Vilhelm Vilhelmsson: The Different Shades of Human Existence: A Few Words on Resistance, Power and Icelandic Historiography
This article discusses the concept of resistance as an analytical tool for historians. Problematic definitions of the concept are discussed as well as several different ways in which the concept has been employed by scholars in different academic fields. The author advocates for a creative usage of the concept in researching Icelandic history and deals critically with Icelandic historical writing in the process. In addition, the article discusses the question of subaltern agency and the theoretical and methodological debates which have surrounded the issue in recent decades. The author argues for the use of an individualist approach when researching power relations in a historical context. Using examples culled from nineteenth century judicial records, the author shows how James C. Scott’s theory of everyday resistance can be applied to analyze power relations in the past.
Keywords: History, resistance, power, agency, subalternity