Icelandic Anomalies

Thesis Eleven 77 (1):103-120 (2004)

Abstract
Iceland differs from the other Nordic countries in very significant ways, and broader comparative perspectives may be useful. Contrasts and parallels with other ‘new societies’ – overseas offshoots of European civilization – should be explored further. In the Icelandic case, the foundations of the ‘new society’ were laid during the High Middle Ages. The medieval heritage is crucial to Icelandic national identity, but it is not a sufficient explanation of later nation-forming processes. The nationalist turn in the early 19th century began as a response to changes at the centre of the Danish composite monarchy but led to demands for separate statehood. In the course of the process that culminated in separation from Denmark, Icelandic intellectuals in Copenhagen and political leaders of the peasantry in Iceland represented different versions of nationalism. But the shared political culture that crystallized during this period continued to shape the course of events after independence
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DOI 10.1177/0725513604044233
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