Dalarna, Sweden: Conflicted Touristic Representations of a Place on the Fringe
In this chapter, our focus is on issues faced when developing tourism in a region located in and on the fringe. To illustrate our discussion we use the Dalarna region in southern central Sweden as an example. This region is perceived by many of those involved in tourism development as a homogenous entity. We suggest that, at least in part, this is a representation of Dalarna as the ‘Heart of Sweden’ situated in a mythologised past. In order to problematize current thinking we make use of two specific cases, namely ski resort development in the Malung-Sälen municipality in the north-west of the region and a rural festival focused on locally produced food and drink in the southern part of the region. Dalarna is represented as an imagined idyll, a land of heroic deeds and iconic images. As such, the region acts as more than merely a geographic fringe space, with its proximity to Stockholm. It also works as a kind of chronological fringe, a space between past and present. However, we suggest that late modernity disrupts the imagined idyll used by tourism developers. Dalarna is no less a modern, complex space as other regions in Sweden. It is the reality and desires of local people living in Dalarna as an evolving and lived-in space that needs to be considered. Our discussion and examples illustrate the complexities that need to be taken into account to ensure sustainable, meaningful and most importantly inclusive tourism development.
KeywordsDalarna Fringe Imagined idyll Conflicting identities Institutional structures Tourism development
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