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Eternal Bonds of Love or Foreign Oppression? Entangled Identities in Late-Medieval Scandinavia
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2690-8554
2018 (English)In: Quaestiones Medii Aevi Novae, ISSN 1427-4418, Vol. 23, p. 379-403Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates the occurrence of two common but contradictory themes in the political discourse in fifteenth-century Scandinavia: on the one hand proclamations of the essential bonds existing between Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and on the other hand expressions of hostility against what is represented as foreign rule. The aim is to examine how different forms of discourse reveal coexisting and sometimes oppositional expressions of identity, with a particular focus on the role of cultural memory in the elaboration of these themes. A crucial political framework for the analysis is the Kalmar Union, which throughout the century constituted a common, if not always implemented, form of government of the Scandinavian kingdoms.

The article explores the occurrence of nativist ideas of origin and identity within the pragmatics of a game of power in fifteenth century Scandinavia. In the vernacular chronicles of fifteenth-century Denmark and Sweden, differentiating between categories of men such as inborn and foreigner was a prominent way of expressing views about legitimate claims to power and privileges in the realms. In the construction of coherent and meaningful narratives of a common past, identities linked to birth and regnal belonging were apparently important. At the same time, personal bonds based on friendship, kinship and allegiance, played a fundamental role in the political dealings of the period. Particular bonds of love were also perceived to exist between the realms, as shown in the treaties negotiated between the realms. Rather than giving priority to the importance of one specific sense of identity in the political game of the period, it is argued that the complex relationships governing political action and discourse in late-medieval Scandinavia should be conceived in terms of entangled identities, where the different forms of identification and allegiance remain distinct, while at the same time inseparable from each other.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Warszawa, 2018. Vol. 23, p. 379-403
Keywords [en]
Memory, Identity, Kalmar union, Scandinavia, Sweden, Middle Ages, Community, Political power
National Category
History
Research subject
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-169857OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-169857DiVA, id: diva2:1327308
Funder
Anna Ahlströms och Ellen Terserus stiftelseAvailable from: 2019-06-19 Created: 2019-06-19 Last updated: 2019-06-19Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • Other style
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Output format
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