What is the Law of Jante? Is this something you should think about and add to your life? Is this a better way of thinking?
Is this something you should think about and add to your life? Is this a better way of thinking? Is our society out of wack because we worship success and our attachments to material things? Would be a healthier society if our emphasis was on the collective whole as opposed to individual success?
The Law of Jante (Danish: Janteloven (Danish pronunciation: [ˈja̝nd̥əˌlo̞ʋˀən]); Norwegian: Jantelova or Janteloven; Swedish: Jantelagen (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈjantɛˌlɑːɡɛn])) is the idea that there is a pattern of group behavior towards individuals within Scandinavian communities that negatively portrays and criticizes individual success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate. The Jante Law as a concept was created by the Dano–Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose. In his novel, A fugitive crosses his tracks (En flyktning krysser sitt spor, 1933, English translation published in the USA in 1936) identified the Law of Jante as ten rules. Sandemose’s novel portrays the small Danish town Jante (modeled upon his native town Nykøbing Mors as it was at the beginning of the 20th century, but typical of all small towns and communities), where nobody is anonymous.
Generally used colloquially as a sociological term to negatively describe an attitude towards individuality and success common in Sweden and the rest of the Nordic countries, the term refers to a mentality that de-emphasizes individual effort and places all emphasis on the collective, while discouraging those who stand out as achievers.
There are ten rules in the law as defined by Sandemose, all expressive of variations on a single theme and usually referred to as a homogeneous unit: You are not to think you’re anyone special or that you’re better than us.
The ten rules state:
- You’re not to think you are anything special.
- You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
- You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
- You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
- You’re not to think you know more than we do.
- You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
- You’re not to think you are good at anything.
- You’re not to laugh at us.
- You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
- You’re not to think you can teach us anything.
These ten principles or commandments are often claimed to form the “Jante’s Shield” of the Scandinavian people.
In the book, the Janters who transgress this unwritten ‘law’ are regarded with suspicion and some hostility, as it goes against the town’s communal desire to preserve harmony, social stability, and uniformity.
An eleventh rule recognized in the novel as ‘the penal code of Jante’ is:
- Perhaps you don’t think I know a few things about you?
Sandemose wrote about the working class in the town of Jante, a group of people of the same social position. He expressly stated in later books that the social norms of Jante were universal and not intended to depict any particular town or country. Today, however, it is common in Scandinavia to claim the Law of Jante as something quintessentially Danish, Swedish, or Norwegian.
Later, the meaning of The Law of Jante was extended to refer to those who want to break out of their social groups and reach a higher position in society in general.
In Sweden, the ‘Law’ is often understood as having to do with economic achievement and social hierarchy (close to concepts such as humility and envy), while in Denmark, it may also be used to describe the negative attitude towards people who are culturally or socially standing out from the norm, but not necessarily more successful or higher-ranking
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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