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A Room of One's Own Delivery - A Study of Rural Identity in Sweden, and the Emancipatory Potential of Vulnerability in Resistance

Stigson, Marit LU (2018) SGEM08 20181
Department of Human Geography
Abstract
This study examines the political and popular discourse that constructs the identity of the rural citizen in Sweden, and what consequences this discourse has on expectations on, and expectations of rural citizens in Sweden. The study focuses on the closing of the birthing clinic in Sollefteå hospital, Västernorrland county, in January 2017 and the occupation of the ward that followed thereafter. Emphasis is put on the feminization of rural space, and the construction of the rural citizen as the Other. It also aims to examine the emancipatory potential in mobilizing resistance through vulnerability by studying the occupation in Sollefteå as a case of rural uprising.

The theoretical background of the study consists of Judith Butler’s... (More)
This study examines the political and popular discourse that constructs the identity of the rural citizen in Sweden, and what consequences this discourse has on expectations on, and expectations of rural citizens in Sweden. The study focuses on the closing of the birthing clinic in Sollefteå hospital, Västernorrland county, in January 2017 and the occupation of the ward that followed thereafter. Emphasis is put on the feminization of rural space, and the construction of the rural citizen as the Other. It also aims to examine the emancipatory potential in mobilizing resistance through vulnerability by studying the occupation in Sollefteå as a case of rural uprising.

The theoretical background of the study consists of Judith Butler’s work regarding gender performativity, and her reading of Simone de Beauvoir’s becoming of gender, which is used to understand the construction of rural identity. Val Plumwood’s theories of masculinist rationality, and Tora Fribergs findings about women’s time-geography is used to analyze the practical consequences of being identified as the Other in a patriarchal society. The concept of mobilizing resistance through vulnerability is explained as a feminist act by Zeynep Gambetti, Leticia Sabsay and Judith Butler, and is used to study what is happening in Sollefteå.

The study is built on feminist, activist research with the political agenda of deconstructing the oppressive mechanisms built into rural politics in Sweden. By using participatory action and qualitative interviews, experiences from the occupation site is brought to the front, and used to formulate knowledge regarding the construction of rural identity and the emancipatory potential for the movement in Sollefteå.

The study finds that there is an oppressive discourse that constructs the rural citizen as the Other, and as feminine, passive, vulnerable in relation to the urban norm. This otherness has grave material consequences for rural citizens as centralization and dismantling of welfare services make life in the countryside less safe and less secure. Whilst politicians in the Västernorrland county keep dismissing vulnerability in order to maintain their power position, people of Sollefteå and other rural regions take charge of their vulnerability as rural citizens and use it to mobilize resistance in order to fight back. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Denna studie undersöker den politiska och allmänna diskurs som konstruerar identiteten landsbygdsbo i Sverige, samt vilka konsekvenser denna diskurs har gällande förväntningar på, och förväntningar hos boende i rurala regioner i Sverige. Studien fokuserar på stängningen av Sollefteå BB i Sollefteå sjukhus, Västernorrlands landsting (numera region), i januari 2017 och den ockupation av sjukhuset som följde därefter. Särskilt fokus läggs på feminiseringen av lands- och glesbygd, och konstruktionen av landsbygdsbon som den Andra. Syftet är även att undersöka den emancipatoriska potentialen i att mobilisera motstånd genom sårbarhet genom att studera Sollefteå BB Ockupationen som ett fall av ruralt uppror.

Studiens teoretiska bakgrund... (More)
Denna studie undersöker den politiska och allmänna diskurs som konstruerar identiteten landsbygdsbo i Sverige, samt vilka konsekvenser denna diskurs har gällande förväntningar på, och förväntningar hos boende i rurala regioner i Sverige. Studien fokuserar på stängningen av Sollefteå BB i Sollefteå sjukhus, Västernorrlands landsting (numera region), i januari 2017 och den ockupation av sjukhuset som följde därefter. Särskilt fokus läggs på feminiseringen av lands- och glesbygd, och konstruktionen av landsbygdsbon som den Andra. Syftet är även att undersöka den emancipatoriska potentialen i att mobilisera motstånd genom sårbarhet genom att studera Sollefteå BB Ockupationen som ett fall av ruralt uppror.

