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Assigning Cultural Values

Edited By Kjerstin Aukrust

Assigning Cultural Values is a collection of thirteen essays focusing on the analysis of cultural value in light of aestheticization or aesthetic practices. Reflecting the fruits of the Research Council of Norway’s comprehensive programme for cultural research (KULVER), this anthology studies cultural phenomena not as static dimensions, but rather as factors involved in negotiations and exchanges. By examining the processes in which aestheticization is prominent, the contributors show how the experience-based, relational, and perceptual aspects of assigning cultural values come into focus. Each of the essays offers unique perspectives on the value given to different cultural phenomena, by focusing on their historically changeable aspects, their reciprocal relationships, and their connection to social contexts and power. Drawing on case studies from the fields of cultural history, aesthetics, literature, film, gender studies, art history and theory, design history, and museology, the collection provides a wide-ranging and multifaceted analysis of how the assignment of cultural values is changed, displaced, transferred, and acquired, and will therefore interest all researchers and students within the field of humanities.

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Part 2:Challenging the Aestheticization of Sexuality and the Value of Gender Roles

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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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