“The ugly grey-white blocks of concrete”: Class, Gender and Ethnicity in Danish ‘Ghetto Literature’

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In the short first part of this essay, I will supply the contemporary Danish conception of ‘the ghetto’ with a literary prehistory. Referring to Danish cultural representations from the mid-sixties to the present, I will argue that contemporary Danish ghettoes are the outcomes of longer lines of Danish post-war history rather than only the result of more recent waves of immigration.
The much longer second part of the essay take an intersectional perspective on three seemingly ethnically specific forms of gender identity. The source material here is contemporary Danish literature as well as TV dealing with coming of age in Danish deprived housing areas. The social categorisations of ethnicity, class and gender turn out to intersect not only with each-other but also with place; the intersectional configurations can be mapped on the social cartography of present Danish class society. This phenomenon is not specific for “the ghetto”, and the ultimate argument here is that such areas are mirrors, rather than “parallel societies”.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMigration and Identity in Nordic Literature
EditorsMartin Humpál, Helena Brezinová
Place of PublicationPrag
Publication dateMay 2022
ISBN (Print)978802464731, 8024647311
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

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