Postsecularism in Scandinavian Crime Fiction

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    This article considers the postsecular turn in Scandinavian crime fiction. Postsecularism describes a renewed openness towards questions of spirituality, while maintaining the practice of critical scrutiny. Since 2000, we have seen an intensive increase in the number of titles treating religion and/or spirituality in a way which differs from the genre’s usual approach. Firstly, I will frame the traditional attitude towards religion in crime fiction by Scandinavian welfare modernity, outlining the conspicuous absence of religion in the genre. Secondly, I propose a typology of the treatment of religion in crime fiction. My examples are all taken from the vast corpus of contemporary Scandinavian crime fiction, but it would be rather unproblematic to stretch the scope of the theory to an analysis of western crime fiction in general. Within this typology, I will introduce the phenomenon of a religious affirmative openness. Thirdly, I connect the concept of postsecularity with the idea of a quiet reformation throughout Scandinavian cultures at the present time, thus supplying my genre analysis with a cultural explanation. I conclude my article by drawing attention to the philosophical idea of self-constrained modernity and the theological theory of a welfare theodicy as valuable discussions of why we see this spiritual interest in crime fiction.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalScandinavian Studies (Provo)
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)1-28
    Number of pages28
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


    • Crime fiction
    • postsecularism
    • religion
    • literature
    • Scandinavia
    • welfare state

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