Jussi Adler-Olsen’s novel The Keeper of Lost Causes is organized around accidents, which inflect both the motive for the crime and its eventual punishment. This essay speculates that accident, which refuses the pertinence of responsibility, throws new light on the much-discussed relations between Nordic noir and the welfare state as well as the less-noted role of neoliberal ideology in sponsoring critiques of the welfare state. It proposes that the genre acts out a rich and troubled dialogue between the welfare state, which is based on a rejection of the individual’s moral responsibility for her or his worldly condition, and neoliberalism, which of course makes the demand for individual responsibility its tireless motto. It pursues this theme into neoliberalism’s flagrant contradictions with regard to punishment and incarceration and uses it as a way of adjudicating between conflicting theories of neoliberalism
No-Fault Murder: Neoliberalism from the Viewpoint of Nordic Noir
Bruce Robbins is Old Dominion Foundation Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. His most recent books are The Beneficiary (2017) and a collection of essays entitled Cosmopolitanisms, coedited with Paulo Horta (2017). He is also the director of a 2013 documentary entitled Some of My Best Friends Are Zionists, available at bestfriendsfilm.com.
Bruce Robbins; No-Fault Murder: Neoliberalism from the Viewpoint of Nordic Noir. boundary 2 1 February 2019; 46 (1): 157–177. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-7271387
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