Mobile Lives, Immobile Representations

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Raili Nugin Tallinn University

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The article looks at how cultural constructs of “urban” and “rural” are used in policy measures. The question is opened by analyzing twenty-five short films submitted for the competition Once upon a Time in Our Village organized by the Estonian Ministry of Agriculture and Just Film (a nonprofit organization). The competition calls for young people to “depict the future and possibilities of rural life.” The aim was to prevent out-migration of young people from the rural areas. As the data show, the films echo cultural constructions that depict the rural as opposed to the urban: traditional, quiet, and a haven of the national past. The future and technological possibilities are something that are constructed as an urban phenomenon, and thus, not present in the films.

Contributor Notes

Raili Nugin is a research fellow in Tallinn University. She has completed her PhD in sociology in Tallinn University and did her post-doctoral research in University College London. She has been involved mainly in youth studies for over a decade, studying questions concerning generation, coming of age in turbulent times, construction of adulthood, rural youth and transmission of memory among youth. She has published in several peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Youth Studies, Young, Journal of Rural Studies and European Education. In her recent projects, she is concentrating on mobility and migration practices among rural youth. E-mail:

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