Att få en plats på kartan : En etnologisk studie av skogsbranden i Västmanland 2014
Sammanfattning: The forest fire of Västmanland in 2014 had a significant cultural impact on local communities. Research is warranted to better understand the impact and process of recovery after natural disasters, as well as to discover how underlying political and cultural structures affect rescue and recovery. Thus far, any research in this area has been carried out by government-funded studies and evaluations of crisis management. This study complements that existing body of research by exploring this topic through local experiences and memories of the fire and emergency operations. The analysis builds on four theoretical perspectives: Foucault’s theory of power; phenomenology; memory theory, and theories of identity. Through these, the study examines how locals relate to the burnt landscape as well as explores how political tensions relating to Swedish countryside have gained new relevance as a result of the fire. These research results indicate that memories of the fire are characterized by chaotic rescue operations and crisis management, and that their failure generally is interpreted as a result of current political and cultural discourses defined by urban norms that for decades have disfavored infrastructure and social security in rural parts of Sweden. The research shows that favorable conditions for rural life in general are crucial for successful crisis management. From a societal perspective, the battle for resources between urban and rural areas, combined with inequality between city and countryside, is very problematic. Many crises occur in rural areas, which require security and infrastructure nationwide. The study therefore stresses the importance of active use of local knowledge in governing on local and regional as well as national levels. Diversity is not only a matter of ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, but also includes perspectives from all generations living all over the country.
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