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9. Homeland—Strange Land—New Land. Material and Theoretical Aspects of Defining Norse Identity in the Viking Age

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Chapter Summary

This chapter sheds light upon the development of self-ascribed, regional identities during the Viking-Age, both in insular areas and North-Atlantic communities as well as in Scandinavia, and additionally on how material culture was manipulated and redefined in that process. It gives a brief account of relevant material to demonstrate the diversity of the manipulations of Norse expressions in the Irish Sea. The chapter deals more specifically with insular ringed pins and penannular brooches, and their use and development in Ireland and Norway. Central concepts in these theories are 'in-between cultures' and 'hybridization' which aim to describe stages and phenomena which occur in the interaction between different cultural groups. As an integrated part of the mythical as well as social universe, the journey could be seen as a symbol of an increased awareness of "homeland" as opposed to "strange land" or "new land", and to perceptions and restructuring of ethnic identities.

Keywords: Irish Sea; new land; Norse identity; penannular brooches; strange land; Viking-Age



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