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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

HAPPINESS IN TIMES OF CHANGE: "FRILUFTSLIV" AND CLIMATE CHANGE IN SVALBARD

Awarded: NOK 50,000

The project «Happiness in times of change: 'Friluftsliv' and climate change in Svalbard» is a collaboration between social anthropologists Tomas Salem (University of Bergen) and Alexandra Meyer (University of Vienna). Through ethnographic research we will examine how climate change in Svalbard is shaping the relationship that residents and visitors to Svalbard have to nature and "friluftsliv" (life outdoors), and how different imaginaries of the future and the changing landscape challenges existing understandings of happiness and the good life. The project will document local values connected to different nature practices in Svalbard, and focus on continuities and change in traditional understandings of the relationship between nature and culture, with particular attention to individual adaptations to climate change among local residents and the tourist sector. Our fieldwork zooms in on maritime and land-based eco-tourism, the training of local nature-guides at UNIS, and sport and leisure activities in the outdoors. Through this focus, we will contribute with knowledge on the changing conditions for local life-projects among residents of Svalbard at a moment of rapidly changing environment. This knowledge is important in order to ensure good environmental protection in Svalbard in the future, but is also transferrable to other contexts, within and outside of the arctic region.

Funding scheme:

SSF-Svalbard Science Forum