Continued use of Ecosystems: Challenges for Fishing and Farming Communities

Although there have been great changes in the lives and livelihoods of people in the Baltic Sea archipelago during the last century, the lives of local inhabitants are still strongly linked to the local nature, culture, and history. Customary use of local ecosystems provides resources for the household, but it is also an important carrier of local identity, culture, and way of life. Fishing, hunting, and harvesting of berries, mushrooms, etc., function as cultural and intergenerational glue for the local community context even today. This paper reflects upon the cultural and social importance of the small scale and informal economy in the Swedish Baltic Sea archipelago for sustainability living local communities, some of the present challenges to its continuation, and the potentials for positive change. It is based on participatory research on customary use of biodiversity and local and traditional knowledge in the Kalix Archipelago in the northern Bothnian Bay and in the Sankt Anna Archipelago in the Baltic Sea proper.

KEY WORDS:  local community, customary use, bio-cultural heritage, local and traditional knowledge, Sankt Anna Archipelago, Kalix Archipelago.

Entrepreneurship in the Stockholm Archipelago – a Historical Perspective

A cursory reading of the literature describing yesterdays’ societies in the Stockholm Archipelago tells us that people in the archipelago heavily relied on fishing and small-scale farming for their living. With the arrival of modern industrialized society during the latter half of the 19th century, things changed, and other opportunities to earn a living appeared. However, there were and are certain circumstances in the Stockholm Archipelago that make it somewhat inert, preventing it from taking a place in the modern labor market. Some of these have to do with its geographical location and legal frameworks, while others derive from cultural constructions among the nearby town-dwellers over the last one hundred and fifty years. The following reflections will focus on how some of these circumstances have affected entrepreneurs in the archipelago from the 19th century up to today, and what follows is a sketch of a broad outline of the history of entrepreneurship in the Stockholm Archipelago. In addition, being aware of anachronistic pitfalls and possible theoretical shallowness, I will focus on the element of self-employment in the concept of the entrepreneur in order to be able to generalize among different kinds of entrepreneurial enterprises over time — keeping in mind that a common way to make ends meet in the archipelago has also been to work part time as employees, e.g. as customs officials and/or pilot boat operators.

Student Involvement as a Tool for Nurturing Business Model Development in Tourism Businesses in the Stockholm Archipelago

Tourism consumption in Sweden is booming, but it seems to be at a standstill in the Stockholm archipelago, and most businesses of all kinds in it are small. Therefore, an eu-Interreg-financed educational community engagement project aiming at business model development in the archipelagos of Turku, Åland (both in Finland), and Stockholm was launched, as Finland has a similar situation. In this paper, the foundations of the project, the literature on the issues of being rural and in the archipelago, and business models are reviewed and put in perspective through preliminary empirical results of the project, in while municipality and some business representatives have been interviewed. The rationale is that there is a weak scientific understanding of business models in use in the archipelagos.Methodologically, action research is being used in addition to document studies, with unstructured interviews and observations as the primary empirical methods. The primary results for which the empirical findings put light on the intersection of the above mentioned literature bodies are the impact of infrastructural and access problems due to isolation, as well as indications of a community split between second homes and permanent residents. The lifestyle-entrepreneurship jeopardises the economic well-being but enriches the social well-being of the population. The primary conclusions are that seasonality and second homers provide entrepreneurs with large output markets in season, but small ones in the off-season. The business equation cannot omit place since it is part of the social well-being of the lifestyle-entrepreneurs, which calls for further research into configurational approaches to strategy in an archipelago context.

No Island is an Island: Participatory Development Planning on the Croatian Islands.

