A critical realist appraisal of authenticity in tourism: the case of the Sámi

Cecilia De Bernardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the critical realist conceptualization of authenticity through its development in tourism, especially in relation to indigenous Sámi culture. Authenticity is discussed through the often relativistic perspectives surrounding it. This paper proposes a middle ground between objective and existential views; it considers authenticity to be a compromise, and it focuses on both universal components (present in all Sámi people in the tourism context) as well as mediated components (such as characteristics differently influenced by geo-history). The role of cultural tourism labels is also discussed. The overlying objective is to conceptualize authenticity so that it produces a positive effect on the tourism operations of Sámi people. Specifically, it argues that the use of certain labels or certifications, based on the concrete universal aspects of Sámi, can be beneficial. If the Sámi themselves are involved in the creation of such labels, they need not betray the objective of respecting Sámi culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-452
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Critical Realism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2019
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • authenticity
  • Saami people
  • critical realism
  • Tourism
  • indigenous
  • compromise

Field of science

  • Tourism research


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