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In Antje Rávic Strubel’s novels, Sweden frequently features as a transit space for her (East) German characters. Keenly aware of a specifically German tradition of cultural representation, which treats Scandinavia as an idealised alternative Heimat (homeland), Strubel portrays Sweden as a foreign yet familiar location, which appears to offer the German protagonists the potential for self-realisation and exploration of socially defined boundaries away from home. This vision of Sweden as a liberating transit space can be seen to correspond to Victor Turner’s concept of liminality, which places subjects temporarily outside of social constraints. In Sweden, Strubel’s displaced characters challenge the hegemonic restrictions of German bourgeois patriarchal society. However, this hopeful vision of Scandinavia as a free liminal space allowing permissive behaviour is rejected as the home country’s social restrictions are (re)asserted in the northern setting. Ultimately, Sweden emerges as an extension of German society, a “heterotopia” (Foucault) denying the characters a lasting escape from the limitations of their home country. This paper explores how Strubel’s novels appropriate and transform popular German perceptions of Sweden in order to express an independent vision, which acts as an intriguing commentary on both repressive structures within German society and on the country’s continuing colonialist attitude towards Scandinavia.
|Translated title of the contribution||Rootless and time removed from? Sweden as a transit area and German Heterotopia factory Antje Rávic of Strubels|
|Title of host publication||Transiträume und transitorische Begegnungen in Literatur, Theater und Film|
|Editors||E.W.B. Hess-Lüttich, Sabine Egger, Withold Bonner|
|Place of Publication||Frankfurt (DE)|
|Number of pages||262|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|