Making "Wilderness" in a northern natural resource periphery: on restructuring and the production of a pleasure periphery in northern Sweden
Book chapter, 2019
Historically, northern peripheries have been colonized in order to access northern resources. The use of these resources promised economic wealth and community development even in northern parts of the Scandinavian Peninsula (Sörlin, 1988). However, already in the late 19th century the Swedish Tourist Association started promoting the area as also being worth a visit (Aldskogius 1993). Still, tourism has developed slowly, and as an industry remained in the shadow of resource-extractive activities until the 1990s when automatization within resource industries, but also a general transition of the Swedish economy towards a domination of service industries, caused a search for alternative development options (Müller, 2011, 2013a). In this context, an abundant resource – a seemingly “pristine nature” or wilderness – is in focus and utilized as a resource for tourism development.
Today, a renewed focus on the North, because of climate change and new industrial opportunities, is creating a discursive environment where ideas of the region as pristine and important for a global environment compete with the idea of a resource periphery. This development is cutting across scales, creating new stakeholder constellations, and globalizing the issue of northern development far beyond what has been witnessed to date.
Against this background, the purpose of this chapter is to analyze tourism development in northern Sweden with regard to factors on different scales influencing the transition from a resource periphery to a pleasure periphery, and particularly the role of path dependence. This is achieved through a review of relevant literature and case studies conducted in the Swedish North.