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PhD ceremony Ms. K.G. Melis: Naar een leefbare regio. Regionale leefbaarheid en identiteiten in Noord-Groningen tijdens de tweede helft van de twintigste eeuw

When:Th 20-06-2013 at 16:15

PhD ceremony: Ms. K.G. Melis, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Naar een leefbare regio. Regionale leefbaarheid en identiteiten in Noord-Groningen tijdens de tweede helft van de twintigste eeuw

Promotor(s): prof. M.G.J. Duijvendak

Faculty: Arts

Korrie Melis investigated the relationship between liveability and regional identity in Noord-Groningen during the second half of the twentieth century. For the administrators, Noord-Groningen was an institutional structure to improve local liveability. In theory this structure could be displaced by another institutional structure if it did not suit their municipal interests anymore. Local inhabitants did not identify with the regional goals. Almost all respondents felt connected to their living environment. However, their attachment did not correspond with a regional identity of Noord-Groningen, which was communicated collectively.

Rural areas in the Western world are currently dealing with dwindling population levels. It might seem that rural population decline is a recent development, however, it is not. Although the causes were different, in the 1950s rural areas also experienced population decline. A remarkable publication in 1959 from the Netherlands of that period is the report Bedreigd bestaan. De sociale, economische en culturele situatie in Noord-Groningen. In the report, Noord-Groningen was approached as a region that experienced a declining liveability. This report is the starting point for Melis to investigate the relationship between liveability and regional identity in Noord-Groningen during the second half of the twentieth century. The perspectives of the local administrators and inhabitants are researched in this historical and geographical study.

The approach of local administrators was researched by conducting interviews with experts and investigating policy documents. The experiences of Noord-Groningen inhabitants were investigated by conducting interviews. In total 107 oral histories were carried out among three generations of women and ‘youth’.

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