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Regional Development, Sense of Place and Belongingness: a Swedish perspective
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication. (Geomedia)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8528-1099
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3691-0044
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In Sweden discussions on regional identity and regional belonging have become more and more integrated with perspectives of the meaning of culture and local communities as important for regional development and growth. In local, regional and national policies cultural diversity is emphasized as a potential for development and growth. Sweden is today a multi-cultural society where its citizens have backgrounds from all over the world. However, there is a distance in regional politics between policies of cultural diversity for local and regional development and the actual citizens. It is therefore not clear how policies of cultural diversity are to be applied in practical regional planning. Research shows that immigrants in Sweden often have a feeling of exclusion and that they do not belong there and that they aren’t accepted as they are. There seems to be a gap between policies and the actual situation in everyday life of inhabitants in Swedish regions.

Research on sense of place and migration is extensive, but there is still not much done on the influence of place in relation to issues of integration. The meaning and importance of place has not been emphasized enough in immigration studies. Therefore, this paper will – from a Swedish perspective - discuss the sense of place and belonging related to a person’s identity and background, with the aim to contribute to an understanding of who feel belongingness where. This discussion is mainly based on a survey conducted in the region of Värmland in Sweden. The results show that persons with a Swedish background feel more at home in the place where they live, in the municipality where they live, as well as in the region of Värmland, than persons with a foreign background. Not surprisingly people having lived more than ten years or their whole life at the same place feel more at home in as well the local, regional as the national level. This can in turn be related to Swedish integration policy and the situation of immigrants in Sweden experiencing a sense of exclusion and thereby a lack of sense of belonging to a certain place. But we can also see that other factors, like if you live in the city or in the countryside), are important for a sense of place and feeling at home. Our results will be discussed in relation to issues of urban, regional and social sustainable development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Human Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38781OAI: diva2:876263
RSA 2015 : Harmonious Development, Common Prosperity and the Transformation of Cities and Regions, China Conference, 25-27th November, 2015 Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
Available from: 2015-12-03 Created: 2015-12-03 Last updated: 2016-07-04Bibliographically approved

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Grip, LenaGrundel, Ida
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