Daily Life on Wheels: Global (Car) Cultures and Local Living
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CitationHämeenaho, Pilvi. (2019). Daily Life on Wheels: Global (Car) Cultures and Local Living. Journal of Finnish studies, 22 (1&2) , 137-154. -.
Ordinary tasks, like working, taking part in social events, leisure time activities, and consumerism create a need to move. The location of residence determines the means and ways of performing these activities. When studying life in remote rural areas, researchers inevitably confront the question of daily traveling. In Finland, remote rural areas are truly distant from municipal centers and far from cities, workplaces, and public activities. Distances are long, and it takes time and money to move from home villages with no public transport available. How can we analyze the meaning that these distances have for the people living their everyday lives in remote rural areas? In this article, I analyze the most common feature of mobility in rural Finland: private motoring and its multifaceted meaning to residents of rural places. My research, conducted via fieldwork, shows how the body of a car becomes a confluence for daily activities and emotions, a private space where duties, leisure, caring of family members and neighbors, and pleasure gained from the living environment join. By focusing on private motoring, I am also able to open up the wider picture about rural (im)mobility, the nature of rural life, and significance of rural environment as a source of well-being.