Here you can find descriptions for the working groups of the Nordic Conference for Rural Research 2020.
Call for abstracts has closed on 12th January 2020. We will review the abstracts that were submitted by the deadline and inform all the applicants by February 8th.
Registration will open in February 2020.
Working groups are divided under following four categories. For more information about each, please visit the section about Theme.
Theme 1 – Cultures and people, places and identities
Theme 2 – Sustainable use of natural resources and landscape management
Theme 3 – Rural economy and entrepreneurship
Theme 4 – Policies and politics of the rural
Rikke Brandt Broegaard, Centre for Regional and Tourism Research, email@example.com
Karin Topsø Larsen, Centre for Regional and Tourism Research
Lene Havtorn Larsen, Centre for Regional and Tourism Research
Today’s increasingly mobile and multilocal lives involve commuting between multiple homes and frequent leisure-time travel, which increases the presence of ‘voluntary temporary populations’ (VTPs), a term that has recently emerged in the second home literature (Hall & Adie, 2019). VTPs consist of a broad group of seasonal migrant workers, second home owners, out-migrated youths, tourists visiting friends and family, as well as more ordinary tourists. They reside temporarily in a place, and contribute not only as place consumers, but also as place makers, with networks, ideas and knowledge, although they have their permanent home elsewhere. We are especially interested in those who engage in local projects and place-making and thus function as `place actors´, more than as `residents´. To highlight their role as interconnectors between places, we call them ‘Translocal Voluntary Temporary Populations’ (TVTP). TVTP engagement creates new local development opportunities, but it also poses new challenges.
This working group calls for papers that focus on VTPs as translocal actors and on the rural development implications of TVTPs. It is inspired by research on the ‘migration-development nexus’, i.e. understanding migration and development as connected, and focusing on the resources and networks that the in-migrated, temporary, or part-time actors bring to specific rural areas. The WG will explore the presence, characteristics and development implications of TVTPs in a rural Nordic context. Questions include: How are the initiatives, networks and resources offered or activated by TVTPs received and possibly orchestrated by the local community? How do they transform rural-urban connections? What are the implications of TVTP engagement for community resilience and social cohesion? How is TVTP engagement related to processes of rural gentrification and displacement, and how may processes of social inequality related to place be mitigated? The WG also invites papers that discuss governance and recognition of the TVTPs from a local government perspective, focussing on the rural development implications of translocal engagement.
Gréta Bergrún Jóhannesdóttir, PhD student, University of Akureyri, Iceland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Unnur Dís Skaptadóttir, professor, University of Iceland
Rural areas of the north are commonly perceived as masculine places. Taking gender, place attachment and identities into consideration, this workshop has its focus on rural villages and towns. We suggest exploring what affects local women’s place attachment in such places. Do masculine spaces influence their identities and will to stay or their decision to move? The reasons for unequal number of women and men in rural towns are multiple but we need to keep turning stones in order to seek answers. Are rural spaces masculine spaces? Mobility’s, from a gendered perspective are interesting in regard to rural villages and towns. Diversity among women, culture, identities and other social factors need to be considered as influential to their place attachment in rural areas. We invite paper proposals that consider these issues from different theoretical perspectives and research methods and focus on the various aspects of the relation between gender and rural space.
Eeva Aarrevaara, Principal lecturer, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, email@example.com
Sari Niemi, RDI specialist, Lahti University of Applied Sciences
Reetta Nousiainen, RDI specialist, Lahti University of Applied Sciences
The position of the built cultural environment in rural areas is still vulnerable although there are several means to support its preservation. Cultural environments should be considered in land use planning. However, in several cases the final responsibility seems to be left to the civil society or individual citizens to strive for preservation of valuable built environment. In this kind of situations, the local open discussion is not usually considered highly, and technical and political pressures are dominating. The processes are often lacking thorough information of the actual conditions of the buildings prepared by the professionals who have the capacity to evaluate traditional buildings and their reparation opportunities. The decrease of resources in small municipalities and in regional administration has an important impact on this field. Even if legislation contains principles of preservation the processes still need authorities to actively work for them. This working group invites presentations about built cultural environments in rural areas. Presentations may include questions like concept of professionalism considering valuable environments, the variability of “truths” dealing with built heritage, challenges of argumentation and discourses between different stakeholders, the meaning of built environment for the identity of rural places and the importance of open dialogue in rural localities.
Andrea Hjálmsdóttir, University of Akureyri, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hjördís Sigursteinsdóttir, University of Akureyri
For many years in a row the Nordic countries have been at the top of the World’s Economic Forum gender gap index. This indicates that the Nordic countries have been quite successful when it comes to gender equality in terms of women´s economic participation and opportunities, educational attainment, health, survival; and political empowerment. Still, as every day tasks have become more and more miscellaneous resent research indicates that many people are experiencing difficulties balancing work and family tasks in their everyday life. Despite their higher level of labour force participation, women still do a greater share of domestic work and childcare than men. This shows that gender inequalities seem to be embedded in social structures and are reproduced not only in the workplaces but not in the least at home. This working group will address work life balance issues and gendered patterns of division of labour; and invites presentations focusing on division of labor, both in public and private life, how people experience pressure in everyday life, hours of work and health and wellbeing of couples and families.
