Money can't buy me hygge: Danish middle-class consumption, egalitarianism and the sanctity of inner space

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

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In this article, the style of social interaction known as hygge is analyzed as being related to cultural values that idealize the notion of 'inner space' and to other egalitarian norms of everyday life in Scandinavian societies. While commonly experienced as a pleasurable involvement in a social and spatial interior, hygge is also examined as a mode of withdrawal from alienating conditions of modernity. In spite of its egalitarian features, hygge acts as a vehicle for social control, establishes its own hierarchy of attitudes, and implies a negative stereotyping of social groups who are perceived as unable to create hygge. The idea of hygge as a trait of Scandinavian culture is developed in the course of the interpretation, and its limitations are also discussed against ethnographic evidence that comparable spatial and social dynamics unfold in other cultural contexts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Analysis: Journal of Cultural and Social Practice
Volume55
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)21-44
Number of pages24
ISSN0155-977X
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2011