Harnessing Daydreams.


Smell works in many contexts as a trigger for fantasies: a scent reaches your nose surprisingly or familiarly and evokes memories and daydreams. Although associations with scents are extremely personal, they are also subject to conditioning factors that may be cultural, temporal or contextual. This paper traces conditioning factors and fantasies connected with smells by analysing the creations and marketing strategies of the Library of Fragrance, a company that commodifies the close relationship of smelling and daydreaming. What associations and atmospheres are chosen to be turned into perfume and how do perfumers find them? Which culturally constructed smell associations are profitable? How do individuals resist commodified scent-associations and where are the limits of instrumentalisation? Furthermore, what can we glean from smell regarding the practice of daydreaming?


perfume, revelling, smelling, rationalised scents, daydreams

How to Cite

Hemme, D., (2010) “Harnessing Daydreams.”, Ethnologia Europaea 40(1), p.5-18. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.1059

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.



Dorothee Hemme (Goettingen University)



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Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.

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