Marco Eimermann, Umeå University, Sweden, email@example.com
Thoroddur Bjarnason, University of Akureyri, Iceland
In many rural regions, the restructuring of employment, services and residence defies traditional concepts of “urbanization“ and “counter-urbanization“. Complex patterns of mobility have rendered notions of an urban hierarchy problematic, and the dynamics reshaping rural regions appear to be distinct from overall country-level processes. The concept of “micro-urbanization“ has been used to describe the regional concentration of employment, services and population that may reflect national hierarchies of scale or alternatively local strategies in response to the pressures of national policies and global forces. In some cases, overall population decline is accompanied by an increasing concentration in a central town or village. In other cases, overall population increase is due to the growth of the regional centre while other communities continue to decline. We invite presentations that revisit the “rural truths“ of urbanization proposed by classical theories such as Ravenstein’s laws of migration, Christaller’s central place theory, Pahl’s rural-urban continuum, and other conceptualizations of urbanization and counter-urbanization. Contributions may include theoretical reconceptualization and/or empirical evidence but work that could provide foundations for the comparative study of micro-urbanization across the Nordic countries (and countries with similar sparsely populated peripheries) is particularly welcome. Hence, topics of conceptual or empirical studies situated in various historic, geographic, sociodemographic and political contexts can include but are not limited to:
- Dynamics between central and peripheral villages, neighbourhoods and communities
- Complex relations between national capitals, regional centres and sparsely populated areas
- Advances and retreats of extractive rural industries and attractive rural activities
- Locational choices and residential patterns of different migration streams (e.g. lifestyle, labour, retired or involuntary migrants) and implications for regional services and housing
- Intergenerational housing issues and second homes in rural areas
- Youth and everyday life, health care, aging in place etc. from a regional perspective
Päivi Armila, University of Eastern Finland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sari Tuuva-Hongisto, South Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences
Tanja Kähkönen & EduSilva ry
Within the politics of general urbanization, rural regions tend to be concerned as living places of only aged population with its special needs. Rural areas, however, are inhabited also by young people, although they are not usually seen, and their manifold needs are seldom articulated in general discussions, politics or studies. Their living conditions, however, are special: things that matter for youth (schools, hobbies, youth clubs, peers, etc.) are at distances, and possibilities to use public transportation are rare. Because of their relationally small amount, they do not appear as a special group in statistics and their everyday lives or future dreams as rural truths can be elusive. Young people living in rural areas remain often invisible as a target group also in youth ethnographies as studying their realities can challenge researchers to demanding fieldwork periods.
This working group welcomes both qualitative and quantitative papers where the life of rural youth is made analytically visible. The presentations can concentrate, for example, on their everyday life, future visions, family or peer relations, digital cultures, educational aspirations and/or mobilities. Also, papers both from researchers and practitioners in rural development and policy makers and papers dealing with methodological specialties of rural youth studies are invited.
Eeva Uusitalo, MA, Coordinator Ruralia Institute University of Helsinki, email@example.com
Laura Assmuth, professor, Department of Social Sciences, University of Eastern Finland
In 1986, James Clifford and George E. Marcus published an influential book titled Writing Culture, which had a deep impact on the production of anthropological knowledge. The discussion that followed focused, among other things, on the way anthropologists construct their ethnographic accounts to demonstrate and emphasise the authority of the ethnographer in order to convince the reader of the truth-factor of the study. As scientists, we strive for truth but as anthropologists and others conducting ethnographic research, we know it can never be reached. Even so, the process of constructing cultural representations often remains hidden, blurred and mysterious. When it comes to rural truths, is there more to be found behind and between the lines than in the lines (text)? If truths are denied, are lies the only option? Is there a ground in betwixt and between to work on?
This working group seeks papers that contemplate rural truths and, in the process perhaps evoke rural lies. We are interested in issues such as who speaks to the ethnographer and how? How to deal with the silences or self-evidences, or emic vs. ethic knowledge or colliding interpretations. Can credible knowledge only be produced by humans, what about the non-human worlds of animals, environment or material culture? Do they tell their own truths?
We welcome papers based on empirical findings in rural contexts dealing with methodological issues anthropologists and ethnographers face in the turmoil of their research processes. More theoretical presentations are welcome as well, but we would like the proposed papers to deal in one way or the other with the ways to study (hear, see, taste, smell or feel) or question the diversity of truths one meets during the anthropological process.
