Digital Everyday Lives in Rural Norway
What is the role of digital technology for everyday life in rural Norway?
Photo: Tom Bratrud.
Kinship, physical arenas and community gatherings have traditionally been the pillars of social life in rural Norway. However, the vitality of rural communities is currently challenged: the majority of local youth are relocating for studies and work without moving back, kin-run farms are closing down at an accelerating rate, and local shops, schools and associations are centralized to the nearest town. For the remaining villagers, digital communication is now becoming essential for their everyday social life. The internet offers an opportunity to participate in interest-based societies outside the physical community, as well as creating new arenas for connecting and reconnecting villagers, for instance through various social networking sites. The internet thus becomes an alternative—and a challenger—to traditional place-based activities.
Many rural communities are undergoing substantial demographic changes. While local youth relocate, new groups are temporarily and permanently settling down—particularly city people who spend an increasing amount of time in rural holiday homes (hytte), labour migrants from the EU pursuing higher salaries, and lifestyle-seeking highly educated urbanists who long for a life closer to nature. This urban-rural mobility is to a significant extent facilitated by digital technology: city people can use their hytte as home office, labour migrants can maintain relations to their home country, and newcomers can have a career and network in the city while cultivating rural values.
By investigating these processes, the study asks a two-fold question; what is the role of digital technology in the constitution of social life in rural Norway today, and what are the social, cultural, political and economic implications?
Contact: Tom Bratrud