The Jante Law Explained
Jante law, expression, derived from the Danish-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose from his novel A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks (1933, then. 1938). Herein depicted family and provincial press on a growing boy.
- You shall not believe that you are someone.
- You shall not believe that you are as good as we are.
- You shall not believe that you are any wiser than we are.
- You shall never indulge in the conceit of imagining that you are better than we are.
- You shall not believe that you know more than we do.
- You shall not believe that you are more important than we are.
- You shall not believe that you are going to amount to anything.
- You shall not laugh at us.
- You shall not believe that anyone cares about you.
- You shall not believe that you can teach us anything.
The social rules of play, which is a specific codification of the law of Jante, can with an anthropological angle be seen as the result of a general Nordic caution when it comes to highlight its own or praise other people’s happiness. Its roots can be traced to the old Nordic notion that happiness is ensured through certain precautions; through the modest behaviour avoids others envy, while on the other hand, “pride is in charge of the case”.
The novel from 1934 – A refugee crossing his track
The law of the law must be said to be shaft true Moses hate gift for posterior. The law, enshrined in ‘ a refugee crossing his track ‘, has since been used diligently by people who felt oppressed by the bourgeois. The book is not easy and fluid reading, but you should give yourself the possibility to read it.
The novel was first published in 1933 and was reissued in 1955 in a new and larger version, and it is this recast version we read today. It is shaped like a long enetale to a belongs, we do not know who is. The 168 chapters are small tales and not always consecutive essays describing the narratives ‘ upbringing in the Danish provincial town of Jante. Here the inhabitants of the generation after generation held each other down with envy and narrow vision. It is these unwritten rules that sandmose has rewritten to the Ten Commandments of the law of the Jant.
The stories testify to a psychological lucidity, which we may now take as a matter of course, but which has been stronger at the time. Sandmose is horriously articulating exactly what they think, the city’s self-suppressive subclass and the small citizens who want to be so distinguished and their children who get inferiority and distrust of the outside world with their mother’s milk.
The protagonist, true Moses alter ego, Espen Arneck experiences the teenage sexual fantasies, but has complexes and gets humiliating and self-perpetuating powerfulness. He is afraid of girls, but would like them to – also to feel like equals to his peers friends.
Aspen Arneck escapes from Jante and stands at sea with direction to North America. The law of the law is always strong in people who feel marginalised, but are of people at the opposite end of the hierarchy have also been used as a kind of defense mechanism. However, Sandmose also depicts the beginnings of a modern world where there is a break-up. New human relations have started to take over, and the solidarity that lies in the respect of the norms in local communities is under pressure.
It is difficult to read ‘ A refugee crosses his track ‘ without dealing with man Aksel sandmose. Not only because there are strong autobiographical features, but also because he was and is a controversial person with a very differentiated legacy – to put it in the neat way.
The Danish-Norwegian author succeeded in creating a myth about herself as a martyr. Some see ‘ a refugee crosses his track ‘ as a self-breeding work, a song of praise for the motto ‘ I cannot do for it ‘ and ‘ that is the fault of others ‘. His biography also shows that it was not always the others who used the law against him, but also himself, who used it to kue his surroundings.
Let me take you to my home country Denmark, the Vikings home base, where the Law of Jante was written and the films – Festen, Jagten, Borgen, and the Bridge … are produced
This YT Video film is in Dutch, with subtitles in English, French and Spanish