There’s a Hinterland in Me

Ambivalent Place-making in Popular Music From a National Periphery


  • Tommy Bruhn Department of communication, University of Copenhagen



place-making, rhetoric, popular music, Norrland, re-membering, nostalgia, lyricism


Northern Norrland has a long history of domestic colonialism and internal migration. However, in the latter half of the twentieth century the region has seen a decline in population, job opportunities and welfare services. This study analyses how contemporary popular music from the region represents it and reflects feelings and thoughts on life there, and how identity, moods and sentiments are constructed and attached to place to uncover the rhetoric of place-making in popular music. The analysis shows a complex relationship between the local area and the surrounding country, featuring themes of ambivalence, resistance, dualistic nostalgia and transience responding to contemporary realities of the region. The lyrical themes and rhetorical actions performed in twenty-first century popular music evinces clear connections to literary depictions of the region throughout the last hundred years, indicating a reinterpretation of cultural memory in light of present conditions. These lyrics perform a rhetoric of re-membering which serves to reinforce the bond of people to place through music.




How to Cite

Bruhn, T. (2024) “There’s a Hinterland in Me: Ambivalent Place-making in Popular Music From a National Periphery”, Culture Unbound, 16(1), pp. 117–141. doi: 10.3384/cu.4289.



Place Making Beyond Cities