Posts Tagged ‘Jante Law’

Jante Law

January 22, 2010

Jante Law refers to a pattern of group behaviour towards individuals within Scandinavian communities, which negatively portrays and criticizes success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate.

It is term which negatively describes an attitude towards individuality and success claimed to be common in Scandinavia, it refers to a supposed snide, jealous and narrow small-town mentality which refuses to acknowledge individual effort and places all emphasis on the collective, while punishing those who stand out as achievers.

Whilst seen as a common Scandinavian term, Paulo Coelho descibes this as a worldwide phenomena. In England this is common behaviour, snide remarks and put downs on anyone who displays intelligence. People seem to delight in wallowing in their own ignorance. [see The Law of Jante]

Author Aksel Sandemose codified this behaviour in his novel A fugitive crosses his tracks:

– Don’t think that you are special
– Don’t think that you are of the same standing as us
– Don’t think that you are smarter than us
– Don’t fancy yourself as being better than us
– Don’t think that you know more than us
– Don’t think that you are more important than us
– Don’t think that you are good at anything
– Don’t laugh at us
– Don’t think that anyone of us cares about you
– Don’t think that you can teach us anything

In his novel, Aksel Sandemose refers to an eleventh rule:

– Don’t think that there is anything we don’t know about you


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