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Islanders , others and other islanders: Paper read at the 10th international SIEF congress, “People Make Places - ways of feeling the world”, Lisbon, 17-21 April 2011
Gotland University, School of the Humanities and Social Science.
2011 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper examines how identities are negotiated and spelled out in Gotland, the biggest island in Sweden. Since long Gotland have been a favourite summer destination. The yearly interaction between up to a million visitors that come to appreciate the islands percieved remoteness, endemism and archaism, and the less than 60 000 islanders striving to keep up to modern life expectancies, have petrified an old border between 'islander' and 'mainlander'. Since long, 'belonging' and the notion of 'islander identity' has been seen as growing out of place and the island condition. In recent years, however, the old categories have been reshaped in the context of migration and 'multiculturality'. One cateogory of islanders have become 'gutar', presuming an original island status. A new ”third space” have been created, inhabited by a new category of 'gotlanders', people of many origins that are neither islanders nor mainlanders. Thus not only local identity categories have changed; also the notion of multiculturalty have been spelled out in a radically different way than in most urban centers in Sweden and other parts of North Europe. The paper argues that these recent changes notwithstanding,  the relation to place, to the island and to the island life, is still the core of belonging and identity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. 1-7 p.
Keyword [en]
Islands, ethnonyms, Gotland, gute, gotlänning
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:hgo:diva-876OAI: diva2:416721
10th international SIEF congress : People Make Places - ways of feeling the world, April 17-21, 2011, Lisbon, Portugal. (International Society for Ethnology and Folklore)
Islanders and islanders
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2011-05-16 Created: 2011-05-12 Last updated: 2013-07-01Bibliographically approved

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Ronström, Owe
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