics at the University of Oslo, Norway. Her main research field is spoken language and semantic analysis, as well as multilingual communication and multiculturalism. She works on discourse markers, verbs, language acquisition, and national identity. Álvaro Llosa Sanz is Associate Professor of Spanish Language and Literatures at the University of Oslo, Norway. His areas of interest include Golden Age Spanish literature and culture, memory and rhetoric, multimodality and transmedia, reading and media studies and material culture applied to fiction.


Title: Scandinavia through Sunglasses
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244 pages