Settler colonial diasporas: Jenny Ingridsdotter, ‘A narrative of suffering and soil: Swedish migration and settler colonialism in northeast Argentina’, Cultural Studies, 2021


Abstract: This article examines the narrated memory of a Swedish settler colony in northeast Argentina. Recently, scholarly attention has turned to how migrants of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries contributed to colonizing processes in the Americas as they established themselves on lands already inhabited by Indigenous Peoples. The settlement of Swedish migrants in Misiones is here regarded as part of a strategy of settler colonialism advocated by the Argentine state in order to extend the agrarian frontier further and thereby ‘civilise’ and secure the nation’s rural landscape through the presence of white settlers. From this perspective, the aim of the article is to understand how the historical macropolitical framework of settler colonialism in Argentina is interwoven in the collective and individual narratives of Swedish descendants in present-day Misiones. The article draws on ethnographic interviews and observations made in Misiones between 2017 and 2019. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 34 individuals along with walk-along observations at seven Swedish community sites. The article argues that a central narrative of memory among the descendants of Swedish settlers relies upon certain elements crucial to settler colonial societies. However, while this narrative structure is intrinsic to settler colonialism, it must also be analysed as part of a migration narrative. This article brings forth new empirical material from a site in Latin America where Swedish migration history has not previously been studied ethnographically. Further, it brings the study of migration, colonial settlement, and indigenous dispossession together through its analysis of a settler narrative in the particular context of settler colonial history of Misiones.

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