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The inevitability of essentializing culture in destination branding: the cases of fika and hygge


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Caprioli, L, Larson, M, Ek, R and Ooi, C-S ORCID: 0000-0002-0824-3766 2021 , 'The inevitability of essentializing culture in destination branding: the cases of fika and hygge' , Journal of Place Management and Development, vol. 14, no. 3 , pp. 346-361 , doi: 10.1108/JPMD-12-2019-0114.

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PurposeThis paper aims to focus on the re-presentation of the cultural phenomena hygge in Denmark and fika in Sweden in destination branding and address the inevitability of their essentialization through the branding process.Design/methodology/approachThree relevant semi-structured interviews with destination marketing organisation’s employees were conducted, as well as a content-based analysis of three social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). A total of 465 posts in total were analysed (140 Facebook posts, 109 Twitter posts, 216 Instagram posts).Findings This study demonstrates how, when communicated through social media, intangible culturalassets are transformed into tangible elements. It explains why the re-presentation and place brandingprocesses necessarily simplify and essentialize the destination.Originality/value Destination branding scholars have traditionally criticised the flattening andessentialization of culture in destination branding and have called for a more nuanced approach to presentinga destination. This paper situates destination branding as a process that necessitates the manipulation of thepresentation of the destination, which inevitably essentializes the place; this is intended. Critical destinationbranding researchers need to rethink their criticisms and acknowledge the inherent essentialization goal ofdestination branding.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Caprioli, L and Larson, M and Ek, R and Ooi, C-S
Keywords: destination branding, social media communication, essentialization, fika, hygge, intangible cultural assets, Nordic destination branding, mediatisation
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Place Management and Development
Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN: 1753-8335
DOI / ID Number: 10.1108/JPMD-12-2019-0114
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2021 Laura Caprioli, Mia Larson, Richard Ek and Can-Seng Ooi. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for bothcommercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at

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