The Death of Place: Exploring Discourse and Materiality in Debates on Rural Development

  • Tobias OlofssonEmail author


What determines whether or not something is alive? This chapter argues that this deceivingly simple question is actually the most complicated one. By drawing on examples from contemporary debates and combining these with fieldwork at abandoned places, this chapter problematizes the notions of life and death in political debates on the deindustrialization and depopulation of rural communities in present-day Sweden. Using abandoned places as a springboard for analysis, this chapter argues that dead places are constructed in the intersection of discourse and place. This chapter furthermore outlines how approaching death by looking at the combination of the signifier and that which is signified holds potential for critical investigation of the discourses used to describe a place as dead and dying.


Rural communities Abandoned places Rural debate Living countryside Discourses on death 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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