Colonial Aphasia and Unsettling Feelings in the Danish-Greenlandic Relationship : A Danish Autoethnography

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Title: Colonial Aphasia and Unsettling Feelings in the Danish-Greenlandic Relationship : A Danish Autoethnography
Author: Henriksen, Sofie Malm
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2021
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Kulttuurienvälisen vuorovaikutuksen maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in Intercultural Encounters
Magisterprogrammet i interkulturell växelverkan
Specialisation: ei opintosuuntaa
no specialization
ingen studieinriktning
Abstract: This thesis investigates the affective economies present in Danish-Greenlandic encounters when the Danish-Greenlandic relationship is discussed, in order to understand how certain feelings are constitutive of Danish colonial aphasia. Moreover, inspired by Indigenous research ethics and methodologies, the author employs a reflexive research approach to scrutinize her positionality and to start a discussion about epistemic injustice within Danish academia. In the study, colonial aphasia is theorized as an occlusion of knowledge and a conceptual dissociation with coloniality, which results in the inability of previous colonial powers to link present postcolonial issues with colonialism. The sources consist of namely a recorded conversation as well as autoethnography produced throughout the thesis process. By employing analytic autoethnography, the study shows how feelings of protectiveness, entitlement, shame and guilt are circulated by the author, a Dane, vis-à-vis Greenlandic people when discussing the Danish-Greenlandic relationship. The study concludes that feelings of protectiveness, entitlement and shame are present as coloniality, but that the Dane perceives coloniality as existing through the struggles of the Other, or as structural, but not as present within us as individuals. Consequently, these feelings are constitutive of colonial aphasia. Finally, the study suggests that the absence of researcher reflexivity in Danish research focusing on Danish-Greenlandic contexts is ultimately sustaining epistemic injustice. Concludingly, the study argues that employing reflexivity and introspection to investigate the particular is not only apt in understanding Danish colonial aphasia, but also in scrutinizing our own colonial complicity as Danish students and researchers investigating Greenlandic or Danish-Greenlandic contexts.
Subject: Colonial aphasia
affective economies
Unity of the Realm

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