A coalition for 'small tourism' in a marginal place: Configuring a geo-social position

Jørgen Ole Bærenholdt*, Lars Fuglsang, Jon Sundbo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper analyses a case of mobilisation for ‘small tourism’ where a coalition of actors in distant rural communities unite to cope with limited possibilities in ways that are meaningful to them. The theoretical bases for the analysis are resilience theory and the concept of geo-social position, the latter of which implies a reorientation to an ‘earthly’ commitment to the environment where people live ‘down to earth’ (Latour, 2018). The case study focuses on the coastal hamlet of Lildstrand, a marginal place in Northern Jutland, Denmark, whose permanent population and fisheries are in decline. Since 2017, a coalition of locals and second-home owners have mobilised for several parallel initiatives, including a series of development workshops and other events, a master plan for Lildstrand 2030, plans for the extension of a national park, new small-scale tourist designs, mass-media presence, and various lobbying for development. It is a case of citizen-driven tourism where a coalition of actors enthusiastic about the place seek slow and modest tourism activities, drawing on resources belonging to the area and its natural and cultural heritage. Key findings include how engagements emerged from familiarity with, detailed descriptions of, and plans for the local environment, and how the coalition managed to come about by uniting voluntary work across permanent and temporary residents as well as other actors committed to developing the location. Common to the commitments of this coalition is the relationship and engagement with the local environment as a common good. We suggest that the making of the coalition should be understood as a configuration of a geo-social position that is central in driving the mobilisation. This research illuminates general conditions and possibilities for the development of rural communities in peripheral regions. There is a need to collect knowledge on how different types of tourism can be used to help actors address local needs in such areas.
Translated title of the contributionEn koalition for den 'lille turisme' på et marginalt sted: At konfigurere en geo-social position
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Pages (from-to)169-180
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Coalition
  • Engagement
  • Geo-social position
  • Local community
  • Mobilisation
  • Small tourism

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