Ren idyll? : forbrukets betydning for bygdeutvikling med utgangspunkt i lokal mat og hytteliv
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AbstractPure idyll? The importance of consumption for rural development exemplified with local food and cabin life. Rural areas are presently facing new challenges and opportunities for development. These changes are significantly due to a transition from primary industries such as agriculture, forestry and fishing towards activities influenced by consumption and recreation. In many ways, rural areas changes from spaces of production to spaces of consumption. Based on two consumption activities, local food and cabin life, the thesis discusses the importance of consumption on rural development. The aim has been to gain a broader understanding of how these consumption activities contribute to shape the new rurality. The main research question has been: What does it mean that the rural develops as a space of consumption and what are the opportunities and challenges seen in this development?
In recent years there has been an increased interest in local food in Norway as in the rest of the Western world. Both the number of farmers producing local food as well as the sales volumes of these products has grown. Local food is sold in new places locally both in rural and urban areas through direct sales channels such as farm shops and farmers' markets. Cabin life or second home living has a long tradition and is one of the most common forms of holiday in Norway. It is considered that about fifty percent of Norwegian families owns or has access to a cabin. In recent times we have seen an increased development of second homes, with emphasis on high standards and comfort. Local food and cabin life thus represents activities that are increasing in popularity and scope, and research on these activities can thus provide important insight into how the new rurality develops. The empirical part of the thesis is focused on Norway and Norwegian conditions. The thesis consists of four articles that examine the following four themes: how local food is socially framed by agricultural policies, how local producers market their food, how consumer perceive and use local food as well as how families experience the Norwegian way of cabin life. The thesis consists of interviews with consumers about their consumption habits both at home and when staying at the cabin, and their motives for seeking out local markets and farm shops. The empirical part also consists of observations of the trade as well as interviews with producers and vendors in farm shops and Farmers' markets.
The Thesis draws on theoretical perspectives from geography and rural sociology, but also consumption research that is inspired by subjects like sociology, anthropology and ethnology. There are two major reasons for the application of perspectives from different traditions. First, consumption has traditionally been less focused within human geography and rural research, and secondly, the new rurality is characterized by a heterogeneous development that requires a more multidisciplinary approach. The findings are discussed in light of a social constructivist perspective on rural development in addition to a modernity perspective on consumption as well as anthropological and ethnological perspectives where the relational and moral aspects of consumption are underlined.
The thesis concludes that local food and cabin life in many areas contribute positively to rural development. Both local food and cabin life connects the rural and urban together in new ways. This leads to new activities in rural Norway and in many places these activities are helping to strengthen local identity. On the other hand, both rural tourism and traditional agricultural production face significant challenges in relation to a future sustainable development. The thesis shows that these rural activities, not least through public policy and local development initiatives, are framed within a social representation of the rural idyll. These strategies may seem too narrow in relation to a broader discussion on sustainable rural development. Local food consumption and cabin life must be understood as heterogeneous consumption activities where consumers are not only seeking the rural idyll, but where relational and social aspects as well as ethical and moral issues are of importance. Consumption must not be viewed primarily as an individual activity, but is about giving meaning to the immediate and fundamental relationships within the family domain. One danger is that a commercialized rural development with a narrow perspective may reduce local food and cabin life to niche markets for an exclusive segment of consumers. Another danger is that the rural idyll consolidates as a dominant representation that overshadows alternative representations of the rural. Future sustainable rural policies should include a broader value perspective where social, ethical and environmental aspects are given a central place. Further research on these topics should also include a variety of consumer groups and different ways local food and cabin life can be marketed, consumed and experienced.
List of papers
|Artikkel 1, Markedsartikkel. Vittersø, G. & A. M. Jervell Direct markets as multiple consumption spaces: The case of two Norwegian collective marketing initiatives. International Journal Of Sociology Of Agriculture And Food. 18 (1): 54–69.|
|Artikkel 2, Turistproduktartikkel. Vittersø, G. & V. Amilien. From tourist product to ordinary food? The role of rural tourism in development of local food and food heritage in Norway. Anthropology of food. 2011:8|
|Artikkel 3, Stedsartikkel. Vittersø, G. Fra Hurum til Hardanger. Betydningen av sted i strategier for utvikling av lokal mat. I Sæther, B. & Haugom, M (red.). Lokal og regional mat. Samhandling, innovasjon og identitet i alternative matverdikjeder. Trondheim, Tapir. (2012). Denne artikkelen har blitt fjernet fra avhandlingen i DUO på grunn av utgivers opphavsrett.|
|Artikkel 4, Hytteartikkel. Vittersø, G. Norwegian cabin life in transition. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 2007:7(3): 266-280. Den publiserte versjonen av denne artikkelen finner du på: https://doi.org/10.1080/15022250701300223|