1.8 Mobile rurality – shifting ideas on sustainable living in rural peripheries
Pilvi Hämeenaho, University of Jyväskylä, firstname.lastname@example.org
Simo Häyrynen, University of Eastern Finland
Riikka Aro, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)
Various changes in ways of being mobile occur in society that strives towards carbon neutral future. Changes in ways and means for mobility affect especially rural areas which are often considered peripheric: spatially remote and politically excluded from urban-led development. However, ‘truths’ about rural and urban as polarized counterpoints are changing and new ideas on the relation of these areas emerge. Also, the new modes of mobility have effect on how periphery is understood and given meanings to. Regardless of the shared goals of sustainability transition, the process is not tame, predictable or proceed similarly everywhere. There are no standardized, one-fits-all solutions but the change is about multiplicity and locally bound reconfigurations. In order to support rural living, the ongoing transition thus calls for innovative thinking and actions as well as recognition of local understanding. In this working group we search for a better understanding of the socially and culturally polymorphic nature of development and adoption of new ways of being mobile in peripheric regions. We also explore the shifting imaginaries related to rural (and urban) from the perspective of local responses and how the rural ‘truths’ are re-imagined and given meanings to. We warmly welcome papers exploring the changing rural imaginaries as well as studies on the new ways of rural mobility.
Mikko Jokinen, Natural resources institute (LUKE), Finland, email@example.com
Panu Kontio, Finnish environment institute (SYKE)
Sirpa Rasmus, University of Lapland
How people see things is dependent on their knowledge base, cognitive skills, human capacity and social and cultural background. Today we call tight social group as “bubble” – self-satisfied social and psychological sphere that does not feel need to learn from other realities. The truth is inside the bubble, not out there. But what kind of exclusive and competing realities can we find in rural areas? Nature-based livelihoods, ways of living and recreation often determines one’s interpretations and opinions concerning what kind of environments and use of natural resources are acceptable or desirable. For example, farmers, reindeer herders, fishers, cabin owners and forest owners may see things from very different perspectives. Every stakeholder carries more or less shared interest. Interest groups base their opinions and perspectives on their relationship and usage of natural environments. Sometimes these perspectives and people collide creating social and environmental conflict. For this working group, we invite scientists and other experts present their knowledge and experience on the issue. Our aim is to gain understanding why and when diverging opinions create truths that do not communicate with each other. We seek for best practices and ways for reconciliation in conflict situations.
1.10 Temporary mobilities in rural areas
Olga Hannonen, Karelian Institute and Centre for Tourism Studies, Business School,
University of Eastern Finland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kati Pitkänen, Environmental Policy Centre, Finnish Environment Institute
Nordic rural areas are targeted by a diversity of mobilities and flows that are often temporary in nature. Rural environments attract and sustain activities such as domestic and international tourism, multi-local living and amenity migration. These types of developments are, however, unevenly distributed and developed in different regions. While some areas have successfully attracted tourists and other temporary residents, others are seeking means to support depopulating areas. Rural areas host a variety of visitors and temporary rural residents. Different cultural practices and norms, lack of knowledge and experience can also become barriers for tourism, recreation and integration or create conflicts between locals, tourists and other movers. In this working group, we invite research papers that address different cases of temporary mobilities in rural areas that include but are not limited to second home tourism, seasonal labour mobilities and multiple dwelling in the increasingly mobile and international rural North.
1.11 Open group for Cultures and people, places and identities
Kaisu Kumpulainen, University of Jyväskylä, email@example.com
Nordic rural communities are being redefined and rural areas are in a state of flux. Mobility and migration are increasing and new rural-urban relations, disparities and complementarities emerging. Distance working and migrating labor are increasing, as well as the number of second homes. Depopulation continues in many regions, while some rural areas are thriving. The importance of place and location is changing. Many of us feel attached to certain rural places but might not live there for different reasons. These processes affect social cohesion and social differentiation in rural areas as well as the construction of identities across borders and places. How are such processes expressed in different locations? How do migration and mobility affect rural areas? Why would people want to live in rural areas? Why do people feel they belong to rural areas and how is place attachment constructed? What is the meaning of culture in and for rural development? What is the meaning of places and locality for people’s identity?
This is an open working group for presentations that fit under the theme Cultures and people, places and identities, but not into any of the proposed working groups. The coordinator may suggest independent sessions on specific topics based on submitted abstracts or refer abstracts to existing workgroups.
Theme 2 – Sustainable use of natural resources and landscape management
Gun Lidestav, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, firstname.lastname@example.org
Carina Keskitalo, Umeå University, Cecilia Akselsson, Lund University
Population growth and changing consumption patterns will increase the demand for products and services from forestry and agriculture, and due to climate change an increased contribution by northern countries is expected. This development may be in conflict between different industries e.g. forestry, tourism and reindeer husbandry but also between ecological, economic and social interest at different levels. While management decisions often are taken on an estate level, organisms, water and air are typically moving over larger areas with implications for ecosystem processes and services. Thus, landscape approaches have been increasingly advocated in research and practice as a better option to conventional, sectorial land-use planning, policy, governance, and management when addressing wicked problems and competing claims. However, there is little consensus on what they constitute, and although several “landscape experiments” are taking place, there are as yet no generally accepted models for landscape approaches built on multi-stakeholder processes. In order to discuss and develop our understanding of the potential landscape approaches we invite papers that consider and problematize;
– trade-offs and synergies between ecosystem services that are affected by processes at different spatial and temporal scales
– involvement of actors and interests in processes at different levels e.g. object, estate, village, municipality, county, watershed
– methodological challenges on how to define and measure the components and the whole.