This text provides an overview of the history of attempts to introduce participatory development planning on the Croatian islands. Within the study of islands, there has been little attention to islands in countries undergoing post-socialist transition. Similarly, within the study of post-socialist strategic development planning, there has been almost no attention to islands. This study addresses both the resilience of islands and their heightened susceptibility to change, borrowing a periodisation from political economies of contemporary Croatia which emphasise the significance of multiple transitions. The text explores island development within socialist Yugoslavia, with islands subsumed within wider processes of industrialisation, urbanisation and, later, coastal tourism. As Croatia’s independence was inextricably linked to war, a crisis-induced authoritarian centralism also mitigated against islanders becoming development subjects. The post-war picture, marked as it is by a slow process of integration into EU norms and practices, shows the gap between the legislative rhetoric and the on the ground practice of participatory development planning. The text concludes that, thus far, only the top down element of strategic planning in terms of island development has been implemented, and this itself in a distorted, contradictory, and highly inconsistent, way.


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  • Referens:

    Starc, N., & Stubbs, P. (2014). No Island is an Island: Participatory Development Planning on the Croatian Islands. International journal of sustainable development and planning, 9(2), 158-176.

Enterprise and entrepreneurship on islands and remote rural environments

Although there has been increasing interest in rural enterprises, relatively little has been written on enterprise and entrepreneurship on islands where problems tend to be different, additional and exaggerated. Economic and cultural development agencies intervene to support such remote and isolated communities but the significance of the dominant metropolitan paradigm in the peripheralization of those establishing and running businesses on islands needs critiqued. This article contrasts experiences but highlights similarities, rather than differences, of rural small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries and comparative Northern European locations. The key role of social capital, cultural values and norms is analysed and comment presented on small island experiences. Arguments are made for policies to be proofed for locational differences and for further research to understand the opportunities offered by islands and coastal communities in a world where the particularities of place and space are increasingly valued, and aspects of remoteness can be rearticulated to good effect.

Friluftslivkonflikter i svenska kustlandskap ur ett planerings- och användarperspektiv: Studier av Luleå och Blekinge skärgårdar

Den här avhandlingen tillför kunskap om spänningen mellan olika attityder och synsätt i den fysiska planeringens processer, förvaltning samt friluftslivets användare i svenska kustlandskap. Avhandlingen är också ett tillägg till tidigare kunskap om zonering som ett sätt att hantera konflikter i svenska kustlandskap, där särskilt användarperspektivet är en viktig del. Avhandlingen bidrar även till en grundläggande översikt av fysisk planering i relation till friluftsliv.

Hav och kust har alltid varit viktiga för oss människor. I svenska kustlandskap har boende, infrastruktur och fiskenäring existerat sedan lång tid tillbaka samtidigt som områdena också varit viktiga för nöje och rekreation. Men mellan olika intressen, samt mellan och inom olika användargrupper samt förvaltning, kan det uppstå målkonflikter. Utgångspunkten för den här avhandlingen är att beskriva och analysera eventuella målkonflikter kopplat till friluftsliv utifrån både ett planerings- och ett användarperspektiv genom två fallstudier i Luleå och Blekinge skärgårdar. Friluftslivet är en del av samhället och dess relevans för fysisk och mental återhämtning ger planering och förvaltning av friluftsliv ett ökat politiskt stöd, samtidigt som tidigare forskning visat att friluftsliv är stark i retoriken – men svag i planeringspraktiken. Därför behövs kunskap som kan utveckla planering och förvaltning av friluftsliv i svenska kustlandskap.


European Islands, Development and the Cohesion Policy: A Case Study of Kökar, Åland Islands.

A European Union initiative is seeking ways of determining the development potential of Europe’s lagging regions, which include various islands. On the basis of the policy review, methodology and data collected by the ongoing EUROISLANDS project, this paper present Kökar (population: 262), the easternmost municipality of the Åland Islands, as a prototype archipelago that is seriously challenged by its size and multiple peripherality. It reviews the state of its social and transportation infrastructure, and of its human and financial capital. While the situation is serious, there are opportunities for branding, for developing associated economic activity, as well for appealing to a new wave of residents.
Keywords: EUROISLANDS, Åland Islands, attractiveness, European Union, Finland,
islands, Kökar, peripherality, Sweden

Tradition and innovation in coastal Finland: the transformation of the archipelago sea region.

