Ideals, truth, and strength. Self-identity and social formations in autobiographical narratives about "multicultural" Norway
Michelle Tisdel (National Library of Norway)
Paper short abstract:
This presentation explores autobiographical narratives by Artist collective Queendom (2008) and social entrepreneur Loveleen Rihel Brenna (2012). Both discuss growing up in Norway in the 1980s and 1990s. Their self-ascribed minority background plays a central role in the self-historicizing texts.
Paper long abstract:
How do authors with ascribed "minority" background articulate notions of self-identity, belonging, and social formations in literature? In Norway, "second-generation immigrants" bear the status of their immigrant parents. They often experience the "otherness" that can accompany moving, staying, and dwelling in a "new" society. For these authors with minority background, however, Norway is not a new or foreign society, but rather a place that has not adequately understood or imagined its new social formations. This presentation explores two contemporary autobiographical narratives by female Norwegian authors with multicultural background. Artist collective Queendom's satire entitled Queendom: Oppdrag Norge (2008) and Loveleen Rihel Brenna's personal essay Min annerledeshet, min styrke (2012) discuss growing up in Norway in the 1990s and 1980s respectively. Their self-ascribed minority background plays a central role in these self-historicizing texts, which employ different narrative strategies to articulate notions of self-identity, society, and belonging. The texts belong to the genre of literature that constitutes "new voices" and contributes to the circulation of new social narratives. Trouillot (1995) argues that stories and narratives illustrate aspects of "dual historicity," as we simultaneously engage in the sociohistorical process and in narrative constructions about that process. Gullestad (1996) shows how narrative processes and self-historicizing, such as in autobiography, can expose values around which the author centres life and stories about life. Drawing on Trouillot and Gullestad, I explore the extent to which such texts contribute to a Norwegian minority discourse about ideals, truth, notions of self-identity, and social formations.
Roots, routes and rhizomes: narratives of staying, moving and settling in literature