Land, Nation and Tourist

Moral Reckoning in Post-GFC Iceland

in Anthropological Journal of European Cultures
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  • 1 Western Sydney University m.hawkins@ westernsydney.edu.au
  • 2 Western Sydney University h.onnudottir@westernsydney.edu.au
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Abstract

Land is central to Icelandic identity. It is birthright, heritage, a site of memory and belonging; mountains and fjords are the stuff on which Icelandic dreams are made. Land is made culture through story and song, told at family gatherings, and sung at schools and on hiking trips. Icelandic identity was built on this imagining, coupled to a vision of Icelanders as an exceptional people, a Viking race. The events of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), which exposed institutional corruption, caused many Icelanders to doubt the Viking image. At the same time, Iceland has been invaded by tourists. This article, based on participant observation, a survey and interviews, argues that one significant effect of the post-GFC foreign invasion has been a transformation of the cultural and moral order in Iceland, away from the boasting Viking and towards a new set of values within which land and nature occupy an even more central place.

Contributor Notes

Mary Hawkins, School of Social Science and Psychology, Western Sydney University. E-mail: m.hawkins@westernsydney.edu.au

Helena Onnudottir, School of Social Science and Psychology, Western Sydney University. E-mail: h.onnudottir@westernsydney.edu.au

Anthropological Journal of European Cultures

(formerly: Anthropological Yearbook of European Cultures)

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