The (In)visibility

Complex: Negotiating otherness in contemporary Sweden


Book

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The (In)visibility Complex: Negotiating otherness in contemporary Sweden


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March 2008

The (In)visibility Complex is a study of ethnicity and cultural expression in Sweden since the mid-1990s. What does it mean to be a blatte? What about being a svenne?


Stereotypes can sometimes work as categories that help us make sense of the world around us, but they can also enhance differences between people by making them more visible. Let us say that a svenne is a blond, very calm, and law-abiding (the list can go on!) Swede; a blatte is a dark-haired, rebellious young man that speaks Swedish with an accent and is proud of his non-Swedish heritage. Could one think of blattar and svennar as good Swedes? Could any Swede identify with either blattar or svennar, or does one have to be born with one of the two identities?


This book looks for answers to the above questions in musical, liter­ary, and visual works by The Latin Kings, Josef Fares, and Jonas Hassen Khemiri. It reads the texts in the social and cultural contexts of today’s multicultural Sweden and tries to understand the make-up of blattar and svennar as social and cultural metaphors populating the fictional worlds of TLK’s lyrics, the novel Ett öga rött, as well as the films Jalla! Jalla! and Zozo.


Visual Identities of the Other: Performance Art and the Public Sphere in Contemporary Sweden


Journal article

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Visual Identities of the Other: Performance Art and the Public Sphere in Contemporary Sweden


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2008

This article published in the journal Scandinavian Studies, analyses the intersection of migration, identity, and cultural production in the 1990s and the early 2000s in Sweden. It offers a discourse analysis of slam poetry written and performed by three artists and writers who are first and second generation migrants living in Sweden – Johannes Anyuru, Daniel Boyacioglu, and Navid Modiri. Inspired by hip-hop, these writers and performance artists create work that reflects critically on the social realities of Sweden at the time, speaking of social othering of migrants as well as the experiences of ethnic discrimination, social isolation, and racism.

What is a Blatte? Migration and Ethnic Identity in Contemporary Sweden


Journal article

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What is a Blatte? Migration and Ethnic Identity in Contemporary Sweden


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2007

This article published in the Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research explores a unique political, social, and cultural development in northern Europe, focusing on Sweden.


The article examines the formation and manifestations of a new kind of collective consciousness of immigrants living in Sweden called blatte identity, defined by ethnic markers constructed by opposition to the nationalistic ideals of an ethnically pure Swedish identity. More specifically, my article examines the construction and affirmation of a special kind of blatte. identity, called a thought sultan (tankesultan). Briefly, a tankesuktan is a Swede of Arabic descent, proud of his Muslim background, and actively engaging in resisting the assimilative forces within Swedish society. The concept was coined by the author Jonas Hassen Khemiri in his debut novel entitled An Eye Red (Ett ga Rtt) published in 2003. My argument discusses the trajectory of the concept from the artistic and literary realm into public discourse through the help of mass media, as well as the relation to other terms in the official and public discourse, such as immigrant, black skull (svartskalle), or ethnic Swede (svenne). From being an individual marker of ethnic belonging to the community of Arabic-speaking, Muslim immigrants to Sweden, a thought sultan (tankesultan) is used as a common denominator for some of the members of the immigrant community living in Sweden who like to consider their marginal social status and their everyday life marked by ethnic and religious discrimination. An instance of such use can be found in the magazine Gringo that is distributed for free in Sweden's large urban areas, which made use of this concept as a categorizational tool of ethnic otherness for blattar, or immigrants, alongside other stereotyping concepts and images circulating in the public discourse of contemporary Sweden.

Www.Not_So_Foreign_Sweden.Com Representing Immigrant Identity in Contemporary Swedish Literature and Visual Arts


Journal article

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www.Not_So_Foreign_Sweden.Com: Representing Immigrant Identity in Contemporary Swedish Literature and Visual Arts


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2006

www.Not_So_Foreign_Sweden.Com: Representing Immigrant Identity in Contemporary Swedish Literature and Visual Arts is an article published in the International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management.


This article explores Sweden in the early 2000s, when it began experiencing an interesting socio-cultural phenomenon of redefinition of national identity as a result of the rise of awareness of the everyday reality of discrimination and segregation of first- and second-generation immigrants from the Middle East, North Africa and Africa.