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Vilhelmina & MRF Assistance: mötet mellan ungdomar i glesbygd och ett modernt tjänsteföretag speglat i en klassisk tankefigur
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2001 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In focus for this thesis is a village in a sparsely populated area in the county of Västerbotten, Vil­helmina, and its encounter with a relatively large, unusual, and modern company within the service sector, MRF Assistance, that established itself in Vilhelmina. This event is interesting because it implies the encroachment of "the informati on-age" on the local labour market of Vilhelmina. Previous negative experiences made many citizens sceptical to the establishment, while others saw it as a solution. The theoretical point of departure in illuminating this encounter is Ferdinand Tönnies' classical concepts "Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft", and their role when people make decisions and evaluate and reflect upon different perceived choices in their lives. I will describe this encounter from the perspective of the youths who were employed by the company. The aim of the study is to illuminate the modernisation processes in sparsely populated areas. More spe­cifically the research questions are as follows: How do the informants perceive their lives and an­choring in Vilhelmina ("Gemeinschaft")? How do they perceive the establishment of MRF As­sistance ("Gesellschaft")? What are the experiences of the employees regarding the time they were employed by the company, was it possible to combine "Gemeinschaft" and "Ge­sellschaft"?

Different methods have been used in this thesis in order to triangulate the information and re­ach valid results. Most obvious is the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. The data used in the quantitative part of the investigation have been collected from a survey administe­red to the employees of the company. The qualitative part is based on qualitative interviews with employees on different occasions. The qualitative interpretations have applied the grounded theo­ry - approach. The discoveries, which were generated with help of codes and categories, were than discussed in relation to relevant research and especially to the theoretical points of departure. Some of the tracers identified as empirically grounded and possible to integrate in a comparative analysis were the following: The norm-system of the company sometimes proved to be in conflict with the one of the village. In spite of this, it proved to be easy for the young employees to deal with the situation. The ambivalence was there but they were able to handle it. The young employ­ees showed trust and confidence in the company as a modern component of their society. Feelings of reliance on what was new were possible to combine with feelings of confidence in the habitual. They could easily live with ambivalence. Their cognitive maps were flexible and more context dependent than rigid. The young employees, in evaluating options and reflecting upon conse­quences of decisions, tend to activate the social representations of "Gemeinschaft" and "Gemein­schaft". The classic ideal-type proved still to be in use. A final remark is that taken together, the results and interpretations indicate at least hypothetically, that young people in rural areas rise to the standards that companies like MRF Assistance demand from its employees. The apprehension of potential contractors seems to be based more on myths than on reality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2001. , 237 p.
Studier i socialt arbete vid Umeå universitet : avhandlings- och skriftserie, ISSN 0283-300X ; 35
Keyword [en]
Company establisment, rural areas, youth, modernisation
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-60148ISBN: 91-7305-155-1OAI: diva2:558180
Public defence
2001-12-08, Humanisthuset hörsal F, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15
Available from: 2013-04-18 Created: 2012-10-02 Last updated: 2013-05-14Bibliographically approved

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