Accepted paper:

Branding the nation? Food economy and the creating of 'Dutchness' in the Netherlands

Author:

Sophie Elpers (Meertens Institute, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the ways in which constructions of Dutchness are entwined with commercial cultures. It discusses to what extent the use of symbols and icons of Dutchness in the product marketing of the food economy - through which they are experienced in everyday life - works as a kind of nation branding.

Paper long abstract:

In the Netherlands, like in other European countries, we can consider a rediscovery of national essences. What is felt as 'typically' or 'authentically' expressing the nation is gaining new prominence in all parts of life. Economy, especially - but not only - food economy, seems to be a powerful agent in the field of new nationalism: in the promotion of food products people`s desire of the national is capitalized, and the 'Dutchness' of the products is emphasized. If the products themselves seem to be not Dutch enough they are labeled as Dutch by the use of symbols and icons of 'Dutchness'. In this context ideas of what 'Dutchness' is, are constructed by the economy and passed to the consumers.

This paper examines the ways in which constructions of 'Dutchness' are indeed entwined with commercial cultures, taking into account arising dynamics between the local, the regional and the national. It discusses to what extent the use of symbols of 'Dutchness' in product marketing - through which they are experienced in everyday life - works as a kind of nation branding. Furthermore it shows the importance of ethnological research on economy in the field of new nationalism.

panel P25
Ethnological and folkloristic views on "narrative economy" (EN)