Conference paper

The Everyday in a Contested Landscape Making sense of conservation, tourism and local development in the mountains of Jämtland, Sweden

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Author list: Wall-Reinius, Sandra

Publication year: 2019


Abstract

Discourses of nature as a pristine milieu and of culture as a realm of human dominance not only impact cognition, but also the local practices of those involved daily in such contested areas. In this paper, we turn to local actors and how they experience and practice everyday life in a landscape that is influenced by nature conservation and tourism ideals in the wake of the nature/culture dualism. We draw mainly from two theoretical fields; the nature/culture dualism understood as social constructs and discourses on the social and the natural in the landscape; and, the notion of dwelling where everyday habits and experiences produce a living space, which in this case is contrasted to the perception of magnificent and pristine landscapes. Through our study of the Jämtland Mountains (Sweden), we have analysed local understandings of a landscape that is ordinary on the one hand, and magnificent on the other. We report on the ways local stakeholders make sense of their surrounding landscape as they go about their daily lives as residents, reindeer herders, entrepreneurs, and recreationists. Ultimately, this becomes an exploration of the contradictions and confusions within and between the discourses of conservation, management, recreation, authenticity, and tourism development that affect how local stakeholders consciously and subconsciously cope with the tensions brought about by the nature/culture dichotomy. The findings are used to propose a critical, as well as constructive, notion of dwelling that stresses the importance of opening up to new possibilities and responsibilities during negotiations over protected areas.


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