Culture and Rationality. European Frameworks of Norwegian Identity

Edited Volume

Burgess, J. Peter (ed.) (2001) Culture and Rationality. European Frameworks of Norwegian Identity. Kristiansand.

Culture and Rationality. European Frameworks of Norwegian Identity

To be Norwegian, to be ascribed “the Norwegian”, implies organizing one’s self-understanding in relation to a general conceptual structure. That structure is profoundly European. This is true not only because Norway is connected to the political and geographical unity, which happens to be called Europe, not only because Norwegians show constantly more signs of being involved in a general continentalisation, not even because one or another European cultural heritage might contribute to the development of the Norwegian. What is unavoidably European about the Norwegian is the logic of its concept. Ideas and properties vary. However, what seem to be unchanging are the intellectual connections between the universal ideas and the concrete manifestations of those ideas.

This book builds upon the notion that the conceptual premises of Norwegian self-understanding are more or less identical to those of the European understanding. It tries to plot the contours of that conceptual foundation through a number of different discourses: history, politics, economics, law and linguistics. The consequence of this supposition is the guiding frame of these studies. The cultural particularity of the Norwegian can only be made possible by the universality of traditional discourses of science. The populist notion of the Norwegian Sonderweg requires the generality of the European frameworks that give it legitimacy.

Culture and Rationality collects essays from a broad range of fields, from literature and cultural history, to economic theory and international politics in an attempt to analyse the European cultural heritage in the Norwegian self-understanding.

Culture and Rationality
European Frameworks of Norwegian Identity

Introduction: How Norwegian is the Concept of the Norwegian?

I. Culture and Identity
1. Identity and Multiplicity: The Norwegian, the Scandinavian and the European
2. Learning to be Norwegian: Cultural Pedagogy as Nation-building from Aasen to Slagstad
3. Language and agon: Communicative Resistance and the Formation of Collective Identity

II. Culture, Crisis and Scientific Rationality
4. Weimar, Husserl and the Cultural Foundations of Reason
5. The Historiography of European Space
6. Power as Science: Derrida and The Norwegian Commission on Power

III. Culture, Law and Legitimacy
7. Law and Cultural Identity
8. Culture and the Rationality of Law from Weimar to Maastricht

IV. Culture and Economic Rationality
9. Culture and Political Economy
10. The Logic of Money from the Werner Plan to the Delors Report

V. Identity and Institutional Logic
11. The Double Reading of European Unity
12. European Construction between Institution and Identity

VI. Language and Enlightenment
13. Language Models of Enlightenment
14. The Norwegian Pastoral Enlightenment: Witoszek with Aasen

VII. Identity and Written Culture
15. Ivar Aasen’s (Re)creation of the European
16. Cultural Semiotics and New-Norwegian Written Culture
17. What is Written Culture?


J. Peter Burgess

J. Peter Burgess

Research Professor & Editor of Security Dialogue