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FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam

Mobile Lifestyles: Perspectives on Work Mobilities and Gender in the High North

Awarded: NOK 6.6 mill.

Mobile men and women comprise a considerable component of the work force. While much literature and debates exist on theories of migration, their relevance, merits and challenges, work mobilities of a more circular and temporal nature: long and short-distance commuting, seasonal migration, and work that is itself mobile (fishing,transport,reindeerherding) have been subject to less investigation, comparison and theory construction, especially by means of a gender perspective. This comparative project consists of several sub-projects in municipalities of Finnmark, part of Norway's High North: Sør-Varanger, Alta, Hammerfest, Nordkapp, Kvalsund, Måsøy and Loppa. The project uses a multi-method approach with interviews, documents, newspapers and linked administrative data from existing registers. The quantitative work focuses on commuting and migration for men and women. The qualitative studies emphasize mobile work practices, one of the Hammerfest-studies also on representations. Both methods inform one another. The project focuses on the interface between work mobilities, lifestyles, gender and places, enabling an analysis of their interconnections. Key findings are a strong relationship between mobility and place including history, culture, location, labour market and politics, but difficult to include in place-stories. The findings also indicate that various forms and processes of mobilities, implying national and international immigration, emigration and various forms of commuting, are crucial in understanding 'the sense of place', but not easy to include in place-stories. Multiple and translocal relations concerning materialities, policies and persons, and relations that, in some cases, have been characterized as post-colonial, have a long history in these resource-dependent areas. One study on female, Russian immigrants explores how women reorient themselves into their new home in Finnmark. Many of the practices, for example clothing practices, have different meanings compared to Russia, are valued differently and demonstrate that immigrants clothe and clothing practices both can restrict and enable physical and social mobility. Women's emotional experiences can also be related to the use of nature and explain how emotions are important in understanding the immigrants feeling of belonging to a place. The feelings of belonging results from complex 'negotiations' where 'forgotten' experience from the home-country as well as practices related to the immigrant situation are brought forward, often as a feeling of discomfort. Findings from the project's masculinity oriented case studies demonstrate how the intersection of geography, a changing labour market and the dual-earner family model in a welfare state context creates opportunities for fishers, in-migrants of the petroleum sector and various kinds of entrepreneurial activities and thus colour men's way of performing masculinities. Here the importance of fatherhood, being a supportive spouse, and commiting to family leisure activities as well as to professional identities seem to be important. In this way, the studies from Finnmark,represent a contrast to masculinity studies from other rural areas. Our research also reveals gendered power relations and power dynamics. Women in several of our studies seem for example to have a strong effect on where a family settles, when to settle and/or where and how to commute. So far this can be observed in fishing, mining-, and petroleum-related households and communities. Other findings from discourse analyses suggest that mobility and gender are represented in different ways at different times in job advertisements and recruitment videos. The results from the register data show that children matter to both men and women in the commuting equation and is, not surprisingly, more relevant for women's commuting. Both men and women with children are less likely to commute longer distances. The same is not true in findings from studies based on data from other areas where children impact women's commuting distances consistently but the same is not true for men. Again, also the quantitative findings from Finnmark suggest that place does matter in a context where places for families are significant. Women and men who live in Finnmark communities, while they are mobile, are also not so likely to be mobile over longer distances, perhaps because of the presence of children in the household, again for both men and women. It is reflective of the uniqueness of Norway as a place to promote gender balance. There are gendered differences among commuters and across the distances travelled, but the fact that the regression showed, in some cases, modest variation among men and women over time does indicate that these gendered differences are not as stark as they might otherwise be in less egalitarian-promoting societies. Thus, findings from the case studies and from the research based on register are mutually reinforcing.

Mobility associated with employment is increasing within regions, nations, and across the globe. Today, mobile workers, men and women, comprise a considerable component of the work force. While an abundance of literature and debates exist on theories of m igration, their relevance, merits and challenges, work mobilities of a more circular nature: long and short-distance commuting, seasonal migration, and work that is itself mobile (e.g. fishing, transport work etc.) have been subjected to far less investig ation and theory construction. This project aims to contribute to a better understanding of work mobilities and their different forms in Norway's High North. Emphasis will be put on practices and representations of various forms of work mobilities in fou r municipalities in Finnmark, the northernmost county of continental Norway's High North. Attention will be placed on the interface between work mobilities, lifestyles, gender and places. enabling an analysis of their interconnections as they relate to p ractices and representations. Our theoretical and analytical approach draws upon the new mobilities paradigm and aspects of structuration (structure-agency) using a gendered lifestyles perspective attentive to intersectionality. Our work will for example search to reveal power relations and power dynamics within the context of work mobilities practices, and their representations. This comparative project uses a multi-method approach. Statistical longitudinal analysis using linked administrative data from existing registers will form the basis for understanding work mobilities patterns and practices. Fieldwork in the selected research sites (Kirkenes, Alta, Hammerfest/Kvalsund and municipalities in Mid-Finnmark) will include semi-structured interviews wit h individuals concerning their work mobilities practices and how they perceive them. A content analysis of representations found in newspapers, and white and green papers will augment the fieldwork.

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FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam