Norms and Narratives in the Nordic nations (NoNa)

Social, religious, cultural and legal norms have always been the key building blocks of any kind of community from the nuclear family to the supranational institutions. Into the second decade of the 21st century, it is clear, when looking at the changing nature of societies in all of the Nordic and Baltic countries, that these building blocks are being negotiated and reshaped like we haven’t seen in our part of the world since the age of the constitutions.

As our norms change, so do our narratives. Both norms and narratives define the boundaries between the members of society who share a common past and those who do not, the identity of the member is to a large extent based on the stories we live by.

The Nordic identities are increasingly the subject of this ongoing negotiation and the image of evangelical Lutheran, constitutional monarchies with strong welfare states seems to be withering. Now, social structures have become hyper-mobile with the development of new communication forms and media.

There are many unasked and unanswered questions and perspectives about how our cultural identity and memory resonate with the re-emergence of religion in general and Islam in particular. Therefore studies of national narratives as well as collective memory and identity have to focus on the multiple ways, in which the images of the past are communicated to, and shared among, the members of a community, highlighting the importance of remembering certain parts of the past and maybe more important forgetting and ignoring of others.

This collaboration can be understood as a multidisciplinary, pan-Nordic laboratory for social, religious, legal, and cultural research. In such a laboratory, the figurative building blocks of norms and narratives can be experimented with and examined, reassessed, and restructured on a basis of research and innovation.

The new interface technology made available recently is made to facilitate collaboration on research, sharing of knowledge, and communication of results to the public. For this purpose the network works with asynchronised website and a web-app tool dedicated to the investigation of the changing conditions of Nordic identities. Thus, it constitutes a new approach to academic communication and education for a new generation of researchers, not reinventing, but incorporating, sharing and using the new technical possibilities of communication.

Facts about the project
Project leader

Pernille Carstens, University of Copenhagen, Denmark