Lofoten archipelago, located in the northern part of Norway, has been on UNESCO’s Tentative List for a possible nomination on the World Heritage List since 2002. The site is believed to fulfil several criteria of Outstanding Universal Value due to its longstanding fishing culture and unique nature, landscape and biodiversity. However, due to the possibility of offshore petroleum resources, with an estimated value of approximately 105 billion NOK (ap. € 11 billion) (Blanchard et al., 2014), a decision to pursue the nomination is yet to be reached. Using a repertoire analysis of news articles on Lofoten’s future published between 2002-2018, this thesis examines in what terms the dominant stakeholders in the debate rationalise their position concerning the value of the site in a highly competitive environment. It is demonstrated that, since the oil industry has a firm grip on the national economy and a range of positive economic ripple effects to show to, heritage is forced to compete on these same terms. Thus, the economic value of having a World Heritage status is constantly being highlighted as the main motivational factor to go forth with a nomination. While governmental bodies largely dominate the heritage discourse in Lofoten, all identified stakeholders followed a hegemonic discourse of economic rationalism when accounting for their stance. To justify their stance in the debate, all stakeholders invariably applied economically driven repertoires to explain the benefits of following either plan. This was done by those in favour of offshore petroleum development, those who wanted to safeguard against such activity and those who wanted to pursue a World Heritage status. The result is an economically driven valuation that undermines UNESCO’s visions on sites of Outstanding Universal Value. In the public heritage discourse, Lofoten as a World Heritage site is not talked about in terms of uniqueness or importance for humankind, but rather visualised as an alternative and strong source of income, growth and industry security. Only one marginalised group of stakeholders attempted to emphasise that certain values cannot be measured in economics by creating an anti-economic discourse of site valuation. However, it was revealed that they had to respond to the economically driven focus of the debate and thus enter the hegemonic discourse of economic rationalism. Consequently, economics has highjacked the heritage discourse in Lofoten.

Additional Metadata
Keywords media, culture, society, World Heritage, UNESCO, Lofoten, Economic rationalism, Value
Thesis Advisor Emiel Martens
Persistent URL hdl.handle.net/2105/44185
Series Media, Culture & Society
Anja Helen Olsson Kjærnli. (2018, October 12). What I talk about when I talk about Lofoten - Heritage Discourse in a Competitive Environment - The Case of a Possible UNESCO World Heritage Listing of Lofoten Archipelago and the Hegemonic Heritage Discourse of Economic Rationalisation that Surrounds it. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/44185