'We Live in Nature All the Time': Spatial Justice, Outdoor Recreation, and the Refrains of Rural Rhythm

Pia Heike Johansen*, Jens Kaae Fisker, Annette Aagaard Thuesen

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Spatial justice includes the right of residents to define their own space of habitation, the places in which their everyday lives unfold. Recent scholarship has shown how this right has come under pressure in the countryside, prompting a need for research that attends in-depth do the ways in which rural dwellers exercise this aspect of spatial justice. The paper addresses this need by studying the affective relations in everyday rural life between human residents, wild and domestic animals, landscapes, and ‘baroque’ natures. Utilising photoethnographic fieldwork in the Danish countryside, the paper shows how animals, natures, and landscapes come to play distinctive parts in the (re)production and breaking up of the vernacular rhythms that form the stable but fluctuating and uncertain backbone of everyday life in the countryside. The practices expressed through these rhythms represent important local ways of knowing the rural as a space of habitation, but their vague, diffuse, and ephemeral nature make them difficult to translate into policy and planning. The genuine attempt to do so, however, remains indispensable to the pursuit of spatial justice, because it may be the only way to ensure that such efforts do not become counterproductive by unwittingly reproducing hegemonic ideas about what certain places are and ought to be. On the part of researchers, this requires an insistence on the necessary contingency of rurality, while on the part of planners and policy-makers it requires awareness of the necessarily imperfect, partial, and crude nature of available knowledge.
Sider (fra-til)132-141
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2021

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