Place and Identity

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Place Saint-Marc by Patrice Puig // CC-BY-ND 2.0

The Place and Identity Research Group includes researchers with a specific interest in questions concerning place and identity in relation to the social, material and emotional aspects of the environment, and more specifically how the material is intermingled with social and emotional aspects. Although the researchers in this group have diverse theoretical backgrounds and interests we unite in the understanding that place and identity interact through performativity. This means that place and place experiences never can be seen as static and that they are perceived subjectively.

The research projects connected to the group focus among other things on how urban and rural places are created, exist and transforms, as well as how they affect and are affected by humans. A particular focus is how different aspects of place such as material, social, emotional, cultural, political, temporal and historical aspects are crucial parts for understanding both place and identity.

Some group members focus on how humans create bonds to places, others on how social relations, materiality and collective narratives and memories are connected to places. Another focus is to understand places as an integrated aspect of the self, and how this relates to collective values, narratives and norms. Many are interested in issues concerning inclusion and exclusion from places, as well as interrelations and connections between places and transformation of places. The group is methodologically diverse although most researchers work with qualitative methods. Some are particularly interested in experimenting with ethnographic and feminist methods, and in the relationship between knowledge production and the boundaries of academic writing.  

Examples of particular areas of expertise and current research interest include:

  • Gender and sexuality
  • The materiality and transformations of crofts
  • Cultural heritage
  • Mobile places such as buses and trains
  • The presence of begging in public places
  • Urban planning
  • Children and young people
  • Property and land owning
  • Emotional attachment to green spaces
  • Restorative places
  • Place and memory
  • Gardening as place making
  • Temporalities of places
  • Migration and belonging to multiple places
  • Segregation and racism
  • Rural transformation
  • Rural-urban relations
  • Transformation of former industrial land
  • Intersectional approaches to place and identity

Contact (group coordinator): Associate Professor Sofia Cele, sofia.cele@kultgeog.uu.se