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The Origins of the «Regime of Goodness»

Remapping the Cultural History of Norway
At the beginning of the 21st century Norway has seemingly succeeded to create a Great Good Place on the planet: in the eyes of the outside world it is an epitome of welfare, equality, justice, environmental concern, and enlightened samaritanism. Nina Witoszek's book attempts to explore the cultural sources of the Norwegian success. What are the significant myths, images and codes of conduct that have propelled the Norwegian «regime of goodness»? How have they evolved over time? Who were their codifiers?
The author takes issue with the stock interpretation of Norwegian (and indeed Scandinavian) cultural history, according to which the foundations of modern Nordic identity are to be found in the Romantic breakthrough. She argues that, while Norway was indeed perceived as the cradle of European Romanticism, its romantic credentials are at best suspect and were largely invented by the outside world. The vernacular romantic project was hijacked by a prolonged «Pastoral Enlightenment». The Enlightenment pastors forged a master-narrative of Norwegian identity rooted in nature, peace and Christian ethos. This influential story lives on in the evolving versions of modern social democracy and explains some of the paradoxes - and successes - of the «Norwegian model» today.

«Nina Witoszeks bok er herlig lesing (...) «The Origins of the Regime of Goodness» er en fascinerende, velformulert gjennomgang av norsk kulturhistorie fra en utfordrende vinkel.»
Bjørn Gabrielsen, Dagens Næringsliv

«Det er en sann fryd å bli invitert inn i Witoszeks analytiske univers, spesielt fordi det er så solid fundamentert i bredspektret og dyptpløyende lesning, så friskt og dristig og framfor alt så språklig elegant.»
Halvard Vike, Norsk Antropologisk Tidsskrift

Detailed information

  • Language: Norwegian
  • ISBN: 9788215051536
  • Publication date: 07.12.2020
  • Book group: 895

Nina Witoszek

Prof. Nina Witoszek is Research Director at the Centre for Development and the Environment at Oslo University and a Visiting Professor at the Woods Institute at Stanford University. Her academic publications include among others, Talking to the Dead: A Study of Irish Tradition (1998), The Postmodern Challenge: East and West Perspectives (1999) and Culture and Crisis (2002). Nina Witoszek is also a fiction writer - under the pen name Nina FitzPatrick - best known for her Fables of the Irish Intelligentsia (1991), The Loves of Faustyna (1995) and Daimons (2003). In 1991 she was the laureate of the Irish Times Award for Fiction, and in 2005 she won the prestigious Norwegian Free Speech Foundation Award for bringing Eastern European perspectives into the Scandinavian public debate.
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