The EV research program welcomes the research project “Within or without”, funded by the Swedish Research Council.
The aim of the project is to broaden and deepen our understanding of the indissoluble bound between knowledge and place and to analyze our conception of knowledge as place bound in the context of rural knowledge production and development. Using a ”center-periphery” model, rural knowledge is studied in terms of resources for autonomous learning and action rather than in the usual terms of lack (of cultural and economic assets).
Assuming the centrality of place for a form of life, the study focuses on skills and forms of knowledge generated by the context and conditions of rural communities, in particular the informal educational pathways that are characteristic of rural regions. Rather than taking as its starting point ”urban legends” and narratives about them, the project will expand our knowledge base for political and administrative decision-making. A multi-faceted but integrated framework is used to examine rural ideas about learning and practical knowledge, as well as formal and informal educational paths and practices in small communities on the periphery. With the aid of complementing methods and empirical studies in ethnology, philosophy and economic history the results will be synthesized into a major philosophical-anthropological analysis of the problems and potentialities of rurality in the age of the knowledge economy. The area under investigation is Bergslagen, a region considered paradigmatic for rural vulnerability in Sweden.