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Performing the Nation through Nature: A Study of Nationalism and Cultural Objectification: Stories from Icelandic Northern Lights Tours
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Two things are examined in this ethnography. The first regards a local stigmatization of the northern lights tourism industry in Iceland. A stigma, which this thesis argues, is related to a commercial saturation – or, pollution – of Icelandic national identity. The second regards the northern lights and their recent, though continual, cultural objectification, as a result of this commercialization. This will be illustrated with reference to how the northern lights are performed by guides on northern lights coach tours. These two topics will then be analyzed in view of Handler’s (1988) definition of cultural objectification: as the means with which tradition – national identity – is produced. In view of the above, the Icelandic tourism industry has boomed in the last decade. Tourists that come to Iceland desire its advertised pristine wilderness and exotic culture. Against this desire, the northern lights often fail to conform, relative to tourists’ expectations. Drawing from Baudrillard (1998) it will thus be argued that the northern lights are hyperreal and that the Icelandic nation, as a result, has come to acquire theme park like qualities. Taken together, this thesis analyzes the northern lights, and the northern lights coach tours, from the perspective of nationalism and cultural objectification.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 92
Series
Masteruppsatser i kulturantropologi, ISSN 1653-2244 ; 79
Keywords [en]
cultural objectification, nationalism, Iceland, northern lights
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-354411OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-354411DiVA, id: diva2:1221155
Subject / course
Cultural Anthropology
Educational program
Master Programme in the Humanities - Cultural Anthropology
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-19 Created: 2018-06-19 Last updated: 2018-06-19Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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Output format
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