This paper deals with the demographic and socio‐economic development in the Archipelago Sea Region in southwestern Finland in recent decades. The most important finding is that the region has fared rather well during recent decades, even during the first half of the 1990s, when the rest of Finland was hit by a severe economic crisis. Two factors seem to have influenced the relatively favourable development in the archipelago. On the one hand, the region has specific cultural, social and economic traditions that have enabled it to adapt to new challenges; and on the other hand, certain welfare, regional and other policies seem to have favoured the region to some extent. A general conclusion from the study is that there is a need for a broader theory of rural development than those theories currently being used. The most important feature of such a theory would be its use in providing general interpretations of regional development, even if each region has completely different economic foundations and its own development logic.

Entrepreneurship and small business development in small islands.

This paper reviews the limited literature on successful small business and entrepreneurship in small islands, with a focus on Pacific and European research. It argues that the notable specific contribution of this collection is its focus on tangible examples of successful island entrepreneurship, and the specific challenges towards entrepreneurship faced by island people. This approach is micro-oriented and very close to the actual human entrepreneurs that lead and shine by example. This is contrary to much received wisdom, which tends to be overshadowed by macro-structural and institutional approaches that emphasize chronic vulnerability.


Developing successful, indigenously-owned, small scale, export-oriented, manufacturing firms from small island locations is difficult but not impossible. This paper describes key outcomes of a research project which is reviewing a selection of such successful firms from 5 European island territories. Operating in the information and communication technology sector allows small island firms to compete successfully in export markets. They often do so by depending on the wide, ’extra-island’ contacts and experiences of their ’global-local’ entrepreneurial founder-owners, who often leverage start-up funds from private and personal sources. The absence of notable local market opportunities induces island entrepreneurs to ’export or perish’, obliging a competitive strategy from inception.

Winds of time: Lessons from Utö in the Stockholm Archipelago, 1990–2001.

When investigating the success or failure of different wind power projects, it is essential to take into account how they were historically situated. This study focuses on attempts to develop wind power in an archipelago setting, at Utö in Sweden. It has been argued that the development of Swedish wind power slowed during the 1990s; by revisiting the early days of wind power, looking at resistance and support, and connecting success factors, this can be further investigated. Whereas earlier research pointed out institutional conditions and site-specific conditions as crucial for successful wind power development and acceptance, the picture can be made more complete by discussing how wind power projects are affected by time-specific historical conditions. In the case of Utö, these can partly be associated with a newly launched political support program that gave the project political legitimacy and added a “pioneering spirit” to the endeavor. Conversely, when wind power is not seen as “pioneering” or “experimental” any more, but as a mere industrial activity, other incentives may need to be offered to municipalities

Reasons for High Food Prices in Small Market Areas: The Case of the Åland Islands.

This article presents reasons for high food prices in small market areas. The starting point of this study is the knowledge that the price of food in the Åland Islands, a small archipelago between Finland and Sweden, is significantly higher than in continental Finland. It is also known that store-level economies of scale in grocery retailing mean that the structure of a small market is, even in the best case, either inefficient or uncompetitive. The article compares the price level of stores in Åland and Finland. High prices in Åland arise from a small average store size, high concentration in both the retailing and the food processing sector, border taxes and transportation costs.

The displacement myth: Second home tourism in the Stockholm Archipelago

Second homes are important for many households in Sweden. However, second homes are not uncontroversial and sometimes cause conflicts between the second home owners and locals. In attractive destinations, second homes are frequently blamed for creating price inflation, increased property values and higher property tax for all dwellings, including permanent homes. It is argued that this development is causing a displacement of permanent residents from these areas. However, others argue that the current depopulation trend in attractive second home destinations is caused by a restructuring of the rural labour market. This study departs from this societal and scientific conflict and has its aim in testing the displacement theory. This is done through an empirical case study dealing with essential issues regarding the development of second homes, permanent homes and changes in property values. The case area is the most popular second home destination in Sweden: the archipelago of Stockholm. Results show that increased assessed property values are caused primarily by increasing numbers of permanent homes, and the area is being repopulated rather than depopulated. The study concludes that no evidence of displacement caused by second home demand can be traced on a regional geographical level.