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Adapting Social Change: Swedish Crime Fiction as a Medium for System Correction

Adapting Social Change: Swedish Crime Fiction as a Medium for System Correction

Nordic Noir’s progenitor “The Man on the Balcony” from 1967 critiques social democracy from a Marxist viewpoint. The novel’s 1993 film adaptation, however, reuses the same crime to challenge neo-liberal globalization. From a story perspective, this is a drastic deviation from ideological fidelity. But a systems perspective shows that the adaptation adheres to functional fidelity for crime fiction as a medium for social discourse. By examining how the two works engage their respective eras’ contemporary issues, we see how Nordic Noir has become a mediator of error correction for Sweden as a social system. Adaptations are therefore expected to show greater fidelity to format than to content, which a systems approach can help facilitate. This perspective also suggests that our nation states – as we lose shared arenas for cultural discourse – will adapt less effectively to changes because it becomes harder to agree on what is real and what is fake.

Mads Larsen, “Adapting Social Change: Swedish Crime Fiction as a Medium for System Correction,” in Journal of Adaptation in Film & Performance 13(1), March 2020, pp. 37-50.

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