A CRISIS OF DEFINITION: CULTURE VERSUS INDUSTRY IN ODDA, NORWAY

Authors


ABSTRACT

This article addresses the influence of dominant and traditional ways of grasping the reality in social and economic processes of change. Our point of departure is how the perception of crisis in Odda, a small industrial community in Norway, influences the course of the process of change. The analysis focuses on a heated debate over the exploitation of a large site in the centre of Odda, left after the closure of the key factory. Rather than the economic and social consequences of the closure, the main challenge that arose from the crisis was related to the emergence of ambiguity in the local conceptual framework. Coming to terms with the situation stimulated various attempts to rearticulate the discourse of local development, with the result that industrial and culture-based perspectives on development came into conflict. The economic crisis became a crisis of definition. In Odda, the industrial discourse finally domesticated the competing cultural discourse, ending years of conflict and inaction. In its explicit focus on the importance of local struggles and the way discourse structures such processes this story about recent developments in Odda complements literature on post-industrial development.

Ancillary