University of Oulu

Varnajot, A. (2019). “Walk the line”: An ethnographic study of the ritual of crossing the Arctic Circle—Case Rovaniemi. Tourist Studies, 19(4), 434–452.

“Walk the line” : an ethnographic study of the ritual of crossing the Arctic Circle—case Rovaniemi

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Author: Varnajot, Alix1
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-09-10


The Arctic Circle is the most commonly used border to delimit the Arctic region, and has been used in this way to such an extent that across the circumpolar North, municipalities and local communities have built various types of signs, shops and tourist centers for its celebration. This is especially the case in Rovaniemi, Finland, with the creation of the Santa Claus Village, “right” on the Arctic Circle, leading to several thousands of tourists crossing the magical line every year. This article focuses on tourists’ practices around Arctic Circle landmarks in Rovaniemi. This study acknowledges the hegemony of the selfie era that is indubitably linked to what is referred to in this article as “border-crossing postures”, pertaining to the ritual of performing specific practices, actions and postures that suggest the crossing of a borderline. However, it is argued that in the case of the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, these specific postures come from the physical aspect of the landmarks, rather than the tourists recognizing the Arctic Circle as a border.

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Series: Tourist studies
ISSN: 1468-7976
ISSN-E: 1741-3206
ISSN-L: 1468-7976
Volume: 19
Issue: 4
Pages: 434 - 452
DOI: 10.1177/1468797619836546
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Funding: This article was funded by the Academy of Finland (RELATE CoE, grant number: 307348).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 307348
Detailed Information: 307348 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2019. Article reuse guidelines: