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Konsekvenser av skolnedläggningar: En studie av barns och barnfamiljers vardagsliv i samband med skolnedläggningar i Ydre kommun
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2016 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many rural village schools have closed over the years, both in Sweden and internationally, because of urbanisation, centralisation and the quest for efficiency. This study shows the impact of two school closures in the rural area of Ydre, south-east Sweden, and describes the reactions of children and families concerned. The aim is to analyse what rural village schools mean for everyday life and how such meaning is based on time-spatial everyday stories. How the children and families view the school closures emerges in the time-geographic perspective, on their own terms, given their opportunity to demonstrate how they use different time-space components. This was studied by interviewing and sketching mental maps with 28 pupils of various ages, and by interviewing and drawing up weekly time schedules with 12 families. This also enabled the analyses to be extended, using the time-geographic conceptual framework, and in particular the interplay between structural changes and individuals’ day-to-day lives, and the interconnections between school and private life, to be clarified.

One conclusion is that a school is no mere teaching venue. It is also a key meeting place for children, part of community life and a space for social networking and daily decision-making: a local community hub for the children and their parents alike. When a local school closes and the pupils need to travel further for schooling elsewhere, it affects their travel and activity patterns and social networks. Children’s drawings express their perceptions of place, time and distance. This study shows that the locations where children spend time and have their social networks, as well as how and how often they travel on particular routes, are crucial for their assessment of distance, both temporal and spatial.

Describing the value of the closure-threatened school, parents express concern about their local village. They stress the importance of the village school, which they regard as excellent, unique and a resource for the family, but also for the community as a whole. Thereby, they highlight their hope that their community will be attractive to visitors, and also to themselves, the residents. The threats of closure upset them and provoke discussions on how to sustain a living countryside. Studies of children’s and families’ experience of school closures pinpoint the complexity of rural life and show it in a more human-centred, everyday light. Since children are absent from the municipal closure procedure, views of children’s participation are also discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Kulturgeografiska institutionen, Uppsala universitet , 2016. , 271 p.
Geographica, ISSN 0431-2023 ; 8
Keyword [en]
school closure, village schools, time geography, sense of place, mental maps, children’s geography, rural geography, Ydre.
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-269585ISBN: 978-91-506-2522-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-269585DiVA: diva2:883424
Public defence
2016-02-19, Gustavianum, Auditorium Minus, Uppsala, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2016-01-29 Created: 2015-12-17 Last updated: 2016-01-29

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Cedering, Magdalena
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