9.12. Changing second home landscape: A study in cultural geography

Public examination of a doctoral dissertation in the field of human geography
Doctoral candidate: M.Sc. Kati Pitkänen
Time and venue 9.12.2011 at 12 noon, C2, Carelia, Joensuu Campus


In human geography there is a multitude of different approaches and emphases to the study of landscapes. In this study a threefold definition of the concept is used that understands second home landscape as regional patterns, a cultural imaginings and as an embodied and meaningful experience.

The focus of the study is on the contemporary change taking place within these dimensions. With respect to regional patterns, second home landscape is related to rural change. Ever more often new second home development takes place in the vicinity of tourism centers. Near urban centres second home landscape is converted to permanent use and in declining rural areas houses left vacant are used as second homes. Often detached from other rural settlement structure second home landscape produces a new kind of rural space characterised by second homes that are increasingly used year round or even converted to permanent residences. In relation to experiences, touristic motives and experiences have become more important, but the second home landscape can also be experienced as providing stability and continuity. The second home can, in fact, be the only stabile place in people’s lives whereas supposedly permanent residences change according to one’s life phase.

The multiplicity of physical settings and experiences of the landscape, however, are not manifest in the cultural imagination. According to this study the meanings of Finnishness, naturalness, rural idyll and equality are especially attached to the second home landscape. However, these meanings are currently contested by changes taking place within society and second home tourism in particular. The study comprises a Finnish summary and six articles out of which five are published in English. Empirical data was collected by a postal survey and interviews besides which national newspaper accounts, databases and registers related to second homes were used.

The doctoral dissertation of M.Sc. Kati Pitkänen, entitled Changing second home landscape: A study in cultural geography, will be examined at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies. The opponent in the public examination will be Docent Seija Tuulentie of Metsähallitus, and the custos will be Professor Ari Lehtinen of the University of Eastern Finland.

Photo available for download at http://www.uef.fi/vaitoskuvat

For further information, please contact: Kati Pitkänen, 050 537 1078, kati.pitkanen(at)uef.fi

Publishing year: 2011

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