Zones of belonging - Experiences from a Danish study on belonging, local community and mobility

  • Anja Jørgensen Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aalborg University
  • Lisbeth B. Knudsen Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aalborg University
  • Mia Arp Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aalborg University
  • Henrik Skov Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aalborg University
Keywords: Belonging, place attachment, local communities, neighbourliness, demographic zones, mixed methods.

Abstract

In this paper we investigate the connections between population development, socio-economic status and the sense of belonging, in the understanding of social life in places. The article is based on a mixed-method study that includes register-based demographic data on inhabitants in the municipality of Aalborg in Denmark, survey data, and findings from fifty qualitative ethnographic interviews. We argue that local belonging is important to people, although increasingly complex and varied across local neighbourhoods. The conceptualization of the relations between demographic change, neighbourhood development and belonging is influenced by the Human Ecology (Park & Burgess 1925) that offers useful but also premature theoretical contributions in this field. Thus we argue that this perspective need to be expanded in order to pay attention to the varied meanings ascribed to place and discuss the possibility of mapping out zones of belonging in the contemporary society.

Author Biographies

Anja Jørgensen, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aalborg University
Associate Professor
Lisbeth B. Knudsen, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aalborg University
Professor
Mia Arp, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aalborg University
Associate Professor
Henrik Skov, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aalborg University
Ph.D.Student
Published
26-06-2016
Section
Peer-reviewed scientific papers