Elisabeth Wollin Elhouar
Elisabeth Wollin Elhouar

Ur avhandlingens abstract:

Do we belong to the future of Sweden? An Ethnological study of everyday life and sustainability in the northern sparsely populated area

This dissertation concerns everyday life and sustainability in sparsely populated parts of Northern Sweden. The aim is to study how sustainability is constructed, experienced, practised and perceived in a field of tension between local everyday life and political discourses.

Apart from written material, the study is based on interviews and observations performed in the municipalities Strömsund and Örnsköldsvik. Empirical themes include everyday life movements and means of transport, work and spare time practices, and experiences of time. The central theoretical concepts used are everyday life, provinces of meanings, typifications, community, place and policy. These concepts shape the analysis of processes pertaining to space and movement, work and leisure, time and tempo.

The study shows gaps between sustainability policies and local experiences of sustainability. In order to highlight complications like the ones between the center and the periphery, polices and lived experiences, I have stressed the importance of the social dimension of sustainability. It is nevertheless important to nuance the concept of social sustainability since it carries an ambiguity, for example in terms of collisions with other dimensions of sustainability. Socially good life styles have a tendency to collide with the ecological definitions of sustainability. The emphasis on the social dimensions has been done in order to draw attention to unfair effects from a time-space perspective, and to point at the problem with urban norms in policies on sustainability.