Wurzellos und zeitenthoben? Schweden als Transitraum und deutsche Heterotopie im Werk Antje Rávic Strubels

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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 contributionRootless and time removed from? Sweden as a transit area and German Heterotopia factory Antje Rávic of Strubels
Publication date2017
Publication titleTransiträume und transitorische Begegnungen in Literatur, Theater und Film
Translated titleTransit area and transitory encounters in literature, theatre and film
EditorsE.W.B. Hess-Lüttich, Sabine Egger, Withold Bonner
Place of PublicationFrankfurt (DE)
PublisherPeter Lang
Number of pages262
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-63172602-0
Original languageGerman

Publication series

NameCross-Cultural Communication
PublisherPeter Lang

Bibliographic note

DOI 10.3726/b11320


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