Forest Cultures

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One of my research interests has since the 1990s been to find out how cultural meanings of selected aspects of life been made, expressed and changed within different contexts characterized by forest and woodland. I focus on three themes who are relevant on different levels to contemporary life and debates:

1. The forest has for a long time been a main subject not only for environmentalists all over the world, using it as an ideal of what should be preserved as ‘nature’, but also for people looking looking for what is ‘natural’ on different levels, from groups searching alternative ways of life, to the use of wood as building material, characterised by its ‘natural’ qualities.

2. In contexts dominated by forest, the concept of 'work'  has often had different meanings than those known from other industrial, post-industrial or rural societies. By analysing what work has meant in different forest contexts, the project aims at broadening our perspectives on work in a time with profound and rapid changes in ways of thinking about work as well as in our working conditions.

3. As identities break up and change, it is important to consider how they have been made and maintained, for example through stories and myths about the relationship between nature and peoples and nations. Forest has often been associated with independence, strength and masculinity in different ideological contexts.  At the same time, the forests have also been considered a place of freedom and a source of survival for poor people, and as an arena for recreation for modern urban population.

My main metodolocical strategy is to analyse how narrative aspects of the material can tell something about how cultural meanings connected to the chosen themes have been constituted culturally, and historically.

This page was updated on Oct 20, 2016.