Starry starry night. Fantasies of homogeneity in documentary films about Kvens and Norwegian-Pakistanis
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This chapter compares two documentary films about old and new minority groups in Norway, with reference to Lauren Berlant’s understanding of ‘national fantasy’. The documentaries, Under an annen himmel [Under another sky] (2011), directed by Anstein Mikkelsen and Frivillig tvang [Willingly coerced] (2014) directed by Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen explore issues of belonging and national identity with respect to the Kven and Norwegian-Pakistani communities. We argue that the narratives and meanings located in both documentaries provide evidence of the ways in which Norwegian society has and does make sense of itself and its ‘others’ in relation to an enduring national fantasy of homogeneity, which purports to preserve the nation as a safely bounded whole. While the Kvens’ experience of assimilation through Norwegianisation policies appears to stand in contrast to contemporary integration policies, these documentaries shed light on the destructive continuities between current policy and past assimilation thinking. In Frivillig Tvang, the consistently negative ways in which stories and practices of family in the Norwegian-Pakistani community are framed underscores that acceptance into the imagined community is still perceived in mainstream culture as conditional on sameness.