Studiens teoretiska bakgrund består av Judith Butlers arbete om genusperformativitet, och hennes läsning av Simone de Beauvoirs tillblivande av genus, vilket används för att förstå konstruktionen av rural identitet. Val Plumwoods teorier om maskulinistisk rationalitet, och Tora Fribergs texter om kvinnors tidsgeografi används för att analysera de praktiska konsekvenserna av att identifieras som den Andra i ett patriarkalt samhälle. Zeynep Gambetti, Leticia Sabsay och Judith Butlers arbete förklarar sedan den feministiska aktionen att mobiliera motstånd genom sårbarhet, vilket används för att studera fallet Sollefteå BB Ockupationen.

Studien bygger på feministiskt, aktivistisk forskning med den politiska strävan att dekonstruera de förtryckande mekanismer som ligger inbyggda i Svensk landsbygdspolitik. Genom att använda deltagande aktion och kvalitativa intervjuer förs erfarenheter från ockupationen fram, och används för att formulera kunskap rörande konstruktionen av landsbygdsidentitet och den frigörande potentialen hos ockupationen i Sollefteå.

Studien finner att det finns en förtryckande diskurs som konstruerar landsbygdsbor i Sverige som den Andra, och som feminin, passiv, sårbar i relation till en urban norm. Denna annanhet har grava materiella konsekvenser för landsbygdsbor då centralisering och nedmontering av välfärdsservice gör livet på lands- och glesbygden mindre säker och mindre trygg. Medan politiker i Västernorrlands landsting (numera region) fortsätter avsäga sig sårbarhet i syfte att behålla sin maktposition tar boende i Sollefteå och andra rurala regioner makten över sin sårbarhet som landsbygdsbor och använder den för att mobilisera motstånd i syfte att kämpa emot. (Less)
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author
Stigson, Marit LU
supervisor
organization
course
SGEM08 20181
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
rural, identity, gender, vulnerability, resistance, Sollefteå, occupation, birthing clinic
language
English
id
8957591
date added to LUP
2018-09-03 11:07:01
date last changed
2018-09-03 11:07:01
@misc{8957591,
  abstract     = {This study examines the political and popular discourse that constructs the identity of the rural citizen in Sweden, and what consequences this discourse has on expectations on, and expectations of rural citizens in Sweden. The study focuses on the closing of the birthing clinic in Sollefteå hospital, Västernorrland county, in January 2017 and the occupation of the ward that followed thereafter. Emphasis is put on the feminization of rural space, and the construction of the rural citizen as the Other. It also aims to examine the emancipatory potential in mobilizing resistance through vulnerability by studying the occupation in Sollefteå as a case of rural uprising. 

The theoretical background of the study consists of Judith Butler’s work regarding gender performativity, and her reading of Simone de Beauvoir’s becoming of gender, which is used to understand the construction of rural identity. Val Plumwood’s theories of masculinist rationality, and Tora Fribergs findings about women’s time-geography is used to analyze the practical consequences of being identified as the Other in a patriarchal society. The concept of mobilizing resistance through vulnerability is explained as a feminist act by Zeynep Gambetti, Leticia Sabsay and Judith Butler, and is used to study what is happening in Sollefteå. 

The study is built on feminist, activist research with the political agenda of deconstructing the oppressive mechanisms built into rural politics in Sweden. By using participatory action and qualitative interviews, experiences from the occupation site is brought to the front, and used to formulate knowledge regarding the construction of rural identity and the emancipatory potential for the movement in Sollefteå.

The study finds that there is an oppressive discourse that constructs the rural citizen as the Other, and as feminine, passive, vulnerable in relation to the urban norm. This otherness has grave material consequences for rural citizens as centralization and dismantling of welfare services make life in the countryside less safe and less secure. Whilst politicians in the Västernorrland county keep dismissing vulnerability in order to maintain their power position, people of Sollefteå and other rural regions take charge of their vulnerability as rural citizens and use it to mobilize resistance in order to fight back.},
  author       = {Stigson, Marit},
  keyword      = {rural,identity,gender,vulnerability,resistance,Sollefteå,occupation,birthing clinic},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {A Room of One's Own Delivery - A Study of Rural Identity in Sweden, and the Emancipatory Potential of Vulnerability in Resistance},
  year         = {2018},
}