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Mis-Communication: Developments in Danish-Greenlandic relations after the Act on Greenland Self-Government - Kirsten Thisted

10:00 AM, Saturday 5 Oct 2019 (30 minutes)
Based on "the affective turn" in cultural studies this presentation investigates the (mis) communication between Danish and Greenlandic journalists and politicians in the time after the introduction of Greenlandic Self-Government. The paper argues that old emotional economies, established during colonial times, still characterize the relationship, leading to misunderstandings. Apparently, the Danes have not fully understood or accepted the fact that the Greenlanders have set full independence (detachment from Denmark) as the goal. Thus, while the Greenlanders go for a dissolution of the Kingdom of Denmark (Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands), the goal of the Danish state is not surprisingly to preserve the present territory. The debate demonstrates how the Danes suffer from what Paul Gilroy has called "postcolonial melancholia", while the Greenlanders are engrossed in a "yearning for total revolution", based on the colonial power's own discourse on the nation state as a redemption of the people's dream of freedom. National independence has thus become an object of happiness in Greenlandic policy. Everything - Including establishment of infrastructure and questions about mining - is judged on whether or not it serves this goal. The purpose of the analysis is not to speak for or against Greenland's detachment from Denmark, but to contribute to an identification of the emotional investments, which in the debate are dressed as “reason” or “objectivity”. The paper is developed as part of the REXSAC project: Resource Extraction and Sustainable Arctic Communities REXSAC - A Nordic Centre of Excellence.
University of Copenhagen