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Valkyriornas identitetskris: Hårbyfigurinen och (om)tolkandet av genusambivalenta föremål
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Archaeology.
2017 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
The Valkyries crisis of identity : The Hårbyfigurine and the (re)interpretation of gender ambiguous objects (English)
Abstract [en]

In the year of 2012 a unique three dimensional figurine was found in Hårby, Denmark depicting what seems to be a woman holding a sword and a shield. Immediately it was defined as a Valkyrie, a female servant of the Viking god Odin. However, this is most likely a simplified interpretation since most female figurines from the Viking age is interpreted in this way. This thesis questions this interpretation, creating an identity crisis for the Valkyries due to their interpretation no longer being obvious and simple. Instead this thesis recognizes the gender ambiguous features of the Hårbyfigurine and tries to determine what it can tell about the perception of gender during the Viking Age. The purpose of this thesis is thus to present how gender theory, queer theory and a comparative method can be used to interpret a gender ambiguous object from the Viking Age. This is done based on the Hårbyfigurine and its different attributes and concludes that the arguments against that female figurines from the Viking Age depicts Valkyries are more numerous than the arguments that support this identification. Alternative interpretations for the figurine is therefore suggested. The thesis also shows that the interpretations gender theory, queer theory and comparative method can produce differs in its complexity and in how they handle the gender ambiguous qualities of the Hårbyfigurine. The conclusion drawn from this is that gender ambiguous objects cannot be interpreted in one single way but must be tackled with a variety of theories and methods to be able to tell something about the worldview of the people who lived in the Viking Age. The term gender ambiguous is also re-evaluated throughout the thesis and turns out to be an interpretation applied to objects based on a modern way of defining gender and sex and is not a trait of the object itself. This means that gender is not defined in the same way today as it was in the Viking Age. Gender is thus strongly connected to the ruling culture and not stable, but ever changing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 35 p.
Keyword [en]
Hårbyfigurine, gender ambiguity, gender theory, queer theory, comparative method, figurines, Viking Age, cosmology
Keyword [sv]
Hårbyfigurinen, genusambivalens, genusteori, queerteori, komparativ metod, figuriner, vikingatid, kosmologi
National Category
Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-324276OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-324276DiVA: diva2:1109316
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-06-14 Created: 2017-06-13 Last updated: 2017-06-14Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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