This article presents a framework for thinking about the intersections between geopolitics and Northern European television drama by examining the contemporary Nordic Noir genre of crime drama. Nordic Noir features not only the double plot that combines sociopolitical critique with crime drama, but also a third “gaze” that engages aesthetics and territorial features that further individual series’ geopolitical critique. Nordic Noir has become especially attuned to contemporary geopolitical issues specific to its setting (climate change, East-West rivalries, etc.), through which viewers engage with region-specific geopolitical codes and visions. However, what happens when Nordic geopolitical television drama series are exported and transculturally adapted to different geopolitical and cultural realities? By examining the Southeast Asian localisation of The Bridge (Viu/HBO Asia, 2018–) that transforms Nordic Noir into “tropical noir”, this article critically reflects on the geopolitical power and societal engagement of the Nordic Noir template both within and beyond the Nordic region.
The “golden age” of Scandinavian television has often been associated with Nordic Noir crime dramas, yet many of the acclaimed serials also engage with geopolitical themes such as migration, cross-border crime, military conflicts, and global terrorism. In this article, we examine the ways in which Nordic Noir contributes to discourses on such topics. We look specifically at the dramas Okkupert [Occupied] (NRK, 2015–), Ørnen [The Eagle] (DR, 2004–2006), Nobel – fred for enhver pris [Nobel – Peace at any Cost] (NRK, 2016), and Kriger [Warrior] (Netflix, 2018–) as they explore potential threats to Scandinavian society and the Nordic welfare state through the distinct figure of the vigilante veteran. Returning soldiers, as we argue, are particularly productive of geopolitics because they are shown to be adept (even well suited) to dealing with the geopolitical uncanny. They, in fact, problematise the positive Scandinavian self-image. While Scandinavian society, as can be inferred from the dramas, has become hypocritical and complacent owing to a very high standard of living, the veterans are the only people adept at responding to threats and crises.
Focusing on the use of landscape in the Norwegian series Occupied (2015–2020) and Nobel (2016), this article examines the ways in which cityscapes and panoramas of the natural environment are employed as affective, as well as aesthetic tools for storytelling within a geopolitically inflected framework. Drawing on literature from popular geopolitics, geocriticism, and visual politics, my analysis interrogates the ways in which geopolitical codes and visions manifest via televisual fiction, reflecting a variety of insecurities associated with Norway's current position in world affairs, as well as contemporary challenges to Norwegian national identity. This article also discusses how these two series have adapted key geovisual elements of the what I deem the “near Nordic Noir” style to focus more explicitly on geopolitical questions, linking Occupied and Nobel to other geopolitically inflected series from Nordic Europe.
This article examines the Norwegian climate fiction television series Okkupert [Occupied] (2015–), focusing on the ways in which it reveals the complicity of Nordic subjects in an ecological dystopia. I argue that in illuminating this complicity, the series reimagines the Norwegian national self-conception rooted in a discourse of Norway's exceptionalist relation to nature. I show how Norway's green (self-)image is expressed through what I call “white ecology” – an aesthetics of whiteness encoded in neoromantic mountainous winter landscapes widely associated with the North, but also in the figure of the Norwegian white male polar explorer. I argue in this article that Occupied challenges this white-ecological masculine discourse through “dark ecology” (), embodied by Russia and expressed by the avoidance of spectacular landscape aesthetics as well as by the strategy of “enmeshment”, facilitated by the medium of televisual long-form storytelling and the eco-noir aesthetics.
In this article, I show how a vision for the Nordic region exists as a banal Nordism, based on years of content exchange, Nordic co-production models, and public funding opportunities. I document how new commercial players have been able to gain a very large market share in only a few years, significantly disrupting the reach of public service broadcasters in the Nordic region. The three largest contemporary commercial players on the Nordic market – Viaplay, HBO, and Netflix – have been able to, in very different ways, tap into the ideology of banal Nordism and the geopolitical unity of the Nordic region, and they have done so by producing and acquiring content that has deep associations with one of the Nordic region's main international brands: Scandinavian crime fiction and Nordic Noir.
In this article, I discuss the geopolitical underpinnings of Russophone fans’ response to the Norwegian hit teen series Skam [Shame]. Starting from the wide-spread distribution of Skam through informal horizontal networks, my article highlights the context specificity of fan participation in meaning-making around global television. Employing multimodal discourse analysis to the social media platform VKontakte, I examine how Russophone audiences of global television imagine the country of origin of their object of fandom, and how spatial imaginations embedded in this process contribute to popular geopolitics of Norden – that is, to geopolitical reasoning of narratives and representations of Nordic countries available through popular culture. My analysis shows how Norway and its positioning in the world provides an important symbolic resource for further discussions on identity and belonging. A close examination of mediated transnational cultural exchange through fan communities advances our understanding of the meaning of popular geopolitics in the age of global television.
This article is an ecocritical reading of the Swedish television series Jordskott. I discuss the effects in the series produced by the combination of the Nordic Noir's style and narrative techniques with elements of other genres, especially Gothic horror. I argue that through the contemporary reworking of the centuries-old Nordic mythology, Jordskott demonstrates how the aggressive powers of nature in Gothic narratives can no more be conventionally explained by referring to the pagan, pre-Christian beliefs, but need to be reconceived in light of the relentless environmental devastation brought about by humankind. The link unveiled between natural ecology and cultural mythology allows the series to surpass the limitations of the regionally informed folkloric story and to evolve into an ecological cautionary tale of global significance.
A current fault line in the study of crime fiction as a transnational genre is to what extent crime novels offer readers genuine cosmopolitan windows onto other worlds and cultures or whether it simply is bound to reproduce trite imagologies and national stereotypes. The overarching premise for this article is to explore the extent to which Henning Mankell's crime novels and their adaptations engage the character Wallander's own and “other” worlds with a cosmopolitan perspective, by considering the mutations of Wallander's fictional local world as intricately tied to discursive geopolitical realities of the post–Cold War world. More specifically, I consider what may be gained from exploring the Wallander series within two distinct – yet, I shall argue, related – perspectives on geopolitics and crime fiction: on the one hand, the geopolitics of the translation, adaptation, and reception networks that have “worlded” the Wallander series (what I call Wallander's geopolitical adaptation networks), and on the other, the fictional geopolitical networks that weave the Global North and the Global South together in several of Mankell's intricate crime plots (Wallander's dark geopolitics).
Evaluating the impact of media assistance is challenging for several reasons. Primary among them is that these kinds of initiatives operate in a complex political, social, and cultural environment. Although there has been increased attention to evaluation of media assistance, with a series of international conferences, funded research projects, and publications addressing this topic, it remains a problematic area of practice. This paper provides a survey of recent media assistance evaluation practices through an analysis of 47 evaluation documents of programs and projects from 2002–2012, identifying trends in methodology choices, and critiquing the quality of the evidence enabled through different evaluation approaches. It finds clear patterns in how, when and by whom evaluations are undertaken, but finds that these practices rarely generate useful, insightful evaluations.