Contact coordinator: Bianca Cavicchi, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Dep.of Economics and Society, email@example.com
Nicholas Clarke, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Dep. of Terrestrial Ecology
Bjørn Egil Flø, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Dep. of Economics and Society
Anne Strøm Prestvik, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Dep. of Economics and Society
The bioeconomy is based on living biomass as an alternative to fossil fuels. Living biomass depends on available natural resources (NR), for which sustainable use is contingent on social actors ́ knowledge, behavior, practices, power, norms and values as well as institutions (e.g. ownership rights), policies, regulations and market structures. Therefore, the bioeconomy is a complex system of interdependent aspects that ultimately sees the social-ecological nexus as the key to ensure its long-term sustainability. However, current natural resources management (NRM) practices and the threats posed by climate change risk increasingly undermining the fragile balance between social and ecological needs, thus calling for novel strategies to maintain or improve the social-ecological resilience (SER) (i.e. adaptation or change/transformation) of local bioeconomy systems. Therefore, in this working group, we would like to explore the questions: what behavioral elements in NRM threaten the transition to a sustainable bioeconomy and what changes are then needed? What institutional, social and organizational innovations are needed to reach sustainable NRM to secure the SER of local bioeconomy systems? We would like to prioritize presentations on interdisciplinary studies where behavioral elements are taken into consideration and examined (both empirically and methodologically). We would also welcome case studies at community level or other scales, that can show how people in the area have succeeded (or failed!) to implement actions that could ensure the social-ecological resilience of local bioeconomy system.
2.3 Climate change and sustainable northern agriculture
Jaana Sorvali, Natural Resources Institute Finland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Suvi Huttunen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Climate change challenges agriculture in the Nordic countries and farmers face new demands and obstacles, but also possibilities to make their production more environmentally sustainable and climate friendly. Climate change can make consumers shift their diets towards more sustainable products, change the form of the problems related to eutrophication and biodiversity and result in new kinds of agricultural policies. At the same time, northern agriculture will also benefit from climate change as growing season lengthens, cultivation will be possible further north and new crops can be introduced. Though agricultural production produces climate emissions, it also has a possibility to be a solution for climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration in the agricultural land. All these challenges will demand new practises to be implemented in agricultural production and new tasks and commitments from farmers with consideration of climate change risks and implementation of adaptation measures. This working group will host presentations relating to agriculture and the environmental challenges from the farmers’ point of view. In particular, we are interested in the farmers’ position, practices and perspectives in this change. How is climate change and its effects understood by farmers? How do they relate to changing consumers’ demands or agri-environmental policies? What about social, cultural or economic sustainability of agriculture and farming lifestyle in the changing situation?
2.4 Collaborative management of shared rights and multiple uses on private land
Matthew Hoffman, Assistant Professor, Food Studies Program, University of Southern Maine, email@example.com
Bjørn Egil Flø, Norwegian Institute for Bio-Economy
We often think of any given piece of rural land as being used for one purpose – such as forestry or agriculture or recreation – and as being owned by one person who has all of the use-rights. In Nordic countries, however, it is often the case that multiple people have different use-rights on the same piece of land. One person might have the hunting rights, somebody else might have the timber rights, multiple other people might share grazing rights, and the general public might have rights of recreational access. Not merely a matter of tradition, such arrangements are important for making the most efficient use of resources in the future. Sustainable, efficient, and equitable use in a whole landscape context will require clarifying and improving institutions for managing such a complex layering of use-rights. How do changing use values and changing culture affect such arrangements? What tensions or conflicts arise with these changes? Are the existing legal arrangements and traditional practices adequate to changing times? This working group invites participation from anyone working on issues related to the collaborative management of shared rights and multiple uses on private land.
Kristina Svels, Natural resources institute (LUKE), Finland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pekka Salmi, Natural resources institute (LUKE), Finland
Many coastal and inland waterfront communities have become transformed towards post-productivist places, where leisure use and nature conservation have become significant elements of every-day life. On the other hand, productive use of natural resources, such as fishing and fish farming, have recently been reinvented in ‘blue growth’ policies that e.g. aim at increasing long-term sustainable food production from the oceans, creating challenges and opportunities for coastal communities. The objective is to gather social scientists from various disciplines and regions to discuss challenges and scenarios in the wake of blue growth initiatives (e.g. aquaculture, tourism, local knowledge practices, sense of place and identities). The working group aims at building a forum that put emphasis on how social transformations and new policies influence rural waterfront communities and reflects the opportunities for local participation and collaborative knowledge production. The topic focuses on challenges and success stories illuminating the changing and complex interactions between fisheries, recreation and nature conservation in European coastal communities: How to develop livelihood strategies in fisheries and waterfront communities to cope with societal and environmental transformations? What are the prospects of new policies and governance systems for enhancing the viability of coastal and inland waterfront communities and fisheries livelihoods?
