Communication and convergent spaces : spatial practices among rural iInhabitants in Sweden

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Communication and convergent spaces : spatial practices among rural iInhabitants in Sweden

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Title Communication and convergent spaces : spatial practices among rural iInhabitants in Sweden
Author(s) Andersson, Magnus
Date 2012
English abstract
The focus of this paper is rural inhabitants in Sweden and their re-negotiation of rural spaces through mediated practices. This question is primarily based on the idea that individual actors’ chances to negotiate space have increased due to mediatization processes. Practices of different kinds – professional, political, social and cultural – are not to the same extent as earlier tied to particular time-space contexts. In addition to this underlying point of departure, rural inhabitants’ negotiation of space can be related to the prevailing complex and dynamic relationship between the urban and the rural. With a ‘Lefebvrian’ perspective this relationship is a three-fold construction, constituted by (1) (material) localities, (2) (mediated) representations and (3) everyday life (including imaginations) (Lefebvre, 1974/1991; cf. Halfacree, 2007; Jansson and Falkheimer, 2006). When communication is considered in such a framework the following can be stated: (1) the infrastructure of communication (roads, public transports broadband, etc) has increased the bonds between the country and the city. For example, it is very possible to live in either the city or the countryside and work in the ‘other’ area. Commuting and telecommuting (but also ‘urban sprawling’) blur the geographic boundaries. This is then in contrast to (2) media representations, which tend to reproduce the distinction between urbanity and rurality, for example through depictions of ‘hectic and stressful city life’ in contrast to ‘calm rural idylls’. Worth mentioning here is lifestyle media, for example glossy magazines and TV-programmes, which often create paradoxical links between the urban, creative and dynamic nodes and the aestheticized, ‘idyllicized’ and presumed ‘fixed’ countryside (cf. Jansson, 2010). This leads to the empirical focus of this article; (3) everyday life and its imaginations. Based on ethnographical interviews with rural inhabitants in southern Sweden, the paper argues that the inhabitants mediated practices may contribute to convergence of rural and urban spaces – as well as separation between them. Of particular interest in this context are mediated practices related to salaried work (telecommuting) and communication practices in support for a local village community – practices, which many times are conducted by the same people. The paper will consider and problematize the spatial aspects of these practices; the consequences for: the individuals and their activity spaces; the local community and its boundaries; and, at last, the general relationship between the urban and the rural.
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Note ECREA 2012: Fourth European Communication Conference, 24-27 October 2012, Istanbul
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