Heightened everydayness: Young people in rural Sweden doing everyday life

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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Today, the terms ‘young people’ and ‘rural Sweden’ are automatically associated with problems. Young people are associated with various worrying issues, such as mental illness, stress, pressure at school, or internet risk. Being young and living in a rural community is often regarded as especially problematic. Rural life is thought dull, and bracketed with isolation, lack of meaningful activities, and being inferior to urban spaces. In this thesis, these well-known problematics are set aside in favour of studying young people’s everyday lives in a broader sense.

This thesis investigates how young people in rural areas do everyday life in interaction with their wider surroundings. Young people’s doings are interpreted against those of adult ‘interveners’, the professionals and volunteers who work with the young and intervene in their activities and places. Applying a symbolic interactionist approach, youngsters’ everyday activities and their doing of everyday life were investigated by ethnographic fieldwork in a Swedish village. The thesis is based on data from observations and interviews with young people and interveners in the village. The thesis introduces an analytical framework for interpreting everyday life. A ternary framework, it comprises three dimensions of everyday life: heightened everydayness, unnoticed everydayness, and dull everydayness. The framework has been created in response to the study’s empirical material, and serves as an analytical lens throughout the study.

The results show that young people and interveners portray everyday life in the village differently. Interveners focus primary on the problematic aspects of rural life. Youngsters instead highlight heightened everydayness. In accordance with young people’s representations of everyday life, the thesis thus focuses on heightened everydayness. The analysis shows how youngsters accomplish heightened everydayness by being on the move, physically and virtually; engaging in indeterminate or problematic situations; and being with cared-for people, animals and things. Based on the study’s results, it is found that everyday knowledge emerges as crucial for heightened everydayness. The thesis concludes that everyday life is valuable. Contrary to general understandings of everyday life as grey and dull, the study shows everyday life as rich in content, meaningful, and fun.
Translated title of the contributionHeightened everydayness: Young people in rural Sweden doing everyday life
Original languageSwedish
  • Jacobsson, Katarina, Supervisor
  • Göransson, Kristina, Supervisor
Award date2021 Jun 11
Place of PublicationLund
Print ISBNs978-91-89604-68-1
Electronic ISBNs978-91-89604-68-1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May 18

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2021-06-11
Time: 10:15
Place: Zoom, Zoom link: https://lu-se.zoom.us/j/61774378540?pwd=d3h5bXlxVzlPWFF6a3c1NTJ6YWtxdz09 Passcode: 2020
External reviewer(s)
Name: Harju, Anne
Title: Associate Professor
Affiliation: Malmö University

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Work


  • Children, young, doing, everyday life, heightened everydayness, rural, space, place, Sweden, social work


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