In the post-productivist setting, the local coast- and sea-life is affected, for instance, by recreational fishers, leisure boaters, tourists and summer cottage dwellers where new natural resource user groups mold the local culture, and overall contribute to the local economy. In some cases, the history and cultural traditions – such as telling fishing stories, providing accommodation in old fisher houses or productions and selling local food directly to consumers – have been harnessed for creating place-based tourist attractions.
Coastal fishers and other community members adapt livelihood strategies to cope with the rapidly changing local settings, simultaneously as governance systems and various policies, e.g. rural-, fisheries- and environmental policies. At the same time, however, new configurations can be seen between place and the fishing sector for example in the proliferation of Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs).
Tuija Mononen, University of Eastern Finland, email@example.com
Leena Suopajärvi, University of Lapland
Toni Eerola, Geological Survey of Finland
Mining in the rural areas is often described by two main discourses. The first one stresses regional economy; that especially in sparsely populated rural areas mining is an important industry and could possibly increase the vitality of declining communities. It offers jobs and creates new enterprises to cater to the needs of the mining industry. The second discourse concentrates environment and nature. It argues that mining always has negative environmental impacts, often cumulative in their nature and hence destroys the living environment as well as traditional livelihoods and rural life-styles, and moreover, opportunities for other kind of livelihoods, for instance, tourism or food production. What is behind these two discourses – alternative truths that shape the development and futures of rural host communities of mining? Different kinds of values, world-views, identities, occupations in social structures, distribution of benefits and burdens? We hope to discuss themes that are not often the core of explicit project research, such as feelings, sense of place, identity and (in)justice, and welcome case-studies reflecting theoretical discussions. Also, researchers studying other extractive industries than mining are welcomed.
2.7 Agrarian change and sustainability in the Nordic countries
Cecilia Waldenström, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Cecilia.firstname.lastname@example.org
Increasing attention is today put on agrarian productions systems, food security and sustainability. Conventional productions systems are contested in the wake of increasing concerns for climate effects, biodiversity loss, soil quality depletion and a decrease of insects etc. Concurrently food production will need to increase to feed a global growing population. However, global food regimes tend to forward the questioned production systems as well as contribute to increasingly lower prices for producers. This working group, on agrarian change in the Nordic countries, focuses on farmers’ / producers’ strategies in production in relation to their own economic sustainability and issues of natural resource management and rural social sustainability, as well as their embeddedness in food networks and food regimes. Presentations can be on farm and household level as well as on farming system levels. Farming system levels papers can for instance focus on spatial aspects of production strategies, food networks, preconditions for learning and natural resource management systems. Farm level papers can focus on issues such as changes in production, household livelihoods, networks, venues for sales, on new actors in farming, on gender relations or on how farmers reflect over developments in the sector and sustainability
2.8 Animal producing farmers – victims or active agents? CANCELLED
Peter Lundqvist, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Work Science, Business Economics and Environmental Psychology, email@example.com
Farmers with animal production can experience different types of criticisms directed against their activities from consumers, the media and inspecting government agencies. On another level, threats, damage, tampering, robbery and other criminal acts are directed against the farm’s activities, but also against the farmer, family members and employees. The main goal of this working group is to discuss the nature of the experiences of victimization materialized as threats, crimes and criticism against animal production on farms in rural areas. This is achieved by assessing the consequences for individuals and farms, health, social and economic conditions. We should focus on farmers not as ‘victims’ but rather as ‘active agents’, by illustrating ways that farmers handle, cope and respond to the criticisms and threats they are exposed in a daily basis. Findings from working group discussions might lead to an action plan with concrete proposals on what measures are needed to create a better quality of life for animal producing farmers. Suggestions might be devoted to farmers, agricultural organizations, authorities and politicians.
2.9 New Food Economies: Are Traditional Farmers a Species at Risk or a New Cultural Resource?
Ivan Emke, Honorary Research Professor (Memorial University), firstname.lastname@example.org
þóroddur Bjarnason, Háskólanum á Akureyri, Iceland
In many regions throughout Nordic countries and beyond, there continue to be significant changes on the rural landscape. Rural areas are still the primary sites for food production (and sometimes processing), but the move from independent mixed farming to more commercialized production has influenced the role of those who labour and live in rural areas. This working group focusses on the changing role of traditional food producers, and how this is affecting rural communities themselves. These changes can be positive, as the increased interest in local food and in the value of self-provisioning provides a space for a new appreciation of farmers. Over the past decades, smaller farms (and self-provisioning) were increasingly seen as “backward,” or a sign of poverty. However, with the local food movement growing in strength, there is some opportunity for smaller farmers to be seen in a new light and regain some of their political power.
