Research project

The project “The Emotional Geography of the Northern Cities and Settlements” is aimed at the study of the emotional connection of the people with their places of residence.

Every one of us has noticed, that we give more preference to some places than the others; their smells and colors linger on in our memories long after we have left these places. And vice versa, people tend to keep away from such places as abandoned houses, landfill sites and the like.  Large street intersections, bus stops, train stations, poorly lit places cause the feeling of anxiety.

We defined places that instill the feelings of interest, comfort, pride as the places of emotional attachment, and places that cause disgust, anxiety, shame – as the places of emotional rejection. The feelings of interest, comfort, disgust, and anxiety are a kind of routinized emotions, that have become so mundane, that the people do not even acknowledge experiencing them. However, these emotions influence the everyday routes that we take, places that we choose to relax in etc. In this respect, the city is an intertexture of feelings and emotions of every single individual, his or her personal history.

The knowledge of the places of emotional attachment and rejection for different social groups in a city facilitates preventive measures, targeted at the maintenance of emotional health of the residents. This is very relevant for the Arctic territories where people are influenced by hard climatic conditions, short daylight hours and other factors. The identification of the places of emotional attachment and rejection is extremely important, because negative emotions (disgust, fear, shame) towards the places of living may contribute to the loss of feeling of security and forced migration of the population.

Tatiana Zhigaltsova conduct self-funded independent research in the new and promising sphere of emotional geography (2014-2022):

−   September – October 2014: Velsk, Arkhangelsk Region (Survey among primary and secondary schoolchildren; 250 drawings and questionnaires were collected);

−  March 2015: Nikel, Murmansk Region; Kirkenes, Norway (56 drawings and questionnaires were collected from primary and secondary schoolchildren);

−    January 2017: Nikel, Murmansk Region (50 questionnaires were collected from the adult population of the settlement);

−  June 2017: Komsomolsky (forest village), Velsk District of the Arkhangelsk Region (30 questionnaires were collected, 10 senior citizens were interviewed);

−  June 2019: Maloshuyka (rural settlement), Onega District, Arkhangelsk Region (40 questionnaires from the adult residents were collected);

−   February 2020: border cities Haparanda, Sweden and Tornio, Finland (200 questionnaires and drawings were collected);

–    January - February 2022: Helsinki (20 questionnaires from the female residents were collected).

− June 2023: Tamitsa and Kyanda, Onega District of the Arkhangelsk Region (18 senior citizens were interviewed); the Solovetsky Islands (field work management). The research was funded by the grant of the Russian Science Foundation No. 23-28-10034 “Creation of sustainable communities in view of the consequences of transformation of architectural and ethnographic environment of the island and coastal Arctic”.

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