Materializing Kinship: Cycles of life at the Norwegian "hytte"

The substantial aim of the project is to examine the practices that constitute kinship in contemporary Norway in the light of current theoretical debates in anthropology and socio-legal studies, through an empirical examination of common practices of inheritance and inhabitation of hytter.

Illustration of cabin

Anjan Sarkar Illustration

Asserting that hytter provide an example of what have been called house societies, the project seeks to illuminate the role of hytter in activating kinship relations. Through close examination of inheritance, and of creating and inhabiting the hytte, the project brings together anthropological research on kinning with socio-legal studies of property. With hytter so closely associated with nature-ideologies, themselves tied in with forms of Norwegian nationalisms, a close focus on hytter thus opens up a wealth of sociological data on kinship, material culture, banal nationalism, and nature practices. The project will:

1) explore the performance of kinship at the hytte and the role of the hytte as a moral person that attracts kinship-activities, demands care and attention, and attracts deep emotional responses;

2) examine the role of legal frameworks and legal practitioners in the constitution of family relations through negotiations over the transmission of hytte as property;

3) evaluate the materialisation of time, memory and imagination in the hytte, its contents and context, and conflicts between forms of value in the use and transmission of the hytte. The research will document changing forms of inheritance and kinship, and present new ways to articulate popular concerns about hytter, environment, economy and landscape. It represents an innovative approach to both kinship and property studies, and a radical departure from existing studies of second homes.

Hytter on an island outside Oslo. Photo: VisitOSLO/Nancy Bundt
Hytter on an island outside Oslo. Photo: VisitOSLO/Nancy Bundt

 

Published Dec. 1, 2016 11:07 AM - Last modified Feb. 21, 2017 11:37 AM