Accepted paper:

The darkening of places: centre and periphery in a rurbal context


Maria Vallstrom ( Södertörn university)

Paper short abstract:

I will examine the production of value in relation to place, with three empirical examples: former single-industry communities, suburbs and rural migrants. Being at home in peripheralized areas on a regular basis is constructed as contested dwellings, how can this be described and deconstructed?

Paper long abstract:

Discussing results from my research in former single-industry communities in a region of Sweden, research on ex-modern suburbs and rural migrants I will examine the production of value in relation to place. There are two darkening discourses connected to these places; one concerning the backward, unemployed, uneducated (man) in former single-industry communities, one concerning the depending (or violent) migrant in ex-modern suburbs and lately also migrants in a rural context. Both stories tend to obscure real social and economic problems and the solution is sought for in the darkened places themselves, not in the gaze of the center or global power relations. The social geography in my examples suggests that power is, like never before, a matter of place, of peripheralization and distribution of value. Collective action, social control and cooperations in these areas are not visible or regarded as useless, due to peripheralization processes and a deeply rooted individualistic norm. I argue that the collective structures might as well be something to recognize as a resource for social sustainability. Right now it can as well become the opposite, since inhabitants in peripheralized areas often turn to anti-democratic movements in lack of other recognition.

panel Rur01
Rural dwellings: various ways of homemaking