General questions for the session include: Have small-scale farmers and artisanal food producers attracted urban consumers into rural areas? Does the local food movement help to break down barriers between urban and rural? Does the promotion of DIY and self-provisioning actions of small producers assist in changing consumers’ relationship to food? The working group invites presentations from Nordic rural areas.
2.10 Open group for Sustainable use of natural resources and landscape management
Maja Farstad, Institute for Rural and Regional Research (Ruralis), email@example.com
Natural resources are valuable economic, ecological, political, social and cultural resources. Nature conservation is important, while entrepreneurship and industries need space to contribute to regional and economic development of rural areas. Are contemporary rural and natural resource policies in line with the aims of different dimensions of sustainable development, including climate change mitigation and adaption? New pressures, interests and claims on the use of natural resources and on landscapes lead to processes of innovation, re-evaluation as well as depletion. Continuities in both natural resource governance and landscape management are questioned and transformed. Yet, path dependencies and institutional contexts shape activities as well. Multifunctional and sustainable landscapes and use of natural resources have become some of the keywords. How are these processes enacted in different contexts? There may be conflicts between different industries, e.g. tourism and mining. How do trends in food and energy production, forestry, mining, tourism and nature conservation affect Nordic rural areas? How are entitlements, ownership and right of access and use of nature transformed? What are the impacts on local levels, on local development and social cohesion? What about its role in governance of natural resources? What about the resilience of rural areas which economy has been based to use of natural resources? What is the role of urban forest owners? What kind of a questions – and answers – there is connecting to circulation economy and bio economy?
This is an open working group for presentations that fit under the theme Sustainable use of natural resources and landscape management, but not into any of the proposed working groups. The coordinator may suggest independent sessions on specific topics based on submitted abstracts or refer abstracts to existing workgroups.
Theme 3 – Rural economy and entrepreneurship
3.1 Local communities as main actors
Lise Herslund, IGN, University of Copenhagen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hanne Tanvig, IGN, University of Copenhagen
Instead of waiting (perhaps in vain) for the state or market to secure the future, civil society in villages more and more often takes the matter into its own hand in a context of a with-drawing welfare state and a disengaging market. The willingness by local civil societies to ensure continued development is great, and it is quite common to engage in keeping e.g. the grocery store and school alive. But also, many other examples of initiatives which aim to secure more fundamental and basic local functions emerge like securing care for the elderly, children and refugees as well as up-to-date dwellings, new earning opportunities and jobs. These initiatives puncture the tale of village death and make ‘local led community development’ more than just theory. Rural research and concepts like social innovation, neo-endogenous development, place-based development, relational rurals etc. point to the importance of local engagement. Also, many rural actors and organizations as well as support schemes for rural development give the local communities’ initiative and the bottom-up perspective a central and often crucial role in development. The question is what preconditions and factors must apply for local efforts to succeed in promoting sustainable rural development with the local civil society as the main actor? What happens in areas with no strong local community? How do the local communities change/transform when taking on these new roles also in the long-term and how are they met by the existing system and society? We invite contributions with examples and debate on initiatives testing the boundaries and on roles for and effects of local civic societies as the main actor in rural development.
3.2 Co-creation of value furthering rural economy and entrepreneurship
Marita Mattila, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, email@example.com
Heli Kesämaa, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences
Co-creation and co-development with enterprises are useful means to improve rural economy and innovation capabilities of the enterprises. Furthermore, co-creation increases inclusion of stakeholders and participation in the community.
The main themes in this working group would be, for example,
– use of co-creation methods in development of rural enterprises;
– cases of co-creation experimentation for sustainable development in rural enterprises;
– crowdfunding opportunities for rural enterprises;
– how students in vocational and higher education can co-operate with rural enterprises in order to co-create and co-develop the business; and
– how digital solutions can improve business in rural enterprises.
Also other related themes would be considered desirable.
3.3 What is the role of Smart Villages within the modern Nordic rural context?
Sami Tantarimäki, Brahea Centre at the University of Turku, Areal Research and Development, firstname.lastname@example.org
Heli Siirilä, Levón Institute, Energy and Regional Development
Rumy Narayan, School of Management, Strategic Management, University of Vaasa
The world we inhabit today is shaped by a process of multidimensional structural transformation, a significant part of which is associated with the emergence of a technological paradigm dominated by information and communication technologies. Such technologies alone do not determine our societies, rather, our societies contribute towards shaping these technologies as well, by using them according to our needs, values, and interests. Developing smart infrastructure enables better access to services leading to a better quality of life. Such technical and digital transitions have been essential for the development of Smart Cities and is gaining additional relevance within the context of development of rural regions. So far, the drivers for smart solutions have centered on addressing issues related to depopulation, demographic change, services, economy, ecology and/or employment. However, the role of these technologies is expanding as ideas related to sustainable growth and improved quality of life gain momentum.
