• Sami market Umeå © M.Koch
  • European capital of culture Umeå © M.Koch
  • Umeå city center © M.Koch
  • Prof. Dieter Müller Umeå University © M.Koch
  • Umeälven © M.Koch
  • Excursion group in Storuman © M.Koch
  • Prof. Dean Carson in Storuman © M.Koch
  • Central located postboxes in rural Sweden © M.Koch
  • The village team Vuollerim © M.Koch
  • Hop for Vuollerim © Lapland Vuollerim
  • On the way to Kiruna © M.Koch
  • Kiruna © M.Koch
  • Ore mining in Kiruna © M.Koch
  • Kiruna city center © M.Koch
  • Shopping center in Kiruna © M.Koch
  • Old city center of Kiruna © M.Koch
  • View over Kiruna commune © M.Koch
  • Visit at Pello commune in Finland © M.Koch
  • Shopping center in Pello Finland © M.Koch
  • Arktikum house in Rovaniemi © M.Koch
  • Lecture at University of Lapland Rovaniemi © M.Koch
  • Hiking in Vaattunkiköngäs © M.Koch
  • Vaattunkiköngäs/the Arctic Circle Hiking Area © M.Koch
  • Visit to HaparandaTornio © M.Koch
  • Student group 2014 HaparandaTornio © M.Koch
  • Challenges of Norrbotten county © M.Koch
  • Student group in Gammelstad kyrkstad Luleå © M.Koch
  • UNESCO world heritage site: Gammelstad kyrkstad Luleå © M.Koch

Northern Sweden and Finland 2014

In autum 2014 the Social Geography Working group organized a scientific field trip to the periphery of northern Europe. As point of departure we visited the European Capital of Culture 2014 Umeå traveled on to Storuman - Jokkmokk - Kiruna - Pajala - Rovaniemi - Haparanda - Luleå and finally ended our trip in Umeå. We got an insight to the living conditions in peripheral areas, current social and economic developments and learned  about the culture of the indigenous population of the Sami. During the field trip participating students had to carry out a small research project.

To identify and explain spatial phenomena, forms, structures and functions, processes, as well as their changes is the main intention of a geographer. To train the observation of spatial phenomena, to practice describing and explaining spatial structures and processes as well as to learn to recognize spatial contexts, geographical field trips offer many opportunities to gain expertise on a theoretical level and practical experience in a particular space.

The 14 days field trip "Northern Sweden and Finland " carried out by the Social Geography Working Group took place in autumn 2014.

From a social-geographical perspective, diverse topics such as culture, tourism, living conditions, spatial perceptions, economic growth and stagnation, economic and social changes developed in peripheral regions on different scale and embedded in global contexts were elaborated. The aim was to transfer theories studied in lectures and seminars to locally observable social geographical phenomena.

Objectives of the course:

  • Transfer and reflection of social-geographic knowledge to the study area
  • Learn to perceive and to interpret spatial phenomena
  • Dealing with current social-geographic theories in practice
  • Acquisition of knowledge about the northern periphery
  • Answering a self-selected research question through independent work on a specific and self-chosen topic

The full excursion program is here for download available. To get an insight to the field trip see this poster made by students.

During the excursion students were enabled to reproduce knowledge appropriated before and during the field trip and had to work independent on selected topics. Local experts assisted students in the practical examination of issues of specific interest, which had to be worked out in small-sized working groups. In addition, all participants were invited to participate to discussions with local experts to clarify questions and gain in depth-knowledge on self-chosen topics (download here).

The following student articles will give you a deeper insight into some projects carried out during the field trip:

Elisabeth Ketter & Tanja Furtner (in english): Representation and integration of an ethnic minority in modern Sweden. Exploring the visual representation of the Sami in Swedish Lapland in terms of economy and culture.

Ulrich Öttl (in german): Raumordnung und grenzüberschreitende Regionalplanung in Skandinavien dargestellt am Beispiel der „grenzenlosen Stadt“ Haparanda- Tornio

Tatjana Markl & Henrik Klar (in german): “Nature Based Tourism” in Nordskandinavien als Vorbild für den deutschsprachigen Alpenraum. Vergleich des Angebotes kleiner Tourismusgemeinden im deutschsprachigen Alpenraum mit den Ansprüchen von Nbt-Tourist_innen in Nordskandinavien.

Georg Hofstätter & Kirstin Stuppacher (in german): Lebensbedingungen in einer peripheren Region. Ein Blick auf die demographische Situation in Nordschweden.

Stefan Leithenmayr & Thilo Vogeler (in german): Globalisierung in der Peripherie. Wie beeinflussen globale Entwicklungen die lokale Lebenswirklichkeit in der nordeuropäischen Peripherie?

Our interest in issues of the nortern periphery aroused some attention by media and press. Some interviews and pictures were taken as you can see here:  Vuollerim/Schweden, Storuman/Schweden and Pello/Finland

Finally, please have a look at our travel route.

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