Accented drama. Cutting across boundaries in Kniven i Hjärtat


Kaarina Nikunen

The article discusses the Swedish fictional television series Kniven i Hjärtat as an accented cultural text. Conceptualizations of accented and transvergent cinema by Hamid Naficy and Will Higbee are discussed in relation to fictional television productions and diasporic representations. It is argued that Kniven i Hjärtat is better described by the term ”accented cinema” than ”multicultural programming”, as it emphasizes experiences over educational policy. ”Accentedness”, referring to either multilingual or broken speech that makes the mixture of cultures audible, provides a useful concept that exceeds national standpoints and recognizes transnational and translocal dimensions.

Recognition by audiences is introduced as an essential dimension in the formation of an accented text. Thus, the importance of reception is emphasized in discussing cultural texts as accented or transvergent, instead of considering these qualities to be contained merely in the text or its production process.

Shifts in European multicultural media policies seem to favor representations of trendy, young migrant cultures, an image that Kniven i Hjärtat also partly embraces. However, these shifts may entail the risk of producing positive fixed stereotypes instead of creating spaces for accented production values and genre crossings. Through the example of Kniven i Hjärtat, the article demonstrates that public service broadcasting, if politically and professionally motivated, may promote the emergence of transnational and accented television and plurality in the public sphere.