East of Arcadia: Three studies of rural women in northern Sweden and Wisconsin, USA
1996 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
This dissertation deals with three different studies of rural women in northern Sweden and Wisconsin, USA. All three of them aim at identify and elucidate pertinent aspects of women's lives in rural areas. In the first study, The Åsele study, women's work and free time activities are in the focus of investigation. The second, The Leading Light study, deals more explicitly with obstacles and problems that women meet with when trying to improve their living conditions and, finally, the Wisconsin study deals with the ways rural women organize their everyday lives. More specifically, while all three studies assume a gender and mode-of-living perspective, cultural issues, the relations between structure- agent and questions concerning the organization of everyday life receive separate treatment.
Mostly qualitative methods are used in collecting data, including interviews and essays. Also questionnaires are used in order to gain a comprehensive picture of certain areas, such as activities and aspirations within the field of leisure. In the last study a reanalysis of an archived interview material, built on oral life histories, is used.
The results give a complex and nuanced picture of women's lives in these areas. The farm women in the Wisconsin study have a heavy work load and contribute in different ways to the maintenance of the family. Their productive work is, however, made invisible in official statistics. The Åsele study gives a picture of a woman, who is not demanding anything special for herself, but is adapting to the traditional gender structures. Her life is organized around her home, her husband and her children. The young women intend to leave this area, which is one of the problems that the local politicians have to deal with. In the Leading light study, finally, it is above all the male representatives at the local governmental level that impede the women's ideas and ignore their propositions for change. Despite official signals of decentralisation of decision making, the bureaucratic structures seem to strengthen at the local level.
Most of the women in this study praise life in the country side. The rural ideology also comprises a positive view of this mode of living. While the rural ideology is a entire male construction, the female conditions have to be problematized. This has been done in this thesis.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet , 1996. , 282 p.
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 0281-6768 ; 42
, Femina borealis publications, ISSN 1239-8217 ; 2
rural women, gender mode of living, leisure, work, local mobilization, cultural reproduction, migration
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-16579ISBN: 91-7191-237-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-16579DiVA: diva2:156252
1996-11-01, Humanisthuset, Hörsal E, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00
Johansson, Ulla, Associate Professor