The importance of an old rural cottage: media representation and construction of a national idyll in post-war Sweden
2014 (English)In: Journal of Rural Studies, ISSN 0743-0167, E-ISSN 1873-1392, Vol. 36, 33-41 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Second-homes are vital parts of the encountering of the rural in the Western World. The way they are perceived in society is important to explore as it can influence how and by whom this part of the rural is used. This paper explores the media construction of a specific type of second-homes in Sweden; cottages that since the 1950s have transformed from poor smallholdings to beloved second-homes. Besides being lived spaces, these cottages have become well known features of rural Sweden, symbols of national identity and described by media as rural idylls. They can be seen as having a cultural centrality in the revaluation of rurality and the shift towards post-productivist countryside in Sweden. But how could this type of humble cottage become so significant and what does the image of it really imply? This is studied through a discourse analysis of the representation of these cottages in a monthly home magazine from 1956 to 2008 with a particular interest in the production and naturalisation of them as important rural artefacts and national symbols. The paper discusses how material and immaterial dimensions have interacted in this construction process as well as possible social implications of the representations. Conclusively, the representations construct a restricted image of cottages and their users and of why cottages are important and should be taken care of. These representations are building on values, ideas and norms embedded in a highlighted and particular materiality which makes these seem innocent, natural and common sense. By exploring this the paper contributes to the wider inquiry into the discursive construction of the rural where seemingly innocent and natural ways of representing places, people and artefacts can produce strong and excluding norms and values regarding the rural and its users and uses.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 36, 33-41 p.
Representations, Media, Materiality, Sweden, Second-homes, National symbols
Research subject Human Geography
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-107830DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2014.06.006ISI: 000347597100004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-107830DiVA: diva2:750781