Smart Villages could be understood as communities and rural areas that have decided to move towards future opportunities through digital and social innovations. They understand their local advantages and strengths, while thinking beyond the village itself, and building new forms of cooperation and alliances. In the Nordic context, it then becomes possible to address needs, values, and interests at rural levels while aligning these to national priorities. This working group proposes to discuss how this can be visualized and designed for effective implementation. What is the role of Smart Villages within the modern Nordic rural context? How is it realized in themes like transport, mobility, services, education, social and health care and digitalization? The presentations can be practical, theoretical or openings from developers, researchers or active actors.
3.4 Rural Universities: Doing Big Things in Small Places
Thoroddur Bjarnason, University of Akureyri, Iceland, email@example.com
Ivan Emke, Honorary Research Professor (Memorial University), Canada
This working group focuses on the role of rural and regional universities in building identity, community and economic resilience in their locations. These campuses often have high expectations placed upon them, and they acknowledge these in their strategic plans and engagement activities. The aim of the working group is to discuss the impacts of these campuses, which go well beyond direct economic contributions to more indirect cultural and social influences. They can affect the local employment scene, help to develop new sectors (e.g., arts or entrepreneurship), affect social and cultural diversity, become a location for the integration of newcomers, and generally assist in altering their community’s identity. We are also interested in presentations on how faculty, students and researchers have been able to make unique contributions to their disciplines from these sites. We are seeking other examples of the contributions of rural universities throughout the Nordic countries and beyond. General questions include how to assist mutual support collaborations between universities and their communities, and what are the resulting implications for rural resilience in an age of consolidation of educational options?
3.5 Tourism as a part of bioeconomy – is there a room for young entrepreneurs?
Virpi Pakarinen, Pro-Agria, University of Eastern Finland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Irmeli Mustalahti, University of Eastern Finland
Henna Konu, Natural Resources Institute Finland
In this working group, we are interested in the papers related to nature-based tourism — specially from researchers as well as practice-oriented agencies who have studied young tourism business ventures or are involved themselves in nature based tourism business. We want to discuss about the change that will inevitably take place as we move towards the era of bio- and circular economy. As the use of forests and water resources increases, there is a need to increase debate and understanding among the different actors on how to safeguard the quality of the natural environment. In this working group, we would like to discuss how to promote the usu of nature, especially forests, which also preserves and allow different type of actors and entrepreneurs to develop their activities. Young, innovative rural tourism entrepreneurs could play an important role in promoting the bioeconomy: The capabilities of young generation and the ability to work together with various sectors would create opportunities for transition to the bioeconomy and the circular economy. The new generation of entrepreneurs needs encouragement and support for this new kind of cooperation and networked approach to rural entrepreneurship. Without opportunities for diverse cooperation with a variety of local actors, the new generation of tourism entrepreneurs will not have the opportunity to benefit and sustainably develop tourism as part of the bioeconomy. By providing opportunities for operators of all ages and abilities, a tourism system can be set up that could work in partnership with the forest sector. For this working group, we welcome individuals who have examples and research on nature tourism like this. This working group is organized by the ALL-YOUTH research project funded by the Strategic Research Council (STN) decision number 312689.
3.6 Ruminating the impacts of digital disruption in the Nordic rural regions
Ilkka Luoto, University of Vaasa, email@example.com
Digital hype is highest in innovation and technology studies within big cities, where the greatest disruptions to business models are expected to take place. Is there anything left for the rural areas, and how digital disruption effect in sparsely populated areas? Precision agriculture and milking robots are maybe the best-known examples of changes that have the potential to reorganize production work in farms. However, digitalization is not just about farming but also about the connectivity, accessibility and performance of versatile rural stakeholders, which in turn, affect habitation, transportation, public services, life-styles and business.
Colleagues are welcome to offer papers that help to identify and assess past, current and future game changers in the era of digitalization on the Nordic rural areas. Papers can address, for example, digital infrastructures – especially wireless and fiber optic networks; variable aspects of platform economy and digital (public)services, effecting everyday life of rural communities; robotisation and automatisation; digital government and governance; GIS (also softGIS) applied in agriculture and in the development of land use and, for example, rural tourism.
There is also a tendency that only the opportunities of digitalization are highlighted, while threats tend to be ignored or underestimated. Critical research papers are welcome alongside practice-oriented research papers and case studies. The overarching goal of the working group is to improve the capacity of Nordic societies and political bodies respond to the challenges and opportunities that digitalization generates in rural communities. On the other hand, the ‘creative destruction’ presented by digitalization, can deepen some already existing problems, like availability and usability of public services combined with aging rural population.
It can be asked, what common effects will digital disruption have for rural communities and places? How social media, distance learning solutions and telecommuting are chancing the quality of life in rural areas? Will there be ‘rural hipsters’ and life-style newcomers populating lagging villages located by the fiber optic network connections in the near future? Are digital services meeting demands of remote rural areas?
