Nørdic-ness: Perception and Positionality of Scandinavian Taste as Good Taste

Milton Fernando Gonzalez-Rodriguez
University of Amsterdam

Central to this paper is to shed light on the positionality of Scandinavia as a region along a hierarchy that entwines the notions of Nordic/Scandinavian and good taste. Based on a qualitative discursive analysis of the promotional material, advertising campaigns and marketability approaches of Nordic-related/Nordic-oriented goods, I suggest that social progress and economic wealth explain why Scandinavia is perceived as fashionable. For decades, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, in particular, have asserted themselves as highly committed countries in the promotion of a better world. Not surprisingly, the region is continuously presented as a cluster of modern, advanced nations. From gender equality to social justice, the northernmost part of Europe is often cited as a model to follow. Use of specific letters from the Danish, Norwegian or Swedish alphabets (e.g.‘Ø’), references to cities or parts of them, or claims about minimalist, simplistic, but distinctively Nordic approaches are ways to convey a sense of Nørdic-ness. I suggest that Nørdic-ness emerges from a combination of references to stimulate consumers to link a product to the sets of ideas commonly held about the Nordic countries. These notions are mainly linked to the figure of an idealized Nordic citizen (Nordic ethnotype) who carries high prestige and occupies a high position along the arbitrary hierarchy of taste.

KEYWORDS: Taste, Scandinavia, Nordic, Design, Prestige

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