Challenging Multiculturalism: Neoliberalism and Contested Identity Politics in Nordic Film Culture 1980-present
- Name: Katie Moffat
- Academic credentials: Film Studies, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Stirling, Scotland
Abstract: This paper engages with three key areas; the medium of cinema; the highly topical issues of race and ethnic identity, and the Nordic region, which, until recently, was renowned for its shared emphasis on egalitarianism and a strong welfare state ethos. Over the last thirty years, these five small nations have developed from welfare-orientated states to neoliberal participants in the global economy. Alongside these economic and political changes, an increasing number of non-Nordic immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers have settled in the region causing further social tensions. The Nordic film cultures have reflected subverted and challenged ethnic and racial stereotypes over the course of their respective histories. However, since the 1990s, ‘minority’ characters have become more pronounced in Nordic films, and during this decade, in particular, cinema has grappled with the contested idea of multiculturalism. Recurrent representations of race, ethnicity and ‘Otherness’ have come to reflect a discontent with the multicultural ideology adopted in the 1970s. As themes of borders, citizenship and identity continue to dominate headlines, and in the context of the rise of xenophobic nationalism, this presentation examines how the shifting portrayal of minorities in Nordic film helps us understand wider political and economic crises over the last thirty years. I also use these films to explore the significance of the Nordic welfare states in the age of globalization by questioning the extent of the region’s perceived ‘openness.'
Theme: Minority Culture