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The University of Hong Kong
“High culture at street level”: Oslo’s Ibsen Sitat and the ethos of egalitarian nationalism

Traditional monuments and commemorative structures used to be tall and domineering. Since the middle of the 20th century, monuments have had their verticality diminished, and their design has become more abstract, or linguistic. In this talk, I examine the three-dimensional semiotics of Ibsen Sitat, a street-level monument commemorating Henrik Ibsen and his writing. The monument consists of 69 quotations from Ibsen’s plays embedded in the pavement of Oslo’s city centre. I suggest that, as a national symbol, the monument’s placement at street level espouses an egalitarian or democratic nationalist ethos, in contrast, for example, to the aloof, sacralised Norwegian flags flying atop of the grand, state/ly buildings surrounding Ibsen Sitat.


Adam Jaworski obtained his PhD (1985) and DPhil (1991) in English sociolinguistics from Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, where he taught as Assistant Professor until 1991. Between 1991–1992 he was Lecturer at the Department of Applied Linguistics at Birkbeck, University of London. In 1993 he moved to the Centre for Language and Communication Research, Cardiff University and in 2012 he joined the University of Hong Kong. His research interests include discursive and multimodal approaches to tourism, mobility and globalization; display of languages in space; media discourse; nonverbal communication; and text-based art.

Zoom Details

Zoom link: https://hku.zoom.us/j/92561092574?pwd=bVZQVlowWDVlbm0wdFc2YjdtdnlKUT09

Meeting ID: 925 6109 2574
Password: 417749

Live broadcast will be available in Room CRT-7.45, 7/F, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU.