Affective spaces: trajectories of migration in Scandinavian and German transnational narratives (2011-2017)
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date09/01/2021
Tröger, Anja Claudia
This thesis comparatively examines literary representations of lived migrant and postmigrant experiences in different contemporaneous contexts and from a multiplicity of perspectives. Published between 2011 and 2017 and selected from the literatures of Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden, the twelve literary texts analysed in this thesis centre not only on characters who themselves migrate, but also on their descendants, and on characters who encounter those they perceive or marginalise as ‘other’. Following the different steps of the migratory journey from departure and travel to an uncertain arrival and the problematic notions of belonging and integration, this thesis employs the theoretical angle of affect studies to investigate the ways in which policies and practices of exclusion, processes of othering, and the disparate distribution of precarity affect the characters’ lives, bodies and self-understanding. The detailed analysis of those affects which are produced in precarious life situations, in embodied encounters and through exclusionary politics grants insights into contextual configurations, as it throws into sharp relief the social and political power relations underpinning the protagonists’ conflicts and struggles. The comparative examination of these political structures is further supported by the multiplicity of texts and perspectives. With a symmetrical division of three texts each from the literatures of Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden, this thesis is firmly rooted in Scandinavian literary studies; however, the inclusion of texts from German literature allows for an exploration and problematisation of particularly Scandinavian themes, such as Scandinavian Guilt and Scandinavian exceptionalism, from a transnational perspective. Reading Scandinavian and German texts in close contact with each other brings the texts’ politics into sharp focus: by contrasting these different politics, this thesis contends that literary texts may constitute a counter-discourse to those discourses that often sustain marginalisation and othering, insofar as these texts reimagine the lives and voices of those who are usually invisible and inaudible: refugees and asylum seekers.