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NORWEGIAN LIFE AND SOCIETY NORINT 0500 ASPECTS OF CULTURE AND IDENTITY 17.03.2014 MARIT MELHUUS. No such thing as a ”culture” or an “identity” Cultures are continually evolving Look for underlying values Anthropologists use case studies. “Small facts speak to large issues”

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NORWEGIAN LIFE AND SOCIETY

NORINT 0500

ASPECTS OF CULTURE AND IDENTITY

17.03.2014

MARIT MELHUUS


No such thing as a ”culture” or an “identity”

Cultures are continually evolving

Look for underlying values

Anthropologists use case studies.

“Small facts speak to large issues”

Look at everyday, practices, events, phenomena

My examples:

Food

Nature

Kinship

Gender

Focus:

Resonance in Norwegian society

Specific connotations


The Cases

Food: the Norwegian matpakke or packaged lunch

Nature: the Norwegian Trekking Association: Den norske turistforening (DNT)

Kinship: Transnational adoptive families

Gender: Biotechnology Act and Assisted Conception


Matpakka: tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.

Food tied to identity.

Runar Døving. 1999. “Matpakken. Den store norske fortellingen om familien og nasjonen” in Relgionsvitenskapelig tidsskrift.

(Matpakken: The big Norwegian Narrative about the Family and the Nation.)


Matpakka consists of a couple of slices of whole grain bread are.

It is made at home

It is packed in thin, wax paper


Matpakken is the result of a public policy. are.

Started with introduction of a school breakfast in 1920s

Issue: health and nutrition

Value of raw food, over cooked food

Raw food is “real” food: natural, clean, healthy

Produced the “natural” person


Matpakken typical of ethnic Norwegians are.

Matpakken tied to nautre: belongs to outdoors

Matpakken tied to major state institutions: kindergartens and schools

Part of everyday life

Food practices are structured by ideas of work and leisure time

Story of matpakke is about effort and reward

Encapsulates the relationship between the family and the state.


Design matpakke are.

Hungry children eat their matpakke

Aftenposten

11.03.2014

Traditional

matpakke


Nature and outdoor activities are.

Domesticating the “wild”

The Norwegian Trekking Association

Den Norske Turistforeningen – DNT

Ween, Gro and Simone Abram. 2012. “The Norwegian Trekking Association: Trekking as Constituting the Nation” in Landscape Research. 37:2.


DNT – largest environmental organization in Norway. are.

Established in 1868

200.000 members

50 branch offices

430 lodges

20 000 km of marked trails

6500 km of way-marked skiing tracks

Expression: “gå på tur aldri sur” epitomizes Norwegian attitudes to being outdoors (Go for a walk, never glum)


Main claim: embodied mobility of trekkers implies an ongoing ordering that weds individual bodies to prescribed ideals of nation, nature and environmentalism

DNT makes the mountains and wilderness available

DNT arranges and encourages a way of moving in nature

DNT standardizes certain nature practices

DNT affirms experiences of what Norwegian nature is


Technologies of ordering: ongoing ordering that weds individual bodies to prescribed ideals of nation, nature and environmentalism

Way marking

Path-making

Guiding

Standardize Norwegian nature

Control movement/walking in nature

Create a sense of Norwegian Nature


THE BUNAD ongoing ordering that weds individual bodies to prescribed ideals of nation, nature and environmentalism


Institutional developments also wed trekking and the wild to the nation

Mountain Law 1920

Outdoor Recreation Act – 1957

National Parks – wilderness protection 1960s and 70s

Creation of commons - everyone has access to nature

Highlands transformed to roaming lands

Nature redefined as national and not local


Making Nature Available the nation

Mapping – the T trails

Creating networks of paths

Build cabins

Much work based on “dugnad”:

Volunteer work

The whole country becomes inscribed

The wild is “tamed”


  • Fjellvettssregler the nation – Rules of Mountain Wisdom

  • Be prepared

  • Leave word of your route

  • Be weatherwise

  • Be equipped

  • Learn from the locals

  • Use map and compass

  • don’t’ go solo

  • Turn back in time: there’s no shame in turning back

  • Conserve energy and build a snow shelter if necessary


Fjellvetts regler and the idea of outdoor recreation converge

around an idea of equality

Nature is there for “all”

You meet as equals regardless of background

Nature practices are important to a sense of norwegianess

Nature is perceived in a way that may be specific to Norwegians


Transnational adoption converge

Howell, Signe. 2003. “Kinning: The Creation of Life Trajectories

In Transnational Adoptive Families”, JRAI, 9.


Major points in Howell’s argument: converge

Difference between biological and social kinship

Kinship is universal – but the way kinship is understood and practiced will vary and is culturally specific

In Norway, kinship is based on shared substance

That shared substance is often expressed through a notion of shared blood: Blood is thicker than water

Family values are highly emphasized in Norway.


Transnational adoption highlight ambiguities with regard to kinned relatedness

Tied to: blood, place, land and people

Kinning: process by which a newborn child is brought into significant relationship with a group of people expressed in a kin idiom


17. Of May kinned relatedness

Christmas


Motherland tour: Korea kinned relatedness


Bioctechnology and Assisted Conception kinned relatedness

Norwegian Biotechnology Act

Example of state policy regulating how people may procreate and form a family

Assisted conception – method in vitro fertilization

Permits conception outside the womb

Robert Edwards won Nobel Prize in medicine in 2010

Challenges our ideas of natural conception

Destablizes notions of motherhood and fatherhood


Norwegian Biotechnology Act kinned relatedness

Prohibits egg donation

Permits sperm donation – but with known sperm donor

Does not permit surrogacy

Sperm and egg are treated differently

People who need treatments not permitted in Norway travel abroad

Law prompts “reproductive tourism” or cross-border reproduction


Intention of the law is to maintain certainty – kinned relatedness

about who the mother is and who the “real” father is

Mother is “one” – and not to be fragmented: birth mother, genetic mother

In law: mother is the one who gives birth


Fatherhood is uncertain – in “nature” kinned relatedness

Fatherhood established through pater est, by recognition or claim or by proof (DNA)

Anonymous sperm donation conceals the “true” father

Child has the right to know its origins

Origin is defined as biological


Differential treatment of sperm and egg have been grounded in natural differences between mother and father

Today these arguments are losing ground.

Gender discrimination and equal access to treatment for men and women winning ground.


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