The thesis is concerned with documenting how sense of place amongst the inhabitants of the village in Feios, Sogn og Fjordane, affected stances towards a proposed local hydropower project. Through qualitative analysis of interview data, I determine how the theoretical notions of place attachment, satisfaction, identity and dependence act upon the ways in which the informants perceive, behave, and bestow values upon the social and natural environments in and immediately surrounding their village. I also discuss how Feios the “place” is affected by processes such as globalization and the presence of a national sense of place.
Also present in the thesis is a discussion of how the sense of place construct could be incorporated into natural resource management processes. Doing so helps democratize said process, helps avoid misunderstandings, and works against the bureaucratization of human relationships – embracing the sense of place construct in political processes is to recognize the fundamental way in which individuals live and interact with their world and surroundings. As such, it is only logical and appropriate that it should be included in the processes which determine how a resource or tract of land be used.
The central research questions of the thesis are:
How strongly does the local physical environment in Feios represent a source of place-based meanings and identities for local stakeholders?
To what extent does sense of place (place attachment, satisfaction, identity and dependence) influence people’s perceptions of the proposed hydropower project in Feios?
Does the current conflict in Feios have anything to teach with respect to incorporating place-based meanings, values and identities into local natural resource politics?