Representations of Hanstholm - a complex story of a rural town in peripheral Denmark

Sofie Malm Henriksen, Line Søe Munk, Rikke Jonasson Dalum & Maiwenn Mønsted Jensen-Guenec

Student thesis: Bachelor project


The purpose of this project is to examine the social complexities of the town Hanstholm with the aim of nuancing the existing reductive discourses on rural areas in Denmark. Through the methodology of grounded theory, we conducted field work without choosing a theoretical apparatus beforehand, thus enabling us to turn to our observations and interviews with a mind as open as possible. Using the theories of Pierre Bourdieu’s forms of capital (1986) and Stuart Hall’s theory of representation (1997) we try to illuminate constructions of meaning in relation to communal attachment to the small fishing town. Our analysis shows a range of different and opposing representations of the harbour, thus making it a particularly important sign in terms of establishing and reproducing the community’s sense of self. The harbour contains a multiplicity of representations important for the citizens of Hanstholm. Using Bourdieu’s terminology, we argue that the all-encompassing role of the harbour is constructed via the traditions connected to the lifestyle of fishing, a prestigious and notorious part of local life. Thus, this project can hopefully challenge the narrow view of Danish peripheral areas by comparing it with a collection of nuanced identifications with one such place.

EducationsCultural Encounter, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Bachelor
Publication date29 May 2017
Number of pages78
SupervisorsHeidi Bojsen