3.7 Open group for Rural economy and entrepreneurship
Antti Puupponen, University of Jyväskylä, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rural economy is usually related to traditional industries and sectors such as agriculture, forestry, recreation and tourism, and innovations are very often incremental or organizational within the same lines, carried out by the same entrepreneurs; or entrepreneurship is seen upon as a black box. Nevertheless, can changing landscapes also make way for new rural economies and entrepreneurship? Can new industries and new modes of entrepreneurship operate and revalorize local resources and be important and keys to growth within rural economic and cultural life? There is a need to explore such new industries and modes of entrepreneurship more detailed and see how they can contribute to the advance of rural economy. The role of the third sector, for example, as a producer of certain services has been emphasized in rural policy. But what is its real role in rural development? What about NGO’s, which may be big actors in rural areas and rural development?
This is an open working group for presentations that fit under the Rural economy and entrepreneurship but not into any of the proposed working groups. The coordinator may suggest independent sessions on specific topics based on submitted abstracts or refer abstracts to existing workgroups.
Theme 4 – Policies and politics of the rural
4.1 The last one turns off the lights, or: how to dismantle a community
Matthias Kokorsch, Programme Director at the University Centre of the Westfjords (Iceland), email@example.com
Many rural villages in the peripheral north face socio-economic and demographic challenges. Causes are usually a combination of individual actions and mobility, aspects of spatiality and the structural change of local economies in tandem with the loss of the dominant economic mainstay. Particularly (former) resource-dependent communities are in a vulnerable state and face structural unemployment, out-migration and social erosion, and a low potential for innovation. But how should communities be dealt with, where neither endogenous nor exogenous strategies have helped to overcome adverse effects of structural change(s)? What can be done in places that are stuck in a continuous downward spiral; places in which the development path has been so profoundly disturbed that any sort of equilibrium is beyond reach? Would it be more advisable to search for socially acceptable ways to ‘dismantle’ such a community? Raising such a question may seem almost ‘politically incorrect’ – in alleged welfare states. On the other hand, grappling with it is unavoidable: the predicament of such places is not unique in the peripheral north and it would be naïve to think that each place will remain on the map in its present form. The question is thus how much national policies can and should do to halt a seemingly pervasive urbanisation process. This working group welcomes researchers that want to discuss and present proactive proposals for rural development, and those that focus on the question how to deal with places that lose the ‘vote with the feet’ likewise.
4.2 Rural wastescapes: suitability and implementation of waste policies in peripheral places
Moritz Albrecht, University of Eastern Finland, Department of Geographical and Historical Studies, firstname.lastname@example.org
Waste management has become a global policy matter and is a core component in many circular economy approaches as well as an important aspect within the UN sustainable development goals. While the EU strives for a zero waste policy within its circular economy package the situation of waste management, vary not only on a global scale, but also EU internal. Yet, aside the international differences there is another, more complex fault line in the implementation of waste management and policy: the gap between urban and rural places. This fault line is not merely a matter of proper waste services for rural areas but tabs into wider reaching matters of social justice, policy mobility and governmental aims for rural spaces in general. Based on the cross-border project WasteLess Karelias the workshop will scrutinize rural wastescapes, in Finland, Russia and beyond to evaluate their spatial peculiarities, stakeholder perspectives and their ability to translate (trans-)national policies which are predominantly designed for urban environments into a peripheral context. Hence, the workshop aims to gather local case studies, policy analysis and theoretical papers that critically tie waste related spatial processes with rurality and peripheral places.
4.3 Animal policy – a fundamental issue in the debate on rurality?
Katri Karkinen, email@example.com
Satu Raussi, Natural resources institute, Finland
Tiina Kauppinen, Natural resources institute, Finland
Knowledge of animals is in transition. What does this mean to the production of livestock or to wild animals in rural areas? In this working group we will look at human-animal relationship as well as the new type of interaction between animals and humans, from the perspective brought about by recent knowledge. We are also interested on how the work with animals is changing.
The interpretation of animal behavior is depending on who is observing the life of an animal. In the working group we try to focus on the practical aspects – we are looking for alternative production systems, and a role to play for animals, in the era of climate change. Practical information is necessary for anyone living and working in the rural area with or without animals. Animals belong to northern nature either as part of environment that was built by humans, or wild. Did we completely forget the idea of rural development, where a substantial factor is a livestock industry? Or, how is a human being changing the living environment of wild animals? We are looking forward to diverse contributions.
4.4 Open group for Policies and politics of the rural
Olli Lehtonen, Natural resources institute, Finland & University of Eastern Finland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rural and agricultural politics and policies increasingly open for new constellations in the rural development bringing new kinds of challenges to the fore. What concepts of rurality underpin these different policies? Are urban ideals and rural realities at variance in the policy formation? What are the new issues and edges emerging in rural policy formation and policy? How can we prepare for decrease in subsidies? What is the impact of the subsidies? How are the subsidies for entrepreneurship and industry distributed between rural and urban? What is the meaning of rural areas when thinking about the labour force needed in other areas? What is the meaning of place-based information in rural development and rural policy?
This is an open working group for presentations that fit under the Policies and politics of the rural but not into any of the proposed working groups. The coordinator may suggest independent sessions on specific topics based on submitted abstracts or refer abstracts to existing workgroups.