• Land for agriculture? Conflicts and synergies between land use in two parts of Scandinavia (2019-02-26)
    Elin Slätmo

    When space is limited, there is often conflict over land use such as agriculture, nature conservation, housing, business and commercial enterprise. More knowledge is needed about the substance of such conflicts and the way the various uses are handled and spatially organised. Using empirical material collected in Hållnäs, Sweden, and Sandnes, Norway, between 2009 and 2012, this paper addresses the potential conflicts and synergies between the different uses of land, with agriculture as a reference point. In combining and comparing the results from Hållnäs and Sandnes, the way in which relations differ between them are also scrutinised. Through planning documents, interviews with officials in public authorities, active farmers, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and field visits, case-specific land uses are identified in the two areas. The conflicting and synergetic relations between agriculture and other ways the land is used are identified and illustrated by schematic models. The results indicate that agriculture is both in synergy and in conflict with other land uses. In the cases investigated in this study, the primary areas of conflict are between agriculture and biodiversity, between agriculture and cultural heritage, and between agriculture and climate-smart initiatives in terms of dense building structures.

  • Life satisfaction among inbound university students in northern Sweden (2019-02-28)
    Per Anders Nilsson Umeå University Britt-Marie Stålnacke

    Will life satisfaction among international students change after having an experience of studying abroad? Some previous studies indicate inequalities and issues of social mobility embedded in international student mobility. International student mobility implies physical movement and new experiences gained while studying abroad. The ubiquity of international students and their generally successful adaptation makes it necessary to understand how they manage to turn a seemingly difficult situation into satisfying adaptation. One area of such concern that this study sought to explore was the students’ level of satisfaction with life. This study investigated the self-reported life satisfaction of inbound university students upon arrival to a university in northern Sweden and at follow-up six months later. After the study period abroad, the students’ levels of perceived satisfaction with their somatic health and activities of daily living had significantly increased. Higher levels, while non-significant, were found for the domains life as a whole, study situation and economy. These findings may indicate that studying abroad could have an impact on students’ reported life satisfaction, which highlights the value of a period of studying abroad. However, when exploring life satisfaction outcomes among internationally mobile students, it seems pertinent to study student mobility within a context. This study mostly targets international student mobility in a Western/European context.

  • The long-term adaptation of a resource periphery as narrated by local policy-makers in Lieksa (2019-03-05)
    Maija Elina Halonen University of Eastern Finland

    The paper’s general objective is to question the point of view whereby peripheries are seen only through a static downturn with no reflections on dynamicity or adaptation. The focus is set on the standpoints of actors in local government and their interface with the broader structures. The aim is to create a productive dialogue with evolutionary economic geography studies paying attention to actors and resilience studies where the human perspectives in adaptation are emphasised. The town of Lieksa, Finland, is used as a case study to exemplify a forest resource periphery located in relative isolation at the regional and national scale, but within a developed economy in Europe. The results, based on interviews with key local policy-makers, show that development did not stop at the time of the first bust despite the domination of the downturn. The study reveals two waves of restructuring which both include a type of regional bust followed by different kinds of institutional recovery. In general, the human adaptation appears as reactions reflecting the variation of giving up, forward-looking acceptance, desperate resistance, re-orientation with external support and search for renewal with an optimistic attitude. Above all, the resilience regarding the local governmental actors emphasises their flexible adaptability and ability to develop institutional capacities to tolerate their vulnerability, the uncertainties of the economic future and the difficulties of locals to influence it – and if anything – to act and bounce forward in spite of repetitive busts and restructuring phases.

  • Lectio praecursoria: Theory of control tuning: the processing of control in migration-related place coping (2019-03-07)
    Saija Niemi Helsinki Institute of Urban and Regional Studies, University of Helsinki

    In this lectio praecursoria, which I presented as part of my doctoral defence at the University of Helsinki on 26th October 2018, I introduce a new migration-related control theory that I developed in my doctoral research. The theory of control tuning is a middle-range theory that closes the gap between empirical data and formal theory. The theory is mainly based on primary data from South Sudanese migration, which I brought from the descriptive level to the conceptual level by using classic grounded theory methodology. The theory of control tuning explains how various migration actors process control in their everyday life in order to manage and govern feelings, information, actions and people as well as ownership of situations and objects. Control tuning refers to the action of modifying control, and it occurs through particular control-tuning paths. These control-tuning paths consist of control-tuning causes, strategies, outcomes, intervening factors and conditions. Control-tuning paths appear in relation to the behavioural arena of migration. This behavioural arena includes the elements, circumstances, relationships and objects of the physical, social, political, cultural and economic world with which migration actors come into contact and interact. The main activities in the behavioural arena of migration are place coping, knowledge dealing, encountering authority and link keeping. The theory of control tuning demonstrates that control tuning occurs regardless of whether migration is international or internal or forced or voluntary and irrespective of the status of a migrant, or whether the actor is a local resident or an authority, or whether migration actors move or stay put. Moreover, the theory of control tuning demonstrates that control has significance for individuals and groups of migration actors.