1994 – a temporal and scalar exploration of a Norwegian climax

Authors

  • Haakon Andreas Ikonomou University of Copenhagen

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3384/cu.3377

Keywords:

Norway, 1990s, Lillehammer Winter Olympics, Norwegian EU referendum, Globalization

Abstract

This article explores ‘1994’ as a cultural-historical ‘moment’ in order to tease out the layered manifestation of ‘Norway’ in a globalizing world. With offset in the oral testimonies, news coverage, reports, analysis and memories of people experiencing and contextualizing the two events of the Lillehammer Winter Olympics and the Norwegian referendum on membership in the EU, the article pursues their meaning along several temporalities and on multiple spatial scales. The argument is that ‘1994’ marked a symbolic climax and watershed moment for Norwegian (cultural) patriotism and the dispersion of what ‘Norway’ meant in a national, Nordic, European and global context. But the climax’s meaning were fragmented across time and space, and the monolithic moment has increasingly come to be filled with silences, anxieties and frustrations. Indeed, the Norwegian climax of 1994 dissolved in commercialism, mediatized fragmentation, Europeanization and globalization. The recognition that neither the ‘uniqueness’ of the ‘best Olympic Winter Games ever’ nor the ideational and historical significance of the Norwegian ‘no’ was received as intended by the sender, makes their temporal manifestations in the national context all the more significant: The simultaneous resurrection and burying of these twin events of the 1994-climax can thus be understood as a significant catalyst of Norway’s cultural and political myopia through a period of hasty, tumultuous and increasingly troublesome globalization.

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Published

2021-07-27

Issue

Section

Nordic Nineties