The Norwegian stavkirke and the spazio anzi. Continuity and discontinuity in social representation and in myth

Renzo Carli, Rosa Maria Paniccia


The stavkirke is a medieval church build entirely of wood, common in Norway during the early Christianisation of the country. In a perspective of discontinuity, these churches marked the country’s change from Viking paganism to Christianity. An interpretation based on emotional continuity, put forward in this article, sees the stavkirke as an important example of the complex transition between paganism, present in the country’s farming cultures, and Christianity imposed by the rulers who intended to achieve the unification of the country under a single religion. An analysis of the structure of the church allows the formulation of hypotheses about the confusion of pagan and Christian categories in various parts of the stavkirke.
A psychoanalytical reading is given of the relation between continuity and discontinuity, which the authors believe is fundamental to the “spazio anzi”, that is, the confusion of categories that enables the mind’s unconscious mode to be expressed and then defined in discontinuous, and therefore historical, expressions. The spazio anzi is proposed as the dynamic grounding cultural change.

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ISSN 1828-9363