Multiplying the Unique
2011 (English)In: Politics and the Arts in a Time of Crisis and Anxiety: Political Symbols: Between Impact and Intentions, University of Iceland, 2011Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Twelve small forest huts were built during the mid-1990s, nearby the lake of Skärsjön in a rural part of Sweden renowned for its age-old iron making industry. They were constructed with economic support by the local municipality and the National Labour Market Board, and modeled after charcoal workers’ lodges. Ten years later an entrepreneur opened up a hostel with an eco-friendly profile at the premises, in cooperation with The Swedish Tourist Association. Guests now stay over in the charcoal workers’ simple wooden huts, fetch drinking water in a fresh forest well, cook food on an open fire and wash the dishes under a small waterfall in a nearby creek. Wildlife adventures such as moose safaris or wolf howling tours are offered to the visitors upon request. The operation is called Kolarbyn [literally the charcoal burner village]. The ideological organization of the land and its nature – as in the actual soil, vegetation and the role of man – has changed since the building of Kolarbyn. Selective parts of a mining heritage conservation discourse is marked with new meanings and incorporated in an eco-tourism imaginary. The unique outdoor experience also produces the tourist as a busy city man on a merely brief visit to the countryside. Kolarbyn has won several prestigious national and international awards and is featured in international tourism guides and the coffee table book genre illustrating “unusual hotels”. This landscape is moreover overdetermined and contains more assets than the local natural qualities and a cultural heritage. It also borrows ingredients (such as mythic tales and special rituals) from other stagings of unique places, which introduces a paradox. Elements from other unique places are included, so this could be recognized, sanctioned and used as precisely a unique place. By invoking singularity, the place simultaneously multiplies as it becomes identifiable as one among many unique hotels.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
University of Iceland, 2011.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-78439OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-78439DiVA: diva2:532629
6th ECPR General conferennce, 25-27 augusti, 2011, Reykjavik, Iceland