Skip to main content

Cases of Identity: Citizenship, Gender and Ethnicity in French and Scandinavian Engaged Crime Fiction 1965-2015

Grydehøj, Anne (2016) Cases of Identity: Citizenship, Gender and Ethnicity in French and Scandinavian Engaged Crime Fiction 1965-2015. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:60196)

Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only until 31 July 2022.
Contact us about this Publication
[thumbnail of 80Anne Grydehøj Thesis.pdf]


This study of Scandinavian and French crime fictions covers a fifty-year period from 1965 to 2015, during which both Scandinavian and French societies have undergone significant transformations. Crime fictions in the respective contexts have responded in terms of their content and approach to these shifting social realities, which in turn have played a part in transforming the generic codes and conventions of the crime novel. At the centre of the analysis are the two distinctive social models which these crime fiction traditions have as their points de repère: the French model of republican universalism and the Scandinavian welfare state, both routinely described as being in a state of crisis around the end of the twentieth century.

    The study establishes that early engaged crime fiction approaches these models from a class perspective, whereas at least since the 1990s group identity displaces socioeconomic interests as the critical focus. The thesis, then, adopting a comparative approach, investigates the interplay between contemporary Scandinavian and French crime narratives, considering their engagement with the relationship between the state and the citizen, and notably with identity issues (class, gender, sexuality and ethnicity in particular). An underlying premise for the project is an understanding of crime fiction as a multi-dimensional research object. Accordingly, alongside its literary analyses, the thesis places its twelve textual case studies within a wider interdisciplinary and intertextual framework where crime novels are viewed as socio-historical chronicles, as potential vehicles for social critique and as sites where various forms of identity are negotiated. The comparative analyses undertaken reveal that the discussion of identity issues is of a far more radical and subversive nature in the French crime fiction tradition than in its Scandinavian counterpart, corresponding also to more radical rewritings in France of the generic crime fiction template. Further, the study concludes, whereas the Scandinavian engaged crime novel engages affirmatively with the social consensus, the French variant has - in its dealing with the more rigid social model of French universalism - a transgressive and transformative approach.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: O'Meara, Lucy
Thesis advisor: Baldwin, Thomas
Uncontrolled keywords: crime fiction, gender, ethnicity, welfare state, queer theory, engaged literature, French republicanism, Scandinavia, France, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, postcolonialism, identity, sexuality, feminist theory.
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2017 18:00 UTC
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2021 10:16 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):