• Mads Mølhus Nielsen
4. term, History, Master (Master Programme)
This thesis analysis how the Danish drama-documentary TV-series “Grænseland” make the use of history in the contribution to form a national identity. The series was produced as part of the 100- year anniversary of the demarcation between Denmark and Germany in 1920 of the old duchy of Schleswig after a national referendum in the area. In the Danish culture of remembrance this narrative is known as the reunification of Sønderjylland with the rest of the Danish kingdom, were the people who felt Danish, but after the loss of Schleswig-Holstein in 1864 had lived under Prussian and German rule voted themselves “home”. This event has been described by scholars as one of the form formative events of the national character in Danish history. By using theory of documentary by Ib Bondebjerg I will show how Grænseland structures a narrative using different documentary modes and cinematic techniques. The theories in place view the documentary genre as a statement about reality. This proposed statement is then investigated and substantiated by different form of documentation, use of experts, witnessed etc. These theories also define the genre as a construction in which the audience, filmmaker and social and culturally constructed genre conventions negotiate the status of the film as non-fiction and thereby as a statement of reality. Therefore, modern documentaries can incorporate the use of fiction in the narrative without questioning the authenticity or truth-value of the documentary. Fictional scenes play a big part in the narrative of Grænseland as well as the classic expository and performative mode of documentary. To describe how the series affect the viewer I use Alison Landsberg’s theory of prosthetic memory as a theoretical basis. Landsberg argues that theories such as Maurice Hawlbachs theory on collective memory are inadequate to describe how memories are form in a modern commodified mass culture. She proposes that memory is form in the experience with a mediated historical narrative which latches on the views body as a prosthetic limb and becomes part of the subject’s own memory. This process is enabled by the view gaining empathy with one or more characters. The potential formation of prosthetic memory is particular present in the fictional/dramatized scenes of the oppressed Danes and also in the poetic scenes. I further analyze the series narrative by using theories of nationalism to describe how the series construct a narrative on national identity and nationhood. The thesis concludes that part of the series has a traditional nationalistic view on of the reunification of Denmark. This view can partly be seen as a political consequence of Ole Bornedals series, which had an anti-nationalistic view of the Second Schleswig War. Besides the dominating
nationalistic narrative in Grænseland, the series also tries to establish a new narrative about the reunification of Denmark, which emphasizes the creating of two minorities in Denmark and Germany.
Publication date1 May 2022
Number of pages82
ID: 471897824