Or should that be Lag av klanen? However you say it, The Rule of the Clan has received some attention recently from scholars in Sweden, and I’m really happy about it. Last week Peter Santesson published an article titled “More Independent People” in Axess Magasin, a very thoughtful Swedish journal devoted to public discussion of the liberal arts and social sciences. For the article in Swedish (“Mer självständiga människor”—which just looks so much more exciting), see here. I’m assuming that even in Swedish Santesson’s title refers to the novel Independent People by the Icelandic author Halldór Laxness. That’s marvelous, because I began writing the book in Akureyri, Iceland.
Santesson discusses my book in the course of meditating on the tension he sees in public discourse today between individualism as “personal expression” (the “desire to be unique and achieve self-realization”) and individualism as “autonomy” (the ability to be “independent and able to stand on one’s own feet”). In Santesson’s view: “Autonomy’s value is not often talked about. Individuality as personal expression is, however, highly topical. One wants to be Pippi Longstocking, but is no longer talking about gold money.”
Santesson’s lively and stimulating article seems to have inspired a post on the blog of Swedish writer Dick Erixon. And I’m told by the Swedish journalist Per Brinkemo that the book was helpful to him in thinking about his forthcoming work Between Clan And State: Somalis in Sweden, which will be published in April—and which promises to be excellent.