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Beyond Eastern NoirReimaging Russia and Eastern Europe in Nordic Cinemas$
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Anna Estera Mrozewicz

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474418102

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474418102.001.0001

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Polish Spectres in our House: Revisiting the Nordic Metaphor of the Home

Polish Spectres in our House: Revisiting the Nordic Metaphor of the Home

(p.169) Chapter 6 Polish Spectres in our House: Revisiting the Nordic Metaphor of the Home
Beyond Eastern Noir

Anna Estera Mrozewicz

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter looks at films revolving around Polish migrations to Scandinavian countries (Norway, Denmark, Sweden) after 2004 (Poland’s accession to the European Union). It utilises the concept of spectral agency (theorised by Esther Peeren) – that is, the agency of the dispossessed, the marginalised (the ‘living ghosts’), and those made socially invisible by ongoing spectralising processes, most prominently the processes of neoliberal globalisation. The analysis focuses on how Polish guest/ghost workers (or the notorious spectre of the ‘Polish plumber’), cleaning and repairing Scandinavian houses, contribute to reimagining the most ubiquitous political metaphor encapsulating the Scandinavian welfare state – the people’s home (Swedish folkhem). Looking at the Scandinavian people’s ‘home’ from the ghosts’ perspective helps to expose the borders (or walls) implicit in this metaphor, opening up the potential for a reimagining of both the political metaphor and the social reality it reflects and shapes. Although recent films present a particularly unflattering judgement on the capability of Scandinavians to reimagine their home(s), the Polish ‘living ghosts’ are represented as powerful – though not idealised – figures, resisting spectralisation through their capability to produce a qualitative change in the (discourse of the) home.

Keywords:   Poland, Scandinavian countries, living ghosts, spectral agency, guest workers, Polish plumber, neoliberal globalisation, home metaphor, welfare state, folkhem

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