Environment, Space, Place

Volume 7, Issue 2, Fall 2015

Jordan P. Howell, Todd Sundberg
Pages 97-120

Towards an Affective Geopolitics
Soft Power and the Danish Notion of “Hygge”

Affective geographies examine the emotional dimensions of space and spatial relationships; (critical) geopolitics seeks to understand the role of space and geography in international relations. In this paper, we consider a hybridization of these concepts in the context of the Nordic countries, and in particular Denmark. Nordic countries have shifted attention to the wielding of “soft power” as a tool in seeking to achieve international relations and economic goals. We argue that in the case of Denmark, these soft power tools bear an interesting affective dimension through an emphasis on “hygge,” or, “coziness.” Through media analysis, we illuminate the components of soft power in the Danish case and highlight the role of affect as a key element of these soft power tools.