Research Project 5

Visualizing autonomy in sub-Arctic coastal tourism:
A case study from northern Norway


  1. To examine how practices of coastal tourism are envisioned and enacted in northern Norway (Lofoten)
  2. To ask to what extent these practices serve local economic and political needs, and whether there is currently a re-imagining ‘on the ground’ that counters neo-colonial trends in tourism development in the region
  3. To explore ways of representing these practices visually, especially through video and photography, in order to promote local autonomy and its sustainable management

Northern Norway has a long history of being a centre for resource extraction but a political periphery. In the face of global economic restructuring, tourism has been identified as a major development opportunity that the region should exploit. This project, based at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, will focus on coastal tourism and its implications for local autonomy. It will incorporate two periods of ethnographic fieldwork, to be carried out at Røst (pop. 600) at the southern tip of the Lofoten archipelagos, the most popular tourist destination in the North. Lofoten is the locus of an ongoing ‘battle of the North’ in which national economic imperatives, particularly those organized around petroleum extraction, are pitted against local desires to maintain close interdependencies between nature, people and society––desires also represented in local-community efforts to get Lofoten on the UNESCO world heritage list as a ‘mixed’ (natural/cultural) site. Integrating tourism with local small-scale activities, e.g. those related to coastal fishing, is both a challenge and an objective. An important part of the sub-project will be the representation of this challenge in visual terms, especially photography and video installation.

Research Team Members
Britt Kramvig
Berit Kristofferson

RP1 | Green Ice

RP2 | The Postcolonial Arctic

RP3 | ‘Greening’ Greenland: Contemporary Travel/Writing and Environmentalism

RP4 | Between ‘Europe’ and the ‘Arctic’: Iceland as a gateway destination

RP5 | Visualizing autonomy in sub-Arctic coastal tourism: a case study from northern Norway

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