The Invention of Scandinavia
BBC Radio 4
Long years ago a friend and I compiled a “bigot’s guide to Europe” for a student magazine. The highlight of this exercise in regional stereotyping was the caption for Scandinavia, which read “Suicide, pornography, Abba”. If there were plenty of clichéd views of national identity on offer in the first tranche of this three-part series (10-24 November), then their exposure confirmed a long-held suspicion that stereotypes are often collusive and may involve the willing participation of the alleged victims.
Misha Glenny and his producer Miles Warde, who also features in the programme, began their enquiry on the Oresund Bridge that separates Denmark from neighbouring Sweden. As any BBC4-fancier will know, this is the backdrop for the immensely successful Scandi-Noir series The Bridge, whose signature mark is the sometimes less-than- willing collaboration between its Swedish and Danish law enforcers.