Alexander Sallstedt


Alexander Sallstedt, doctoral student in
Cultural Anthropology

My research, situated in tourist-prevalent Iceland, asks what it means – and the effects thereof – to commercialize allegedly authentic cultural and environmental objects and phenomenon as national artefacts and/or experiences. I am thus interested in the commercialization of nationalism in Iceland – the making of an exotic destination and the cultural objectification (in part, materialization) that facilitates this exotification. To this end my PhD project concerns the vulnerability of the necessarily authentic nation and the seeming likelihood that service-based economies like Iceland, heavily reliant on tourism, are now in close proximity to its antithesis – the artificial theme park. With this context and opposition in mind, the project thus seeks to examine local strategies employed to commercialize and commoditize “Icelandicness” without such rendering Icelandicness – and subsequently the nation – staged and therefore inauthentic. It is my additional desire, by means of this research, to contribute in theoretical discussions pertaining to the working(s) and nature(s) of the nation.