Berättelser om Breivik. Affektiva läsningar om våld och terrorism

Sammanfattning: In this thesis, I take a closer look at three books that have received a lot of attention, as well as a handful of popular science and newspaper articles, about Anders Behring Breivik and the terrorist attack in Norway on 22 July 2011, with the intention of analyzing how Breivik and the terrorist attack have been explained and made sense of. My primary focus is on Breivik but I also touch upon the attack, partly by looking at how the violence is depicted in these texts, and partly by discussing the explanations given for the attack. The purpose of the thesis is twofold: on the one hand, I look at how Breivik is being narrated and what kind of knowledge the stories about him produce; on the other hand, I look at what these stories do, that is, how it feels to read them, and how they affect and orientate their readers. My choice to focus on what has been written about Breivik is based on a desire to understand how the white Norwegian terrorist is, and can be, talked about. Through this shift in focus away from Breivik and into the discursive-material context in which his acts are embedded, I want to place Breivik in a larger context where “right-wing extremism”, in Breivik’s case expressed primarily through a nationalistic, racist, and anti-Muslim rhetoric, is seen not as something coming from, and happening at, the outskirts of society but as something being produced and formed by the ways in which “the normal” is understood and practiced. The thesis places a critical perspective on how the stories individualize Breivik and reproduce normative assumptions about gender, sexuality, and age. It also finds that there are important differences in the explanations offered for terrorist attacks that are interpreted as religious or Islamist and terrorist attacks that are understood as “secular”. Methodologically, the thesis explores writing as a method of enquiry, meaning that it not only explores the material, but also the researcher and the context in which both I and the material are situated. Theoretically, the thesis is an exploration of the relationship between language and matter, and between affect and emotion.

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