“Welcome to the most privileged, most xenophobic country in the world”. Affective figurations of white Danishness in the making of a Danish citizen

Linda Lapiņa*

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportBidrag til bog/antologiForskningpeer review


Based on autoethnographic vignettes and memory work, this chapter explores the affective figurations of Danishness emerging in white Danes’ reactions to the author’s application for Danish citizenship. White majoritized Danishness materializes as an affective limbo where awareness of privilege and guilt are entwined. It is situated within a “good life” where cruelty seems relegated to elsewhere in its effects, while simultaneously comprising the backbone of the social body. Just after the author’s applying for citizenship in the summer of 2016, a male professor reacts with disbelief, exclaiming: “Why on earth would you want to become a citizen in Denmark?" In this encounter, applying coveys a naïve belief in citizenship as a gateway to civic participation, in addition to complicity in violent acts committed by the Danish nation state. In contrast, three friends’ ambivalent welcomes to “the passport club” highlight Danishness as cushioned and vexatious. Drawing on Sara Ahmed’s work on happy objects and Lauren Berlant’s conceptualization of cruel optimism, the chapter discusses how Danish citizenship emerges as an ambivalent attachment to and investment in Danishness that can be unDanish to desire. The chapter contributes to scholarship on Nordic identities, Nordic whiteness, intersectionality and differentiated whiteness.

TitelTransforming Identities in Contemporary Europe : Critical Essays on Knowledge, Inequality and Belonging
Antal sider17
Publikationsdato1 jan. 2023
ISBN (Trykt)9781032151113
ISBN (Elektronisk)9781000907407
StatusUdgivet - 1 jan. 2023

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