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Keywords:

  • country cabins;
  • Norway;
  • modernity;
  • routine;
  • material culture

The mountain or shore-side cabin (hytte) represents a common leisure form for a significant proportion of the Norwegian population. Its roots can be traced to the decline of farming society, growing urbanisation and an emphasis on the outdoor life as part of 20th-century state modernising projects. Throughout this modern history, and through periods of accelerated social change, the cabin has represented an ‘other’ form of domesticity. This paper makes the argument that far from representing an escape from post-industrial consumer society, the hytte prompts evaluation, comparison or negation of normative domesticity for its occupants. Many priorities such as getting back-to-nature and living the simple life are achieved best, paradoxically, through their material manifestation. Routine and rupture, and discourse surrounding farming culture artefacts are central in evoking contrast.