Edited By Kjerstin Aukrust
Part 2:Challenging the Aestheticization of Sexuality and the Value of Gender Roles
Part 2: Challenging the Aestheticization of Sexuality and the Value of Gender Roles 53 Intimacy and Sexuality in Two Contemporary Norwegian Novels Jørgen Lorentzen and Wencke Mühleisen The stories in the two Norwegian contemporary novels, Hjulskift (Wheel change) by Vigdis Hjorth (2007) and Tjuendedagen (The twentieth day) by Geir Gulliksen (2009), portray arguments and alternative formulations of prevailing perceptions of intimate relationships. Both novels take place in a Norwegian context. In Norway, state regulations of intimate and sexual citizenship are influenced by Nordic state feminism that has fostered a combination of individualization and a high degree of social stability.1 The state’s efforts to organize sexuality, cohabitation, and parent- ing through welfare benefits and regulation are examples of state feminism.2 Even if sexuality in late modernity no longer has reproduction as its ultimate end, it still serves a range of purposes, including the establishment and maintenance of rela- tionships, health, parenthood, and signifying lifestyle choices.3 The novels link intimacy and sexuality with social and collective aspects in new and surprising ways that can enhance our understanding of our contempo- rary era and the cultural values it embodies. The texts recount experiences of intimacy and sexuality in a discourse that stands outside as well as within ac- cepted and familiar “knowledge regimes.” Four concepts are central for our analysis and understanding of intimacy, sexuality, and social community: hetero- topia, governmentality, the intimate event, and amor aequabilis. The novels elucidate visible existing experiences and practices that are not incorporated in the...
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