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Accepted Paper:

Exotic 'white' bodies: racialized images and tourist mobilities in Iceland  
Kristín Loftsdóttir (University of Iceland)

Paper short abstract:

In the current world of commercialized "ethnicities", Iceland is presented as an exotic destination but yet safe; similar to "us" while "peculiar." The paper shows tourism in Iceland a being based on mobilization of racist images rooted in colonial past.

Paper long abstract:

When compared to less privileged forms of mobilities, tourism inside and into Europe exposes clearly the global hierarchies that continue to be at play. The presentation focuses on how racist imaginaries rooted in the past are mobilized in tourism in Iceland, during times when racism is pushed further and further out of sight (Goldberg 2009) while it continues to shape the world in various ways. In the current world of commercialized "ethnicities"(Comaroff, 2009), where exoticism has become a valuable resource, Iceland has been presented as being simultaneously an exotic and safe destination; similar to "us" while "peculiar" in a global marketplace of nation branding. Icelandic tourism mobilities in the present reenact racist imagination of empty land and naive, strange natives. This particular nation branding rests on older articulation when during the late 19th and early 20th century Iceland's was simultaneously an object of colonialism and an active contributor to racialized and colonial discourses, attempting to distance itself from Iceland's persistent depiction in European sources as exotic and different. The presentation thus asks how Europe's troublesome past continues to haunt the present, characterized by racism, coloniality and devaluation of difference.

Panel P111
Mobilities, inequalities, power
  Session 1