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Analyzing Museum Collections in Scandinavia

New Insights in Revised Modernity and Its Implications on Archaeological Material

Niklas Ytterberg

This article emanates from studies and analyses of collections in cultural-historical museums in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway within the international research project CONTACT, concerning contacts between the aforementioned countries in southern Scandinavia during the Middle Neolithic (approximately 3000 BCE). This case study intends to raise questions related to research strategies at the museums holding the collections, in relation to the demand from research institutions using them. In what ways could these strategies coincide, and in what ways could they diverge? In what ways could we improve the research strategies for a better use of the collections?

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Henrik Åström Elmersjö and Daniel Lindmark

History as a school subject has been a thorny issue for advocates of peace education at least since the 1880s. Efforts, including the substitution of cultural history for military history, have been made to ensure that history teaching promotes international understanding, not propagates chauvinism. The Norden Associations of Scandinavia, which were involved in textbook revision since 1919, achieved some success by altering contents, but national myths remained central to each country's historical narrative, making it difficult to give history education its desired international orientation.

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Bettinal Lien Dahl and Åsa Lindberg-Sand

The aim of the Bologna Process is to make higher education systems across Europe more transparent. It is crucial for this purpose that confusion concerning the characteristics of the systems should be replaced by conformity. But, as we will show, conformity brought about at one level may create confusion at another. The curricular aspect of the Bologna Process focuses on a shift to outcome-based and student-centred programmes. Syllabi should now be based on intended learning outcomes (ILOs) and should be adjusted to general level descriptors for qualifications. However, the Bologna documents give no explicit recommendations about the use of grading scales. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the reforms of higher education induced by the Bologna process included a change of grading scales and referred to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). Through these three case studies, we describe and analyse the political process and argumentation underpinning the decisions to change the grading scales in each country. This includes the problems, both experienced and perceived, with the old grading scales, the various national assessment traditions and the new grading scales. The purpose of the change was not the same in each country, but the ongoing adaptation to a seven-step grading scale was thought to ease the international recognition of the national grades, making mobility easier. Though a seven-step grading scale was implemented in both Danish and Norwegian higher education and also by an increasing number of Swedish higher education institutions, the translation of grades only works on a superficial level. The grading scales designed are fundamentally different as classification systems; they attach different numerical values to grades with identical labels and they relate differently to norm- and standards-referenced judgements of learning outcomes. The information condensed in similar grades from the three countries cannot be equated. The vision of simple transparency turns out to be an illusion.

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Miriam L. Wallace

Best known as political radicals and novelists, Mary Wollstonecraft and Thomas Holcroft each wrote a travel narrative: Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark ([1796] 1987) and Travels from Hamburg through Westphalia, Holland and the Netherlands to Paris (1804), respectively. Despite their specific differences, both Wollstonecraft and Holcroft reconfigure travel as a politically inflected act of cultural encounter, resisting both the Grand Tour tradition of elite education and Romantic travel as an asocial and personal experience of the sublime. Although Wollstonecraft's account has been examined as a kind of feminine sublime or roman à clef, her political project has frequently been elided, seen as separate from the personal affect of her account. Holcroft's narrative is simply neglected. Reading these two travel accounts as products of late eighteenth-century British radical reform and developing Romantic sensibility enhances our understanding of eighteenth-century travel narrative and British Romanticism itself.

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Introduction

The Concern for Sociality—Practicing Equality and Hierarchy in Denmark

Maja Hojer Bruun, Gry Skrædderdal Jakobsen and Stine Krøijer

Equality is one of the concepts that people often associate with Scandinavia. Within anthropology, the works of Marianne Gullestad (1946–2008)—particularly, her monograph Kitchen-Table Society (1984) and the anthology The Art of Social Relations (1992a)—are among the few attempts to contribute to the theoretical debate on egalitarianism and sociality. With her concept of ‘egalitarian individualism’, Gullestad inscribes Scandinavia within broader comparative studies of ideological systems revolving around two dichotomies: hierarchyequality and holism-individualism (Béteille 1986; Dumont 1970, 1986; Kapferer 1988; Robbins 1994). Gullestad (1992b: 183) developed a theory of a specific “Norwegian, Scandinavian or Northern European variety” of modernity and of the general modern themes of individualism and equality. Exploring egalitarian individualism from different angles, she argued that equality is cast as ‘sameness’ in Scandinavia (Gullestad 1992d: 174 ff.), meaning that people develop an interactional style that emphasizes similarity and under-communicates difference in order to feel equal and to establish a sense of community. In Gullestad’s (1992b: 197) view, ‘equality as sameness’ is a central cultural idea that balances and resolves the tensions in the Norwegian ideological system between the individual and society, independence and community, equality and hierarchy.

