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Experiencing place-change: A shared sense of loss after closure of village facilities

Christiaanse, S. & Haartsen, T., Jun-2020, In : Journal of Environmental Psychology. 69, 11 p., 101432.

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Rural communities often display strong emotions in response to closures of facilities and services. Research into explaining community responses hardly pays attention to the socio-psychological process of 'loss' of such local facilities, which occurs when place bonds are disrupted. This paper explores how a rural community makes sense of place-change by examining how residents interpret, evaluate and cope with local facility-decline. Three focus group discussions were conducted in Tzummarum, a village in the Netherlands, just after the closure of a local sports hall was announced. A theoretical framework for community coping-responses is used to interpret the empirical results. We find that while the closure of local facilities can result in a disruption of individual place bonds, there is a discernible shared sense of loss based on the social and symbolical meaning that certain facilities have for the village community. This sense of loss can help explain collective coping responses. However, this study found that collective action is only considered for local facilities that foster a sense of community, provided there is enough collective efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101432
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Volume69
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2020

    Keywords

  • Place attachment, Place identity, Facility-decline, Disruption, Coping, Rural community, SOCIAL IDENTITY MODEL, COLLECTIVE ACTION, ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN, COMMUNITY RESILIENCE, PSYCHOLOGICAL SENSE, SCHOOL CLOSURE, LOCAL IDENTITY, PUBLIC SPACE, RURAL-AREAS, ATTACHMENT

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