Tattooed Vikings, Racial Politics, and the Imaginary Middle Ages

Arwen A. Taylor

Resumen


This paper takes the representation of tattooing on the television series Vikings as a site through which to address the political ramifications of a popular medievalism. The essay considers the significance of the tattoos applied to several characters in the show (Rollo, Floki, and Ragnar in particular). All of whom are loosely based on documented figures from Norse history and legend.  The paper explores how the idealized, tattooed male bodies of the television show intersect with modern desires for history and embodiment, a nexus of desire that is particularly and troublingly evident in the recent resurgence of far-right ethnonationalism in the United States and Europe. 

 

Keywords: Vikings television show, medievalism, tattoos, white ethnonationalism, masculinity

 

Resumen

Este artículo toma la representación del tatuaje en la serie de televisión Vikings, como medio para abordar las ramificaciones políticas de un medievalismo popular. En el ensayo se considera la importancia que tienen los tatuajes aplicados a varios personajes del programa (en especial los de Rollo, Floki, y Ragnar). Todos los personajes se basan sin mucha rigidez en figuras de la historia y leyendas escandinavas.  El objetivo es examinar la manera en que los cuerpos masculinos, tatuados e idealizados del programa de televisión se entrelazan con los deseos modernos de historia y encarnación, un vínculo de deseo que resulta especial y alarmantemente evidente en el reciente resurgimiento del etnonacionalismo de extrema derecha en Estados Unidos y Europa. 

 

Palabras clave: Serie televisiva Vikingos, medievalismo, tatuajes, etnonacionalismo blanco, masculinidad

 

Summary: This paper takes the representation of tattooing on the television program Vikings as a site through which to address the political ramifications of a popular medievalism. The essay considers the significance of the tattoos applied to several characters within the show (Rollo, Floki, and Ragnar in particular, all characters based loosely on documented figures from Norse history and legend) to explore how the idealized, tattooed male bodies of the television show intersect with modern desires for history and embodiment, a nexus of desire particularly, and troublingly, evident in the recent resurgence of far-right ethnonationalism in the United States and Europe. 



Texto completo:

59-78

Referencias


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Estudios del Discurso, año 5, núm. 2, septiembre de 2019-febrero de 2020, es una publicación semestral de acceso abierto editada por el Cuerpo Académico Estudios del Discurso, adscrito al Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación en Humanidades del Instituto de Investigación en Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos (UAEM). Dirección: Avenida Universidad 1001, col. Chamilpa, CP 62210, Cuernavaca, Morelos, México. Teléfono: +52 777 329 79 09, ext. 3557  Dirección y contactos electrónicos: http://esdi.uaem.mx, estudiosdeldiscurso@uaem.mx 

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