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Capacity-building projects in African higher education

Issues of coloniality in international academic collaboration

Hanne Kirstine Adriansen and Lene Møller Madsen

This article studies issues of coloniality in so-called capacity-building projects between universities in Africa and Scandinavia. Even fifty years after independence, the African higher education landscape is a product of the colonial powers and subsequent uneven power relations, as argued by a number of researchers. The uneven geography and power of knowledge exist also between countries that were not in a direct colonial relationship, which the word coloniality implies. Based on interviews with stakeholders and on our own experiences of capacity-building projects, this article examines how such projects affect teaching, learning, curriculum, research methodology and issues of quality enhancement. We analyse the dilemmas and paradoxes involved in this type of international collaboration and conclude by offering ways to decolonise capacity-building projects.

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Thomas Hylland Eriksen

Since the early 1960s, Scandinavian anthropologists have made considerable contributions to the study of ethnicity, an early high point having been reached with the 1967 Wenner-Gren conference leading to the publication of Ethnic Groups and Boundaries in 1969. Later Scandinavian research on ethnicity and social identification more generally has been varied and rich, covering all continents and many kinds of majority/minority relations. However, over the last twenty years, anthropologists have increasingly focused on the study of the relationship between immigrant minorities and the majorities in their own countries. There are some significant general differences between ethnicity research overseas and at home, shedding light on the theoretical constructions of anthropology as well as the 'double hermeneutics' between social research and society. It can be argued that anthropology at home shares characteristics with both European ethnology (with its traditional nation-building agenda) and with sociology (which, in Scandinavia, is almost tantamount to the sympathetic study of the welfare state), adding a diluted normative relativism associated with the political views of the academic middle class (to which the anthropologists themselves, incidentally, belong). The article reflects on the consequences of embroilment in domestic politics for anthropological theory, using the experiences of overseas ethnicity research as a contrast to ethnicity research at home, where anthropologists have been forced, or enabled, to go public with their work.

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Kristian Kristiansen

In this article I examine how long-term economic strategies in the Bronze Age of northern Europe between 2300 and 500 BCE transformed the environment and thus created and imposed new ecological constraints that finally led to a major social transformation and a "dark age" that became the start of the new long-term cycle of the Iron Age. During the last 30 years hundreds of well-excavated farmsteads and houses from south Scandinavia have made it possible to reconstruct the size and the structure of settlement and individual households through time. During the same period numerous pollen diagrams have established the history of vegetation and environmental changes. I will therefore use the size of individual households or farmsteads as a parameter of economic strength, and to this I add the role of metal as a triggering factor in the economy, especially after 1700 BCE when a full-scale bronze technology was adopted and after 500 BCE when it was replaced by iron as the dominant metal. A major theoretical concern is the relationships between micro- and macroeconomic changes and how they articulated in economic practices. Finally the nature of the "dark age" during the beginning of the Iron Age will be discussed, referring to Sing Chew's use of the concept (Chew 2006).

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The Stigma of Emotions

Mary Wollstonecraft's Travel Writing

Lila Harper

Mary Wollstonecraft, the first writer to establish a coherent feminist assessment of her society’s treatment of women, in effect started the feminist movement as we know it today. Her Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) was a landmark proclamation of women’s political/social rights.1 Less well known, however, is her Letters Written during a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, an account of her 1795 travels in Scandinavia and an important text for understanding the situation of later nineteenth-century women travel writers.2 This book, Wollstonecraft’s last work before her untimely death, is a complex text. Here, Wollstonecraft tries to come to terms with her personal despair while securing her intellectual reputation. Additionally, this work established the travel genre as a form women could use to present themselves authoritatively in a narration and within a vocation. In essence, Wollstonecraft’s writing offered an invitation for women to participate in a narration of exploration, one very different from the traditional narration that required that the woman hold a fixed position and wait for experience to come to her. Instead, as Mary Morris indicates in her collection of women’s travels, Maiden Voyages: Writings of Women Travelers, travel narratives allow a woman to ‘be the stranger who comes to town’ (1993: xxii). At the same time, the public interpretation of Wollstonecraft’s life, an unusually public life for her time, provided warning signs for later women of the boundaries for behaviour which they could not ignore if they wished to maintain a level of social acceptance. As a result, Wollstonecraft’s own reception and reputation, the narration which others made of her life, delineated and established the boundaries of nineteenth-century women’s discourse.

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Jack Hunter, Annelin Eriksen, Jon Mitchell, Mattijs van de Port, Magnus Course, Nicolás Panotto, Ruth Barcan, David M. R. Orr, Girish Daswani, Piergiorgio Di Giminiani, Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen, Sofía Ugarte, Ryan J. Cook, Bettina E. Schmidt and Mylene Mizrahi

enchantment for the constitution of complex human and non-human assemblages in social contexts, generally understood as secular. It is not by chance, then, that many contributors have drawn on research about regions like Scandinavia that have often been too