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Jerome Bruner Ideas Applied to Norwegian Americans

According to metaphysical Jaina theory, anything in the universe can - theoretically and in thought at the very least - be related to anything else in the universe. Accordingly, Jerome Bruner's ideas (mainly from 1996) from the fields of psychology and education can be said to pertain to Norwegian Americans too.

Norwegian Americans have been studied by Odd S. Lovoll. His book The Promise Fulfilled (1998) uses questionaire statistics for assessments and verbalisations.

There are other and later expressions of Norwegian Americans than the burlesque humour strip Han Ola og han Per by Peter Rosendahl - for example songs. songs, representatives, life stories, good ideas and other cultural outlets and much else. Bruner (1996) reflects on such issues in his cultural psychology (1990, 1996).

About one third of the Norwegians emigrated to the U.S.A. between 1835 and 1910, hoping for a good life, or if not good, better than back home, and if not better, a return ticked might be wise. Since most Norwegian Americans around 2000 were middle class Americans, many could have succeeded fairly well until then. However, social characteristics, conditions and comparisons are not all that simple. Therefore it could be good to follow up by asking such as,

  • Norwegian Americans, what are their marks? What are their distinguishing characteristics, if any? What makes them "tick"? And how sure is that?
  • What kind of abundance heralds decline among the descendants of those who set out? Weakening of good inheritance values suggests a decline, it seems to me.
  • What parts of their collective myths and stories and history may motivate and nourish others today? Is the collective Norwegian-American history too young and culturally contaminated to count as first class, for example?
  • What have culturally assimilated Norwegian Americans become, as shown by what and how they eat and drink and communicate at large? What distinguishes them, how much, and how significantly is it? And does any of it matter?
  • There is a fine line between being assimilated and being dissolved as an ethnic or cultural unit somehow. Assimilation in a "mixture culture" marked by old English hegemony, does it allow for contributing to the good things, and how far, if so? Giving up inheritance and getting "melting pot" standards may or may not be a poor bargain. So how is it?
  • There are limits to the value of comparisons, such as comparing Norwegian Americans to others,. The "thing" in itself should keep manifesting itself. Does it? To what degree, if so?
  • And where is the evidence? Are parts of it not better than anecdotal? If so, how suitable can evidence parts be or become if fixed somewhat?

To ask fine questions could matter much in the long run. What is more, it helps to discriminate too when it comes to our own nourishment - material, social, intellectual, mental, moral, cultural-habitual, and so on, as the case may be. Handling information sensibly can be trained also.

Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies is a scholarly field of field of research, approaches and teachings. It was first developed by British academics in the late 1950s, 60s and 70s. The field has since been taken up and transformed by scholars in many arenas around the world.

Hallmarks of the field of Cultural Studies:

  • Interdisciplinary approaches.
  • Its practitioners examine the forces within and through which socially organized people conduct and construct their everyday lives.
  • There is no singular theoretical approach, but rather as diverse field of study with a lot of different theoretical and methodological perspectives and practices.
  • Cultural Studies is distinct from cultural anthropology and ethnic studies, but has drawn on and contributed to both of these areas of inquiry all the same.
  • It concerns itself with the meaning and practices of everyday life, and is among other things occupied with historical foundations of present cultures, conflicts and defining traits.
  • Is committed to ethical evaluations of modern society.
  • It relates to wider systems of power as detected or reflected through ideology, class structures, national formations, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, generation, and so on.
  • It views cultures as interacting and changing sets of practices and processes.

Cultural studies concerns itself with the meaning and practices of everyday life; how people do particular things in a given culture; in any given practice; and how they use various objects.

Communication technology has moved very rapidly and has got a definite effect on outlooks. Hence, human culture is getting more unified.

Cultural Studies in the United States was grounded in a pragmatic, liberal-pluralist tradition that occupied itself with understanding effects of such as mass culture.

The feminist cultural analyst, theorist and art historian Griselda Pollock contributed to cultural studies from viewpoints of art history and psychoanalysis. The writer Julia Kristeva was an influential voice in the turn of the century, contributing to Cultural Studies from the field of art and psychoanalytical French feminism.

And why is consumerism considered part of culture? One big aim of government economic policy is to maintain consumer spending levels, for those levels indicate or serve economic effectiveness, regardless that humankind's present rrate of consumption is leading the planet to a point where it can no longer be sustained, threatening the human race and more. This is a major issue in Cultural Studies: the mass media's influence on consumers.

Academic reception: Some scholars and disciplines like to dismiss Cultural Studies for its methodological openness and loose-looking disciplinarity. Still, its core strategies of critique and analysis have had a profound influence in social sciences and humanities. It is a living field of studies and explorations (cf. the book list).


Jerome Bruner Ideas and cultural studies of Norwegian Americans, Literature  

Barker, Martin, and Anne Beezer, eds. Reading into Cultural Studies. London: Taylor and Francis e-Library, 2005.

Bruner, Jerome. Acts of Meaning (the Jerusalem-Harvard Lectures). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990.

⸻. The Culture of Education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996.

During, Simon. Cultural Studies: A Critical Introduction. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2005.

Hall, Gary, and Clare Birchall, eds. New Cultural Studies: Adventures in Theory. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006.

Kövecses, Zóltan. Metaphor in Culture: Universality and Variation. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Longhurst, Brian, et al. Introducing Cultural Studies. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2008.

Lovoll, Odd S. The Promise Fulfilled: A Portrait of Norwegian Americans Today. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998.

Miller, Toby, ed. A Companion to Cultural Studies. Oxford: Blackwell, 2001.

Pickering, Michael, ed. Research Methods for Cultural Studies. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008.

Rosendahl, Peter J. Han Ola og Han Per. A Norwegian-American Comic Strip. En norsk-amerikansk tegneserie, edited by Joan N. Buckley and Einar Haugen. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1984 (Original printed in the Decorah-Posten).

⸻. More han Ola og han Per. A Norwegian-American Comic Strip. En norsk-amerikansk tegneserie. Edited by Joan N. Buckley and Einar Haugen. Bilingual Edition. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1988.

Schönpflug, Ute, ed. Cultural Transmission: Psychological, Developmental, Social, and Methodological Aspects. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Storey, John. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. 6th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education, 2012.

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